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Golf Tips: Taking the shot to the dance floor

By: Shawn Kelly
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OK, we finally got the ball safely onto our virtual green and it’s now time to drain that putt. Here’s where it can get interesting. The way some of these greens are shaped nowadays with so much undulation, it can become a challenge to get the ball within a reasonable proximity of the hole. Let’s discuss a couple of concepts on putting that I think will make this last objective seem a little less daunting. The putting stroke should be a very simple pendulum motion that swings back and forth with a constant rhythm. The distance back needs to be the same as the distance thru, like a swing. The whole stroke will be shorter for a short putt and longer for a long putt. A common mistake that I see players exhibit is that of making too long of a backswing then slowing or stopping the hands and decelerating the putter at the ball. The three-ball drill we have mentioned in the past will help with finding a good stroke and rhythm. Your pre-shot routine is important for consistency. A typical routine should consist of: Visualizing the line and speed of the ball rolling to the target. This could be the most important part of making putts. Set-up to the line by squaring the putter first and then the body to the putter. Practice swinging while looking at the target. This will help you feel the distance that you’ll want to roll the ball. Make your focus target oriented rather than the mechanics of the stroke. And, stay positive! Believe that every putt you stroke will go in! Once you’ve defined your routine, practice that routine over and over to ingrain the sequence and make it consistent. My routine is to visualize the line and speed, aim the putter to my chosen line, take a couple of practice strokes while looking at my target, look at the ball, then make the stroke that I have felt in my practice swings and hold the end of the stroke feeling like I have stayed has steady. I then smile and wave to the crowd, when I pull the ball out of the hole. Your putting routine can be any sequence that you want, just repeat it and keep it consistent. Reading greens is the next most important aspect of putting. I like to call my method of reading greens “The ABC’s of Reading a Green”. Point A is the ball. Point B is the imaginary target for direction and distance. And, Point C is the cup. First we look at the general terrain of the ground as you approach the green to determine which direction water would drain. Now look for drainage, mounds or general slope of the putting green. All of these will help you start to read a green and make more putts. Now stand behind the ball and determine if ball will break left or right, then go to the side the ball is breaking and determine if it is a downhill or uphill putt. you should now have enough information to determine the line and speed of the putt. trust it and make a confident stroke. This is the final episode of the “Tee To Green” series. The key to this game is to get the ball in the hole somehow and have fun. If these articles help you do that, then I’m a happy golf pro. Demo Day and Hot Rods The Ridge will be having a Demo Day with five club vendors and the Auburn Classic Auto Show on Saturday Aug. 27, from noon to 7:30 pm. Classic cars, vendors, golf contest for great prizes, food and beer garden. We will also have four top fuel dragsters fire their engines at dusk for a spectacular show. This should be a fun day and it’s free to the public. Call (530) 888-7888 for more details.