1000 Islands Golf School
Wellesley Island, New York
Mark Benz PGA Director of Instruction
Individual Golf Lessons
$45/ half hour or $90/ full hours
Group rate $20 per additional student
2018 Golf Lesson Package
10 private lessons $800 ($100 off retail price)
*lessons are 1 hour in duration each*
Package includes 4 rounds of golf with cart
Thousand Islands Old Course (value of $220)
*rounds are transferable and can be used as gifts
Free range balls for all lesson days
*All lessons and greens fees are transferable and can be used as gifts
Wednesday Mornings and Thursday Afternoons
$10 per player (includes follow up notes)
Wednesday Mornings Schedule:
(10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.)
May 23rd PUTTING
May 30th CHIPPING
June 6th PITCHING
June 13th FULL SWING SET UP
June 20th FULL SWING BACKSTROKE
June 27th FULL SWING FORWARD STROKE & FOLLOW THROUGH
July 11th TIMING, TEMPO and RHTHYM
July 18th FULL SWING DRILLS
July 25th BUNKER SHOTS
Thursday Afternoons Schedule:
(2 p.m. to 3 p.m.)
May 24th FULL SWING SET UP
May 31st FULL SWING BACKSTROKE
June 7th FULL SWING FORWARD STROKE
June 14th TIMING, TEMPO and RHTHYM
June 21st FULL SWING DRILLS
June 28st BUNKER SHOTS
July 12th PITCHING
July 19th CHIPPING
July 26th PUTTING
Summer Junior Clinics
July 10th to July 12th
July 24th to July 26th
August 7th to August 9th
Ages 6-10 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
Ages 11 & over 9:30 to 11 a.m.
Cost $20 per student per day
Golf Clinic Notes
For the past 5 years, I have sent out emails to my students following private lessons and clinics with a recap of the topics that we discussed. I am grateful that these notes have been so well received and appreciate all the great feedback. It certainly helps to have a written document that you can reference as you set out to make adjustments in your golf game.
Starting this spring, I am going to be sending out the clinic notes to anyone who would like to view them. If you would like to subscribe to the free weekly GOLF CLINIC NEWSLETTER send me an email ([email protected]) and I will be happy to add you to the list.
Since we are waiting on this horrible weather to finally change, I decided to start by posting some putting notes that are great for practicing indoors (no broken lamps!). The preseason is a great time to check your putting fundamentals and make adjustments if need be. Hopefully you can see some of the fundamentals discussed while you’re watching any Professional Tournaments this weekend.
The 1st three Clinic Notes are posted on the Instruction Heading at TICountryclub.com.
STANCE WIDTH and BALL POSITION
PUTTING POSTURE Stability and Mobility Explained
INDOOR PUTTING PRACTICE
If you have any questions on these notes, please don’t hesitate to ask. The notes usually FOLLOW a clinic or lesson on the topic we discussed but I have tried to compose the notes as if the reader did not attend the clinic. I always appreciate feedback and suggestions so please let me know what you think.
If there is an instructional topic that you would like me to discuss, please send me a note. I’m always thinking of new or different clinics that we can run at Thousand Islands Country Club.
I will have this year’s clinic schedule available in the next few weeks. Tentatively I’m planning on holding them on Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings. I will also be posting this year’s Junior Clinic Schedule shortly. Participation in the Junior Clinics are up an incredible 200% since 2013. I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to see the kids out on the golf course enjoying themselves. We will probably be adding more dates this summer to accommodate the growing numbers. For more information on the Junior Program at T.I.C.C, email me at [email protected]
PUTTING POSTURE – Stability and Mobility Explained
PGA Tour Player, Charley Hoffman, at the Blast Motion Technology Studio in Carlsbad, California.
Note in the photo above the straight white line that runs through:
- The widest part of the foot
- Front of the knee
- Butt end of the putter
- Back of the elbow
- Top of the spine (C7 Vertebrae)
Key Body parts that are run parallel to the target line:
- Feet (toe line)
- Forearms and Shoulders
There are two objectives of the set-up in both putting and the full swing:
- Set your joints in a manner that provides maximum stability for core muscles and lower body, and maximum mobility in the thoracic spine (upper back) and shoulders.
- Align all your major body parts parallel to the target. When body parts are misaligned, the joints will operate in a predictable dysfunction (FORE!!)
Importance of Structure
Ultimately the putting stroke is the swinging of a lever. The lever is our arms and the putter, and the swinging comes from our shoulders rotating up, and around our thoracic spine (upper back). To square the clubface to our target and start the ball on our intended line (hopefully to make the putt) requires good timing. The only way to have consistent timing is to have a stable structure. If your structure is constantly moving and changing, then your timing will as well. Erratic timing results in erratic putting. The more stable your lower body and core muscles (think belly button) remain during the stroke, the more repeatable your timing will be.
THE TIMING OF A LEVER IS DEPENDENT ONLY ON THE LENGTH OF THE LEVER
STRUCTURE = TIMING
****STRUCTURE = TIMING****
The “length” of your lever is your structure (posture) at address and during the stroke. To maintain your structure, you need to align your joints correctly. Our body is ultimately a stack of joints with predictable functions and range of motions. How you set your body at address dictates everything your body will do next during the stroke.
CHECKLIST FOR PERFECT STRUCTURE
How to set-up correctly every time
After you have established your ball position and stance width (please refer to the Clinic Notes on Stance Width and Ball Position)
- Bend your knee so that the front of your knee caps is over the widest part of your foot
- Establish your spine and angle and pelvic tilt…
To find out your ideal spine angle and pelvic tilt, establish your ball position and stance width. Next, bend your knees until they are over the widest part of your foot and with straight arms lower your fingers down your leg until they reach the center of your knee. I like to think about having gorilla arms with a big, open chest. Having my arms hang down has a wonderful effect of putting my weight over the widest part of my foot. It feels as though my chest and my rear end are counter weights to each other to create perfect balance. From this posture I feel like I could balance myself on a tight rope, so long as that rope was under the widest part of my feet!
*For more tips on improving your balance, please see the clinic notes on STRETCHING FOR PROPER POSTURE
Most players will feel a lot more active in the hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes which is perfectly normal. This is a correction and corrections feel strange at first. Please keep in mind that your legs, glutes and stomach muscles are the strongest in your body. They are designed to provide power and stability, which is precisely why athletic trainers focus on these areas the most with their clients.
Most beginners and high handicappers have never been in this athletic of a posture, and certainly not while putting. Keep in mind, the goal of the set-up is not just comfort alone (although this will quickly become comfortable I promise) it is to set our joints and muscles in positions where they will move correctly in the stroke. If this feels uncomfortable…
- That is completely understandable and common (including myself)
- It will quickly become more comfortable and natural
- There are methods of stretching that will expedite this adjustment period
*you can see these methods in the clinic notes on STRETCHING FOR PROPER POSTURE
You can see in the photo above that my back is straight. This is for the sole reason of giving my thoracic spine complete freedom of movement. I also want to feel like my scapula’s (shoulder blades) are moving close together and my chest is open.
Thoracic Spine Mobility: The Key to Proper Shoulder Movement in the Golf Swing
There are 3 distinct parts of the spine. The cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back) and lumbar (lower back). In the putting stroke, as in the full swing, we want the thoracic spine to handle the duties of providing the rotation of the movement.
If your back and shoulders are rounded, then you will be unable to “rock your shoulders” during the stroke*, therefore your hands, wrists and even the fingers (yikes!) will have to move the putter head. This becomes a problem because those are very complicated body parts with a lot of moving parts and joints. It will be incredibly difficult, especially under pressure, to repeat a good stroke with great timing.
*For more information on how to “rock your shoulders” during the putting stroke please see the clinic notes on The Putting Stroke
One of my favorite practice drills is to put an alignment stick through both my hat and belt loop. Can’t recommend this drill enough if you want to work on having a straight back at address. You can easily see the close spacing of my shoulder blades, which gives my thoracic spine complete mobility. Remember, the more difficult you make your practice, the easier executing on the golf course will become.
In this photo we see a golfer (who may or may not be my father) practicing his putting set-up. You can see a slight rounding of the upper back and shoulders. From behind you would see his shoulder blades a little further apart from each other than we would like to see. By no means terrible posture, but certainly room for some improvements, particularly with a straighter back. Lowering his hands and adding a little more knee flex would help to accomplish that. Until then, I wouldn’t concede him any three footers!!