PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS
Ryan Gingrow, Whitford CC teaching professional 
How to improve your pratice time
Thursday, February 2, 2012
By Ron Romanik

If you have been watching The Golf Channel, maybe you have caught the excitement from the start of a new PGA Tour season

If you have been watching Golf Channel, maybe you are caught up in the excitement of the start of a new PGA Tour season.  Besides the first full week in April with that tournament that unofficially gets everyone excited about golf, watching golf from Maui, Oahu, San Diego and Scottsdale, while I’m sitting in semi-cold Philly in January gets me excited for a new season. 

 

Watching these early-season tournaments does two things for me.  First, it gives me a chance to see how the players have taken care of their golf games over the off-season (some would argue that golf has no off-season).

 

There is the winner of the first event of the year, Steve Stricker.  After having played through most of November, Stricker retires back to Wisconsin for his off-season of practice.  During his post-round interviews, Stricker said he was excited to just play holes.  Obviously the chance to play holes in Wisconsin during December does not happen.  He works on hitting balls indoors and some rehabilitation for his neck and back, plus some putting and chipping, I am sure.  Sticker also stopped in Arizona on the way to Maui and played several rounds of golf to gear up for the actual tournament.

 

Being able to hit a 6 iron on the range perfectly is much easier than trying to pull off the shot during a competitive or even fun round of golf.  You can only hit so many balls during the off-season, or hit from heated bays or hit balls into a net.  This may keep the golf muscles loose, but it will do little for your confidence out on the course.

 

A practice range does not need to be perfect?  How many perfect lies do you get on the golf course?  Fine, I agree, make one part of the range tee flat and even to warm up before you head to the first tee, but let’s try to challenge golfers with the second tee or second half of the range tee.  Build some contour.  Have some side hill, down/up hill, moguls, various levels of rough and other imperfect lies on the range tee.  I get bored hitting from a flat tee -- not bored because I am such a good ball striker, but bored because I want to practice the shots I get on the course.  

 

Stricker said that he wants to hit shots that he will hit under tournament pressure.  He would probably agree that the best way to get ready for an event is to actually play.  Play so you get comfortable hitting all sorts of shots.      

 

Secondly, watching these early tournaments, I can see whose games are better designed for certain courses.  There might not be a greater difference between two courses back-to-back on the schedule than what you have in Hawaii.  The Plantation Course at Kapalua is wide open.  Hit is hard and far.  Waialae, home of the Sony Open, is an old Donald Ross course with tight, palm tree-lined fairways with small greens.  Hit it straight!  Even short is ok on this course sits Oceanside just east of Diamond Head. 

 

How does this translate to your own games?  Before you play a round of golf, understand how the course fits your game.  If you like to hit it long and far, maybe you will struggle on a tight, but short course.  If you are a short, but an accurate player, understand that you might pull more long irons, hybrids or fairway woods from your bag during your round. 

 

There is a course out there for everyone.  Once you realize which courses suit your game better than others, you can adjust your expectations for each round.  This is the same principle that explains why Annika picked Colonial in Texas, a short, tight course, to try her hand at the PGA Tour.  Would she have gone out to play a course similar to Aronimink and had the same expectations.  No way!  

 

Watch golf with a purpose early in the year.  This is a great time to see how the pros managed their games early on in the season.  You can learn much from their preparations as you wait for March and April in Philadelphia.

 

Ryan Gingrow is PGA teaching professional at Whitford CC.  His full bio is here.


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Ryan Gingrow is the teaching pro at Whitford CC 
A few íTopí lists of my own
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
By Ron Romanik

It seems like every month, the top golf magazines give us their lists of "Tops:"  The "Top 5" this, the "Top 10" that, whether it’s golf instructors, public courses, swing tips or putters. 

Okay, it’s my turn.  Here are my "Tops." 

Top 3 Tips:

Putting: Not holing a lot of makeable putts?  No worries.  Grab a tennis ball.  Get rid of your cell phone for 30 minutes.  Head to a putting green.  Begin by putting from two feet, then go to five, then to 10, then to 15.  Attempt to hole-out putts from each distance before moving on to the next.   Looking down at the tennis ball for 30 minutes will do wonders to your confidence.  By the time you put down a golf ball, the ball will look so small and the hole will look so big, your confidence will soar.

Controlling ball flight:  Grab a few irons and head out on the course when the fairways are less crowded.  Find some shade under a group of trees and drop a few golf balls.  Make sure you have chosen a collection of trees that have branches high enough off the ground so that you can make at least a ¾ swing.  Hit balls in the direction of the green and work on controlling your ball flight.  To prevent hitting the ball straight up into the trees, focus on leaning the shaft ahead of the ball at impact, ensuring the clubhead is working down through the ball.  The forward lean of the shaft should be continuous and the clubhead should not release.  You should see the ball flight stay low and escape under the last tree and out toward greener grass.

Play it backward: We all have our favorite clubs and our least favorite.  Take the five or six clubs out of your bag that you hit the most.  Leave the rest in and head for the first tee.  Play several holes and learn to shape shots, hitting half- and three-quarter shots.  If you want to really challenge yourself, play the hole backwards.  Choose the shortest club in your bag and tee off with this club.  You will experience shots that you never have before and when you go out for your next competitive round, the course should play a whole lot easier!   

Top 5 Tour Players of 2011:

1.  Luke Donald:  13 top-ten finishes in 18 events and leads in scoring average and money. 

2.  Yani Tseng:  6 wins, including 2 majors.  Leading the money list by nearly twice as much as number two.  Leading scoring average by almost a full stroke. 

3. Jason Day:  T-2 with 10 top-ten finishes.  Also finished T-2 at the Masters and 2nd at the U.S. Open

4.  Webb Simpson:  2 wins and T-2 with 10 top-ten finishes.   2nd in money and 2nd in scoring average.    Not as good of a showing in the Majors as Day.

5.  Nick Watney:  2 wins, including the AT&T at Arnomink, and T-2 with 10 top-ten finishes.   3rd in money and 4th in scoring average.

Top 3 Golf Holes I have played since moving to the Philadelphia area (with an honorable mention)

1.  Whitford Country Club, No. 4:   A true 3-shot par 5 with a very challenging, sloping green from back to front, guarded by bunkers and a creek short and left of the green from the tee.  The practice range on the left side does not frame the hole well, but regardless, you know it is there.  With deep rough and willow trees on the right, a tee shot in the fairway is a must.  Long second shot up a hill leaves a wedge to a short iron in hand from a sloping fairway.  Positioning the ball properly on the green is challenging and necessary.  The first time I saw PGA Head Pro Mike Ladden putt this green, he left his 15-foot downhill putt about 8 feet short.  The speed confuses many on this hole. 

2.  Pine Valley, No. 13:  From the tee box, this par 4 hole screams, "Hey you, you can hit your tee shot anywhere, swing away!"  For your second shot, a bailout area (which looks massive and makes the green appear closer than you think) to the right of the green complex is one option.  The other option is to play to the green, well-guarded in the front right by a waste area and in the back as well.  The green slopes to the left and a great second shot does not mean a par is a guarantee.

3.  Merion GC, East Course, No. 17:  I am not a huge fan of long par 3’s, but this hole gives the player absolutely no bailout area.  At well over 200 yards, a long iron or hybrid is the play.  Native grass and deep, greenside bunkers surround the multi-tiered green.   Getting your ball onto the green from the tee only means 1/3 of your work is over.  A two-putt par is most players’ wish, but walking away with a 4 can happen fast.

Honorable Mention.  French Creek GC, No. 15:  Every course should have a reachable par 4.  Stand on this tee and the only thing in front of you is a steep, elevated green with bunkers short, and a small fairway to the right of the green.  There is nothing more rewarding to me than having the option to pull off one great, risky shot and to be rewarded.  I guess it doesn’t hurt that I hit a hybrid onto this green and 2-putted for my birdie.  The green slopes toward the front and from right to left.  A two-putt is not automatic if you hit the green.   Measuring in the mid to upper 200 yard range, the hole provides a great opportunity to snatch a birdie before heading to the final three holes.

Ryan Gingrow is PGA teaching professional at Whitford CC.  His full bio is here

 


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Ryan Gingrow, Whitford CC teaching pro 
A few new rules for golf
Monday, September 19, 2011
By Ron Romanik

As the PGA Tour and its Improving FedEx Cup Playoff format is coming to a conclusion, I have had a few more chances to be irritated by the Rules of Golf.  Just wait a few waggles here!  Which Rules of Golf am I talking about?  The Rules of Golf that the am’s play by or the Rules that the Tour pro’s get to play by?

Fall is here no matter if we are ready for it or not.  The month-long rainy reason, which used to be known as August, is gone and cooler temps are here.  Soon, red, orange, yellow and brown leaves will collect in the now lush rough.  What is significant about this?  Finding your golf ball will now be more difficult than finding someone in the Philly metro area who isn’t a Phil’s fan this fall.

Tour Pros get everything.  Courtesy cars from high-end dealers are a norm.  Free food all week in fancy clubhouses could never get old.  Complimentary this, complimentary that.  Each week they receive an all-inclusive package of goodies just for paying an entry fee.  And their benefits do not stop after they tee up their ball on Thursday.

Have you ever been to a Tour event and have seen a player walk or ride a cart back to the tee because he couldn’t find his ball just of the fairway in the rough?  I will answer that for you, NO!  Have you ever seen a player hit a ball on top of a clubhouse and get a free drop?  I will answer that for you, YES!  Ever see an errant drive hit a spectator and the ball caroms back into the fairway?  Reaching far back into my Spanish classes at PSU, Si!  The list of questions could go on for a few more ‘graphs.

What got my attention even more was what I saw Thursday during the first round of the BMW Championship.  Webb Simpson, ranked at the top of the FedEx Cup standings, is in the middle of the fairway on his 9th hole of the day.  SHANK!  Not a problem.  He even admitted that he hits one of those now and again due to swing path.  The ball found its way to a bleacher adjacent to the green and Simpson received a free drop.  Really?  You shank a ball not even close to the green and you get a free drop?  He manages to get up-and-down for a par four. 

If I shank a ball on the 9th hole at my home course, I am either in a pond or some long, gnarly fescue on the side of a hill.  Can I pay to get bleachers set up around the course to stop my ball in case I hit a shank?  While some may argue that his ball may have come to rest in long rough if it did not settle in beside some spectators, there needs to be a penalty for this type of shot.  One stroke and drop at your nearest point of relief.  That works for me.  Webb probably wouldn’t argue.  Have you seen him interviewed?  Seems like one of the nicest guys on Tour. 

Let’s go back to the ball lost in the rough.  The rough is not normally this thick around Philly this time of year.  Now we are left searching for balls like it is May around many courses.   If you and your partners agree that the ball is lost in the rough, in a specified area, take a stroke, drop at where you think your ball is lost and continue play.  None of this "go back to the tee" stuff.  If we had spectators and galleries lining fairways, the ball would be found and the round would go on.   Pace of play would definitely improve. 

Oh yeah, forgot one thing.  Those balls that Tour players hit into the rough and the bleachers.  Of course they are free too.   Those balls that you hit into the rough and can’t find?  Not free!  Maybe not having to re-tee would soften the blow of losing another $4!

Ryan Gingrow is PGA teaching professional at Whitford CC.  His full bio is here.


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Ryan Gingrow, Whitford CC teaching pro 
Argh! The horrors of slow play
Thursday, August 25, 2011
By Ron Romanik

I am suddenly inspired to address an alarming trend that most golfers would agree is currently hurting our great game.  No, I am not talking about the great advances in equipment, especially the controversy surrounding the long putter.  I am talking about s-l-o-w play.

 

My moment of inspiration came while I was caddying for a member from Whitford CC in a State Amateur event last week.   Exact moment?  The 8th fairway at the Country Club of York.  Exact time to inspire?  Roughly 12 excruciating minutes.

 

Under golf’s pace of play policy, the group in front of us was making okay time for their match, as rules officials watched from a distance.   What I witnessed on the green in front of us, however, was mind-blowing at times and a textbook case of the kind of dawdling that needs to be banished from the game.

 

Practice is for the range and the short game area, not for the course in the middle of a competitive round, while others in the group are trying to keep pace.

 

Specifically, I watched a player 3-putt the 8th green.  Okay, three-putting on a fast green does not make for slow play.  Heck, if the player 5-putted, who cares, so long as they do it in a reasonable amount of time?

 

What set me off was the selfish slowness of it all.  Each putt was meticulously examined, reviewed, reconsidered, like the U.S. Open was on the line.

 

Meanwhile, back down the fairway, my player and I waited and waited and w-a-i-t-e-d, along with the opponent in the match.  Up ahead on the green, Miss Stall (thinking four-corners in basketball here) was taking three and four full rehearsal putts. Even the tap-in 2 footer (the third putt that wasn’t conceded), required the full pre-shot routine.

 

Much of this time-wasting foolishness was a result of the pressure from Miss Stall’s caddy, I’m sure, who also happened to be her dad, coach and no doubt future business manager.  At one point, he actually straddled the line of one of his daughter’s putts, crouching like Carlos Ruiz, staring into her face as she lined up the putt.  Maybe she had something in her eye and asked her dad to take a look.  Who knows?  I can’t explain that move.

 

Her routine was just as slow off the green.  Several times I watched as this young player took several practice swings for a short pitch shot, holding her finish position, seeming to watch the ball trickle to the hole in her mind.  If all this didn’t take hours, it felt like it.  I’m pretty sure my good-luck beard was a little grayer in spots when we finally got off the course.

 

So, here is my advice, especially to young players:  Golf is not a game to take lightly if you want future success.  However, remember that you are learning to play the game.  Just because you don’t see a play clock or shot clock behind each green, as a quarterback or point guard would in their respective sports, doesn’t mean you can let the world wait on you.

 

The majority of your mental and physical preparation should take place on the practice tee, before the round.  After repeating the process of your pre-shot routine and your swing so many times on the range, your body and mind will ultimately follow on the golf course.

 

Juniors, from the moment you tee off and you feel the first-tee jitters – and you will feel jitters -- trust your swing.  During the actual round, just react.

   

And a note to parents, too. If you want to caddie for your son or daughter, caddie.  But coaching is for the range.


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Ryan Gingrow, teaching pro Whitford CC 
What you can learn from the British Open
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
By Ron Romanik

The third Major of the year has come and gone

The third major of the year has come and gone.   Sun, clouds, rain and wind.  Sun, clouds, rain and wind.  Without a well-deserved victory by well-liked player, those elements would have been the story of yet another Open Championship. There is one more chance for an American player to help buck the trend that has dominated golf for much of the last two years.  Phil, Dustin and Rickie were all close waiting to forge ahead, but just like wishing for four days of perfect weather in the south of England, it never happened.

 

There is much more, however, to take out of watching the Open Championship for the normal golf fan, the mid-to-high handicapper.  The style of golf necessary to succeed on links courses can actually benefit your games here in the States.  A claret jug is not at stake for you, but maybe lower scores can be just as rewarding and cause you to celebrate with a few pints of "black stuff," as Darren Clarke referred to Guinness on Sunday.  So pay attention, Mr. or Mrs. Handicap because this is for you.

 

Wind

 

There is no doubt that the wind is the harshest element of links golf.  But the number one thing you hear pros say when they play in the wind is to make sure to swing easy.

 

Can you take this swing thought with you anywhere,  to any course you play?  Absolutely. Swinging harder can cause two major problems.  One, poor balance; two, imparting too much spin on the golf ball. 

 

Set up a fan at home or practice one day when the winds are up.  Learn to keep your balance until the finish of your swing, and until your ball has landed. 

 

How many times at Royal St. Georges did you see a player attempt hit his ball high into a green?  Not many.  Playing under firm conditions, the goal was to keep their ball below the wind, often playing three-quarter swings and running their balls up to the front of the greens.

 

Have you ever played your shots to the fronts of greens instead of chasing pins?  Why not take a club that will get you to the front of the green, avoiding bunkers, heavy rough and the trees surrounding many green complexes?  Take an extra club and flight the ball lower and keep it under the tops of the trees.  There is nothing that says golf has to be played in the air. 

 

Recovery shots

 

Recovering from trouble is the norm, if your game is a little off when playing across the pond.  The best players in the world take their lumps and attempt to recover as quickly as possible.  Shots are played out sideways and backwards from deep bunkers.  Shots from the heavy gorse are played with sand wedges.  Putters are used from 30 yards out to curve a ball on the ground around a bunker.  Has it ever taken you three shots to get out of a bunker?  If you are not a skilled bunker player, and you are faced with a wall of sand or sod between you and the green, hit it out backwards to the fairway.  After all, a bunker is a hazard. Sometimes it’s better to swallow your pride and take a stroke to play your shot to a safe area, rather than pulling off a shot which you can only hit one out of ten times. 

 

Mickelson’s new attitude

 

Phil Mickelson tied for second at Royal St. Georges, his best finish in any Open thus far.  He went into the week with a whole new attitude.  He convinced himself that this was his first chance to play links golf and took what the course gave him.  It almost worked. 

 

As for you, do not try to out-smart a course.  Play the shot which lies in front of you.  If you can’t hit a draw, don’t hit it.  If your fairway woods roll more than fly, pull an iron.  Learning to hit shots that you can actually hit will also help make this game more enjoyable for you (and for your playing partners).

 

Yes we are blessed with more sun and fewer windy days during the summer months in Pennsylvania, but focus on playing your game as if you were an ocean away.  Play the ground game.  Leave the air for the guys who don’t work a nine to five!


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Ryan Gingrow 
For Fatherís Day, a surprise trip to the U.S. Open
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
By Ron Romanik

So a day planned a few weeks in advance to surprise my dad with a trip to the US Open at Congressional for Father’s Day, ended

Step back a few years to 1995.  I was home for the summer prior to my sophomore year of college and my dad suggested going to see my first major golf tournament.

 

The host club was Congressional Country Club and the event was the U.S. Senior Open.  I remember a few things from that day.  Jack Nicklaus "fatting" a chip shot from the approach of the 11th fairway.  Seeing Tom Weiskopf during the second round, having no idea that he was going to be crowned champion two days later. 

 

My dad remembers one "special" memory that he never fails to mention whenever Congressional Country Club is mentioned.  We left the course that evening after stopping by the merchandise tent only to find it closed.  We wanted a souvenir before heading heading back to Pennsylvania after a long day of watching golf.  I spotted a trash container with the official U.S. Senior Open logo on each side.  Large and cumbersome, I managed to fit the large box container in the back of my dad’s Honda Accord and off we went.  I never knew that action of minor thievery would be remembered by my father for so many years. 

 

We returned to Congressional in 2005 for the Booze Allen PGA Tour.  By then, I was in the golf business and living in Richmond, Va.; and my dad met me at Congressional for the event.  We hung out mostly on the 3rd green and watched Sergio Garcia knock in a remarkable chip shot from just behind the green. 

 

Congressional seemed to be a place where my dad and I had enjoyed many special moments in golf together.  I knew the 111th U.S. Open was coming to Congressional, but hadn’t decided that I wanted to go and make the trip.  But as the Open neared, I knew I had to find a way to get back to the course -- not just go back by myself, but to surprise my dad for Father’s Day.

 

As a PGA Member, I receive complimentary admission to the event each year, but I did not want to go alone.  A couple of well-connected friends helped me get a ticket for my father for the final round on Sunday.

 

A week in advance, I secretly communicated to my dad’s wife the surprise I had in store.  On Saturday, I traveled to my dad’s house in Hanover, Pa., trying to surprise him that I was coming home for Father’s Day.  We watched the end of the of the third round of the Open on TV, then had  dinner, drank a few beers and tossed a soggy, wet tennis ball around to my dog.  I needed to tell my dad of my plan for Sunday. 

 

"Hey, dad,"  I said, grabbing a copy of Sports Illustrated with a map of Congressional on the inside.  "Look at this page and tell me where you want to sit tomorrow."

 

He looked at me and paused.  I wasn’t sure if it had sunk in yet.  He said, "No."  I said "Yes...we are going to the Open tomorrow."

 

After the 90-minute trip down to Congressional Sunday morning, we parked and hopped on the shuttle bus. As we entered Congressional just off the 17th fairway, I was reminded of 1995 and 2005.  This time we were both older and, hopefully, wiser.  But what attracted us to the event was the same thing:  Our passion for golf.

 

My dad had taught me the game at a very young age.  I would wack a putter around at a par 3 golf course named Sluggos, just east of York, Pa.  It wasn’t until about the 7th grade that I began to take the game more seriously, and it would be four more years before I beat my father for the first time.  Over the years, my dad and I definitely have had our moments on the golf course -- several that I will not mention (I had some growing up to do).

 

At Congressional on Sunday on we went to watch the golf; we soon found ourselves on the same knob behind the 3rd green, where we watched Garcia six years earlier. 

 

Me, my dad and my cousin, who went with us, were three of 40,000 fans at the course that day.  Fans were stuffed in bleachers, stacked behind and under trees, lined eight- and nine-deep at each tee box, green and fairway approach.

 

Birdies were going up on the boards early by many who started out their final rounds over par.  My father, my cousin and I crossed fairways and perched ourselves on knobs behind greens to witness the early action.  What we would see later could be the beginning of a long list of majors for Rory McIlroy. 

 

Being a spectator early on was manageable.  We could get close to some greens and tee boxes to see the players coming through.  I even made eye contact with a friend who caddies for Brian Gay, and we exchanged a handshake and a quick conversation at the fourth tee box.  But that mellow atmosphere would change as the 3 o’clock hour approached and so would the ability to get close to the players.

 

As we were standing outside the ropes to the left of the fairway on the first hole, waiting for the leaders tee shots, you could hear the echo’s of "Rory, Rory, Rory" and "Let’s Go Rory" throughout the front nine.  Before he drilled a fairway wood down the fairway and avoided a divot by a centimeter, I thought to myself that even Tiger, who has heard louder ovations for his play, probably never had an entire following of fans voice his name that loudly prior to teeing off. 

 

Following McIlroy for all 18 holes would have been asking for a possible trampling by the bulls of Pamplona.  A little fresher in the legs than my father these days, I would serve as the leader and direct my father to where we would try to catch the action next. 

 

After watching McIlroy’s approach into No. 1, we headed over to the seventh tee box, an up-hill par 3.  From there we had a nice view over to the sixth green, a reachable par 5 that day.  I played the course, firmer and faster, in 2006 during a PGA Section Championship while living in Virginia, and I remember having a 4 iron into that green.  But on this day, Lee Westwood caught my demons and he hit his second shot into the front right pond as I did. 

 

Here is a helpful hint to any of you who want to see a U.S. Open in the future, more specifically at Merion in 2013:  When you get well ahead of the leaders on Sunday, and you find yourself standing against the ropes guarding the tee boxes in hopes of getting a great look at the next group coming to the tee, get ready to be disappointed.  Is there really a reason why seven, yes seven, marshals need to be surrounding the back of the tee with there hands held high, saying "Quiet Please!"?  Each one of them seemed to block our previously perfect view.  I found myself trying to always make sure my dad had the best view to see the action.

 

McIlroy and Y. E. Yang came through the seventh and headed up to the green.  What accompanied this final group was spectacular.  I would say easily there were 50-60 people inside the ropes.  From USGA Executive Director Mike Davis, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, agents, close friends, media members from ESPN, NBC and The Golf Channel, even Isao Aoki from an Asian media group following Yang, to dozens of photographers ready to capture a possible historic photo, the following was intense. 

 

This was the red carpet of golf.  It just so happened that the red carpet was laid out for McIlroy after each tee shot. 

 

We headed to a familiar spot on the back nine, settling in to the left of the 11th fairway, where 16 years earlier we had witnessed my father’s golfing hero and mine growing up, Nicklaus, fail to hit a solid pitch shot.  It was comforting to know some things in life hadn’t changed.  It was still my dad and I, at Congressional, watching golf and nothing else mattered at that time.

 

For most of the day, I had been traveling with a large, bright green leprechaun hat tucked in the back of my shorts.  I had given the hat to my dad during a family Christmas exchange a few years ago.  With Irish blood in me, I figured I would support the Northern Irish player at some point during the round.  On went my hat as McIlroy strutted up the 11th fairway and as he approached the 13th tee box.  My dad joked that he wouldn’t stand beside me if I wore the hat.  Really?  My dad had to be worried about being embarrassed by me?  Ha!

 

With the sun finally peaking out and my dad and I getting tired from the nearly eight hours at the course, we decided to watch the finish at No. 18 from a bleacher behind the 10th green.  The mob of people lining 18 and sitting in the stands was impressive.  What was more impressive was looking over at the leaderboard just behind the pond behind the 18th green and seeing how far the 22-year-old was out in front of his chasers.

 

It was good to see Rory celebrate with is dad on this day, and it was good to be with mine.  We headed back to catch the shuttle to our parking spot, but not before stopping in the merchandise tent to grab a couple of souvenirs from the day.  This time the tent was open.

 

The merchandise tent is more like a department store and the responsibility of running this store lies with a friend, Michael Quirk (thanks Michael for the lunch vouchers as well)!  A great job he does each and every year.  He has a watchful eye over the massive sales floor; having his staff stock the shelves to make sure there is quality merchandise available right up to the final minutes after play. 

 

So our day at the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club, planned a few weeks in advance to surprise my dad, started early and ended in a sea of red and white (on the scoreboard)!  A dominating victory by a player, whose nation’s flag carries those same colors, was not expected.  What was expected was a great day to celebrate Father’s Day and I will always remember my dad’s words to sum up the day, "This was the best Father’s Day I can remember!" 

 

Good luck next year on Father’s Day, Beth.  Beth is my sister.

 

Ryan Gingrow is PGA teaching professional at Whitford CC.  His full bio is here


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Ben[6/23/2011 8:06:16 PM]
Thanks for sharing you story.You and your father are both lucky.
Mom[6/23/2011 1:00:10 PM]
GREAT ARTICLE FROM BEGINNING TO END! THANKS FOR SHARING THE MEMORIES; PAST AND PRESENT.

Ryan Gingrow 
Play nine holes in your mind
Thursday, May 26, 2011
By Ron Romanik

I am always unsure of what I will learn from my first month of teaching at the start off a new golf season.  April 2011 was no different.  Each year that I teach, there is a new thought or concept that seems to be easier for students to grasp.

 

So, what have I learned so far this year?  My students want to play better. 

 

Wow!  Now there is a revelation!  Who takes a golf lesson with the goal of getting worse?  How could I overlook that simple goal of scoring better on the course for so many years?  Sure, I have talked many times about playing better, scoring better and so on, but I have never actually really stepped out of the teaching box and stressed practicing with a purpose.

 

As the season moves into June, it is time to refocus  -- refocus on lowering scores so my students can see results.  Not many players have the time and energy to commit to truly changing a faulty swing.  Most want to lower scores, hit the ball farther and cleaner and improve some aspect of their short games.

 

So as the season moves on, I have to marry a sound starting position and a more technically correct golf swing for my students and the ability to shoot lower scores on the course.  I cannot just be the guy they come to to make their swings look perfect on the range.  I have to be strong and guide my students into playing better golf...on the range! 

 

Try this out the next time you hit balls.  In your mind, play the front 9 of your course on the range.

 

Don’t hit the same club twice in a row.  Pull out your driver, then your 6 iron, then your wedge.  Play a par 3 next.  Hit a hybrid club to a long par 3, or hit a punch 9 iron to a back pin.  Practice the shots you are going to be hitting on the golf course.  Chances are that perfect 7 iron swing that you have grooved on the range with flat lies and perfect turf, will not be the same on the course.

 

Sure, there will be days on the range when you need to concentrate on one aspect of your game to make swing changes effective.  But don’t beat a new swing into the summer sod.   Feel the changes taking place, and put your swing into play on the range before you head to the course.  Simulating the course on the range will test your new swing and will create comfort on the course the next time you play. 

 

Ryan Gingrow is PGA teaching professional at Whitford CC.  His full bio is here.


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