PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS
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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Ryan Gingrow 
Is it May already?
Friday, April 29, 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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Ryan Gingrow 
Making a list and checking it twice
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
By Ron Romanik

Rankings.  We all enjoy debating topics that lead to heated, yet friendly, verbal exchanges.  What course in the area is tougher day-in and day-out?  We may rank our favorite golf holes or debate who should be ranked ahead of whom in the latest World Golf Rankings.  The Official World Golf Rankings mean as much to their sport as do the AP and Coaches polls do in college basketball.  UCONN wasn’t ranked to start the year.   Look where they will be ranked after winning Monday night’s NCAA Championship game.

 

The only good thing about rankings on the PGA Tour?  Entry into Major or World Golf Championships.

 

How about rankings which might be important to your own golf game?  Take a moment to start to think about rankings that can help you.  I’m not talking about ranking your favorite course or even who makes the best driver.  I’m talking about what holds down the number one position on your own list of areas where your game needs attention.

 

As with all things that need to be remembered, make sure you write down your rankings or type them into your smart phone.  Start out with a list of ten golf skills, with 1 being the part of your game that needs the most attention.  Do this at the end of each round, while your memory is still fresh, and before that in the 19th hole. 

 

If you need help with many facets of your game, your rankings might look a little something like this:

 

10.  Putting

 

9.  Driving

 

8.  Fairway Woods...

 

...and to the skill that needs the most work:

 

1.    Bunker Play

 

If you are a more skilled player -- someone with a handicap of say, less than 10 or 15 -- you might want to be more specific with your ranking system.  For example:

 

10.  Check and Release Greenside Chipping

 

9.  Flop Shots

 

8.  Sand Save Percentage...

 

...and to the skill that needs the most work:

 

1.    Hitting a Fade from the Tee

 

Whatever your area of concentration, be specific and honest when ranking with yourself about skill level.  Saying "I am going to work on my putting" is not going to help.   Rather, "I need to work on my left-to-right, downhill breaking putts" is a better approach.  The more specific you are, the more the brain will be able to remember your major challenges.

 

How many of you are quick to add your score up when you are done a round?  Some of you may even stand on the 18th hole and quickly compute your front and back total.   As soon as your last putt drops, your round is now past and the score can’t and will not change.

 

But what can change?   Your approach to improving.  Instead of adding up your score, rank your skills of the round just ended.  Know what you want to work on before you head to the range or the short game area.


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Itís only spring -- donít peak too early
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
By Ron Romanik

So If we all can learn something from the exciting month of March and all of its heartbreak, celebrating, buzzer-beating heroi

So If we all can learn something from the exciting month of March and all of its heartbreak, celebrating, buzzer-beating heroics and late second-half collapses, maybe this one very important message will dominate your brain waves at the beginning of your golf season: Do not peak too early.

 

Sure, the first round of golf this season might go like you have deamed it would all winter:  a few birdies, a few sand saves, drives covering the center of a soggy pre-spring fairway.  Your season will start strong and will only get better.  Wake up.  While these are all good and positive thoughts to have, let a little realism creep into your bag.

 

Controlling the ups and downs on the golf course, not only for each round, but also for each golf season is paramount when looking to achieve greater heights on the course.  Sometimes a winter off is just what your mind and body need for you to play better when you lug your clubs to the fairways and greens for the first time the next year. 

 

A fresh mind, a newly-fit body from your grueling winter workout regimen (hopefully a few of you have left the couch) and you are ready to go.  Ready to go with a simple word that will play a major role in your game during the hot and humid summers of Southeastern PA:  Expectations.

 

Peaking at the beginning of the season can set a high expectation level, which can often leave you reaching far into the fall.  Understand that your spring season is much like spring training in baseball.  How many times do you see a pitcher, after he tosses no-hit ball for three innings, running off the mound in excitement, pounding his barely sweaty mitt during a Grapefruit League game?  If you saw "Doc" (Halladay) doing this before the season started, wouldn’t you worry that he might be peaking a bit early?

 

April should serve as your month to get in golf shape for the summer.  Take the good with the bad.  Be as happy with your 92 as your 82.  If you stop and think, there is more to learn from the higher scorer.  At the end of the month, ask yourself what things you did well and what things you did not do so well.  From there, starting off in May, goals can be set and weaknesses can be improved upon and strengths can be sharpened. 

 

Controlling your expectations before, during and after a round is just as important as spending hours at the driving range, putting green and short game area.  Too many birdies too soon will be equaled by too many bogeys the more you play.

 

Why do you think they have Club Championships and Member-Guests in the summer months?   If they moved the U.S. Open to March, wouldn’t you think that was a bit odd?  Use the beginning of the year wisely and peak when performance matters the most.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 


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How to find the right teaching pro
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
By Ron Romanik

-- What's important to consider when looking for a pro to take lessons from

Let’s pretend you are getting ready to take a dream vacation and escape the dull, lifeless winter that you all are experiencing at this very moment.  As soon as you pick your destination, the pen hits the paper and you make your checklist of places to see and activities to accomplish. 

 

When it comes to selecting a "coach" to help your golf game improve, grab that same pen and paper and make a list.  Finding the right golf teacher requires some planning, and having so many accomplished PGA Golf Professionals in the Philadelphia Section of the PGA is a blessing to your golf game. 

 

What follows is a short list of four key factors to consider when determining which instructor is right for you.

 

-- Do not be distracted by a list of personal achievements.  Just because the local pro has been awarded "Top 100 Teacher" or "Teacher of the Year" does not mean that the two of you will blend harmoniously like peanut butter and jelly.

 

-- Comfort equals complacency.  Find a teacher who teaches varying students, of all ages and all skill levels.  A teacher who tends to stick to, say, more accomplished golfers can often forget how challenging it can be to communicate with a student who needs the basics of the game.  I always try to schedule lessons so that I have students of different skill levels mixed in throughout the day.  Too much of the same thing can make a teacher complacent.  

 

-- A half-hour lesson does not necessarily mean 30 minutes!  Yes there are days when the teacher has to stick to a tight schedule, but often a good teacher will schedule 15 minutes or so between lessons.  A teacher who wants to see you succeed will often allow a quick lesson to run a bit long until he or she feels comfortable with your improvement.  Personally, I feel a greater sense of fulfillment when my students succeed during a lesson versus when it’s time for payment.  A 30-minute or 1-hour lesson simply implies to me how long you want to be on the lesson tee.  In no way does it mean that I am going to sound a buzzer and kick you back to the locker room when the clock tells me to.

 

-- Bobrovsky or Boucher?  Find something other than golf in common with your teacher.  The best lessons that I give usually involve a student who is completely comfortable with me.  Whether it be a favorite sports team or player in common, a type of music or even previous sports that you each played, being able to talk about something other than golf can prove very beneficial.  If you are always nervous and quiet when you take a lesson, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere. 

 

Get started doing research now before the season gets underway.  A great place to research PGA Golf Professionals is on Facebook or pga.com (click the instruction tab on this page).  Most pros will give a brief description of their background and some personal information.  Don’t be afraid to call ahead and ask questions...a great teacher for you will also be a great communicator.  Anyone need my number?

 

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

 


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Winter golf drills
Thursday, January 20, 2011
By Ron Romanik

With each day the sun stays in the sky a bit longer, and you are that much closer to starting new golf season.  Until then, with New Year’s resolutions hopefully not forgotten and your golf clubs in your family room instead of the trunk of your car, let’s get to work! 

 

Here are three of my preferred indoor drills.  Each drill covers one of the fundamentals of game improvement:  putting, bunker play and full swing.  Please put last year’s member guest trophy in a safe place before you start!

 

Toilet Paper Roll Out

 

Direction and Distance Control (Putting):  Start out by unrolling a roll of toilet paper a few feet.  Place a ball just at the beginning of the toilet paper.  Putt balls down the sheet of toilet paper to the end of the roll.  Continue rolling out the roll by increments of five feet.  Your goal should be to keep the ball on the toilet paper so that your ball rolls and stops at the end of the roll.

 

Card Contact

 

Impact (Bunker Play): Place a playing card on the floor. Imagine that the ball is located at the front end of the card.  As you would from a normal greenside bunker lie, practice hitting a half-inch or an inch behind the ball.  In this case, you want the bottom of the club (the bounce) to contact the center of the playing card.  The card should fly about 10 feet when done correctly.

 

Chair Bump

 

Posture and Hip Rotation (Full Swing):  A dining chair can help you feel proper posture and hip rotation.  Position your backside against the chair.  Get into your normal golf posture and maintain proper knee flex.  As your swing moves away from address, turn and push your right hip into the chair.  Your left side will come off the chair.  Keep the right knee flexed.  As the club moves into the downswing, let your right hip come off the chair and firmly push your left hip into the chair.  This simple movement will also help you stay centered over the golf ball and eliminate swaying.  In addition, this drill is great if you have the challenge of standing up and straightening your back leg during your backswing.

 

With the PGA tour’s west coast swing on the tube in the background, there is plenty of time to practice in your home, keeping the rust off your swing come late March.

 

Before you hit your first practice ball of the season, incorporate these drills into your week about three times.  Don’t look back on your winter and wish you could have done more.  Start now!

 

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


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Scott[2/4/2011 8:38:27 AM]
And donít hit the flat screen on your follow-thru. Great drills! Thanks.


 
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