All posts by Pete Dunham

Too Good not to Post

I’ve been thinking about blogging a lot lately… Haven’t been hugely successful, but I’m excited that my mind is going in that direction…..

Having said that, it’s been a few days since I’ve been to my site, and it’s too bad, because that means this post is a few days later than I wish!  The sooner most of us can learn this lesson, the better (or for many of us, it’s not learning, it’s just finally listening!!!)
Anyway, here’s a quick story told by Tony Daniel (thank you for sending it along, by the way!), Beth Daniel’s, (yes, THE Beth Daniel) brother*: 
I was caddying for Beth in an LPGA event and she hooked her ball into the woods. I got to the ball before she did and studied the situation. She had a small opening through some trees and if she hit it just right and a tree is really 90% air she might be able to hit the green. When she arrived she said give me the 6 iron. I thought, well that is too much club. Before I could say anything she chipped the ball to the middle of the fairway. She then hit a 9 iron about a foot away tapped in for par and we went to the next hole. On the way I said there was a small opening through the trees why did you not try that. She said the key was to avoid the big number. Take your medicine and go on. In this case there was no medicine as she still made par. Big brother learned a good lesson. I just have to remember it. Glad you are back with the blogs.

If you said to yourself, “who is Beth Daniel?” please click on the link and take a look.  And don’t tell me you didn’t know!  Every golfer reading my blog should know about one of the true greats in the sport!  Especially a Charleston native….  
Now go Play Golf! Stop thinking golf swing!

Take Your Medicine

I’m constantly amazed at the shots golfer try to pull off….  I’m not talking about Bubba Watson or Phil Mickelson.  They are two of the most talented golfers in the world, and I’m in awe of their talent and imagination….

No, I’m talking about the 10 handicap golfer that attempts to reach a par 5 in 2, even though water, woods and O.B. surround the green 240 yards away….. I’m talking about the once a week golfer that hits driver off every hole, costing them 7 shots a round…..  I’m talking about the guy faced with an impossible bunker shot that still aims right at the hole, even though the only possible out comes are staying in the bunker, or sailing over the green into the water or another bunker….  
Why?  
The excuse is often the fun of it.  I’d buy that if I didn’t see so many upset golfers day in and day out…. I’d buy that if we played pure match play each and every day and never posted a score for handicap purposes….   
Truth is, most of us play shots we have no business playing!  I’m also saying that if most of us chose a smarter route, golf would be far more enjoyable and most often scores would be lower!
Play to play great.  That means playing shots within your skill level.  That means thinking great around a golf course, and playing smart golf.  
Leave all that risk and reward to the pros, and those you are competing against.  The professionals have a better chance because of their skill and the repetition of their swings….  Your competitors can continue to play that way, and you’ll come out on the winning end more and more often!
Play smart.  Chip out, lay up, lag putt, TAKE YOUR MEDICINE….. And to really drive my point home…. Study this image
“Should have taken a drop”
            

GOLFER – SHOULD HAVE TAKEN A DROP  This happened on a desert golf course in the upper Scottsdale area, Arizona near Cave Creek.   He fell backwards into the cactus whilst attempting to play his ball.

It took paramedics 2 hours to pull the cactus needles out before he could go in an ambulance to the hospital.  

The Perfect Golf Partner

There’s been a document floating around the internet for a while that I’ve finally had the chance to read it.  I think it’s worth posting.  I certainly know it defines for me a great playing partner in golf!  Here it is.  My apologies if you have trouble reading this- I may try to edit it in the future to make it more clear. 

Guest Blogger…..

I’m turning the spotlight on to a blog written by my good friend George Connor.  Visit his website at Connorgolf.com!

don’t be redundant

My Father always got mildly upset when someone used a redundant statement.  Things like “an unexpected surprise” or “at this point in time” he felt was wasting words.  You could say “at this point” or “at this time” but there was no reason to say both.

The other day I saw another teaching professional encourage a student to “let the club fall so it comes from inside the target line to the ball.” Redundant!  If the club falls, truly falls, it must be inside the target line.  The only way to get the club to go outside the target line would be to use the upper body to move the club there.  In this case the arms and club would not be falling.

Allowing the arms to fall translates into the arms and the club swinging when the body rotates.  Whatever falls and swings is no longer dependent on the hands to guide the club.  Falling and swinging are controlled by the laws of motion and physics.  Those two are more consistent than you are!

Let Yourself Learn

My thoughts today go to how quickly many golfers go into ‘confused’, ‘panicked’, or downright ‘depressed’ mode…… 

I understand it- trust me.  I just know that it is not the best reaction to allow to come to the surface.  Golf is DIFFICULT.  Golf is extremely precise in it’s demands….  

Some days will just be lousy- That’s close to universally true.  Some days the body just won’t comply with the commands of the mind.  Some days, the minds commands won’t be as confident, precise, correct as they need to be….. 

The key is not to overly stress.  The key is to trust that YOU HAVE THE KEY to the most efficient golf swing.  You KNOW you have the recipe to build PATH INTEGRITY into your swing. 

Most important-  Know that you know (I mean, you are reading this blog, right?).  Go to the range and let GRAVITY MEET ROTATION.  Work first on your FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH…..  BE AWARE as you hang out in your finish…….  Stop judging….  Just be aware. 

Let yourself learn by continuing to just HEAVE and FINISH IN BALANCE….. It may take a while before you LET YOURSELF COMPLY with GRAVITY AND ROTATION….. But trust that it will happen. 

We very often turn to ‘FIX MODE’ way too fast….. Stop thinking….  HEAVE and FINISH IN BALANCE….. Let physics work it’s magic……  Trust and KNOW, and your body will comply over time……

Beating a Dead Divot….

Huh?  How about that title?  Got to admit, I impressed myself with this series of titles… regardless of the content….

OK, so one more blog about the blasted divot.  
For the majority of golfers, the divot is a gosh darn, curse worthy pain in the you know what….. WAY too many golfers have thrown in the towel when it comes to consistently taking a divot….  
It’s all a big contradiction!!!!!
Most golfers TOP THE BALL because there is too much ‘down’ in their swings…
What???????………pause…….re-read that. 
………………………………………………………………………
 The act of STRIKING AT THE BALL creates a situation where there is way too much down, and that kills pivotal rotation….  
*****YOUR brain senses very quickly that something is very wrong…. The club is BOUND to crash into the ground way too soon, and as a response…. YOU LIFT EVERYTHING UP in order to avoid a crash landing…..  The result is a topped shot.  
The arms pull up.  The shoulders pull up….  Most obvious:  THE HEAD LIFTS UP!  All in an attempt to keep the club from hitting the ground too soon. 

The very worst consequence of this whole event?   Someone in your group says to you, “You’ve got to keep your head down.”   Now there is a great chance that on the next swing, you lock your head and body into position, again guaranteeing that there is little to know forward rotation in your swing…..  It’s a vicious cycle!

Basically, most golfers learn to pull up to some degree in order to hit the ball decently once in a while…..

It’s this pulling up of the arms that makes learning to take a divot so difficult!  You see, when you do begin to rotate into a FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH, because you are now swinging through a ball, rather than at it….  Your arms/shoulders/head still pull up because it’s been a NECESSITY in your swing for so long. 

BOTTOM LINE:  You first must understand/believe that a divot is proper and can best be accomplished by allowing the arms to fall (extend) in the downswing and the arms and club to be slung centrifugally by PIVOTAL ROTATION.  It’s the rotation of the forward pivotal axis (forward leg) that best moves the club forward or through the ball. 

Once this is fully understood, you can begin the road to a better swing, and a consistent DIVOT!  The brain, overtime, will ALLOW the arms to fall.  The brain, overtime, will allow the shoulders to stay relaxed throughout the swing……  AS LONG YOU ARE ROTATING AROUND THE FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS!  This will keep the club from ‘crashing’ too soon into the ground….. 

You can do this!  You must improve your FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED BALANCED FINISH FIRST….Then your divots CAN improve over time.  

BAM!  You’re better……DONE with the divot.  

For now……..

The Divot Dilemma

The divot is a fascinating and yet frustrating piece of the golf swing puzzle.  The act of TRYING to hit down destroys your chances of swinging with centrifugal force, it destroys your ability to ‘throw’ the ball out towards the target (which is the correct intent…). 

Yet, swinging freely and fully ‘out to the target’, in a circle around your forward pivotal axis makes taking a divot more difficult…..
 
The Dilemma. 

2 ESSENTIAL skills that seem to work against each other!   In order to create a consistent swing with consistent impact, it’s ESSENTIAL to bump the ground with the bottom of the club head in a very precise location in relation to the ball…..   It is also ESSENTIAL to swing into a FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED BALANCED FINISH in order to create a physics compliant swing, and to give yourself the best chance of creating consistency…..

We want to allow the club to fall as we SLING the arms and club in a circle around our forward pivotal axis.  Centrifugal force and gravity will move the club in a consistent circle through the ball, creating a divot (in most cases) and sending the ball powerfully and consistently off on a tangent to the swing arc….  THE BALL GETS IN THE WAY OF THE SWING!

Trying to swing into the followthru at first often results in a golfer hitting a lot of ‘topped’ shots….  Trying to take a divot, almost always results in a golf NOT finishing in a FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH…. 

The challenge is to IMPROVE BOTH SKILLS! 

….. Bump and turn                                             to be continued…….

Love Me Some Divot!

Hard to watch Kevin Na play over the weekend.  I really feel for him….  Hope he’s able to get the muscular tension out of his arms and get back to Heaving and turning….. WITHOUT THINKING!!! 

Fun for me to hit balls a couple days in a row, play a round, and even watch a little bit of the Player’s Championship this weekend.  I’ve been pretty much full throttle these past 3 months……

So I took advantage of a nice light rain and went out and hit some balls….  I started with a quick DRIVER DRILL off the mats at Snee Farm (Man, I love those driver drill mats!!!), and then I began hitting some irons off the grass….

The swing was really feeling pretty good and my attention began to focus on THE DIVOT… That wonderful feeling of compressing the ball against the club and ground, effortlessly slicing a strip of turf at and beyond where the ball once lay.

It’s a sensation that is tough to describe!  Love me some divot!!!

As a young golfer, I struggled to hit the ground…. Like many, I tried to keep my head down and was unaware of how damaging that was to my swing…. In my attempt to try to stay down, my body HAD TO LIFT UP to prevent the club from crashing into the ground way too soon.  Proper divots were a world away at that point….

As an improved golfer, I began to try really hard to take a divot.  I used my arms to STRIKE the ball and the ground.  The results were better, but massively erratic compared to the best way to take a divot. 

It took many years to learn that it’s chaotic and erratic to FORCE A DIVOT!  A divot is really important in a sound golf swing, but trying to MAKE IT HAPPEN will cause path disruptions that will add inconsistencies to your game…..

Gravity Golf taught me to ALLOW A DIVOT.  The natural forces of gravity will bring the club down… The centrifugal forces created by rotation will pull the club slightly outward (downward, making the arms slightly longer at impact than address…).  The rotation of the arms and club around the forward pivotal axis (forward leg) will also move the club forward.  Let gravity meet rotation and you’ll create wonderful divots with all your irons!  You’ll more consistently bump the ground, compressing the ball at the same moment.  That feeling is worth working for.  

Lesson:  Allow the arms to fall.  Rotate into a full finish.  Know that a divot SHOULD happen.  Allow the club to bump the ground.  Improve the skill of allowing it to happen as you turn through the ball.

*In the next blog, I’ll talk about the great challenge of BUMPING THE GROUND and FINISHING IN BALANCE.   

 

Back at It- The Comeback….

It’s been a while since you’ve played golf.  Life gets in the way….  So what’s the best way to get your game in shape? 

Well, if you are still in the middle of ‘life’, and just get the infrequent chance to get out to play- the answer is a little different. 

In that case, it’s best to keep the expectations low, enjoy being out on the course, enjoy swinging the club, and simply have the intention of making good swing.  Do your best to play smart golf, and try not to judge yourself too harshly…. 

Hopefully, you are ready to dig in and get your game back.  In that case, it’s important to have realistic expectations and a game plan for your comeback.

First- understand that if you’ve spent more than a few weeks away from your golf swing, chances are good that your body won’t fully cooperate at first.  Understand that your ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ might be a little off….  One of your primary goals is to limber up the body in the full swing, and practice ‘awareness’ in your short shots.

On the range, while hitting full shots, the best thing to do is to work IN THE GRAVITY DRILLS! The drills will more quickly get you swinging in compliance with the laws of physics, and keep you from falling into any bad habits as you get back going.   In the drills (or not, if you either don’t know them, or simply want to prolong the process of your comeback….), really, really, really, work on building and expanding your FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED FOLLOWTHRU!  This will most quickly get the body into golf swing shape!

While practicing your chipping and putting…. Be aware.  Notice how each shot feels, and think about the distance the ball travels….  Feel your swing as it relates to the distance of your shots or putts…. By staying aware, you’ll more quickly regain your touch!  Stay aware while you train, and there’s a great chance you soon be chipping and putting better than ever!!

Give yourself time to get back into the swing of things.  Play up a tee box.  Hit more safe shots on the course.  If you train consistently and systematically.  If you remain patient and enjoy the process of improvement during your comeback… The experience will be enjoyable. 

Breaking Radio Silence….To Celebrate!

Might as well turn this little ego kick I’m embarking on into a lesson…. So here we go!

The Power of Positive Visualization. 

So my time here at Carolina Colours has come to an end.  It’s been a fantastic time. 

I love this golf course!

When I first began playing the course I remember commenting to Ken that I really think I’ll make a hole in one here….  Because the design of the course fits my eye so well, I was confident that I would make a good run at holing out on one of the par threes.

We’ve talked about it a lot.  I’ve agonized over it after several close calls…. But most importantly, I had a visual of holing out most every time I stepped on a par 3! (most of the par 3’s anyway….)

Over the last month, it became a bit of a comical obsession of mine to ace #16.  It’s the shortest hole on the course, and the only one that has NOT had a hole-in-one recorded.  I’ve talked about it with staff and members and tried calling it pretty much to anyone I’ve played with over the last couple of weeks.  When Joe, Paul and Mike came up for a visit, I darn near holed it (or at least made the shot worth watching) each time we played! 

So yesterday was probably my last round here (as head professional) at Carolina Colours Golf Club.  Ken and I talked about how I might leave here without making my hole-in-one…..  What a shame.  While driving from 15 to 16, we discussed the possibility of taking a shag bag out the next day and just teeing away for the afternoon!!!! (yes, that desperate!)

Now I know that a hole-in-one is a bit like winning the lottery…. It takes a lot of luck.  And I honestly made that lottery connection in my mind before teeing off.  I thought about how cool it would be if this was the time.  How incredible would that be if I could ace this hole the very last time I play it as the Head Professional of the course….. 

108 yards.  Perfect 3/4 gap wedge.  When I hit it, we started talking it up (like many other times)… As it approached the green, I think we began shouting at the ball….  it hit about 4 feet from the hole, bounced past and then spun back into the hole…….

silence….   Total disbelief?  The best we could both do is say ‘I think that might have gone in?!?’

Holy #%%$#@ (mom, pardon the language), we were giddy, but still not quite believers…. I was afraid to believe too much!

And then we drove around so that we could see the entire green complex.  NO BALL. 

I DID IT!!!!  I now had that dumb glazy look on my face like Phil Mickelson gets when he’s just won another major (yeah, I’m equating this ace with a Major victory!  It’s my blog after all.)

Ken walked over to look first and confirmed that my ball was in the bottom of the cup.  It’s official. 

First hole in one-  15yrs old.  Hole #4 at Pinecrest GC. 140yd par 3  6:15am- A maintenance guy moving the sprinkler heads on the 3rd green saw it.  Yup, my last hole in one was back in the day when most greens were watered by the rotating sprinkler heads you hooked up to a hose!!!!

Second hole in one- 43yrs, 13 days old.  Hole #16 at Carolina Colours Golf Club.  108yd par 3.  Ken Gerhardt was the witness (and fortunately I managed to hole out on a hole short enough for him to actually see it go in!!!). 

How about them apples?   Pretty proud of myself right now….. 

Oh yeah.   VISUALIZE.  See the shot,  Trust the shot!  Let’s celebrate!