Saturday, June 28, 2014

Golf Lessons with Jerry Hinton at Tatum Ridge Golf Links

Only in my first couple years in the golf business I ever got a lesson from a PGA professional. Back then I started and was taught the basics by Bob Marlow at Marlow's Golf Tec . I started very late but understood right away, that in my case it would be best to get some professional help.

In the mid 90s I started working for Bob Marlow in his back then top of the line video teaching center in Bothell, WA. Great technology I must say. My second time I received help was in Eugene , OR where I worked on a driving range for Le Golf Corp. My head pro back then was Mike Hegarty. (Now the head professional in Pendleton, OR Wild Horse Resort)

Mike played on different tours including the PGA tour. That was most interesting to me because I wanted to know what a touring pro would tell me. His advise was simple. It was all about the basics and how to have a solid foundation.

For the past months I was debating what to do. Clearly I need help. I am not getting any longer and my score average although in the 70s is by far not as I had planned. First I thought about golf schools. But then I met Jerry Hinton. Jerry Hinton is a PGA professional for decades with a long list of great references in terms of teaching, managing and playing.

When I sat down with him we got along right away. I told him what I have in mind. He said that we can accomplish that and that he is a big fan of basics. Building a solid foundation. Funny, there it was again.

So last week we did our first session at Tatum Ridge Golf Links in Sarasota. Our first goal was to look at the over all swing. Set up, tempo, grip. We quickly found out that my set up is pretty solid and my tempo in good shape. However, my grip was one thing Jerry said we need to work on.

So we did some adjustments. That felt so different, that the first few swings I took did not look that great. However, after a few more balls I started to feel better and began to make more solid contact with my irons.

The only other thing mentioned was that he feels I should tee up my ball higher when using my driver. Not sure how I will handle that. I already play a 10.5 driver. But I gave it a shot there and tried to do it the last two rounds.

Overall the 1 hour lessons with Jerry was very good and I felt comfortable. I feel that he believes I can reach a certain goal and without changing every thing, which as we all know is very difficult after years of doing something. But I know , that if I want to get my average score to 70 I need to make changes and improve certain aspects. So it will all be worth it.

I tested my new grip last Wednesday at Sarabay Country Club. It was difficult and felt strange, but I played a good round of golf. My tee shots where not good at all. I maybe had 2 good drives. The rest was all over and short. My approach with the irons was good, but my distances are all over as well. At times I felt like I lost 10 yards on some clubs and at the same time I gained 10 yards on some others. It will take lots of work to get that in order.

My second round was at Bobby Jones Golf Complex. Played a solid round. Had good opportunities , but had to settle for a 5 over par round. Had a couple more good drives and my approach shots were better. Again I feel like I have some distances  control issues, but I simply adjusted my club selection and it worked out OK.

Both rounds I played good from bunkers, around the green and on the green.

I scheduled a second lesson with Jerry for next Tuesday. We will work on bunker shots. Although I get the ball on the green most of the time I am not as close to the pin as I would like. Had 2 sand saves of 3 yesterday. But both of them I have to credit my putting as I was at least 12 feet away.

Today I will do a light practice at Sarabay Country Club. Nothing to big. It is hot and I need to be in good shape for tomorrow. World Amateur Golf Tour event in Naples, Florida. It is a super small group, but it counts towards the national qualifier and we play at Quail West Golf and Country Club. One of the premier clubs in South Florida.

Tomorrow we play on The Preserver course. 18 holes with water in play. That will make for an interesting and tough round. But I am looking forward to this test. If things go well Christiane might be able to accompany me for the first time in over a year and help to keep statistics and determine shots. Kind of like a caddie.

We will see what we can accomplish tomorrow.

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