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Series of 4 Lessons


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Start a series of 4 lessons next Wednesday with local Class A PGA Pro Jamie Smith, during my extended lunch break.

 

First lesson will also consist of a free fitting to optimize everything club wise. I expect to take the first lesson as a test on what I need to work on. I will review each lesson and post videos also.

John Barry

Bring the Funk, Back to Golf

The Golfer's Trip

 

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Look forward to hearing how it goes, I have thought about having a few lessons but my playing schedule with a young family doesn't justify it at the moment.

 

Been a solid 15 years since I had one

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Start a series of 4 lessons next Wednesday with local Class A PGA Pro Jamie Smith, during my extended lunch break.

 

First lesson will also consist of a free fitting to optimize everything club wise. I expect to take the first lesson as a test on what I need to work on. I will review each lesson and post videos also.

 

Best of luck. I am trying to get away for a day to Mike Jacobs school on Long Island for a full-day school. Damn job keeps interfering with my golf schedule.

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This guy also does a Saturday am group lesson, 13 parts, called "From tee to Green". I have taken 2 parts of it so far, it's a great 10.00 dollars spent. Usually a big crowd, but he gets a couple other local club pros to help him out. That's how I "tested" this guy out before booking lessons. I really like his teaching methods and sense of humor. Will let everyone know.

John Barry

Bring the Funk, Back to Golf

The Golfer's Trip

 

chevy_chase22.jpg

 

 

 

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I was fortunate for a few years to have a former PGA Tour pro as a range buddy at the TPC.

 

He had foot problems and while he never played he would hit balls on a daily basis. He'd ask me to look for things in his swing and he'd critique mine whether I wanted him to or not, LOL. He was big on staying connected.

 

Buster died in 2008.

Semper Fi

 

My Club

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GOLF LESSON 1 OF 4 WITH JAMIE SMITH, CLASS A PGA PRO

 

 

Golf lesson 1 of 4 started a little bad for me, because like an idiot trying to take a golf lesson during his lunch break, I went to the wrong course he does lessons at. I must spring across town to make the last 15 minutes of my 30 minute lesson.

 

It only got better though, as his 1:30pm lesson agreed to share the time with me, and we did a dual lesson for an hour instead of a half hour. He wanted to work on his driver, and I had no problem with that, I am more worried about the mechanics of my swing anyway, doesn't matter which club.

 

We started warming up with an iron before moving to the "Big Dog", so I choose the free Burner 6 iron I got from Taylor Made's "Play a Better Iron" contest. Felt a little lighter than my 08 R7s, but I loved the feel of it. After warming up, getting my grip set, Jamie made his first adjustment for me. Seems during my take away, I am lifting my left heel a little (I am right handed). Felt a little weird, kid of being glued to the deck, but I noticed the right side of the course going farther and farther out of play for me. My Slice has plagued me as a righty for my whole golf careeer.

 

Driver time, I am hitting an 08 Adams Speedline Driver with a stock stiff shaft.(I am pretty sure I will be going to a regular shaft after the lessons) We are about 20 minutes into the lesson so far, day is warm, with a slight breeze in our face, and the range balls are pretty dead. I am hitting them 180-210 down the middle or actually even drawing a little on the left side. Jamie makes his second adjustment of the lesson for me, I start working on keeping my left wrist flat on the full take away. I also also working on my pace of the swing, slowly in my mind counting to 3 on the take away, and then finishing the count on swing to 4. So, 1, 2, 3 top of the take away and start swinging, 4 I have hit the balls and am trying for a high finish.

 

Jamie is his usual self, a few short jokes at his expense (he is a towering 5 foot 7 ish), he's easy going, but teaching the whole time without being overbearing. He moves back and forth between us as we fire ball after ball out in the range. Watching his swing in 3 different views really helps me. First he has us watch his club all the way through a swing, then his hands, and finially his hips. Nice, natural, easy swing, transfer of weight and power, and the turning of the wrists for the "flick" of extra power and a nice straight out in front of you follow through.

 

I notice something also, it's my left elbow with a decent amount of space between my body on the down swing, so we are working on correcting that also. We are saving the fitting for the last lesson. So, the four lessons cost me 130.00 instead of 150.00, Jamie owe's me 20 bucks and neither of us forgets about it!!

 

For a first "private" lesson, I loved the time and everything I took away from it. I have my second lesson on this Friday, so I will follow up with report 2 of 4 Friday afternoon.

John Barry

Bring the Funk, Back to Golf

The Golfer's Trip

 

chevy_chase22.jpg

 

 

 

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Lesson number 2 of 4 was today on lunch break from work. We all should all find our way to the range or course during a lunch break, we get better at golf, we are in the outdoors, and we will sure lose some weight from not eating lunches!

 

Arrived at Bow Creek and set up on the range, saw Jamie Smith's cart at the club house and I let him know I was there via a text. Found half a bucket and hit a few. As Jamie was pulling up, he made his first adjustment of the day, from across the chipping and putting green. I had my Pitching Wedge out, and he said he saw something way over the, I was scooping at the ball instead of hitting down on it, so we adjusted, and he noted that I wasn't taking a divot out in front of the ball, but most of the time, either behind it or none at all. This was my hands releasing to early, and not leading with my hips.

 

Did several drills to make sure my hips are leading out, and my left hand is pulling the club through the swing arc instead of the right throwing it. He had a long piece of foam, which he put 6-7 inches behind the ball(there is a joke in there some where) and I had to hit the ball with out touching the foam, meaning hitting down on the ball. We did this for awhile, and I had a tough time with it, but I got my wrist flat at impact and that helped me a lot.

The second adjustment was to continue to work on my base, not lift my left heel up, and turn with the waist more, to keep me balanced through out the swing. I worked on dropping my hands down late, and turning my wrists at impact, trying to hook, which did nothing but straighten up my ball flight. This swing will take sometime to get used to, but I really hit about 10 great shots, easy swings that took off high and straight, with a crisp sound at impact.

 

As the lesson progressed, my back started bothering me some, but being the super golf fashion icon that I am, I plowed through the pain to continue with the lesson. I can feel my swing becoming less forced, and more natural feeling. last two balls I hit were just very easy, trying to make the form and swing all come together, and they maybe the two best balls I hit.

 

Keys for me to work on before our next lesson. Feet still, turn with the hips, the club and the shoulders will follow. Let that club head do the work, and drop into the hitting position. Work on the hitting down on the ball with the irons.

 

Going to be work on a Punch Shot, which will help me with all the irons and the basics of the golf swing.

John Barry

Bring the Funk, Back to Golf

The Golfer's Trip

 

chevy_chase22.jpg

 

 

 

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Lesson 3 of 4 With Jamie Smith, PGA Pro:

 

 

Leave work a few minute early for my 1pm lesson with Jamie at Bow Creek, giving me plenty of time to get there and be ready. Before I am out of my car, he is in his cart picking me up from the parking lot. The lesson starts before we leave the lot, he asks me, about an e-mail I sent him the day before. I e-mailed him after Friday's lesson, I played that afternoon with some co-workers, and I did well, shooting an 87. Saturday comes, and I play with Joe Cippolini and his group of guys at Honey Bee, and I proceed to shoot the worst round in about 8 months, a 101.

 

"John," he says, " Today's lesson we are going to find out where you head is at, because your swing is coming along." We jump in his cart, go to the club house and pick up his clubs. He is playing the New Burners but with Rife KBX steel shafts, tell me the combo gives him a forgiving iron with a fitting pro players shaft to do everything he needs to do with a club.

 

We ride right out onto the course for a playing lesson, 3 holes to test my swing, but more importantly, to see what I am thinking on the golf course, and how I am executing it. This usually cost more for a playing lesson, but he insists it will be better for me, and we are only playing 3 holes, so there is no up charge. Guess I owe him lunch now in Myrtle Beach though.

 

First hole is a par 5, about 500 yards. This hole is pretty straight, some trouble with trees on the right coming into the fairway, but open and clear on the left side. He tells me so many people make the mistake of lining themselves up with the tee box, and not where you want to hit the shot. He tells me where do I want to be after this shot. I say fading the ball around the trees about 280 yards down the fairway, with a shot at the green for my second shot. He asks me out of ten times, how many times can you hit a shot like that? I say maybe 1, which is true. Lesson 1 is applied right there. Managing the course, and knowing what you can and can't do. "let's make you a bogey golfer first, and you will have your shots at the pars and a few birdies as you improve and manage the game." Words of wisdom! I aim to left of the trees on the right, right over the left ladies tee for a spot in the middle of the fairway, and Jamie and I both hit it, about 250 yards, in perfect shape. The next shot is about 250 yards, and I know I am not getting there with my 3 wood, so he says, cut that distance in half, aim for a spot you want to hit into the green from. Boom, a smooth, easy 8 iron and I am about 115 yards out. 9 iron into the green and a par is had. Nice, easy, smooth. My swing feels more natural, I am relaxed, not over swinging, and managing myself and the course.

 

Second hole is a par 5 also, but this one dog legs right, and straight out about 250-260 is a big bunker. I have learned my lesson and say, I am not pulling my driver, what do you think I ask. How about a nice 4 iron right down the middle, giving us a good second shot. We both hit them about 200-210 yards, in the middle and a perfect angle for a second shot. I know I can't get there with anything but a perfect 3 wood, so I hit an 8 iron to about 100 yards. He hits in to about 75 yards. We both then hit easy Pitches to the green, where I end up 2 putting for par.

 

Last hole, the confidence is there, a par 4, little to the left, but mostly straight, but woods on both sides of the hole. Lesson 2: "Why would you hit your driver here when you could hit a more reliable 3 wood. You will still have a short iron into the green either way, so go the safe route in case you do mishit the wood." Makes sense to me, both of us put our 3 woods out about 220 yards. (I make a note that I out drove him here as a silent moral victory in and of itself!). He hits a 9 into the green and pushes it a bit, trying the ride the wind back toward the center of the green. He doesn't get it to come back enough, he's off the green but pin high. I hit my 8 iron about 15 feet from the hole, pin high, easily the best shot I hit all day. It felt smooth, effortless and was right where I aim and I make the put for a birdie. (Chef and Egg, wish you where there for El Burro Loco reasons!)

 

Learning to manage the game and the course, trust in my irons and my swing, that's what I came away with, and wish I could go back and replay Saturday's round, I know I can improve upon it.

 

Tomorrow lunch time is my last lesson of the 4, and after work, off to play 9 holes with the guys from work and Chef. I am hoping to carry these lessons and attitude to the course tomorrow!

John Barry

Bring the Funk, Back to Golf

The Golfer's Trip

 

chevy_chase22.jpg

 

 

 

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Lesson 4 of 4 with PGA Professional Jamie Smith

 

 

Today's lesson at lunch started as per the norm now, Jamie picking me up in the Bow Creek parking lot, before I can take a step away from the car. No jokes today, actually a little jab from Jamie, who is about to receive his Taylor Made Super Deep Driver in the next few days. He's on staff with Taylor Made, Adams Golf, Cobra Golf, Callaway Golf, Bag Boy, and Titleist Golf, meaning he has demo clubs coming at him left and right, and he knows I want to hit the Super Deep. Before we dive into the lesson, just thought I would point out that Jamie can fit you for all these brand clubs, and he does so for free, hoping you become a lesson customer for life!(do we ever really need to stop taking lessons?)

 

Off we go to the Chipping Green for today's lesson, after Jamie gives me a vote of confidence on my iron and wood play. He has me take my Sand, Pitching Wedge and 8 Iron out, and hit 3 balls each with them, aiming for a hole near the back of the green. Like an agile Mongoose, he jumps upon my short game, finding holes in the swing and finish. Lesson 1 of the Day is applied, a Decending Blow for chipping. I have not used that term to much in my reviews, but he sure has in the lessons, and I can not stress it enough. In his first lesson, he diagnosed me as a "Scooper" of the ball, trying to hit it clean and lift it, when I need to hit down on the ball and "pop" it into the air.

 

A short, 1 Lever Swing, hands holding postion through out the swing, and not breaking or releasing. Lesson 2 comes through me just seeing my practice balls, the flater the club, the more control running it up to the hole I have. My hands are more forward in my stance, and I keep my head down, and I hold the follow through, all this is applied while hitting down on the ball to make it pop up. So running it up to green looks to be addressed, just need to practice my distances.

 

But what if there is a hazard between you and the flag? Good questions, next comes Lesson 3 and 4 of the day. I put 75% of my weight on the front foot, to help with the decending blow, put the ball back in my stance, and employ a 2 Level Swing. To get the ball up and over the hazard, or to get it higher and work more spin on it, in my back swing, I go to the 2nd level, I release my hands then back to the 1st level on the swing forward and contact and hold the finish. This helps me again, hit down on the ball with an even more decending blow, to pop the ball up much higher and over the hazards, and stop the ball better.

 

Now, by no means is my game perfect now, but my confidence is at an all time high, along with my mental approach to the game and the course, and what I should be doing on the course. I have to give Jamie a lot of credit for keeping the lessons easy to understand, lite, funny, but full of him evauluating me, finding the weaknesses and attacking them. I am little biased, Jamie is a new friend (for life) but the guy really knows what he is doing, and he is doing the weekly group From Tee to Green Series for 15.00 a man, which includes range balls and an hour and a half of instruction. A great, inexpensive deal, you will come away with a better game and a better understanding of The Game.

 

I give him a 98 out of a 100 for his lessons. (subtracting 2 points because his height, or lack there of!!!)

John Barry

Bring the Funk, Back to Golf

The Golfer's Trip

 

chevy_chase22.jpg

 

 

 

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Sounds good, John.

 

Johnny Miller demonstrated two ways to chip during The Players. One you don't break your wrists and simply swing back and through brushing the grass. The other you play the ball off your back foot, break your wrists and hit down and through the ball leading with your hands.

 

I have used method two for years with a lot of success. You're not going to be pure every day but if you do it right it works. I tried method one the last couple of rounds and had no success with it. I couldn't develop a feel for ir and half the time I either skulled the chip or popped it up.

 

Stick to what works for you is my suggestion.

Semper Fi

 

My Club

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Thanks Bob, actually putting the ball back in my stance, hands forward, and hitting down on the ball with the weight on my forward leg has produced the best results and practice so far.

John Barry

Bring the Funk, Back to Golf

The Golfer's Trip

 

chevy_chase22.jpg

 

 

 

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Just looked at a swing from two years ago my friend took...wow, what a change from then to now. Look how crazy my feet are!

 

 

John Barry

Bring the Funk, Back to Golf

The Golfer's Trip

 

chevy_chase22.jpg

 

 

 

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  • 8 years later...
On 5/13/2010 at 8:44 AM, JohnBarry said:

Thanks Bob, actually putting the ball back in my stance, hands forward, and hitting down on the ball with the weight on my forward leg has produced the best results and practice so far.

That is sound advice bob. How did the season treat you so far after the lessons ?

Keep it in the short stuff

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