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We are dedicated to your game improvement and would like to give you the most up to date and relevant golf related information. Our staff will answer as many questions as possible and if we don't have the answers we will try and find them or give you leads to follow. Ask away!!!    experts@davidlapourgolf.com
Q: Hi David - I am fairly good player. My handicap hovers around a 4. Though when I start hitting it bad my swing tempo gets fast and then faster and I hit it everywhere. Everyone always tells me if I can slow down my swing tempo I would hit better. I got on a launch monitor and it pretty much confirmed what everyone has said, but I don't know how to slow my tempo down. How can I slow it down?
Thanks, Shaun

A: Hi Shaun,
Great question with application to every golfer out there. The number one answer when I ask students what they are looking for is consistency. From beginner to tour player, we all need to have some type of consistent tempo or rhythm. On my video system the fastest golf swing from take-away to finish that I've recorded was 1.25 seconds and the slowest was 1.80 seconds. That means that there is only about half a second between the fastest swing and the slowest. Amazing! So your intuition is probably correct when you say your tempo is keeping you from becoming a zero handicap. I have a few techniques in dealing with good rhythm. The first is to have a good pre-shot routine and stick with it. The second is to have a specific ritual that includes hitting the ball. I would use a metronome during the ritual to help me with the rhythm and even use it on the golf course (not during tournaments). In my experience the tour players that I have worked with all have both of these things. Some of them are very aware of their system and some of the players are not but they still do the routine and ritual. If you need help creating a routine and ritual and live in the Twin Cities feel free to contact me at the numbers on this web site. Thanks for the questions and I'll see you on the course!

Q: Hi David, There are many theories on the effectiveness of the "Preshot Routine." I was wondering if you could break down this technique and give us a few examples of some of the more commonly used setups on the PGA tour.
Thanks a lot, MR in Woodbury.

A: Hi MR,
Thanks for the question about the pre-shot routine. Probably one of the most overlooked parts of an amateur's game, the pre-shot and post-shot routine are important pieces to the puzzle that all golfers try and put together. The goal of the pre-shot routine is to get you ready for the shot by going through certain checkpoints. Below are some examples of what the tour players are doing:
 • Stand behind the ball, visualizing your shot and choose the correct club for the shot. You should also find an intermediate spot in front of your ball to help you aim.
 • Go to the side of the ball and take a practice swing in the condition that the ball is in (rough, fairway...).
 • Address the ball with the clubface and then take your stance.
 • Look at your shot again, look at the ball, waggle or find some way to relax a little, and then start your ritual.

The ritual mentioned at the end of the pre-shot routine is a pre-determined sequence of events, which include hitting the ball. The premise behind the ritual is to pre-occupy your conscience mind so your sub-conscience can take care of business.

Doing a pre-shot routine and ritual is almost second nature to the tour player but usually very foreign to the amateur golfer. All it takes is a little discipline and application and you too will start to see some real consistency around the golf course like the tour players. I hope this helps and if you need further help you can reach me at Oak Marsh Golf Club in Oakdale, MN. Good luck and I'll see you on the course!

Q: Hi David - My understanding is there are two distinctly different approaches to putting. Short game gurus Dave Pelz believes in 'square-to-square' and Stan Utley preaches the 'swinging gate'. Do you prefer one method over the other? Why? Or do you fit the method to the player? Thanks!
--CPR, Blaine, MN 1/13/04

A: Hi CPR,
Great question! Because of my 7 years teaching with Dave Pelz my answer may be a little bias but here goes. If you were a betting man and had the choice of trying to make a putt with a straight back and through stroke (Dave Pelz calls this a PILS stroke) or a swinging gate stroke, which would you, choose? Because the pendulum has a perfect path and no clubface rotation I would choose this one. Aside from the obvious minimal error that the straight putting stroke affords, it also holds up under pressure when your heart rate (pulse) increases and adrenalin starts to affect your golf muscles. The importance of the timing that the swinging gate stroke needs is multiplied and that is a hard thing to control. On the other hand with a straight putting stroke timing is a non-issue! The problem with the straight putting stroke is that I haven't met many people who know how to teach it or apply it. Rest assured it can be done (I do it) and if you check out one of the WP Golf Institute golf schools this spring you will learn how to do it. Good luck with it and see you on the course!
Q: I have a slow golf tempo yet hit the ball a mile. My friends take the mick out of me. However if I speed my swing up it falls apart. The time I take to swing the club is a fraction under 2 seconds. Any tips?
--Michael, England 03/02/04

A: Hi Michael,
Ahhh, rhythm, rhythm, rhythm.

The first thing you should know is that the average golf swing lasts 1.5 seconds. Tempo is an individual matter as unique as the person himself (or herself). If you hit the ball a mile I'd leave your swing alone and laugh at your friends all the way to the bank. The three suggestions I have for keeping your tempo are as follows:
   -Have a consistent pre-shot routine
   -Have a consistent ritual
   -Know your number on the metronome

If your not sure about any of the three points above be sure to learn about them and perfect them. England is a long way to come for a lesson so find a good local pro to teach you the basics. That way your friends won't "take the mick" out of you. Good luck and see you on the course!
Q: Who was the last amateur golfer to win a PGA Tour Event? What course was the 1982 US Open played on? What father and son duo won 8 of the first 12 British Open Championships? Who was the first man to make a million $ on the PGA Tour?
--Bill, Hot Springs Village Arkansas 2/20/04

A: Hi Bill,
Curious aren't we? As stated in a previous question, Scott Verplank was the last amateur to win a PGA tour event (1985 Western Open), the 1982 US Open was played at Pebble Beach and won by Tom Watson (6 under-$60,000.00), Old Tom Morris and Tom Morris Jr. won 8 of the first 12 British Open's, and Curtis Strange in 1988 was the first PGA tour player to earn over a million dollars on the tour ($1,147,644.00). If you have any other questions feel free to ask and as always good luck and see you on the course!
Q: I have been playing golf since I was a teen and am now 54. Though I shoot consistently in the low 80's, I've never been happy with my iron game, always hitting my shots "thin", rarely taking a divot. When I consciously try to "swing down" on the ball I often hit it fat. How do I correct this problem?
--Slim, Weston, FL 1/28/04

A: Hi Slim,
It's a tough question to answer without seeing you but I do have a few suggestions. Until a golfer has a consistency to the bottom of their swing arch their game will be suspect. I prefer to establish this "bottom" by using my legs and hips as the power source and weight shifting mechanism. Once this is established ball position comes into play. You want to play the ball about 1-2 inches before the bottom of your swing arch to promote ball -first contact. This descending blow should get rid of your thin shots.

By the way, because of the way they are made, each club may have a slightly different "bottom". Another problem with the students that I see is the "death grip". When you hold the club super tight your muscles become restricted (smaller) and you can easily catch the ball thin. Try taking a deep breath before hitting relaxing your shoulders, forearms, and hands. If they are relaxed gravity will pull the club down on the ball and you will hit it more flush than thin. Good luck Slim and I'll see you on the course!
Q: What is the winter golf series?
--Anonymous 11/24/03

Hi SP,
The Winter Golf Series is a series of clinics held at all the WP Golf properties (5) in the Twin Cities area during the first 2 weeks of each month. Believing that the winter time is the best time to work on you golf game, the clinics are from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and cover several different topics from putting to full swing using theory presentations, feedback devices, and hands on teaching. There is a 4:1 maximum teaching ratio and the clinics are $50.00 each. For more information go to www.wpgolf.com/institute and we'll see you at the clinic!
Q: My question is I'm fixing to buy a new set of irons, I've narrowed it down to two, Taylor Made RAC OS or Taylor Made RAC LT, now where I live I don't really have a chance to test the clubs before I buy them, I'm a so-so golfer I usually shoot in the high 70's to mid 80's, I've been reading reviews of both clubs all day and I still have no clue which to get, maybe you can point me in the right direction. --Chris, Edmond, OK 11/20/03

Hi Chris,
Sorry it took a while to get back to you. I would go with the club that looks the most like the clubs you are retiring. Don't forget that the shaft is the most important component of the club. Read my previous tip on getting club fitted and good luck!
Q: I have problems 'clearing my hips' or dropping into the slot so to speak. I have been golfing for many years and recently have developed this problem. I have been told by professionals I am in good position at top. My arms seem to move slightly away from my body during downswing and the club face I know is virtually always left open - has not returned to square yet. Moving ball forward does not help so I am convinced it is because I was unable to drop in slot because hips did not clear. Open face club moving away from body - club often then crosses the target line and result can be anything from push to pull. Up to 60 percent of my shots are weak right. What should my first downswing move be from the top - flick hips toward target fast to clear then drop club down? Would sticking my rear out further allow me to have club closer to body on downswing?
--Ernie, Ontario 11/13/03

A: Hi Ernie,
Obviously without seeing your swing, doing some tests, and checking your body type it's a tough question to answer but I do have a few suggestions. One of the common flaws in the down swing actually is no fault of our own. I'm talking about the arms moving away from your body on the down swing. Centrifugal force pulls the arms and club away from your body creating a sort of spin out. I would work on not letting my lower body "spin" out before the upper body can catch up. Use a medicine ball to teach yourself the pivot in slow motion, turning back and through with "synchronized" shoulders and hips. Try and think about squaring the club face up with a rotary motion of the hips and shoulders instead of flipping at it with your smaller muscles (hands, arms). It's not easy to learn or teach the pivot but golf is easier because of it. Good luck!
Q: Dear David,
I sometimes sway when I swing instead of turn, that's what I've been told...unfortunately the end result clues me in to my mistake. What can I do beforehand to maximize the swing and prevent the sway? :(
--L2 11/03/03

A: Hi L2,
If your diagnosis is correct and you slide more than you pivot you are among the majority in golf. The pivot is one of the most important parts to a golf swing and probably the least understood and difficult to teach. Assuming you have no physical difficulties and your range of motion is good, research shows on average at the top of your back swing your feet are at a 0 degree position to your target line, knees 22 degrees, hips 45 degrees, and shoulders 90 degrees from their address position. If you sway, all of these numbers will be smaller and you won't get the most out of your pivot and consequently your distance will be compromised. At home you can practice your pivot by using a medicine ball and a mirror. Stand facing the mirror holding the medicine ball by your belt. Start coiling your knees, hips, and finally shoulder as you turn in your back swing. Be sure to check the mirror for feedback and keep your back knee in its original flexed position at the top of your back swing. You may also want to flair your back foot away from the target to help free up your hip flexor. Do the same for the follow through keeping the medicine ball at waist level. It's important to note that weight shift which could be called a slide or sway is part of the follow through. In our winter series the month of February is dedicated to the full swing and we will be working on some of what we just talked about. For details check out wpgolf.com/institute and good luck with your golf!
Q: How do I keep my golf game up to par during the winter?
--GL 9/29/03

A: Hi GL,
You ask a good question and considering the Minnesota winter you'll have some time to practice. I believe that you can do a lot of constructive things with your golf game while the snow flies. Practicing your putting, short game, full swing (exercise drills) working on your pre-shot routine, ritual and even fine tuning your equipment can all be done during the winter. Stay ahead of the curve and get ready for the spring by attending one of the winter series seminars that the WP Golf Institute hosts. Check out wpgolf.com/institute for a schedule at Oak Marsh in Oakdale, Lost Spur in Eagan, St. Croix National in Stillwater, Mississippi National in Red Wing, and Willow Creek in Rochester. Good luck with your winter practice and may be I'll see you at one of the seminars.
Q: Hello, I understand that for a good golf swing it's important that your hands are slightly ahead of the club head at impact. If they are not, the ball tends to go higher than the loft of the club would dictate. Assuming this is true, how do I ensure my hands are ahead at impact and not lagging which I think is the case for my swing? Is there a simple way to practice this to make it happen?
--Frank, Saint John, Canada 8/21/03

A: Hi Frank,
You are correct in stating that your hands should be at least at or ahead of the club at impact. The easy answer is to make sure your ball position is correct. Shorter clubs in the middle and longer clubs more forward. The tougher answer is to make sure your weight is shifting and your hips are turning through impact. By doing this the hands will be moving with the hips (clearing) and the club lagging behind. This is what the professionals do so well that amateurs struggle with. One of the keys is to be able to square up the club face while turning through and that takes some quality hand eye coordination. Try out these suggestions and good luck with your golf game!
Q: Who was last amateur to win a pga event?
--Jerry, Rockville Md. 9/03/03

A: Hi Jerry, if memory serves me correctly,the last amateur to win on the PGA Tour was Scott Verplank in the 1985 Western Open.
Q: Hi David, I have been golfing for over 50 years and still trying to improve. Is this "normal"
--RHL, COLUMBUS, NC 8/28/03

A: Hi RHL and thanks for the question. Golf and human nature at times seem to go hand in hand. Most of us from the time we were children were taught to strive to improve, excel, and even perfect whatever we were trying to accomplish. The American way seems to strive toward perfection. The good news is that in golf we cannot be perfect. If you were you'd hit your shots onto the fairway, then into the hole and that would be it. Talk about boring! I think the important thing to remember is that practice makes permanent not "perfect". Some things to think about: If you're not going to practice correctly don't practice at all. If your going to practice poorly then you will play poorly. If you practice correctly you will see improvement. If you practice perfectly you still won't be perfect but you will get better. If you're not sure what practicing correctly involves check out one of the WP Golf Institute's in the area or the web site (wpgolf.com/institute)to get a better idea. I applaud your endurance, your desire to improve, and your love for the game. Keep up the good work and see you on the links!
Q: How do you hit good sand shots?
--Amy S., St. Paul 8/14/03

A: Hi Amy,
This is a good question that may take more than a typed response but check out some of the basics on greenside bunker shots: * Ball position forward in your stance off your lead instep. * Club face open so the scoring lines point outside your lead toe. * Half back swing with a full wrist cock. * Full finish with a re-cocking of the golf club. I know this is a short answer so check with your local pro or go to one of the WP Golf Institute's locations for a follow up. Good luck with your game!
Q: I shoot in the high 90's. Would you recommend Taylor Made RAC OS clubs? Do you have any other suggestions for clubs? Thank you for your help.
--Jordan, Aspen CO 8/17/03

A: Hi Jordan,
For higher handicap golfers (11+) I recommend a cavity back club because of the off center hits. With a perimeter weighted club the ball won't go off line as bad. The down side is that you can't work the ball right or left as easily. Almost every club manufacturer makes this type of club. I play the Nike Pro-Combo's which are muscle back lob wedge-8 iron, slight muscle back 7-5iron, and perimeter weighted 4-2 iron. By the way I've virtually replaced my 2 and 3 iron with a 18 degree utility wood made by Nike called the CPR. This after being at the Masters this year and seeing a lot of players with this type of utility club. It's also fun to chip with just off the green. I hope this helps and good luck with your game!
Q: Where do you recommend to go locally to get fitted for golf clubs? Should I have a club in mind that I want to buy?
--S, minneapolis, mn 8/14/03

A: Bobby Jones was about 5 foot 8 inches tall. The reason I mention this is back in the 1940's some major sporting goods companies actually took his clubs, measured them and created a "standard" set of men's clubs. If you are between 5'6" and 5'10" a regular men's set should suffice. If you are taller or shorter you may have to have a custom set. Working with your local PGA professional on the driving range for a half hour should give you an idea of what you need. He should measure your height, arm length, hand size as well as swing speed. It's well worth the time and investment as clubs can cost between $500.00 and $2,500.00. If you are a beginner don't spend a lot (300.00-500.00) but if you are intermediate or advanced it's worth the investment. People own clubs on average for 7.5 years. Lastly, shop or call around to places like Merdian Custom Fitting (on this web site)Golf Smith, Golf Galaxy, Austads, and other retailers to see if you can get a fitting. Most of these stores will apply the fitting cost to your purchase. Good Luck and I'll see you on the links!
Q: I'm a weekend golfer. Do you have any suggestions that can make my game more consistent?
---Love the game, Maplewood, Mn. 3/27/04

A: Yes I have a few suggestions on how to improve your game. Golfers don't realize it but they can work on their golf game during the week and during the off-season. As you might have heard me say in the past, "practice makes permanent" so I suggest practicing proper technique at home or in the office, so when it's time to play your a little ahead of the curve. If you don't know what the correct technique is you should find out. Because of the small margin of error that golf allows, it's up to us to: Learn the right techniques (intellectual). Practice drills (kinesthetic). Apply what we've learned on the course (application). Evaluate and adjust (fine tune). These are the four fundamental building blocks that the WP Golf Institute works around. We offer clinics, golf schools, and private lessons at all 5 of our golf courses including a golf school at Oak Marsh Golf Club May 7-8. Check out our web site (www.wpgolf.com/institute) for more information on what we offer and good luck with your game! P.S. Check out www.playgolfamerica.com for a PGA golf improvement program in your area.
Q: Are there any golf school in Decatur, Ga? If so would like to know the name of the golf course?
--Golfer, Decatur, Ga. 3/29/04

A: Hello Decatur golfer,
You can join us up here in the Twin Cities for a golf school or, my former employer Dave Pelz runs a very good short game school at Reynolds Plantation between Atlanta and Augusta. Students at the schools mentioned how much their full swings improved when working on the short game and I agree. Good luck and I'll see you on the course!
Q: How do I get onto the amatures golf tour?
--Rodrin Nash, charlotte, N.C. 3/08/04

A: Hi Rodrin,
The first thing I'd do is check out the USGA web site at usga.org to see what the rules of golf say about being an amateur and what tournaments they offer. The second web site that will point you in the right direction is amateurgolf.com. Good luck with your golfing career!
Q: I have a project for my son who needs to research the earnings of amatuer golfers over the last 5 years so he can forecast the next 4 years, down to the 50th best golfers. What site(s) are available for this research or who can we contact? Thank you
--Dan Sprague, Ventura, CA 4/21/04

A: Hi Dan,
Amateur golfers by definition do not have earnings so your sons search may be short. The USGA defines an amateur as "One who plays the game as a non-remunerative and non-profit-making sport and who does not receive remuneration for teaching golf or for other activities because of golf skill or reputaion, execpt as provided in the Rules." One of my favorite "data" base web sites is golfweek.com and NGF.org. Good luck with your golf future and I'll see you on the course!
Q: Where are some place on the web to help in fitting a set of irons. Locally I've been told 2 Deg up and TGWs specs tell me 3Deg flat. I'm confused.
--Rick, Prairieville, LA 4/30/04

A: Hi Rick,
There are 2 main types of fitting: Static and Dynamic. Static deals with your body type, hand size, height, length of arms,... Dynamic deals with your golf swing and what happens most frequently at impact. This is usually done with impact tape on the face and sole of the club hitting off a board. After a few swings you can tell if the golfer needs a flat, regular, or upright club. Currently I do not know of any web sites that offer this type of fitting. I'd call around (yellow pages) and ask if there are any club fitters in your area to get the best fitting. In PGA school we are taught to fit the golfer to the best set possible using the above criteria. A lot of the fitters will include the fitting if you purchase a set from them. Otherwise it's usually around $50.00. Good luck with your purchase and I'll see you on the course!
--BO, FARMINGTON, ME 5/03/04

A: Hi Tim,
This is actually a very common situation in golf. The way I help my students adjust to a better grip is by using a molded grip, which makes them put their hands on the club correctly. They fight it at first but in a couple of days usually say "this new grip feels good". You can get a molded grip at a golf store or have your PGA professional get one for you. Put it on an old club and practice one of the most important parts of golf correctly! By the way, please take a practice swing before each shot with relaxed hands and forearms. This also can help your consistency. Good luck getting a grip and I'll see you on the course!
Q: Hello,I'm 38 and I have been golfing now for about 5 yrs I consistently shoots in the mid-hi to low 80's.However i can never seems to break 80 and i'm always making a few dbl.bogeys or triple that seems to do me in.what can i do to correct this,also how do i tell what my handicap is?And is there a good teacher in the cincinnati area that you can recomend?
--Darlton, Cincinnati Ohio 5/10/04

A: Hi Darlton,
Your question about consistency is very common. A lot of students would like to be more consistent than to shoot a low score! Since 80 % of your handicap is from 100 yards and in, you may want to check out the Dave Pelz short game clinic, which is held at Meadow Links practice facility in Cincinnati every summer. Along with some great instructors, these clinics have solid information. Meadow Links also has some excellent PGA professionals (Randy N.) that can help you with your full swing. For handicap services just type in 'golf handicap' in your search engine on the web to get more information or ask the staff at Meadow Links. Good luck with breaking 80 and I'll see you on the Links!
Q: Hi: I have been golfing about 7 years, started real late in life. I am 73 now, but I enjoy it very much. However I have trouble hitting a good shot consitently. I can have a good drive, then my fairway shots are generally crumby, On a par 5 - it generally takes me 6-7 shots. Today (May 14 2004) I had a terrible time getting out of the rough. My shots would go maybe 20 yards, never out on the fairway. I get so frustrated with myself, I would like to know if I am holding my club too tight. There are many other questions I would like to ask, but it would take a lot of time, so please reply to this as well as you can. I belong to the Spooner Wisconsin Golf Course, and a member of the Ladies League. I surre would appreciate any help you can give me, to IMPROVE. THANKS --GWINK, SHELL LAKE, WI. 5/14/04

A: Hi Gwink,
Thank you for this question. First I'd like you to know that you are not the only one who has started playing the game late and has trouble with consistency. I started early (age 7) and still struggle with consistency! The main reason that you, me, and even tour players (Tiger Woods) struggle with consistency is because of the small margin or error involved with the game of golf. This puts the pressure back on us to perform as flawlessly as possible. Not an easy task! That's where having a golf professional or coach to help you with your game comes into play. I consider PGA professionals' damage control artists. What we try to do is minimize your error in order to create some semblance of consistency, which in turn will improve your enjoyment of the game. I'd be lying to you if I told you strength is not a factor. Cardio, weight training, flexibility, and nutrition all play a part in strengthening your golf swing and creating more club head speed (distance). Chances are that your frustration comes not from hitting the correct golf shot but rather from not knowing how to hit the shot. May is PGA free lesson month so I'd find a golf professional in your area and take a free 10 minute lesson to see if you like the professional and work on one shot. You can find a local pro at www.playgolfamerica.com. Good luck with your game and see you on the course!
Q: Lately I have been hitting everything to my left, not a hook. More like a pull or coming over the top, I just can't seem to correct this problem, handicap 12.
--Otto wittmeier, Aquebogue, NY 5/17/04

A: Hi Otto, Good and common question. If the ball is starting left and going left (assuming your aiming correctly) it's simply a closed clubface! Not so simply is why the clubface is closed. Most people including myself (sometimes) come over the top of the golf shot. This simply means that the club is thrown out away from our body at the top of our down swing and we try to real it in on the follow through which creates an "out to in" path closing the clubface and creating a pull. Since May is free lesson month check with your local PGA Professional (www.playgolfamerica.com) to see if he can fix this problem or visit us in the Twin Cities at one of our 5 golf courses. Good luck with your game and I'll see you on the course!
Q: Help, I am a 6'6 golfer, I can hit my irons with some consistency, my fairway woods are pretty good. I can hit any of my fairway woods off the tee but when I get my driver in my hands, it gets bad. Either I hit a low zinger or I slice badly. I am not trying to hit the heck out of it but feel cramped coming down which leads to pulling my arms in, maybe it is the longer shaft, any ideas on how to strike the ball better when I tee it up for the driver? It is standard length...
---Skip Gardiner, Santa Cruz, CA. 5/31/04

A: Hi Skip,
Join the club! With the driver we are the furthest from the ball and the club has the flattest lie. Add to that a minimal loft and the "kill" factor and your toast. Try and gain some rhythm with your irons and fairway woods then work into your driver. A half swing with your driver just to get some confidence is helpful. Reach a little for the ball and make sure your hips are clearing through impact. If your not sure, have your swing video taped by and PGA professional to see immediately if you on the right path to better golf. Good luck and I'll see you on the course!

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