Scotty Cameron is Smarter than You.

Seems I’ve been talking putting a lot lately with my clients. This is one of my favorite and one of my most popular articles from way back in 2012. Thought I’d repost it. It’s always relevant. Thanks to my friend Pete Bilheimer back in Savannah, Georgia, for posing for the photo.

Here’s a golfing tale with which we’re all familiar. If it doesn’t describe you, it surely describes one of your golfing buddies.

So, you’ve just bought a new Scotty Cameron because you can’t make a 4 foot putt to save your life. It sure is pretty! Not only that, it’s a trophy. It’s proof that not only are you a serious golfer, but one of taste as well. You can’t wait to show the guys because they’re going to want one too. They’ll envy you. Status, baby! That’s what it’s all about.

You go to the course and one by one each of your friends sees, inspects and takes a few whacks with your new baby. Everyone is drooling over her and telling you how good she feels. The attention is intoxicating. You’re a star!

So you now go to play your round and as you approach each green, everyone in your group has their eyes squarely on you—because now you’ll make everything. Right?

As the round goes on and the short ones fail to drop, you can sense your friends’ disappointment, because it’s the same old story. You’re still one of them. You have been exposed. Your buddies know that there is no magic cure in that stick. You use your same tired excuses, “I’ve just got to get used to it,” and, “It’s a little different than my other Scotty.” Then one of your friends asks, “What are you going to do with your old putter? Can I buy it from you?” You respond, “Which one? I have a garage full of them.”

Boom. The lightbulb finally goes off. You realize that your putting is not getting any better. You’ve struggled with the same problem for as long as you can remember, and worse than that, you are not so much a golfer as you are a “collector.” You own enough putters to start a putt-putt course. You cry out in desperation, “Why don’t I ever get better?!”

~ The End ~

I hate to break it to you, but it’s you.

When I give a putting lesson the very first thing I look at is whether the putter is soled properly. Sounds basic, but rarely do I see it sitting on the green the way it was designed to sit.

Scotty Cameron and other top club designers have dedicated their working lives trying to make putting easier for all golfers, both amateur and pro. However, not one of them that I know of has ever designed a putter that wasn’t intended to be soled squarely on the ground. Yet, I see more toes in the air then you’d see at a morgue. So then the question I ask is, “Why do you do that?”

If you don’t sole the club properly you are, in essence, voiding the warranty, with any putter. Club designers like Scotty Cameron are craftsmen. If he saw you using his creation incorrectly, he’d be sad. Don’t undo his genius.

There are many reasons golfers miss putts, but if you don’t set the club up properly before it ever starts in motion, you’re fighting a losing battle—emphasis on losing.

When the toe is in the air, many things are going wrong. For one thing, you’re probably standing too far from the ball, which means the ball isn’t directly under your eyes, as almost every teacher in the world encourages.

If you are too far from the ball, and your toe is in the air, you will pull many putts. When you get tired of pulling putts, you’re hands will say, “This stinks, I don’t want to do that.” Then you will begin to push putts. After your confidence has been completely eroded away, you will find yourself standing over 3 and 4 footers wondering things like, “Who am I? Where am I?” Then, it’s off to Edwin Watts! You think, “Maybe I can buy my way out of this funk.”

Fact of the matter is, all of your putters work! The problem is that most golfers adjust the putter to their own faulty set-up.

So, here’s the lesson: Sole the putter flat on the ground, then adjust your stance so that the putter stays soled properly. It’s pretty easy. Just keep inching in a little closer to the ball until the putter head is perfectly flat. Some of you will feel too close to the ball, but you’re not! If you feel too close, it’s only because you were too far away to begin with. In the proper position (second photo), you’ll use your hands less, your big muscles more, and you’ll hole tons more putts.

All golfers need to come to terms with the fact that they can’t buy their way out of bad mechanics.

Do me a favor. Send me the next 300 beans you would have spent on a new putter. Leave a comment and I’ll give you my address.

We’ll talk a lot more about putting soon.

One of the Funniest Golf Books of 2017

Here is what Charlie Rymer of the Golf Channel said about, 50 Reasons to HATE Golf and Why You Should NEVER Stop Playing!:

“Fred Fruisen does a great job of identifying golf’s intriguing dichotomy. Read this hilarious book and find out why all of us golfers are bat sh*t crazy!”   – Charlie Rymer, Golf Channel

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Every golfer has a love/hate relationship with the game of golf. We have all been frustrated to the point of announcing our departure from this infuriating sport only to show up at the course the next day, excited to play again.

This book is a look at this addictive, wonderful, strange, beautiful, exasperating, mystifying sport and the golf culture that has obsessed us all for more than 500 years.

You will certainly see a bit of yourself and your playing partners in its pages.

Available everywhere books are sold.

Hardcover. Only $12.99 usd. Published by punchline ideas.

At the PGA Show!

I just got to see the first copies of the new book and over the next few days I’m showing the book around at the #PGAShow in Orlando, Florida.

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Big News! The publisher (Punchline ideas) is pushing the release date up from April to February. A good sign!! The official release date is now on Valentine’s Day—which makes 50 REASONS TO HATE GOLF AND WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER STOP PLAYING the perfect gift for your golfing sweetie!

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The Big Timer, Charlie Rymer!

 

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Charlie Rymer of the Golf Channel was gracious enough to read my book early on and even wrote a blurb for the cover. Today I got to hand him a copy for his golfing library.

More to come.

Don’t Hit the Ball!

Here is a great tip to hit longer, straighter tee shots!

Do you hit low drives? Do you hit drives that curve a lot left or right? Are most of your friends longer off the tee than you?

If your answer to any of these questions is YES, it could be because you’re focused on hitting the wrong thing. If you want to smash longer, straighter drives then don’t hit the ball. You read this right– don’t hit the ball! Focus all of your attention on hitting the TEE!

If you look down after a drive and see the tee hasn’t moved there is a great chance you mis-hit your drive.

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Anyone who has taken lessons from me has heard me say countless times, “HIT THE TEE!” It’s a very simple way to hit better quality tee shots. I tell my students, “I don’t ever want them to hit the ball, I want them to hit what’s under the ball.”

Here is why:

If you focus on hitting the ball there is a very good chance you will lift up during impact and the ball will hit the lower half of the club face. Hitting the ball low in the club face will result in lower, shorter drives that spin more which cause the ball to curve a great deal more left or right.

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Something most people don’t know is that all of the top club manufacturers have built a “Hot Spot” on face of your driver. This spot is high on the face. If you do hit the tee, the ball will hit high on the driver face (in the hot spot). If you hit the hot spot the ball will spin far less. The result–the ball carries farther and because it is spinning less, when it hits the ground the ball will jump forward like it hit pavement. That is how the pros get the impressive distances they do. Yes, they do carry it far but much of their mammoth distance comes from the ball bounding down the fairway after it lands.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Ok then, how do we do this?

  1. Make sure the ball is teed up properly. We want to have half the ball higher than the top of the club.

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2. Your main goal on the swing is knocking the tee out of the ground (or at least have it leaning forward) after your tee shot. If you look down after the tee shot and the tee hasn’t budged, UGH! Try again.

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One thing I can promise you– the next time you’re on the first tee feeling nervous, if you ignore the ball completely and focus on hitting the tee, you’ll start off your round with a much better tee shot.

This article will also appear in February 2017 issue of New Zealand Golf Magazine.

Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Witton.

Exciting News !

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Me working on my new book in Auckland, New Zealand.

Hello loyal followers!

Sorry there haven’t been any posts recently. I’ve been busy!

Here is what has been going on:

In March of this year I began talking to a publisher in the U.S. (Punchline Books) and we got talking about an idea for a project and a long story short– I ended up signing a contract to write and illustrate a book about golf!

The book will be a humorous book about golf. I’m not suppose to tell you the title yet but in the near future I will be able to give everyone all the details.

The book will be in stores in April of 2017. You will be able to pre-order copies sometime before the end of the year on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other major book sellers. The book will be hard cover and will also be available as an ebook. It will be a great gift idea for next Fathers Day!

I’m very excited about the project and as of now have completed the writing and am about 50% through the illustrations.

Very excited!

Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand

Recently I played one of the top golf courses in the world. Since then I have thought about it so often that I decided I must write about it and share my experience with you.

IMG_5774The 15th Green. Notice the “Danger Cliffs” sign. This par 5 is monster at 600 yds. from the white tees! 650 from the tips.

In March of 2016 Golf Digest ranked Cape Kidnappers as #16 in the world. A worthy ranking indeed.

The experience of playing Cape Kidnappers is unique in every way. When you arrive at Cape Kidnappers golf course you are greeted by a dirt road and gray metal gate and no sign of a golf course. You buzz the pro shop, tell them who you are. This is not a just show up spur of the moment and play kind of place. The gate opens and you begin a 15-20 minute drive through forest and wilderness. Again, no sign of a golf course.

Eventually, you arrive at what looks to be a small, rustic cabin that is the clubhouse. Not what you are expecting. Not the grand palace that accompanies a course with such credentials.

The clubhouse is bigger than it first appears and has an inviting and comfortable atmosphere.

Cape Kidnappers averages only about 40 rounds a day so don’t be surprised if the pro shop staff is very attentive.

Chances are while warming up on the range you and your group will be the only ones in sight. When we played we were the only group on the course. Which adds even more to the experience. You don’t feel rushed. You have time to soak it all in, take photos and to also feel the experience. Because there is a feeling there. I felt like I was literally in golf heaven. You sort of can’t believe the quality of the course and the off the charts spectacular setting.

I’ve played other courses in the top 20 in the world and they all have an ora about them which should be savored and not rushed. These rare feelings are ones you will recall throughout your life because they are so special.

The vistas immediately grab you. The course sits upon 400 ft. cliffs that over look the south pacific.

As you play the front nine each hole gets more impressive. Tom Doak, the course designer, did a masterful job of putting together what seems to be 18 signature holes.

This is a tough course, but the fairways are generous. They need to be because it can get pretty windy there. We were lucky in that we saw the course on a calm, chamber of commerce kind of day.

The entire time you play the front nine you are saying to yourself and anyone who will listen, “Can you believe this place? This is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.”

Incidentally, I played with my one of my best friends from college, Russ Bryant (we played college golf together) who is a professional photographer and has been all over the world. He concurs. The place is hard to describe. You sort of have to go and experience it for yourself. Yeah, these photos are beautiful but I don’t think any photos could do it justice.

IMG_5748The view from behind the par 3, 11th. About 225 yds. from the back tee which is located on the small strip of land just left of the pin.

Again, as you play the front nine and you are in awe, you know in the back of your mind, we haven’t even gotten to the back nine yet. That is the spectacular nine holes!

So many of the holes seem to be on the edge of the world. It’s almost like infinity golf. You know the infinity pools where you just see water then sky? It’s the same kind of thing. You are so high up and you are hitting golf shots that have no backdrop other than sky. It’s pretty surreal.

Yes, the back nine is amazing. Most of the back nine is on what they call, “the fingers” which have holes going toward and away from the ocean on narrow strips of land where if you are off the fairway (left, right or long) your ball, or you for that matter, will fall off a cliff. I even heard that they took the plexiglass windscreens off the carts because on windy days the windshield would act like a sail and if the brake wasn’t on carts would occasionally find their way off the cliffs.

IMG_5762The walk between the 14th tee to the fairway. Every step is incredibly beautiful at Cape kidnappers.

The cool thing about the course is the rhythm. The drama keeps building all the way to the 16th hole where the tee box is a little piece of land perched on the edge of a cliff. Then as you head in for the last couple of holes and head away from the sea, you can sort of catch your breath and process what you’ve just experienced.

Cape Kidnappers should be on everyones bucket list of courses to play.

I’ve played the Old course at St. Andrews a few times. It is the same feeling as standing on that course. Don’t miss it! New Zealand has so many amazing courses and all are inexpensive compared to the rest of the world. Kidnappers would have be about the most expensive in New Zealand. About $250 usd. That’s cheaper than any of the great golf courses in the U.S.

Are You a Shotgun or a Laser ?

I have found over the years that poor alignment is the root cause of many issues that golfers have with their game.

We all know that mental focus is a very important aspect of playing good golf; focusing the body is also essential.

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Alignment points are located from your head to your toes. Your body has six important parts that need to align together in order to hit crisp, consistent and predictable golf shots. These six are the feet, knees, hips, elbows, shoulders and eyes. If any of these are not aligned to the same target, the effect is much like firing a shotgun: the pellets go everywhere! Some pellets will hit their target, but the majority of them will miss. Not a solid strategy for shooting lower scores. Now, if all six parts are focused on the same target—that’s powerful! That would be like focusing many rays of light on the same object, much like a laser. The concentrated focus of the rays become so concentrated and unified that they can actually cut through metal! That’s the kind of power and concentrated focus that we are looking for during the pre-shot routine.

All too often I see a golfer’s feet, for example, aiming off in one direction—say right—and another part like the shoulders, aiming to the left as shown in the green graphic. In this case the feet want the ball to go right and the shoulders want the ball to go left. Opposition has been created within the body. This opposition makes it very difficult for the body to focus on a single target. This opposition creates confusion, which kills focus, which then affects the physical action of hitting the golf ball, which directly affects the outcome, which in turn kills confidence. What is the result? You hit the ball everywhere, especially on important shots! The effect will likely be magnified even more because of excessive side spin that poor alignment puts on the ball.

Simply put, the entire body must be in agreement on where the ball should go. Otherwise, it’s far less likely that you will hit your target.

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So, lets talk about how to do this easily at address so that we look more like the blue graphic…

FEET: Align your toes parallel left of the target (if you are a right handed golfer). Very often I see golfers make the mistake of aiming their feet at the target, which actually aligns the feet right of where you want the ball to go. We want the clubface aimed at the target. The feet should be set up parallel to the target line.

KNEES: Make sure you look down you have the same amount of knee flex in each leg. You should be able to see the same amount of each of your feet.

HIPS: If your knees look good, then your hips should be good.

ELBOWS: All of our six alignment parts are important, but aligning the elbows is absolutely crucial to success. I can tell my students all day to work on their shoulder alignment, but it’s very difficult for them to feel what’s right, because you can’t see your shoulders at address. They can, however, see their elbows. So if I ask them to make sure the the line drawn from the elbows match their toe line, then matching up the upper body and the lower body becomes easy. Another thing about the elbows– if you have too much tension in your right arm (if you are right handed) it will usually lead to setting up with your shoulders open.

SHOULDERS: The shoulders will follow the alignment of the elbows.

EYES: This is a part of alignment that is often overlooked. Many of my students unknowingly have their head tilting to the right which throws off their perspective of what proper alignment is. Make sure you check your eyes.

So, now you are aligned properly. Providing that your clubface is also properly aligned you’ll find it much easier to hit your target because the club will start and continue on a better, more reliable swing path.

Result: You’ll hit far fewer off-line shots. This should really help lower your score.

So, now you are aligned properly. Providing that your clubface is also properly aligned you’ll find it much easier to hit your target because the club will start and continue on a better, more reliable swing path.

Result: You’ll hit far fewer off-line shots. This should really help lower your score.

This article was also published in the October 2015 issue of New Zealand Golf Magazine.

Adjust Your Driver, PLEASE ! ! !

Today’s drivers, fairway woods and hybrids all have more technology than ever before. In the last five years, almost every brand has gone to models that are completely adjustable. This gives everyone a chance to be better at the distance clubs than they’ve ever been! Strangely, when I give a lesson and I look in the players bag, 8 out of 10 times I see the club set on neutral.

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Failure to adjust an adjustable club is one of the most frustrating things I see as a coach.

When I watch my student hit drivers, I observe the ball flight and usually see a pattern; either most go left ,or most go right. OR, some balls go left, some go right, some go straight. That last pattern happens because the student is trying to manipulate the clubface with the hands—an attempt to compensate for natural tendencies—which of course is very difficult to do with any degree of consistency.

Generally at this point I ask, “What do you have your driver set on?”

The student answers, “Neutral” (or “A-1” or some equivalent).

I ask, “Why?”

The student answers, “That’s what it was set on when I bought it.”

I then bite my tongue before answering something like, “Most every ball you have hit sliced. Wouldn’t you like to hit it straighter?”

At this point over the years I’ve gotten some pretty insane answers. The craziest responses come from students who are my strongest players. Mere mention of the idea of changing the setting is almost always met with resistance and skepticism. Many stronger players view changing the setting as a sign of weakness.

I’ve heard this ridiculous comment more than once: “I don’t want to use that as a crutch.”

This is my cue to point out that there isn’t a guy on tour whose driver is set on neutral—and they make MILLIONS.

So the question is, why would you want the game to be harder for you than it is for the pros? Why aren’t you taking advantage of technology like they are willing to do?

Everyone having their driver set on neutral is like saying that everyone is the same shoe size, or the same pant size.

If I put you in my clothes, XL shirt, pants (38×32) or my shoe (11.5), how would it feel? How would it look? Could you run in my shoes? Would my pants look really big on you?

I have a son who is about to be 14 who wears a size 9 shoe and has a 28 in waist. He would look ridiculous in my things. I would look equally ridiculous in his.

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You get the point.

Your assignment: go to the range. Chart your drives. (Most of you already know your tendencies, but a session on the range for this purpose will prove them to you.) Then adjust your driver to to the opposite of your most common miss. If your miss is a slice, set it for draw, if your miss is left, open the face.

If you’re already awesome, adjust your driver to take one side of the golf course out of play. If your home course has a lot of trouble on the left, adjust your driver so that it’s almost impossible to hit it left. There is nothing more liberating than standing on the tee on a really important hole and having no fear. Fearless is what you achieve by adjusting the setting on your driver. Hitting the fairway is fun! Don’t be afraid. You’ll only get better.

After you do this you’ll be able to swing your natural swing and not try to manufacture a swing. Your move will get less handsy over time and your drives and scores will improve.

You’re not neutral. There is no one else like you. Use technology to your advantage. Club manufacturers spent millions and millions of R&D dollars developing this technology, so use it! You will improve, enjoy the game and feel good about yourself.

Commandment #2

I’ve seen it for years, players automatically pegging it up in the middle of the tee box on every hole without any thought. Then after the drive ends up in the woods or a hazard, the golfer usually curses and takes a few moments to rehearse his backswing, thinking his swing was the problem. Guess what? More times than not, the swing wasn’t the issue. But every time this happens during his round, the player continues to question his swing mechanics and tries to fix problems that aren’t there. Late in the round when his confidence is somewhat eroded you can almost count on a big mistake being made on an important tee shot.

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The real problem was that the golfer did not consider the angles of the golf hole. On each tee shot you need to ask yourself, “Where can I miss and still make par? Where is the big mistake?”

The solution is simple: Pick a side. Tee the ball up on one side of the tee box or another to create the best angle to play the hole. And, there is always a better side.

Tee the ball up on the side of the hole you wish to avoid. This allows you to hit away from trouble and dramatically decrease the odds of making the big mistake.

When I see someone tee up on the wrong place within the tee box, I can usually tell you where the ball is going to end up before the shot is hit. Some people think I’m a wizard or something, but it’s just years and years of seeing the same predictable mistake repeated thousands of times.

Something that many golfers don’t realize is that one of the tools that golf course architects use is illusion and deception. Course architects will create angles that make golfers feel uncomfortable. This is a golf course’s best defense against giving up a score. Bunkers, hazards, the direction of the holes (doglegs, etc.) aren’t there just to look pretty; they are there to create doubt and fear.

Stand behind some of the tee boxes at your home course. Notice that many aren’t aiming you down the middle of the fairway. Sometimes they are actually aiming you toward the trouble.

Using the tee box to your advantage is one of the easiest of The Commandments to apply. I’ve seen it change a decent college player into a very effective one. This Commandment is so important because you apply it on every hole BEFORE you have ever hit your first shot. If you commit to using this strategy you’ll be amazed how much more effective your tee shots are.

Golf is a game of misses. You are going to miss some of your targets; even the pros do. If you allow yourself room to for your imperfection, you’ll be okay. If you regularly have to reach into your bag for another ball, you won’t have much fun.

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