Have a plan and use workstations when you practice

By Vikki VanderpoolJune 7, 2013, 2:00 pm

This time of year, many golfers are starting to take lessons and work on their games.

What do you do once you take a lesson? How do you start making changes? When does a change become permanent? Ultimately, how do you practice effectively? I hear these questions often from students.

When I see my students around the club, I always ask them how their golf is progressing.

I get a variety of replies but when I hear these responses like “I’ve played a few times and hit some good, some bad” or “I haven’t played much but I’ve been to the range a couple of times and I still don’t see any improvements yet” I become challenged as to why they're not improving.

During the lesson, I can see students improving. So what happens when they are not with me and practicing on their own?

My response to them is “tell me what specifically you have been trying to accomplish during your practice to make these changes.”

That’s when I hear a long pause, and then usually nothing. I realize they don’t know how to apply the changes during their practice sessions.

So here’s what I recommend:

Work on one thing at a time and devote 100 percent of your time to this change. A corrective drill is usually given to make changes in the right direction. It also gives you a feel for what needs to happen.

Also, always create a workstation.

We know that a good golf swing usually results from good fundamentals. And since golf is an individual sport, we typically work on our swing by ourselves. So how do we know that we are lined up correctly, or that the ball is in the proper position or that our backswing is on plane? Well, that’s where a workstation comes in handy.

It’s essential that practice has value and that we have drills or obstacles to give us feedback. A workstation is a hitting area that encompases aids. For example, alignment rods, which can be placed on the ground to assist with a good setup for the feet, body and golf ball.

Most golfers tend to line up to the right of their target, if they are right-handed. Alignment rods aid the golfer in getting comfortable on the range and taking it to the course.

We can lay down clubs to know for a fact how we are lined up, and if it feels different on the course, we know we probably aren’t lined up correctly.

Other examples of items you can use to create an effective workstation could include:

A water bottle: Used often in relation to swing path to avoid an over-the-top swing, or outside-to-inside path. This is great for eliminating a slice.

A headcover: Place one under your lead arm, as it’s good for keeping the forward arm connected on the downswing.

Tees: Use these to see where you’re striking the ground or the path of the backswing. They’re also effective on the putting green to work on your stroke.

A chair: Using a chair is a great way to work on upper body motion, as well maintaining stance and posture during the swing.

Mirrors: Sometimes feel isn’t real and using mirrors to check your positions will always reveal the truth about your setup and swing positions.

If you have a game plan when your practice and set up workstations that will help you accomplish your practice goals, you’ll see the benefits on the course.

Take an online lesson with Vikki Vanderpool.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 22, 2018, 5:25 pm

Tiger Woods is in the final group on Saturday at the Tour Championship. He's out at 2:30 p.m. ET with Justin Rose and we're tracking him.


Iowa State Cyclones cheerleaders pause at a memorial in the Jacobson Building honoring Celia Barquin Arozamena, at Jack Trice Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Ames, Iowa. Getty Images

Iowa State honors Arozamena before football game

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 4:57 pm

AMES, Iowa - Iowa State honored slain golf star Celia Barquin Arozamena with an elaborate ceremony ahead of the Cyclones' game against Akron on Saturday.

Iowa State's band used a formation that spelled out Barquin's initials, and both teams wore a decal on their helmets in her memory.

A tribute to Barquin played on a video screen before a moment of silence, and fans were also asked to wear yellow, one of Iowa State's main colors and a nod to Barquin's Spanish roots. Most of the roughly 60,000 fans in attendance complied with yellow and with golf shirts on a chilly morning in central Iowa.

"I think it's fantastic. The tribute is amazing. But ultimately, it would have been perfect if she could have been here for her tribute, which was going to happen anyway." said Ed Hamilton, a retired police officer from nearby Ankeny, Iowa.

Barquin, the Cyclones' first conference champion in 25 years, was finishing up her degree at Iowa State and working toward her ultimate goal of becoming a professional golfer.


A memorial honoring Celia Barquin Arozamena at Jack Trice Stadium. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)


Barquin competed in the U.S Women's Open earlier this summer, and coach Christie Martens said she was approaching "the pinnacle of her career."

"Iowa State fans are very loyal. We haven't had too many winning football teams over the years. Yet the fans turn out. There's a great loyalty here -- but it spills into other sports as well," said Iowa State fan Kent Hollrah of Denison, Iowa.

Collin Richards, also 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in Barquin's death. Police said Richards stabbed Barquin and left her body in a pond on the course, where it was found after other golfers noticed her abandoned bag.

Cyclones coach Matt Campbell also wore an Iowa State golf hat on the sideline to show solidarity with his colleagues.

"Be with all of us today Celia, your legacy will forever live on & we are forever grateful for your impact. Much love from your Cyclonitas," Iowa State linebacker Willie Harvey tweeted earlier Saturday, using the nickname that Barquin had for her teammates.

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Tiger, Bryson testing each other's golf balls ahead of Paris

By Rex HoggardSeptember 22, 2018, 4:21 pm

ATLANTA – The U.S. Ryder Cup team won’t arrive in Paris for next week’s matches until Monday, but one pairing already seems to be penciled into captain Jim Furyk’s lineup.

Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau have become regular practice-round partners, and when Furyk made both captain’s picks, it added to the notion that they would be paired during the team sessions in France. On Tuesday at East Lake, Woods and DeChambeau teed it up yet again.

Both Woods and DeChambeau play Bridgestone golf balls, although they use different models.

“The two are very similar, they are very numbers-oriented and that translates to their feel on the course, but they get fitted to two different golf balls,” said Adam Rehberg, Bridgestone Golf’s ball-fitting manager.


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Woods plays the company’s Tour B XS, which is softer and spins more, while DeChambeau plays the Tour B X, which is designed to take spin off shots.

Although DeChambeau played a version of the company’s golf ball that was close to what Woods now plays earlier in his career, he appeared to be preparing for a pairing next week during Tuesday’s practice round.

“I’ve seen some chipping of the other’s ball during practice rounds, getting used to it,” Rehberg said. “There’s been some sharing of golf balls internally between those guys. It’s almost like the worst kept secret in golf. It seems they are going to be paired up one way or another.”

The rules for the Ryder Cup were changed in 2006. They allow for foursomes teams to change golf balls between holes but not during a hole, which explains the duo’s interest in becoming comfortable with the other’s golf ball, particularly around the green and for chip shots.

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Casey: RC teams planning Lyle, Celia tributes

By Rex HoggardSeptember 22, 2018, 3:58 pm

ATLANTA – Throughout this season Paul Casey has been in regular contact with European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn, with most communication being via text messages that the Englishman said always included an eclectic range of emojis.

But when the Dane decided to make Casey one of his four captain’s picks, it had to be a phone call.

“He called on Monday (Sept. 3). I was in the parking garage at the Philadelphia Marriott,” Casey said this week at the Tour Championship. “It was rewarding, emotional, so many things.”


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Since being named to the team, Casey said his communication with Bjorn and the other members of the European team has been via WhatsApp, which allows the team to share ideas and finalize plans for next week’s matches. Casey said the exchanges have mainly featured good-natured teasing and a some silly pictures, with a few serious moments.

The European team, in coordination with the U.S. team, is planning to honor Jarrod Lyle, a former PGA Tour player who died last month following his third bout with leukemia, next Thursday in France. There is a public memorial service planned for Lyle on Thursday in Australia.

Casey also said the team is coordinating a plan to also honor Celia Barquín Arozamena, a top college player from Spain who was murdered this week in Iowa.