Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Guest Post: 3 indoor drills you should be doing right now!

For my readers from colder climes, a guest post Maria Palozola, to help you gear up for new season (that being said, it's pretty good advice anyway irrespective of the season you find yourself in).

Still Cold Outside?  

With a couple more months of winter for most people in the states there's still time to make major changes before your season starts.  The good news is just about every part of your game can be improved upon indoors.  I tell my students there really never is an excuse not to practice, because you can work on both your full swing an short game indoors and without even ever hitting a ball.  You need to focus on making a new move first and get that grooved before you start worrying about the ball flight.  If you let the result distract you, it will only slow your progress.  For this reason I absolutely love teaching indoors and having my students hit into a net during the off season. I see them achieve their swing change goals much more rapidly than summer time students.  

Without knowing your own personal game and seeing your swing it's difficult for me to pick from my vast library of indoor drills and customise them to each person's game.

What I did instead is pick my 3 favourite drills (one for putting, one for short game and one for full swing) that can benefit EVERY golfer regardless of their skill level or issues they may have with their technique.  

Top 3 Indoor Drills

Putting - Baseboard Drill

This is by far my favourite indoor putting drill because it really kills two birds with one stone. 

The Baseboard Drill will help you monitor your swing path, but will also help you keep your head and body steady.  

Set Up - Simply put your head against a wall and the toe of your putter against the baseboard. 

Step 1 - Try this first without a ball.   Make slow practice strokes back and forth keeping your head and body steady.  If you are a player that likes to keep the putter moving in a straight line you will trace the baseboard with the toe of the putter.  If you arc the putter, then you can watch the putter head slowly move off the baseboard in an arc on the backswing, return to the baseboard in the middle and then move off of it again in an arc on the follow through. 

Step 2 - Now place a ball in front of your putter head and practice rolling putts with your desired swing path.  

Chipping - Pillow Drill

There aren't a lot of chipping drills you can do indoors, but this is a really useful one. 

With this drill you can work on your technique, but also work on your carry distances to your landing spot.  Hitting your landing spot is the key to rolling balls up tight to the pin for make-able one putts. 

Set Up - Grab the wedge of your choice and a pillow from your bedroom.  Make sure you have a good amount of space and use carpeting or a hitting tarp. You can certainly use real balls, but there is no need as foam practice balls give pretty good feel and will prevent holes in the walls if you shank one!  If you really don't trust yourself line your walls with pillows. 

Step 1 - Place a bedroom pillow about 5 yards away. Chip with your favourite club and practice landing the ball on the pillow. Don't roll the ball to the pillow, but rather fly it there. 

This drill is all about controlling your carry distances.  Once you get the hang things move the pillow progressively 5 yards away each time and then move it closer in again. 

Step 2 - Make a mental note of or chart the backswing length you need to make to fly the ball various distances. 
If you learn to control the trajectory and carry on your chip shots, the roll out will be very predictable.

Full Swing - Swing Plane Point Check

To me this is the ultimate indoor drill for full swing and I always try to include it when people ask me what they should do inside over the off season. This is the ultimate perfectionist's drill as it will get your swing on plane helping you hit the ball both straighter and farther.  

Set Up - Grab a mid iron and a second club that you will need to lay on the ground representing your target line.  Placing a tee in the bottom of the grip on the club you will be swinging may help you see where your club is pointing. Take your set up and hover the club in your hand over your target line.   

Step 1 - Start swinging your club back until it is parallel to the ground. This is the first check point.  The club in your hand should not only be parallel or even with the ground, it should be parallel to your target line if you have swung the club on plane.

Step 2 - Hinge your wrists. At this point your front arm (left arm fro right handers) should be even with the ground.  Check here to see if the butt end of your club is pointing back at your target line. If so you are on plane.  If the butt end is pointing in front of your ball, then you are too flat.  If the butt end is pointing inside the ball then you are too steep.  

Step 3 - Complete your shoulder turn and let your arms rise to the top.  Check to see that the club shaft is now parallel to the target line again. 

You can probably see the pattern here.  At all check points your club should be either pointed at your target line or parallel to it. You simply follow the same pattern with your downswing and follow through.

Apply The Antifreeze

Work on these 3 drills to keep the rust off of your clubs and your body while it's still cold outside. Don't fill your first 10 rounds this year with double and triple bogeys simply because you didn't have time to get to the range or there was snow on the ground.  

Instead, hone every part of your game by doing indoor drills for just a few minutes a day.

Maria Palozola is a Top 50 LPGA instructor who was voted by her peers as Midwest Section Teacher of the Year in 2013, 2011 & 2008.  She has taught golfers of all skill levels for more than 20 years and Golf Digest ranks her a Top 5 Teacher in the State. Maria instructs online at http://www.mygolfinstructor.com and offers private lessons in St. Louis at http://www.stlouisgolflessons.com.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Coming soon: Steyn City course review

I was fortunate enough to get invited to play Steyn City this past December on the last day before the course closed before preparations for its grand opening in February/March - to be honest I was completely blown away by the entire experience.

I'll get round to writing something up soon as.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Unfavourable reviews

So I got an email from the current management of the Potchefstroom Golf Club asking me to take down my previously uncomplimentary review of the club (have a look in the archives, it's not pretty).
I will like to know if you can remove something from your blog please.
It is about: Friday, 29 December 2006
Courses I've played : Potchefstroom Golf Club : 3/10

If People google Potchefstroom Golf Club the get your info of the golf club and it is not good for the golf club or the shop.
The club and the golf shop is under new management and new owners.

To which I responded
Until I have a chance to play the course again, the review will stand. The current situation does not change the truth of the what happened in the past.
I haven't heard a thing from them - obviously not happy with my approach.

To be fair though, you have to search for 'Potchefstroom Golf Club review' and then the post is toward the bottom of the first page of results - I am not sure how many golfers are adding this course to their could play list and depending on the reviews.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Guest Post: 2014 Masters Style Icons

With excitement now building for the upcoming “Masters Tournament” in April 2014, we take a look at some of the most stylish players taking part in this year’s anticipated tournament.  We know their odds and stats, but which of this year’s player’s will win in the Masters style stakes…..

Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson's exciting and aggressive style of play is sure to make his participation at this year’s even one to watch! Having signed a new clothing contract with Oakley in 2013, we are again sure to see him with a variety of new looks to suit his playing style. Online golf clothing store www.function18.com stock a wide range of Oakley clothing, including a range of items Bubba himself has been spotted in.

Jason Day

This stylish young Australian is definitely a key player to watch in this year’s tournament; in fact it will be pretty hard to miss Jason Day on the fairways. Contracted to wear the bold and bright Adidas Fashion Performance collection, we’re looking forward to seeing him wear some of the key pieces from the brand’s 2014 collection. 

Tiger Woods

Never one to disappoint in the Majors, Wood’s look is always clean cut, fresh and modern. With young Rory McIlroy snapping at his heels, he still remains a great style ambassador for Nike Golf, and his signature plain polo shirts and traditional neutral golf pants are an easy look for spectators to try themselves. 

Rory McIlroy

Head to toe in Nike, we’re sure to see Rory debut key pieces from the new Nike Spring / Summer 2014 collection throughout the tournament in April. As big fans of Nike Golf, in particular their impressive footwear collection, we’re looking forward to seeing what Nike has in store for SS14.  

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Guest Post: Golf Winter Checklist

One for my readers in the northern hemisphere.

As the cold weather fast approaches, now is the perfect time to get your winter golfing wardrobe ready for the big chill. From waterproofs to base layer clothing, there is a great range of golf clothing and accessories available to keep you warm and protected on the green this season; 

Base Layers 

It is worth investing in great base layers that can keep you warm this winter. Along with helping to regulate your body temperature in cold temperatures, base layers will also help to enhance your performance on the course, helping to unleash the power of your muscles and your stamina on the green. 

Add Layers

An inexpensive way of making the transition from summer to winter is simply by layering your clothing. Layer a golf jacket over your favourite shirt, and swap your golf shorts for a smarter (and warmer) pair of golf trousers. Online golf store Function18 have a great range of golf jumpers perfect for adding an extra warm layer to your golfing outfit. 


It goes without saying that autumn and winter are going to be filled with rainy days, so don’t forget to invest in some effective waterproof golf jackets and trousers. Golf clothing brands have incorporated a number of technical innovations to ensure you stay protected even when playing in the rain. Most golf jackets such as those from Galvin Green utilise cutting-edge technical materials such as GORE-TEX® fabrics to ensure great breathability to keep you comfortable as you play.

Hat and Gloves 

Don’t let the colder weather conditions affect your game this winter! Add a pair of gloves and a hat to your golfing bag this season to stay protected. These 2 key items will help retain body heat and keep your body well insulate. Specialist golfing gloves are available from many retailers, which include additional grips and non-slip grip designs to enhance your game. 

Shop winter golf clothing from top brands including Nike, Galvin Green and Oscar Jacobson online at www.function18.com

Courses I've played : The Els Club, Copperleaf : 10/10

Maybe I should start this post with a disclaimer. I am biased, this is my home course and there is nowhere else I enjoy playing in Gauteng more (that includes you River Club).

Ostensibly an inland links design, The Els Club is one of those courses that can be a pleasure to play or a sheer nightmare (I have seen a +1 shoot a 90+ in the wind!), the fairways are wide and generous but the bunkers and rough are penal and the holes are laid out to always take advantage of the prevailing wind in one way or another.

The Els Club is a long golf course, 7400m+ off the tips (it has the longest par 3 and par 5 on the European Tour), all of the low stroke holes generally play in to the wind, there are over 100 bunkers on the course (there is only one hole without a bunker and it ain't all that easy either) and enough water to scare the pants off a high handicapper.

That's not to say it isn't fun to play, most golfers will stay on a fairway and have a decent next shot, the challenge is that all of the hazards have been very cleverly placed and are generally in exactly the right position to catch you out if you are not on your game. The course also has a wide range of tee's which they use to full effect come monthly medal time.

My personal favourite hole is number 6 and its probably also the feature given the number of pictures that have been taken of it (it is both the banner and first picture in the gallery via the links below), it is a shortish par 4, with most low handicappers going off the tee with a long iron or rescue club and hoping they don't draw it into the water which runs parallel to the left of the fairway, higher handicappers might go with a driver but then run the risk of running out of fairway or slicing onto the sloped rough off the right of the fairway making for a seriously challenging second shot.

Every second shot is played over water to a raised green, which slopes sharply from back to front (you run the risk of spinning it back off the front edge if you leave it short and if you are really unlucky all the way back off into the water) surrounded by bunkers, rough and out of bounds. There are many tough pin positions on this green and management like to bring all of the hazards into play.

Walking off this green with a par, feels like a birdie! That being said there is always a good chance of taking the dreaded snowman if you having an off day. A great test of golf for golfers of all abilities.

Having played most if not all of the courses in Gauteng, I also believe that The Els Club has the best management team around, firm but fair and always looking after their golfers - we get to play on a great course every week, we are well looked after and most members I know don't really mind that we have to give it up for a week or two every year whilst the club hosts the Tshwane Open on the European Tour.

In the end, I suppose the nice thing about being a member at the The Els Club is that when ever you play away bunkers don't scare you and the course is never as long, if you have a single figure handicap at the The Els Club you probably deserve it.

I couldn't hope to fully do the course justice but have a look at some of the pictures via Ernie Els's website and that of the estate itself.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Guest Post - Selecting the right golf shoes for you

We all understand how importance comfort is when playing on the green. The average golfer walks around 4-5 miles per hour, now think about how long your average game lasts – and that is a lot of walking! 

Not only is comfortable and stable footwear important for walking, stable footing is extremely important to your performance. Professional golfers take their selection of footwear very seriously, and so should you! So here’s our top guide to choosing the perfect golf shoes for you; 


When it comes to selecting stylish golf shoes, there are 3 main styles on the market – traditional, athletic with and without spikes. Traditional golf shoes are made from leather, are very hard wearing and long lasting, yet lack flexibility and breathability. Whereas athletic golf shoes, both with and without spikes, are lightweight and extremely flexible. Many of the top golf brands including Nike, Adidas, Puma, Footjoy and Oakley supply a wide range of athletic golf shoes , often worn in major tournaments by professionals.


No matter how great your golf shoes look, if they don’t fit correctly, you will not be a happy golfer! Your new golf shoes should give you space to wiggle your toes, feel secure yet give you room for your feet to breathe. Your golf shoes should be a little tighter than your day to day shoes, as you will need extra support from your whole body when swinging the club – and if your shoes are too loose this can also cause you to slide or loose stability when swinging the club. 

We also suggest getting your feet measured before picking your new shoes – our top tip is to get your feet measured at the end of the day as this is when your feel will be a little swollen. Also many golfers wear extra thick socks for comfort when playing, so be sure to wear the same thickness of socks when trying on new golf shoes. 


Golf shoes generally range in price from around £45 to £150 and above. Depending on the amount of golf you play, we suggest weighing up a number of options before splashing out on a new pair of golf shoes. Just because a golf shoe is more expensive, doesn’t mean the best shoe for you, for example Rory McIlroy is a big fan of Nike Footwear, in particular Nike Lunar Footwear, as are many pro and amateur golfer, which are available from around £89.99 [So why do we pay some much in South Africa? Ed]. 


It may be the height of summer, but you want your golf shoes to last you through all seasons! Be sure your new shoes have a waterproof element to them, as there is nothing worse that wet feet on the green. Many golfers recommend Footjoy, Oakley and Adidas branded golf shoes for sustainability in wet weather. 


Spikes will give you more grips when playing and are a must on hilly courses. Some say spikeless shoes are more comfortable especially for a short game, but choose based on your swing, environment and how regularly you are playing.

Overall, your golf shoes should provide maximum comfort so you can thoroughly enjoy your game and perform to the best of your ability. To shop a wide range of golf shoes, clothing and accessories visit online golf store www.function18.co.uk 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Golf Jackets vs. the Puffer Caddy

Finding the right golf jacket is very important; not only do you need to be protected from the elements but your golf wear needs to allow you to have freedom of movement on the golf course. When it comes to choosing outerwear for this sport, it can sometimes be quite difficult to find the balance between warmth / protection and flexibility of motion. 

Whilst some golfers opt for the popular puffer caddy for free arm movement, others still believe that a traditional golfing jacket can provide maximum comfort and performance. 

Here we take a look at the pros and cons of both. 

The Golf Jacket 

Although some golfers may prefer to choose a gilet for freedom of movement, there are many golf jackets that could offer the same movement if you know what you’re looking for. The key to finding a decent golf jacket that does not hinder your golf swing is to find the right fit so knowing your own sizing is very important. Trying on a few different brands will help you get a feel of whether you are S, M or L consistently or whether you need to adjust your size choice with each brand. 

Golf jackets should be lightweight and fuss free; a simple cut, basic collar and sleeve to ensure that you can move about as easily as you need to when you’re on the golf course. 

You will also find that many specialist golfing jackets can offer features such as adjustable Velcro sleeves, windbreak technology, interlock fleece lining for extra warmth, moisture wicking properties such as a mesh lining (to keep you dry), or waterproof coating. 

The Puffer Caddy 

A puffer caddy is a sports gilet designed for serious golfers. With free arm movement, the puffer caddy can be very warm to wear when you team with base layers and a decent mid layer. The quilted layers within the jacket are there to keep golfers warm when the weather is bitter but to make sure you keep fully protected, it’s important to invest in the correct base tops or thermals. 

Due to the sleeveless design, a puffer caddy offers the flexibility of being zipped up or worn unzipped without having any restrictions to your golf swing.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Courses I've played: Eye of Africa 7.5/10

This course has so much going for it - a stunning design that makes use of the terrain within which it lives, challenging grainy greens (when they are not hollotined) and somewhat spectacular views.

Unfortunately, its also way out of town, barely has any pre and post round facilities to speak of and it appears from their attitude that some members of the staff would rather be elsewhere. This is a development crying out for its investors to put more money in, to keep up with the stunning (and some not so stunning) houses going up around the course (look to Copperleaf as an example).

That being said, I had a great time playing the course (my second outing) and would gladly take the hour drive south of Joburg again. As mentioned above, the course looks stunning and requires some careful shot making in order to negotiate your way round. It is short by comparison to some of the newer courses in Gauteng and the fairways are quite generous in places but if you hit a long ball and try to overpower the course, you will find yourself in trouble more often than not.

The feature hole for me has to be the par 4, stroke 1, 3rd - a tricky little bugger were you can run out of space to the left, to the right and thru the fairway (if the wind is blowing), with bunkers and out of bounds to be avoided on the left, a hazard running the entire length of the right hand side of the fairway with a raised green for your approach shot. Played off the tee with a driver, you won't have much more than a 9 iron in for your second, but it is uphill (you often won't see the bottom of the pin, on the tiered green) and you have to come in over the hazard. Walking off with a par is very satisfying.

From a looks perspective, I would go for the par 3 16th, a steeply downhill hole, with a game reserve off to the left, a koppjie behind and non-intrusive houses to the left. It looks easy off the tee box but there are bunkers to catch you out and a false front that deals with anything short.

The only reason it falls short from an overall rating perspective is due to the aforementioned lack of facilities and attitude of some of the staff. A move to the large farm house (instead of living in the stables) would make a world of difference. Also trying buying some new buckets for the range, the broken ones look crap.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Guest Post - 118golf.co.uk

Three Ways to Improve your Golf Game in 2012

If you want to improve your performance on the course, here are three ways to ensure you are at the top of your game.

  • Analyse Your Game

    If you want to get better at golf, the first step is to identify the problems. If you can highlight your weaknesses, you can begin to put together a strategy to fix these issues. Take notes about every game you play and make a list of your victories and losses. Recording information such as this can help you to look at your overall game and make improvements. There are many Apps you can download that can analyse your game for you and they also give you pointers that can help you up your game.
  • Put in the Time

    Practise makes perfect and if you want to improve, you will have to put in some extra hours. The more effort you put in to a sport, the better results you will see. If you have a club membership, increase your visits or simply increase the length of your weekly session.
  • Upgrade your Equipment

    If you are playing with worn out clubs, it could be time for an upgrade. Go online to research the best clubs on the market and shop around-you can check out golf clubs for sale while you do!