Carly's blog - news and views on the world of ladies' golf
I'm sorry to say that my appearance in the Sunningdale Foursomes last week was short lived! It turns out playing off the men's white tees (and they were truly pushed back to the limit) is harder than it looks! My partner (Dorset's County Captain Giles Legg) and I put on an admirable performance but lost on the 17 th hole to our opponents from Trevose Golf Club after they had a series of sensational up-and-downs and put on a display of near-perfect putting.
Not surprisingly such class on the greens has turned my attentions to the importance of the short stick this week. It doesn't matter how long or how straight you are with your long game, if you can't get the ball in the hole! So I've included a few instruction tips for your putting practice from top ladies coach Lynn McCool, as well as testing a handy training aid you might want to take along with you to the greens. I've only been using it a week but it's already made a massive difference to my stroke and my confidence. Happy putting!
TRIED & TESTED
Trueplane putting training aid
Carly says: It's fair to say that my confidence with the putter had reached rock bottom when I took the Trueplane onto the practice green last week, yet within five minutes of using this simple training aid my stroke felt completely transformed. It's simple to set up; you just find a straight putt, peg it into the ground and roll the ball from opposite the centre line. The Trueplane acts as a guideline, for your putter to rock back and through.
Taking the doubt away from my aim allowed me to focus on the fundamentals of my stroke and develop a perfect putter path. All I had to do then was keep my head down and listen for the putt to drop. I then moved to the side of the Trueplane and applied the sample principles and feeling to my stroke and hey presto the putts started dropping, one after one! I got a few strange looks from the golfers walking past the putting green wondering what I was up to, but it may have also been looks of intrigue because I was rolling in putt after putt. My plan is to practice my stroke with the Trueplane for five minutes on the green every time before I play a game and I honestly believe I'll be holing more putts than ever on the course - I'll keep you posted!
GEAR FOR THE GREENS...
Do you repair your pitch marks correctly?
All conscientious club golfers know that it is vital to repair any pitch marks they make on the greens as soon as they are made, but I am the first to admit that I've never really been shown how to do so properly. How many of you will simply dig around the impression left by the ball with a blunt tee in the hope that it fixes the job? I learned this week that this seemingly innocent action can often do more harm than good, taking upwards of three weeks and often longer, for the green to recover (see below for instructions on how to repair your pitch mark correctly). This makes using the right tool for the job vital if you are going to take the time, trouble and responsibility of some DIY repairs. Step in the Champ Golf FLIX Lite Divot Repair Tool, which, when used correctly, will have your greens as smooth as silk, and leaving no more nasty surprises for the group behind!
The innovative Flix Lite divot repair tool opens up automatically at the press of a button, and folds back neatly to prevent the two prongs from causing any unpleasant jabs in sensitive places when returned to the pocket. It also comes supplied with a useful Flix branded magnetically-attached ball marker, which can also feature corporate logos, club crests and company names for bulk orders. It comes in a choice of black, white, orange, lime green and pink. So say 'goodbye' to bumpy greens and 'hello' to holing more birdie putts with the Champ FLIX Divot Repair Tool.
DO'S AND DON'T OF REPAIRING PITCHMARKS
The CHAMP FLIX, which is priced at £9.99 is available now at any local golf shop. Visit www.champspikes.com
IMPROVE YOUR PUTTING
By Lynn McCool, Director of Golf & Head Professional, Lough Erne, Ireland
Putting is the simplest part of the game but often the part we practice the least. There's simply no excuse for being a poor putter, we can spend five minutes a day working on our stroke on the carpet at home. There are a couple of common mistakes golfers make that lead to a catalogue of errors on the greens and inevitably missed putts and they always seem to originate from three key faults - poor balance, poor stroke and poor speed. Below is a simple drill for each - practice these and I promise that your stroke will be rock solid and reliable.
Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Ben Curtis... there is a long list of great putters on Tour, and the one thing they all have in common is that when you see them set-up to strike a putt they look as though they could stand there all day. Their address position looks so comfortable and stable and that's because they all have great balance in their feet.
Poor putters in contrast have very uneven balance, with their weight often tipping their body forwards towards the ball or backwards away from the ball. With poor balance it will be hard to make a consistent stroke.
Finding good balance is easy; you simply have to search for that centred feel in your feet by rocking your weight back and forth in your shoes. Simply ask yourself over your putts 'are you stable'?
With a balanced base the clubface is more likely to stay online as the stroke is executed.
Fault: With the weight tipped too far forwards your eyes will be positioned above the target line and you'll struggle to read the putt.
Fault: With the weight too far back on the heels your eyes will be positioned inside the target line giving you the wrong perspective of the putt also.
We all have the temptation to look up as soon as the putt has been struck. It's natural to feel anxious and want to know whether the putt has dropped, but even taking the slightest peek too soon can be destructive. When the head turns, the body moves, the hips open and the putter face turns. The greatest putters are the players who trust their stroke implicitly and don't need to look up to see where the ball has gone. They simply keep their eyes down and listen for the sound of the ball dropping at the base of the cup. A great way to ensure your head and body stay still is to rest a cane or shaft against each of your hips as I'm demonstrating here. Now make your stroke and concentrate on keeping your eyes focused on the point where the ball was struck. The shafts should remain in place.
Fault: Any slight body movement and the shafts will fall to the floor - a clear indication that you have looked up.
Success: Head stays down.
I've lost count of the times I see golfers make a nice smooth practice stroke, only to step into the putt and make a jerky jab at the putt. Deceleration is an absolute killer. Not only does it affect pace, causing your putts to come up short, it prevents the ball from being struck with topspin that gets the putt rolling out smoothly across the green. If the ball appears to jump, rather than roll, that's probably why. The best putters have a very even tempo to the stroke. The putter is rocked back and through with metronomic rhythm. A great drill to promote a smooth tempo is to rest a coin on the back of the putter head and practice rocking the putter back and through keeping the coin in place. If your pace changes the putterhead will jerk and the coin will drop.
FASHION FOR THE GREENS - INTRODUCING NIVO - A NEW LEVEL IN LADIES GOLF CLOTHING
Exciting new ladies golf clothing collections combine function with fashion
Nivo, an innovative new ladies golf clothing company, has launched in the UK. Stylish, comfortable, functional, fashionable are just some of the many words that could be used to describe the forward-thinking collections of ladies golf clothing from this leading ladies golf apparel manufacturer.
Nivo is already an incredibly successful clothing brand in Canada and North America and has been brought to the UK by distributor Evolution Sports.
The Nivo golf clothing collections are designed specifically for the lady golfer with an eye for style and a need for function. They offer the perfect blend of fashion, performance and fit. The collections are designed in Canada but have a strong European influence and contemporary feel that could easily be taken from the catwalks of Milan.
So whether you are after a modern, contemporary look on the golf course from the Retro, 3D and Hybrid collections, a young and funky look from the Speed line of apparel, a colourful outfit from the Tropics range for your holidays or a classical look from the Essentials or Britannia range, there is something for everyone. Nivo also has a range of Outerwear that acts as a complement to any outfit from the collections.
In fact Nivo 's golf clothing catalogue is so comprehensive that it contains everything a lady golfer needs to look amazing from head-to-toe, from Accessories to Cardigans and Capri's. There are Trousers, Mocks, Sweaters and Jackets for the cooler months and Shorts, Skorts, Shirts and Sleeveless Polo's for the summer months.
"The beauty of Nivo is that the golf clothing has been designed to look just as good on the course as it does in the bar or a business meeting," commented Adrian Evans, Managing Director Evolution Sports, Nivo's European distributor. "This seamless crossover between golf and everyday life means that Nivo will appeal to lady golfers who want to be the smartest, most stylish and best dressed players on and off the course."
As well as a high fashion influence Nivo apparel is highly functional. Every garment has been designed with golf performance in mind to help the player swing freely and get more enjoyment from their game.
Nivo 's comprehensive apparel collections are available in Pro Shops throughout the UK. For more information, to view each collection in more detail or to find your nearest stockist visit www.nivosports.com