High School Golf Coach looking for advice

jcvandammejcvandamme Members Posts: 196 ✭✭✭
Hi all-



I'm just starting my 2nd season as a high school golf coach and I want to be more than just a glorified taxi driver. So I have a few questions for all of you. Is there anything that your high school coach did that you felt really helped you? Any drills or practice games or something like that? My team has players that range from single digit handicaps to kids just picking up a club for the first time, and I want to be able to help them all improve. Any tips or tricks that I could use? Thanks.
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  • MarylandGolfer2018MarylandGolfer2018 Members Posts: 103 ✭✭
    edited Aug 9, 2015 #2
    My team always does a drill where you try to hit every club to the 150 yard flag at your range, you see some very interesting shots!
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  • jollysammyjollysammy Jollysammy Members Posts: 425
    My son's coach spent most all his time with the youngest, weakest players. My son and the other boys who were already junior tournament golfers he pretty much said there's not much he could do to help them. They would just play a lot. HIs coach actually encouraged my son to teach other kids how to golf on his team, but that is not easy to do as what a single digit hdcp can do is much more refined that what a kid that just picked up a club and can't break 100 can do.
  • KILLEDBYASHANKEDWEDGEKILLEDBYASHANKEDWEDGE 300 YARD DRAWS AND 10 LB HOOKS! Members Posts: 4,524
    My thoughts are to concentrate all your efforts at this time to short-game/putting. This is what wins tournaments in HS competition. In the future know that to build a solid state championship competing team you must work year round with ideally a 5-7 player team. You get 4 of those 7 carding par or better in tournament play and you will have done well. Spring and summer tours sharpen skills in competitive play against better players. Research your school history in Golf and share that history with your team and set goals equal to or better than those who have come before.
  • gmzbballgmzbball GMZ Members Posts: 47 ✭✭
    Implement some pressure into practice. Helps the new golfers handle it
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  • BrayBray Members Posts: 163 ✭✭✭
    Look into team putting drills and competitions. Divide the teams up evenly and put something on the line, loser has to run. This helps your players short games and puts a little pressure on them
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  • 11under11under Members Posts: 453 ✭✭
    We spent a lot of time practicing short putts (3-5 footers). Seemed boring at times, but it paid dividends when we were out on the course.
  • cardoustiecardoustie haha, we don't play for 5's Tasmania to CanadaMembers Posts: 12,502 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Get the driver in play ... Then ....

    . ... Teach them how to pitch, chip and putt
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  • hubleehublee Members Posts: 113 ✭✭✭
    Always work on the short game. I go putting first then chipping. You can research drills but I set up stations for chipping using different clubs from different lies and lengths. After that I take the guys that can actually propel it forward on a regular basis and send them to play 9 and take the hapless ones to the range. Also I make the kids play for their spots to play in matches and tournaments. If I have a kid or two that are decent and have proven themselves they are gonna get a spot because I reserve the right to play who I want. But it generally takes care of itself and the competition is great for the nerves. Sad thing for my schedule once we start playing it is hard to work with the ones that are not playing. Make sure you have some team rules and a parent meeting to explain what your expectations are and that helps a lot too. And teach them even if your bad you can play fast.

    Good luck and keep your cool.
  • PeterSanto29PeterSanto29 Auburn Class of 2021 Members Posts: 270 ✭✭✭✭
    Practicing under pressure is huge. As a high school golfer who struggles mightily when the pressure is on. I need anything to help me in this area. Also, as I have had a terrible experience with this, please watch closely for cheating. I play with this kid all summer. We both shoot around mid 80s with occasional rounds in the high 70s. I have seen him cheat numerous times in simple practice rounds (kicking the ball, improper drops and penalty strokes, etc.). In tryouts he shoots 3 sub 75 rounds and our coach makes him captain. I even saw him kick his ball once when playing with him in tryouts!!! I played terrible in tryouts, struggled to break 90 and did not make the team for the third year in a row image/sad.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':(' /> . It really stung knowing not only that I didn't play up to my ability but also that a cheater made it instead of me. So please I beg you. Golf is so much more than just numbers on a scorecard, please treat it as such.
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  • jollysammyjollysammy Jollysammy Members Posts: 425
    My son knew someone on his middle school golf team that would cheat until the day when he tried to play in a junior tournament like my son does. He shot a 129 in a US Kids tournament where the max per hole is 10. Anyway, we never saw him again in tournaments where someone else is keeping your score. Eventually cheaters never last in this sport.
  • blairdblaird Members Posts: 2,167 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Im starting my 10th year as a high school coach. Here are some of the things I did/do.



    1)Took 2 seniors and had them pick teams. I would match up (as evenly as possible) teams against each other whether it be a 2 on 2 scramble or best ball. Do a couple of those matches and have singles the rest of the day. Keep points for the year and have a winning team. This kept them in competition. They wanted to beat the other team so bad.



    2) I spend the majority of time on swing instruction with newer players. Try to get them into good habits such as grip, posture, alignment. My better players didnt require too much of me doing anything swing wise.



    3) Everyday we spend at least 15 minutes on short putts. 3-5 feet, uphill, downhill, left to right, right to left, whatever!! Then we spend 10-15 minutes on longer putts just getting them in that 3-5 circle to help try and eliminate 3 putts.



    4) The day after a match/tournament, we work on whatever was off at the tournament. Usually chipping, putting, or short irons for the guys. Now I coach girls so replace short irons with hybrids.



    5) I knew the course we were playing for state since we had played it the year before. I remember what holes we struggled on and what we needed to work on. So a couple days before state, we spent a good deal of time hitting 3 woods and longer hybrids off the ground.



    6) On course work. Tuesdays and Thursdays are pretty slow at our course so its empty when we get out there for practice. We will walk over to one of the 2 or 3 holes right by the clubhouse and just chip/pitch. give them all sorts of different types of shots to practice. And we may sit there working for 30-45 minutes and never have anyone come through.



    I have seen lots of ideas but these have worked best for us. You cant drill people to death. Got to find a way to make it fun. Your good/better players will take care of themselves but find a way to make the others want to get better.
  • blairdblaird Members Posts: 2,167 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Im starting my 10th year as a high school coach. Here are some of the things I did/do.



    1)Took 2 seniors and had them pick teams. I would match up (as evenly as possible) teams against each other whether it be a 2 on 2 scramble or best ball. Do a couple of those matches and have singles the rest of the day. Keep points for the year and have a winning team. This kept them in competition. They wanted to beat the other team so bad.



    2) I spend the majority of time on swing instruction with newer players. Try to get them into good habits such as grip, posture, alignment. My better players didnt require too much of me doing anything swing wise.



    3) Everyday we spend at least 15 minutes on short putts. 3-5 feet, uphill, downhill, left to right, right to left, whatever!! Then we spend 10-15 minutes on longer putts just getting them in that 3-5 circle to help try and eliminate 3 putts.



    4) The day after a match/tournament, we work on whatever was off at the tournament. Usually chipping, putting, or short irons for the guys. Now I coach girls so replace short irons with hybrids.



    5) I knew the course we were playing for state since we had played it the year before. I remember what holes we struggled on and what we needed to work on. So a couple days before state, we spent a good deal of time hitting 3 woods and longer hybrids off the ground.



    6) On course work. Tuesdays and Thursdays are pretty slow at our course so its empty when we get out there for practice. We will walk over to one of the 2 or 3 holes right by the clubhouse and just chip/pitch. give them all sorts of different types of shots to practice. And we may sit there working for 30-45 minutes and never have anyone come through.



    I have seen lots of ideas but these have worked best for us. You cant drill people to death. Got to find a way to make it fun. Your good/better players will take care of themselves but find a way to make the others want to get better.
  • LlortamaiseyLlortamaisey Members Posts: 6,023 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm guessing that there's 8-10 kids on the team but only 5 or 6 travel to the big tournaments? If that's the case, make sure you come up with a fair and equitable way to choose the traveling team and stick with it, even if you don't get the roster that you want. Holding qualifiers during practice is the best way.
  • BohsauceyBohsaucey Members Posts: 119 ✭✭✭
    edited Aug 11, 2015 #15
    Our league had varsity tournaments that ranged from 5-6 players, there also were JV 9 hole events scattered throughout for 6 man teams. We kept 15 on the roster to help cultivate and grow a consistent base. Our coaches were great motivators but so/so golfers. They spent most of the time with the higher score players, and let the better ones (Top 5) figure most of the stuff out for themselves. My last two years I fluctuated between #1, #2, but spent a lot of time with the JV team assisting with their games and confidence. I wanted to help these kids learn to be good golfers but to also have a good time.



    We held a lot of competitions, mostly for donuts and soda. Keeping it fun and relaxed was probably the best thing for all of us though.



    One thing that I really appreciated was team awards. We had MVP, Most Improved, and Most Inspirational. MVP and Most Improved were based off statistics for the year and year over year respectively. Most Inspirational was voted on by the team. I received it the last two years for the time and work I spent with all of the guys. Sometimes golf teams get clique-y, and it is detrimental to the development of the team.



    At the end of the day it is an extra curricular that these kids may play for the rest of their life. They should be forging memories and making friends. We may not have won very often, and I may not have realized my full potential, but I wouldn't go back and change a thing.
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  • cwglumcwglum Members Posts: 1,574 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Have them keep stats for practice & tourney so they can work on the items that are preventing them from scoring lower.

    It will be different for each kid.



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  • VNutzVNutz Members Posts: 6,276 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    jcvandamme wrote:


    Hi all-



    I'm just starting my 2nd season as a high school golf coach and I want to be more than just a glorified taxi driver. So I have a few questions for all of you. Is there anything that your high school coach did that you felt really helped you? Any drills or practice games or something like that? My team has players that range from single digit handicaps to kids just picking up a club for the first time, and I want to be able to help them all improve. Any tips or tricks that I could use? Thanks.




    For me, it wasn't the technique, but rather the mindset that I learned that made a huge difference. In high school as a golfer I was pretty green, I learned on my own, had no real instruction other than my father who was just a casual golfer and not a rules or etiquette nut, no lessons, wasn't a country club kid, didn't play any tournaments until my senior year, etc. I was a youth baseball player who picked up the game and loved it. For me, the not so obvious things my coach taught me like course management and simply learning how to play certain holes properly was huge. Learning to play to my strengths or to play safe rather than just hit it as far as possible seems incredibly simple, but it was somewhat new to me, and did wonders. It seems like such a simple thing but not everybody truly understands how to work their way around the course unless they're taught how to do it, and I'd guess there might be a better player who you might not be able to help in terms of technique, but rather in mindset, that could prove extremely valuable. I'm helping my brother with his own HS team tryouts tomorrow and I'll be trying to instill some of these insights on these kids, such as there's no reason to pull driver on a par 5 with water when there's no chance you'll get home in 2 anyway. I go 6i short, 8i over, wedge in, takes all the risk out of play.



    As to stuff to work on, short game, short game, short game. Chipping and putting contests are always great. Put your kids in all sorts of up and down situations and have them practice that out. Make them roll dozens of 4-6 footers every day. One thing I took from my coach on the short putts, don't be afraid to take the break out of them, within reason, and knock them in the back of the cup. Doesn't work in every scenario, but the firmer you hit it the straighter the putt is, and the easier.
  • Forged4everForged4ever To See A Man’s True Character, Spend 4+ Hours With Him on a Golf Course⛳️ The Burgh/Hdcp: My gene poolClubWRX Posts: 15,738 ClubWRX


    My team always does a drill where you try to hit every club to the 150 yard flag at your range, you see some very interesting shots!
    Great Drill!!!!!



    Mr. Hogan made this drill famous, at least that is what my Teacher told me when he introduced it to me in 1976(16yo). It took me two years before I could pull any club outa my bag from driver through 9i(I could get to my 52* wedge in '12 though it was a stinger, however if it was an open, non-elevated green, I could put in on, lol).



    Excellent drill and as Maryland says, you'll see some interesting shots, see who really is a Player with a swing and have some fun.



    The best to ya with your season image/smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />



    Fairways & Greens My Friend,

    Richard
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  • Forged4everForged4ever To See A Man’s True Character, Spend 4+ Hours With Him on a Golf Course⛳️ The Burgh/Hdcp: My gene poolClubWRX Posts: 15,738 ClubWRX
    edited Aug 11, 2015 #19


    Practicing under pressure is huge. As a high school golfer who struggles mightily when the pressure is on. I need anything to help me in this area. Also, as I have had a terrible experience with this, please watch closely for cheating. I play with this kid all summer. We both shoot around mid 80s with occasional rounds in the high 70s. I have seen him cheat numerous times in simple practice rounds (kicking the ball, improper drops and penalty strokes, etc.). In tryouts he shoots 3 sub 75 rounds and our coach makes him captain. I even saw him kick his ball once when playing with him in tryouts!!! I played terrible in tryouts, struggled to break 90 and did not make the team for the third year in a row image/sad.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':(' /> . It really stung knowing not only that I didn't play up to my ability but also that a cheater made it instead of me. So please I beg you. Golf is so much more than just numbers on a scorecard, please treat it as such.
    Peter, your post broke my heart.



    I feel for ya Bro, though I know that that doesn't mean much at this time.



    When the anger and pain subsides-



    This kid is heading down a track with a train coming at him that he cannot see.



    When he sees it, it's going to be too late!!



    Believe me, and it may not be this year, ****, it may not even be on a golf course, however this kid has a severe character flaw, and it will be exposed, and he will get crushed.



    I've seen it!!



    I realize that this does nothing to help you feel better now, though knowing that you went out, Played the Game as it was meant to be Played and gave your best effort will stand you in good steed for your future.



    You are an honorable young man & a Gentleman.



    And as you said, this Game is so much more than the score on the card!!



    I only wish that there was a way to right this wrong, though this is life, and unfortunately, sometimes in life cheaters prosper, however this much I do know Peter-



    If he is in the game long enough, he will meet that train and be nothing more than a crushed spot in the game called life.



    Over time, and as he steps out of his league talent wise and the stakes rise and the air gets a lot thinner, trust me Peter, he will either get beaten silly or he will be exposed for the fraud that he is, both on the course and off.



    Though take no glee in his misfortunes-



    Stay the path that you are on, keep swingin and may your future be Fairways & Greens My Friend image/smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />



    Extremely Well Played!!



    As Always,



    All the Best,

    Richard
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  • MarylandGolfer2018MarylandGolfer2018 Members Posts: 103 ✭✭
    Another great drill for putting is drop 3 balls at 5 feet and everyone that you miss take it back another foot until all 3 are in the hole! The longest a kid on my team made was something like a 55 footer at the other side of the green, fantastic drill!
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  • PembertontPembertont Members Posts: 99 ✭✭✭
    I'm in my ninth year of coaching HS golf...there are some great ideas above. I've found that younger players usually fall into two categories, the kids that are dedicated players who bust their tails to become good players and those who are there to spend some time on the course with their buds and be a part of the team. Some of the latter category do develop into pretty decent players though, especially if you have some some solid ones to push them to do so. I try to keep it fun on the course...killing them with drill after drill has never really worked for my teams. I coach both boys and girls, so the approach varies according to the season. Competition in practice is a great idea...puts a little pressure on them and never ceases to surprise me how competitive they can get with one another. We have had some pretty heated two man scrambles on practice days. Making your team feel like they are a part of a family also adds a lot to the mix. During the season we don't just play golf together. We go to ball games, travel to watch the pros play, try to have a team dinner on a non meet night at least every couple weeks, anything to create the feeling that the players are more than just a player on a sports team at school. I put my more experienced players out on the course playing holes as much as I can and help the novice players on a much more individualized basis on the range and around the practice green. And as several above have stated, short game practice is a must. 100 yards and in practice is always a focus. At the beginning of every season I rehash the old Hank Haney advice that avoiding penalties, two-chips, and three putts will save them a ton of strokes out on the course.



    Good Luck...HS Golf can be frustrating at times, but it can also lead to some of the most rewarding experiences you can have with young adults. I still have players from my first year of coaching that I talk to and play golf with on a regular basis. Several have become good friends now that they are adults. The days of the HS golf coach being a glorified bus driver are over. Those guys are becoming extinct. Hope you find the success you are looking for.



    Regards,

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  • byoung09byoung09 Members Posts: 65
    edited Aug 13, 2015 #22
    We played a lot of different games (scramble, match play, low ball low total) but the one game that helped me the most was getting everyone to take 4 clubs of their choice and go play 9 holes (I would always take 3 hybrid, 5 iron, 54* and putter) . It might be a little different but our whole varsity team (6 guys) all had single digit handicaps. I know gambling is against the rules but our varsity game had a skins match every day for small stuff (balls, gloves, food, gas). The best thing we had going for us that we were like a big family and that helped out a lot because we were always together.
  • KYMARKYMAR Members Posts: 13,257 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 13, 2015 #23
    Its not easy to coach a team of players of widely varying skill level and totally different needs. If you spend practice time geared towards the weaker players, the strong players get bored with simple drills, do the opposite, the weaker players get exposed and may regress. And its all but inpossible to give each player individual instruction in anything close to a complete way. Its just not an easy job. Best of luck, i'm sure the kids will appreciate you spending as much time with each of them as you can and just keeping it fun.
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  • J-TizzleJ-Tizzle Hello Members Posts: 3,430 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Aug 13, 2015 #24
    Lots of good notes. Here are a few things my HS golf coach did that I really took to heart and think really made me a better player.



    1 - do tryouts playing the ball up. After that, we never touched the ball and played in all but dangerous conditions (spring in MO we would have 30+mph winds and freezing temps as the sun went down). These made us ready for anything in a tournament. Lots of the area people played the ball up all the time so as soon as they played a tourney with the ball down, we were already 2-3 strokes up before we teed off because we were used to it.



    2 - My HS coach is/was an excellent golfer, and when I was a freshman, he was much better than everyone on the team. So he would put out the challenge of when we'd go play 9 holes, he'd play us for hamburgers. It was very interesting as we got older and better, he slowly went from never buying, to buying 5-6 a week and he finally had to quit doing it because we had 5-6 kids that would shoot par or better on 9 h oles. So you could do something to make it competitive, if you're a solid golfer and the kids look up to you, put yourself out there in the competition.



    3 - for practice, primary focus on shortgame and making it fun. Once again, competition is #1. We would putt around the clock as a team, play 21 (everyone chips to a flag, closest gets 3 points and picks the next spot to chip to, if you hole it you get 9 points). If you can chip and putt in HS golf thats the most important thing in my opinion.



    4 - This is probably the biggest thing in my opinion, but helping the kids mature on the course. If I could hit the ball today like I did in highschool, but have the mental game that I have now, I'd be a WAY better golfer. I play every once and a while with a kid thats a HS golfer and he could be amazing, but he plays like a kid. Gets mad, half quits, takes mega aggressive shots when not necessary, just plays stupid. If you can coach those kids to be smarter on the golf course and if they realize they can make up a bogey with 1 birdie, but making up a triple takes a lot more work.



    Being these kids coach, you can really set them up for a lifetime of success in playing golf, since golf is such a lifetime game so good luck!
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  • bub72ckbub72ck Members Posts: 2,463 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    A few things come to my mind:



    1)My HS coach loved golf but was not a "golfer". He had a not so great swing and didn't know the golf swing at all. BUT, he never acted like it. He was a GREAT motivator and knew how to push us but he left the swing improvements to the local club pros. If your home course has a pro and you are not the most educated on the golf swing, get a pro involved. It will help the kids and help you.



    2)Winning in HS golf at the common level (exceptional or private schools are different) usually comes down to the 3-6 players. Most HS teams will have one or two good players who you can count on for decent scores. The teams that win get good rounds from the bottom of the starting roster. I'm not telling you to focus on those players but take a look at the abilities of those guys and work to help them improve. An 85 instead of a 90 is often the difference in winning a losing.



    3)Teach your best players to be leaders. HS aged boys and girls are right between kids and young-adults wanting to express independence. If you can get your best players to take an interest in winning and helping their teammates you will make the lesser players better and elevate your best players.



    4)Consider a Varsity and a JV team. Not sure how many players you have but an early season try-out will split those who are there for fun and those who are there to win (and have fun). We had 17 players on our HS team one year and while everybody would play every regular season match, only the Varsity squad traveled and played together. You always have the option to move someone up if they begin to improve.



    5)If you live in an area where your players can walk the golf course, make them walk at all times throughout the golf season. It will make them better prepared for matches and teach them discipline. If we got caught riding during season, we had to run laps.



    6)If you have players that want to get better and possibly play collegiality, make sure you push them but be supportive. Extra drills that focus on chipping, putting, and wedge play are critical. I don't think these constant drills are right for all HS golfers but those that have talent and a desire to get better need to be pushed.
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  • reborodreborod Members Posts: 137 ✭✭✭
    Great thread. My son played on the high school team this year. I know one of the things they did that was fun was play match play. The loser of the match had to wash the other players clubs at the end if they lost. The coach had 1 play 2 and so on. He said this was the most fun practice ever. He lost and still had fun, three putted the last hole. He still talks about it.
  • J-TizzleJ-Tizzle Hello Members Posts: 3,430 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    reborod wrote:


    Great thread. My son played on the high school team this year. I know one of the things they did that was fun was play match play. The loser of the match had to wash the other players clubs at the end if they lost. The coach had 1 play 2 and so on. He said this was the most fun practice ever. He lost and still had fun, three putted the last hole. He still talks about it.




    Yes! That is a really awesome idea, and I'm sure its more the bragging rights than anything else for those guys. You could get them to do all kinds of things, pick up shag balls, clean clubs, heck even make them caddy for the winner after a tournament and they have an easy day at practice.
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  • Twitch12Twitch12 Members Posts: 267
    edited Aug 19, 2015 #28
    My HS team won state twice and took second twice while I was in school. Our coach was a former division 1 player who had won a state amateur and competed in some mini tour events. He was about 15 years into coaching when he was my coach. Not one time did he try to change a players swing. At the range, we hit 8 irons on down and we spent countless hours chipping and putting. He also worked on course management a lot. He would have us play away from trouble. Nothing wrong with making bogey as long as you're eliminating the others. I hit it farther than anyone I ever played with in HS. Despite my length with driver, coach discouraged me ever using it. He would push for me to hit hybrid off the tee to make sure I stayed out of trouble. Even if my hybrid went the same distance off the tee as my opponents drive, I usually had a two club advantage when hitting irons. This gave me a huge edge. Based on my experience as a player in a very good program, I would have to encourage you to avoid making radical swing changes and get players to focus solely on their short game. This is where they can improve the most. Good Luck.
  • T.BeauT.Beau Banned Posts: 1,927
    get some good help!



    most communities have some very good players who can teach who are able/willing to give back to the game. some teaching pros will even make an appearance once in a while...those that know how to build a good name and develop their business.



    that way you arent spending too much of your time trying to help out beginners who need the most help and dont have your attention so divided



    a variety of all kinds of stuff/drills/on course stuff is best to keep things lively and interesting. but get them out on the course for practice in a supervised manner...put them in an environment that most duplicates match conditions.
    j33 460 9.5 ACCRA DyMatch 2.0 MT M4
    Exotics cb1 13 Matrix Ozik
    Mizuno jpx825 hybrid 16
    j38cb's - 3-pw s300sl pro soft & j36pc GAT 95
    j40 52,56 & Odyssey Metal-X #7H
    average score = 75
  • KILLEDBYASHANKEDWEDGEKILLEDBYASHANKEDWEDGE 300 YARD DRAWS AND 10 LB HOOKS! Members Posts: 4,524
    Hey Coach, how's it going so far?

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