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How to Survive the Ocean Course by Abby Welch!!!

The 2021 PGA Championship at Ocean Course has begun on Kiawah Island Golf Resort. It is so exciting to be a part of another PGA Championship on the resort. Along with this Championship came a wonderful experience for myself that I wanted to share with everyone. Golf Digest Magazine reached out to me to write some tips for their outstanding article: “Anatomy of a Difficult Course” My column is called “How to Survive the Ocean Course” by Abby Welch (with an amazing writer Matthew Rudy)! It was so much fun to discuss all the difficult moments we all go through playing the Ocean Course as amateurs. Please check out the May 2021 edition of Golf Digest. I hope you all enjoy and learn how to navigate the course better on your next trip to Kiawah!

Alligator Adventures on Kiawah

Covid has been quite an adventure here in South Carolina! My family and I have managed to get through this crazy time safe and healthy so far 🤞🏻. We are hoping you all are too! Golf has been a wonderful safe sport to play during this time. Therefore, I have become quite busy helping everyone improve their golf swings. I am loving every minute of it but therefore my blog has unfortunately taken a back seat. I promise I will continue to blog in the future, so please stay tuned. But in the mean time I wanted to share a couple crazy alligator moments from my playing lessons on Turtle Point Golf Course! Thank you to all my students who helped capture these amazing moments. This is one of many reasons I love working on Kiawah!

PS: The third video is a little shocking and we weren’t sure what exactly happened but my husband believes the alligator is protecting the baby from us. Which I believe is a great way of making this incredible video a little more positive!

Down Hill Lies

This blog we are going to concentrate on: Down Hill Lies. This means that the hill you are standing on your back foot is higher than your front foot. Therefore the ball will be traveling down the hill. These are things I look at:

Ball Flight: The ball will go lower because you are swinging down the hill therefore the actual loft of the club may decrease.

Club Selection: Possibly a more lofted club. When you are swinging down hill the tendency might be to not stay down long enough so you will hit the leading edge of the club instead of the face. Adding a lofted club would help us get more loft. When we take a more lofted club we might lose distances. It is better to increase your loft so the ball will have a chance to get height to fly farther than in most cases just dribbling the ball down the hill.

Swing Decisions: How big is the hill and how is it going to effect my swing. The bigger the hill the harder it will be to stay down the hill long enough without losing our balance. But the good thing is the hill will help transfer my weight towards the target because the hill is helping us move forward. The smaller the hill the less my swing will be effected therefore the ball flight will not be effected as much. As the hill increases I will need to take a smaller swing and trying to position myself to execute my next shot might be the best solution. 

In Swing Thoughts: Remember to always swing with the hill. How you do this is when you set up to your hill your shoulders will match the hill (front shoulder is lower than back shoulder) and it will feel like you are following through down the hill. My last thought before I swing is transfer my weight as much as possible and stay “down the hill” so my shot will be the best it can be!

Up Hill Lies

I am going to start a series of blogs call Trouble Shots. A trouble shot is a shot on the course that your average swing is compromised. These shots include, Up Hill and Down Hill Lies, Ball Above and Ball Below Lies, and Punch Shots.

This blog we are going to concentrate on Up Hill Lies. This means that the hill you are standing on the ball will be traveling up a hill. These are things I look at:

Ball Flight: The ball will go higher because you are swinging up the hill therefore the loft of the club may increase

Club Selection: Possibly a club stronger because the ball might go higher therefore less yardage. Also, depending on the amount of swing I can take, I might choose a longer club so I can travel farther in a smaller swing.

Swing Decisions: How big is the hill and how is it going to effect my swing. The bigger the hill the harder it will be to transfer my weight. This goes back to club selection and ball flight. The smaller the hill the less my swing will be effected therefore the ball flight will not be effected as much. A big hill will effect my transfer of weight a lot. Therefore I will need to take a smaller swing and a longer club to get more distance.

In Swing Thoughts: Remember to always swing with the hill. How you do this is when you set up to your hill your shoulders will match the hill (front shoulder is higher than back shoulder) and it will feel like you are following through up the hill. My last thought before I swing is transfer my weight as much as possible so my shot will be the best it can be!

Check out my video for the play by play!! Look for more trouble shot blogs coming soon!

Chalk Golf For Kids

I am not sure if you all knew this or not, but I also help out with the First Tee of Greater Charleston. It is a great program to support the growing of the game of golf in our youth! If you have any questions about the program please let me know and I would love to discuss it further with you. But they reached out to me to see if I would post some videos to help support kids still being a part of the game at home!

So, I grabbed some of our neighbors kids (still social distancing) and we came up with Chalk Golf.  No special equipment needed; just chalk, a rock, paper, and a pen! We did 9 holes around our sidewalk. Every hole had different shapes, sizes, and all sorts of obstacles. Seriously, you can be as creative as you want. Plus, the fun part is you can play like the rules of golf or make up your own. Just need a place to start and a place to finish! Check out the video for the full course my neighborhood did!! They are out there practicing even more to have a tournament tomorrow!!!

Stay at Home Short Game Practice

We don’t have to quit practice even if we are at home. This just means that we have to find creative ways to practice! I grabbed some stuff around the house and created a little short game practice in my back yard. It is not a super huge back yard but the way I can manage this is with different kinds of golf balls and my wedges.

1. Whiffle Balls: Great Pitching practice with all my wedges. The ball doesn’t go real far but I can take big swings and the ball produces the great loft for pitching

2. Foam Balls: Foam balls are great for Pitching farther and a little bit of chipping to see the ball roll a little. Plus the ball is a little denser so it feels more like a golf ball at contact.

3. Golf Balls: These are great for chipping practice to see the ball roll through the grass and also work a little bit on pitching with my Lob Wedge and even my Sand Wedge. Takes some control but with practice it isn’t too dangerous!

Now that I have my golf balls and clubs, I set up different areas to hit. I definitely wanted a towel so I could roll onto it when chipping. I picked a bucket to pitch in. Then I picked the swimming pool to chip and pitch into with an extra bonus garbage can for the very middle. Also, I could use the swimming pool as a pretend lake to hit over to any of my targets!!! Yes, it is time to get creative and have some fun.

Let your kids play too. My kid loves it too. We actually made our targets have points and we add them all up at the end to see who wins.  I am still winning but the more we are on the “Stay at Home” I can see him catching me soon!

Sweeping can Improve your Golf Game

I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe during this crazy time! My family and I are going to keep the tips coming from our house here on James Island, SC.

Spring has sprung and we are stuck to our house so why not start cleaning. Using a broom can definitely help your golf game. The bottom of the broom is similar to a clubface. When you sweep: the goal is get all the dust into the dust pan. If your broom head twists, turns, or even swings towards the sky to fast you will be sweeping for a long time because you are missing your dust pan. This is similar in your golf swing. When you take the golf club and practice swinging you don’t want your clubface to twist, turn, or swing towards the sky because the ball won’t be hit properly. So keep sweeping properly, it can help your golf game and your house is clean too!

Putter Stroke Practice

Yes, we are going to use a box to help improve our putter stroke! This drill is going to help the putter stay straight back and straight through the stroke. The box has walls to stop you from making bad moves with your wrists. I prefer a golf club box because the putters fit right in without having to do too much cutting. I used two paper clips with tabs on them to help guide the length of my stroke. Last,  I cut a hole at one end of the box so that the golf ball can go through the box. Check out the video to see it in action!

This is a great practice for home, office, or you can even take it with you to the course. Also, if you have kids or grandkids, I am sure they would love to help you decorate it! Don’t forget to check out the chalk line blog to continue your great putter practice.

Kiawah Women’s Golf Getaway

We just ended our successful 2020 dual Women’s Golf Getaway! I can’t tell you how much fun it was to teach all these women from all over the country. This weekend not only includes golf instruction but also brings women golfers from all over the world together on one beautiful island to learn how to improve her golf game.

The Tommy Cuthbert Golf Learning Center on Kiawah Island hosted two back to back Women’s Golf Getaways. It starts with a cocktail meet and greet at the Sanctuary Hotel the first night. The woman mingle with each other, introduce each other, and some might find out someone lives in her hometown!

The next two days are filled with amazing instruction on and off the course. The students preregistered to what group they would like to be in: Beginner or Intermediate. The first day of  includes putting, chipping, and pitching. The second day includes video analysis of your swing, full swing technique, short game review, and Callaway Consultation.  Our instruction is given by 8 instructors to make it a 5:1 student to teach ratio. This way we can give individualized attention to all of our students. After both mornings of instruction lunch is provided at Turtle Points restaurant Tomasso’s to relax and rejuvenate! On course instruction is next with your very own personal instructor per foursome. On the course we can go over course management, transfer your personalized instruction to the course, and even have a little competition! After the 9 holes you may continue to play the back 9 or come over to the Learning Center to have “Happy Hour” with your friends and instructors.

The last night is our Awards Dinner held back at the Sanctuary. This is where we finalize the weekend with awards, an amazing slide show, and time to socialize with your friends and your new friends you have met.

I can’t tell you all how amazing this weekend is for me and all the students. I guess you will have to experience it yourselves one day. We do host this event in February every year…..I believe this last one was our 14th year. I can’t wait till next year.

Determining Pitching Yardages

Following my last post of different wedges in your bag, I now would like to discuss how you can put these wedges into play. The drawing above includes my 4 wedges in my bag: Pitching Wedge (PW), Gap Wedge (GW), Sand Wedge (SW), and Lob Wedge (LW) and the specific lofts of the clubs from the manufacturer. As you notice each wedge is around 4 degrees difference therefore my wedges will be around 10-15 yards difference between the clubs. I then proceeded to write at the top of each circle approximately the average distance each club goes in my bag. I like to round to nearest tenth for my purposes but you can figure out what you specifically like to do on your own.

Now for some math! In order to figure out the rest you take the full swing yardage (at the top of each circle and start dividing. Again, I like to pitch using 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4. These best suit my swing. But you can also determine 1/3, 2/3, etc.

For instance my Pitching Wedge:

Full Swing: 100yds

3/4: What is 3/4 of 100 = 75

1/2: What is 1/2 of 100 = 50

1/4: What is 1/4 of 100 = 25

I do this for all my wedges. Now I have a chart of all the distances my wedges can go. After this chart is complete, I can go out on the range, using my range finder and find different distances. Once I choose my distances I can look at my chart and start hitting various pitch shots to each distance.