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The Old Course at St. Andrews has multiple double greens, including an enormous 37,846 square-foot green shared between the 5th and 13th holes. That’s nearly the size of an entire football field! Can you imagine Tom Brady trying to roll in a putt from 50 or 60 yards away?! You might not find another green […]
The Old Course at St. Andrews has multiple double greens, including an enormous 37,846 square-foot green shared between the 5th and 13th holes. That’s nearly the size of an entire football field! Can you imagine Tom Brady trying to roll in a putt from 50 or 60 yards away?!
You might not find another green as big in Scotland, but you’re going to see your fair share of double greens and 100-foot-plus putts all over the U.K. and Ireland. So just how do you handle a putt of such length? I’ve had a little bit of experience with this length putt at my club, Bull’s Bridge Golf Club, where, depending on the location of the hole on the par-5 18th hole, you might have a putt of 100 feet or more.
From a strategy standpoint, you want to treat such long distances like a marathon, and break up the putt in equal segments—rather than try and navigate or digest all 100 feet as one. In the video below, I’ll show you just how to do that, and I’ll also share a few mechanical keys to help you make solid contact. This way, your putt won’t stop at midfield or 20 feet away. Two-putting from 100 feet or more is challenging for even the best golfers in the world, but it can be done if you follow these tips. Check it out!
SEE VIDEO: HOW TO TWO-PUTT FROM 100 FEET
“I’m here with my son Oliver and he’s going to show us, with a little help from myself, how to hit a 100-foot putt. Many times when you head over to the United Kingdom, you’re going to play some golf courses that have double greens, and you’re going to have to navigate a putt of 100 feet or more. Your caddie may hand you your putter from 50 feet off the green and tell you to go ahead and use it instead of your sand wedge.
“What we’ve got here is a 100-foot putt and some flags lined up. The first flag is a third of the way in, and the second flag two-thirds of the way in. Next, I’m going to ask Oliver, ‘What do you see the first third of the way? How much break?’ [Oliver replies, “It’s going to be 2 feet from right to left.] Then I’m going ask, ‘The second third of the way, how much do you see?’ [Oliver says, “It’s going to be 8 feet from right to left.”] And then I’m going to ask, ‘On the last third what do you see?’ [Oliver replies, “It’s going to come straight back down the hill, not move that much.”]
“By breaking this up into three equal parts, 100 feet becomes a lot more navigable. [You’re not going to become] overwhelmed when you see a 100-footer and lose focus.
“What I typically see with the mechanics on a putt like this is that people will end up taking the putter back and all of a sudden the subconscious will say, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve got 100 feet, I’ve got to smack it.’ And they try and race the putter through. So what I want you to do Oliver, is make a stroke where the tempo is consistent back and through, and aim 10 feet out to the right.
[Oliver winds up lagging it to about 8 feet.]
“From 100 feet Oliver has knocked it inside of 10 feet, which I believe to be a huge success. I teach a lot of my amateurs what I call my “10 Percent Rule,” where if you have a 10-footer and you get it inside 1 foot, that’s a successful putt. From 30 feet, [if you get it] inside 3 feet, you’ve done really well. From 60 feet, [anything] inside 6 feet, once again that’s a successful putt. From 100 feet, Oliver has knocked it inside of 10 [feet], and we’ll take that every time.”
The Open rota of courses are famous for their tall, thick fescue grass, and if you’ve ever played links golf overseas or here in the States, you know how difficult it can be to get your ball out of this gnarly stuff. And that’s IF you can find your ball. Here at Bull’s Bridge Golf […]
The Open rota of courses are famous for their tall, thick fescue grass, and if you’ve ever played links golf overseas or here in the States, you know how difficult it can be to get your ball out of this gnarly stuff. And that’s IF you can find your ball.
Here at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club in South Kent, Conn., fescue grass lines a number of our holes, including the scenic, par-5 opening hole. Hit your second shot left, and your only option is to hack the ball back into play. But that’s okay, you can still make par from the fairway. The key, as I explain in the video tip below, is to get the ball out of trouble and not make more trouble for yourself. That’s how you avoid the big numbers that can cripple a round.
SEE VIDEO: DEEP FESCUE RESCUE
“If you play links golf long enough, you’re definitely going to hit the ball in the fescue. Two-time British Open champion Lee Trevino has a great story about hitting the ball in the fescue. He and his caddie were looking for the ball. His caddie put the bag down, and Trevino said that he found the ball, but lost the bag. Classic Lee Trevino story.
I’ve hit my second shot in the fescue here, and it’s a really terrible lie. My first rule of thumb for my golf students is, if you get the golf ball in trouble, get it out of trouble. So, I have 120 yards to the green here and I have no opportunity to go for the green. The fairway is just 15-20 yards away from me, and that’s my only option.
So, with this nasty grass behind the ball, I’m going to have to generate more clubhead speed to get my lob wedge through the grass. Start by taking a much wider stance. This will allow me to have more stability, and swing this club faster. Secondly, with this grass behind the ball, I’m going to pick my club up so I can hit down on the ball and not get the club snagged in the grass behind it.
So, remember: Take a wider stance, make a more elevated backswing, and you might be able to get the ball back in play, and have a putt for par.”
If you’re planning on taking a golf buddy trip to the United Kingdom or Ireland anytime soon, you might want to brush up on your greenside bunker play. In particular, practice those deep-faced bunker shots where you’re required to hit the ball almost straight up in the air—and FAST! Here at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club […]
If you’re planning on taking a golf buddy trip to the United Kingdom or Ireland anytime soon, you might want to brush up on your greenside bunker play. In particular, practice those deep-faced bunker shots where you’re required to hit the ball almost straight up in the air—and FAST!
Here at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club in South Kent, Conn., we have a number of deep-faced bunkers. They’re not pot bunkers, but if your ball finishes close enough to the face of the bunker, they might as well be. You’re going to have to make a few adjustments to your setup and swing to add more loft to the shot, and as always, you’ll need speed. Check out the video below for my keys to making a clean escape.
SEE VIDEO: DEEP BUNKER ESCAPE
“If you play golf overseas, eventually you’re going to find your ball in a deep-faced bunker. Over there they call them pot bunkers.
As you can see, I can barely see the top of the flagstick. So what’s my plan to get this ball out of the bunker and up on the green? I’m going to start out by playing the ball forward in my stance. Secondly, I’m going to shift a lot of weight onto my lead foot, probably 70-30 percent. Next, I’m going to take the handle and drop it back. That’s going to add some loft to this 60-degree wedge. Lastly, I’m going to make a swing that takes the club up nice and vertical [on the backswing], and hit down on it—a real high-to-low motion, trying to hit about an inch behind the ball.
So remember, when trying to get out of a deep-faced bunker, put a little extra weight in your lead foot, drop the handle back, hit an inch behind the ball and swing [from] high to low. This will provide you with a high trajectory, get you over the lip and, maybe, get your ball close to the hole.”
You’ve finally decided to ditch your hand-me-down set of clubs for a new set, or you’re just not getting the results you expected out of your current clubs. So you’ve decided to book a club fitting with your local instructor. Wise choice. While hitting demo clubs at your local golf retail outlet or attending a […]
You’ve finally decided to ditch your hand-me-down set of clubs for a new set, or you’re just not getting the results you expected out of your current clubs. So you’ve decided to book a club fitting with your local instructor.
Wise choice. While hitting demo clubs at your local golf retail outlet or attending a Demo Day are great ways to “kick the tires,” I highly recommend that you do an actual fitting with your instructor. He or she knows your swing tendencies and will better align the equipment to where your swing is currently at and where they envision it going. They’ll be able to fit you to a set of clubs that matches your swing, flexibility and strength, and put you in a set that you’ll be happy with for years to come.
As you get ready to go through the club-fitting process, here are a few things you should know:
Fitting for a Full Set is a Multi-Day Endeavor
My custom-fitting process at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club begins with getting you fit for your set of irons and driver. Once the new equipment has arrived, we’ll head to the range to assess how far you’re hitting your driver, your longest iron and pitching wedge. When we go through a custom-fitting, we have you hit a 7-iron; thus, we have no idea how far it is you hit your longest and shortest irons. That is why it’s imperative to continue the fitting in the second meeting, because we need to make sure the gaps between each club are appropriate.
We call this “gap fitting,” and once we find out the distance variation between your driver and longest iron, we can fit your hybrids and fairway woods so that we don’t have any redundancies or yardage gaps that are too large.
Many of today’s sets have stronger-lofted pitching wedges of 42, 43 or 44 degrees, so many players are opting for gap wedges of 48 or 50 degrees. The sand wedge and lob wedge need to be relatable to the gap wedge, so we try and make the change in loft consistent. It is not uncommon for people to carry three additional wedges of 48, 54 and 60 degrees, or 50, 54 and 58 degrees.
It is important not to rush through this process and thoughtfully create the set of clubs so they make sense. Far too many times I hear students tell me they have longer clubs that are hit the same distance or they have huge gaps between their wedges. You don’t want to be buying new clubs every year. Take the time to do it correctly!!!
You’re Going to Hit a Lot of Balls
Generally, a fitter will start with your 7-iron and test the lie and length of the club. (The lie angle is the angle the shaft goes into the hosel.) Then the fitter will have you hit clubs with varying lie angles and lengths until he finds the correct setup for your swing. He or she will use tape on the sole of the club to assess the lie angle, and also on the face to assess the length. Then it is onto picking the correct shaft. This again will require many swings.
After the data is acquired by the fitter, you’ll be asked to hit similar-style clubs from different vendors and then provide your feedback—the shaft and clubhead type require the students input. Many times I hear people say, “I don’t care, what do you think?” These are your clubs not mine! You need to decide which shaft feels the best and what clubhead you like. Once we’re done with the irons, then we move onto the collecting such data as carry distance, clubhead and ball speed, launch angle, spin rate and vertical descent angle from the TrackMan Launch Monitor, all in an effort to increase your overall distance. Once again, this could require a bunch of swings, so I recommend showing up on time and ready to hit some golf balls.
Your Swing May Leave You
As I just explained, you are going to make a lot of swings and with the different weights, lengths, lie angles and shaft flexes, your swing could be affected and get thrown off. Don’t worry, it happens more often than not. A good club fitter will quickly get the improper equipment out of your hands and get something back into your hands that works. The worst thing you can do is panic; just continue to try and make smooth, balanced swings.
Try the Clubs on the Course Before Purchase
Frequently someone will go through a fitting (or demo) and want to purchase the clubs right away. Then they get on the course and those clubs they hit amazingly well during the fitting suddenly won’t get off the ground. I mandate that my students take their fitted 7-iron and driver onto the golf course a few times. They’ll make a decision on the irons rather quickly, but I ask them not to rush with the driver. Amateurs typically hit the driver 14 times per round, so it’s best to make sure. You should also take your wedges for several test drives. We hit such a variety of shots with our wedges—full shots, bunker shots, chips and pitches—that it’s imperative you like what you have in your hands. If you don’t like them the first time out, it generally will not get better.
There Will Be a Transition Period with Your New Clubs
When you get the new clubs in, there will be a period of transition. Hopefully, the old ball flight you experienced was a by-product of improperly fit clubs, and will be much improved and on target with your new clubs. That will take some getting used to: I don’t think I’ve ever sold clubs to someone they hit shorter. The shots around the green could also have more spin due to newer grooves and a different trajectory due to different lofts, and will take a few adjustments. Take the time to practice with the new clubs and be patient. Tour players generally change clubs at the beginning of the off-season so they have several months to get used to the new equipment.
Paul Ramee, Jr., is the Director of Golf and Lead Instructor at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club in Kent, CT. To book a lesson or club fitting with Paul, the 2016 Connecticut PGA Section Teacher of the Year and a Golf Digest “Best Teacher” in Connecticut, visit paulrameegolf.com or call 860-671-1196.
Back in the late 1980s, Connecticut PGA Professional Paul Ramee, Jr., competed in the same field as Phil Mickelson in the prestigious North & South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst Resort. So, if anyone can relate to the remarkable display of golf Mickelson put on at the 2021 PGA Championship, it’s Ramee. To recap, not only […]
Back in the late 1980s, Connecticut PGA Professional Paul Ramee, Jr., competed in the same field as Phil Mickelson in the prestigious North & South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst Resort. So, if anyone can relate to the remarkable display of golf Mickelson put on at the 2021 PGA Championship, it’s Ramee.
To recap, not only did Mickelson become the oldest golfer (at 50 years, 11 months) to ever win a major championship, but he did so by doing what he loves best, “hitting bombs.” Lefty averaged 313.1 yards for the week at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, and also hit the longest drive of the tournament on the par-5 16th hole on Sunday, out-distancing playing partner Brooks Koepka and even Bryson DeChambeau with a 366-yard drive. He also played the par 5s in 11-under par!
For the year, Mickelson is averaging 302 yards per drive, which is farther than he was hitting it in his prime in 2005 (300.0 yards) when he captured his first PGA Championship. Obviously, equipment has played a big part in his being able to hit bombs, but to sustain his power and even increase it into his 50s is nothing short of extraordinary, says Ramee, the Director of Golf and Lead Instructor at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club in Kent, CT. Just how is he able to hang drive for drive with the younger generation on Tour? Ramee, now 52, provides some answers, and explains how you, too, can keep hitting bombs well into your 50s.
STICK TO THE PROCESS
Lefty made a commitment four or five years ago to reshape his body and get much longer off the tee, so he wasn’t at such a disadvantage against today’s big boppers. What you’re now just seeing are the fruits of that labor, says Ramee. Despite being mocked by critics for his “hitting bombs” remarks on Twitter—the very same critics who said his best days were over and he should commit to playing full-time on the Champions Tour—Mickelson has continued to work hard on both his game and his fitness. This includes fasting for 36 hours every week!
Ramee doesn’t recommend fasting, but he does suggest finding an instructor who is TPI certified and can get you on a stretching, conditioning and strengthening program that can help you increase your range of motion and power. He also suggests you commit to working with that instructor long-term, for more than just a single lesson, both on your swing and on your body.
“Success in this game is multi-faceted,” said Ramee. “It’s the speed training, the getting to the gym and the dieting. All of the things that he did. It’s a process, it’s not just one item. Phil had a vision and he stayed committed to that vision for four years. He knew at the end there was going to be a pot of gold.”
TRAIN FAST TO GET FASTER
Part of the process for Mickelson was increasing his clubhead speed with the driver. In 2017 it had dipped below 115 mph. Two years later, after putting extensive work in with the SuperSpeed Golf Training Sticks—a series of low-, medium- and heavy-weighted training clubs—he increased his speed to over 120 mph.
Most golfers are hesitant to swing faster because they’re afraid they’ll lose control over the ball. But as Ramee points out, swinging as fast as you can teaches the body how to move properly and gets the club in a better position at impact.
“I use this analogy all of the time: When you ski scared, what happens? You fall down,” said Ramee. “People come to me expecting me to say, ‘Slow down.’ I get them to realize that swinging as fast as you can allows the body to unwind more properly. It allows the Kinematic Sequence to unfold, where the pelvis unwinds and your shoulders pull your arms around and the club is delivered properly.”
The SuperSpeed Sticks are a great way to develop speed. Another way is to simply turn your driver upside down and swing the grip end as fast as you can. The lighter grip end will encounter some resistance from the air, but the goal is to make it “swoosh” as loud as it can just after impact, or where the ball would normally be in your stance. “It feels like a 100-year-old drill but a lot people just don’t know how to generate speed,” says Ramee.
Ramee also uses other forms of cross-training, such as swinging a tennis racket or baseball bat, or throwing a ball, to teach the body how to unwind properly. The better you do this, the faster and more efficient you’re going to swing the club.
LEARN TO USE THE GROUND
If you look at Mickelson just after impact, there’s a lot of air under his cleats. He’s rolled up on the outside of his front foot and only the big toe on his trail foot seems to be touching the ground. You’ll see this with a lot of big hitters today, including Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson. What they’re doing is leveraging the ground to generate more lag and clubhead speed.
As you start the downswing increase the pressure into the ground by pushing down with both feet. Then, as you come through the ball, push hard off the ground, just as if you were jumping. This will cause the lead leg to extend, which helps you rotate the hips hard around to the left and keeps the clubhead moving on the correct path. That tight turn and rotation is what helps generate that extra whip and speed through impact.
If you happen to be reading this and you’re on the younger side, you can learn how to use the ground correctly by doing vertical box jumps onto a 20-inch-high sturdy surface. Otherwise,
simply jump from a standing position, squatting down into your knees and then propelling yourself up off the ground.
Paul Ramee, Jr., is the Director of Golf and Lead Instructor at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club in Kent, CT. To book a lesson with Paul, the 2016 Connecticut PGA Section Teacher of the Year and a Golf Digest “Best Teacher” in Connecticut, visit paulrameegolf.com or call 860-671-1196.