Secrets of golf’s scariest greens by Jamie Donaldson AimPoint Augusta’s greens explained Every Masters, we watch in morbid fascination as the world’s best golfers suffer three and four-putts that make them look like rank beginners. Augusta National is famous for having the slickest greens on the planet and incredible undulations that produce wicked breaks. But none of us really knows how difficult Augusta’s greens are - until now! Jamie Donaldson (Woburn Coaching professional) represents AimPoint, who map greens and use complex mathematics to predict accurate reads on any putting surface to help golfers make the correct read every time, can reveal how fast the Masters greens play in comparison to typical Woburn greens and how much break there really is. Some of the findings have been incredible. For example, the force needed to send a putt 20 feet across an Augusta green would send the ball a mere 11foot 3 inches on a typical Woburn green - you would start the ball with 30% less speed for a putt at The Masters. A 20 foot putt downhill and across a slope that would break 27 inches on a typical UK green would break 68 inches at Augusta. That’s five-and-a-half feet of break in 20 feet. Players have to quickly recalibrate their aim and speed control for The Masters, as putts behave unlike anywhere else on tour. The faster speeds also exaggerate any errors they make in reads, causing a higher number of three putts than any other tournament.” The ball will not come to rest at Augusta unless the slope amount is less than approximately 5%. This means approach shots will roll downhill until they find a 5% slope or flatter. To give you a comparison, a typical UK course slope needs to be almost twice as steep - 9% - before the ball starts to roll, we have a 9% slope on the Marquess putting green. So at Augusta, approach shots need to be struck with extra precision to ensure the ball isn’t close to the hole one minute and 40 feet away the next. AimPoint founder Mark Sweeney has played Augusta. “It taught me how important positioning was, whether off the tee or on the green. Poor approaches are punished by big slopes that repel the ball away from the hole if your shot is more than 15 feet away. On the par-3 6th, any shot not within 20 feet of the top right pin will roll about 40 feet back down to the front of the green. The same goes for the 16th except you’ll have to hit your shot within 15 feet to keep it on the top tier and being above the hole on some greens is Something I hear all the time and there are many possible reasons for this failure to transfer: • On the Course, you get ONE opportunity • You get a consistent lie on the range • You have a different mind-set on the range • Unable to handle the pressure of having a shot that truly matters (i.e. on the course) • Failing to create enough pressure in practice by not measuring • What is more often the case: You do not actually hit the ball any better in practice, you just think you do • You still hit poor shots on the range but you are able to ignore them, as there is no real outcome • You kid yourself on the range that it was a good shot when 5 yards left of target on the course could mean plugged in the lip of a bunker! 10 an almost guaranteed three-putt.” “When putting from the top tier on the 9th down to the middle tier, it’s almost impossible to stop the ball within 10feet. I have had this putt twice; both times I hit what felt like a five-foot putt that ended up rolling 25ft down the slope. The same problem applies to being over the back of the 7th or the 18th. The good news is that when you are in position - within 15 feet and below the hole - the putts are very fair - and makeable!” So what do the players say? “You try to lag them, and if they go in, they go in.” reveals Zach Johnson, the 2007 champion. “Those greens are just extremely difficult.” Only three players since 1995, when Augusta started keeping track of three-putts, have won the tournament without a three- stab. They were Ben Crenshaw in 1995, Tiger Woods in 1997 and José Maria Olazabal in 1999. There is a board in the caddie’s hut, which has drawings of every green with a big dot telling you where Rae’s Creek is in relation to that green. Yardage books also feature arrows on every green, revealing the breaks toward the creek, but they do not help. “You can have all the information you need, and you’ll look at a putt, know where Rae’s Creek is, think you know how it will break, and it will go the exact opposite.” says Jason Day. “The greens aren’t tricked up. They are just plain hard. In good weather they run 14 on the stimpmeter, and that’s pretty scary. You try to keep yourself below the hole at all times. If you happen to do that, great. If not, then you’re kind of screwed.” “They are the most difficult we play every year.” adds 2012 winner, Bubba Watson. “What’s so crazy is that we see this course every year, we study the greens every year, we learn something new every year, and they are still difficult. You’ve read putts, you’ve watched putts... and you still don’t understand it.” Snedeker sums it up best, adding: “It’s just crazy, there’s no place like it. There are just putts where you have 10-footers for birdies and you have to just try and two-putt and get out!” Jamie Donaldson is available for 1-1 lessons at Woburn Golf Club. firstname.lastname@example.org - 07733 255044 - www.jamiedonaldson.co.uk “Why can I do it on the range but not on the course?” by PGA Professional, Jordan Bazzone To improve this transfer from range to course (or to remove the fallacy!) work on the following: • After you have done your technical work on the range, make sure you do measured practice E.g. How many balls on a green/fairway and be strict with the results • After you have done your technical work do not hit ball after ball with the same club (you never do this on the course, so why the range?) • Variation is key - targets, flights, shapes. Play the course in your mind, visualise it and change clubs, changing your next club according to how well you hit the previous shot. • You can even keep an imaginary score in your mind!
5 ‘QUICK WINS’ TO LOWER YOUR SCORES! by Head PGA Professional, Daniel Grieve Summer Junior Golf Festivals 2018 With Spring just around the corner, now is a great time to start thinking about how you can lower your scores this season! Obviously improving your swing and holing more putts is critical to this, but if you just worked on these 5 quick, easy wins, you will lower your scores! 1. Work on your BASICS I see many members practicing across our facilities which is great, but how many of you really work on your basics? There is nothing more frustrating than practising on poor basics, you will only get worse! Check your grip, stance, ball position and posture, for example if the ball is curving too much, the first thing you need to look at is your grip. If you are slicing your hands may well be too far to the left, if you are hooking then probably too far to the right. 2. Learn the KNOCK-DOWN shot Tour Professionals actually do not hit too many 'standard shots', often they are playing ‘knock-down’ shots, however, amateurs rarely try anything but a standard shot. I carry my full 7 iron 165 yards, I also can grip down my 6 iron 1 inch, narrow my stance a touch and this gives me a shorter, shoulder to shoulder swing and a 165 carry with a much lower ball flight. This is easy to play and tends to have less curvature due to less wrist action, it is also great when there is a bit of breeze around and when we are wearing several layers in the winter! 3. Work out the TRUE YARDAGE you need to carry the ball I see many players get the yardage off their GPS or Laser but then do not think about how far it actually plays. Firstly, you need to consider the slope, e.g the 3rd Hole on the Duke's plays 10 yards shorter, then the weather, if cold - add yardage, also wind - add or take off depending on wind direction. For example, playing a shot from 170 yards into the 9th Hole on the Marquess, 170 to the Pin, add 15 yards on a very cold day = 185, Downhill minus 5 yards = 180, into a strong wind add 15 yards = 195 yards is the true playing yardage. Therefore 25 yards longer than the number on your laser! 4. Practice your SHORT GAME The average golfer hits 5 greens in regulation a round, therefore it is likely you will have to pitch, chip and hit bunker shots 13 times when you play! Make sure you use the Tavistock area effectively, place balls in different situations and a variety of lies, you will be amazed how a little more time spent on this key area of the game will benefit your scoring! 5. Miss on the BEST SIDE If the pin is at the back of the green, make sure you don't reach it, if it is at the front, go past it. If it is tucked on the left/right then play for the heart of the green. This may seem really obvious but I know many of you can improve your thinking here. An example being the 3rd Hole on the Duke's, when the pin is at the back don't go near it! Going long here means 4 becomes a good score! During the Summer holidays the Woburn Professional Team will be providing an opportunity for boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14 to learn and enjoy the game of golf. Festival 1: Tuesday 24th, Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th July Festival 2: Tuesday 21st, Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd August 10.00am to 2.00pm each day : £99 per child to include lunch. For further information or to book please contact the Professional Shop on 01908 626600 or email email@example.com Woburn Member wins our winter Pro-Am Congratulations to Woburn Member, Mark Wharton who had a fantastic 68 (4 under) to win the Individual Professional prize in our winter Pro-Am held on the Duke’s course on Thursday 22nd February. I would like to add that I am very proud to be the Head Professional at Woburn and I very much look forward to playing with many of you in the Captain-Pro Challenge matches, along with overseeing a comprehensive training programme for all our coaches. I will continue to offer holidays all around the world from Monte Rei in Portugal to the U.S. Masters and Scottish resorts such as Turnberry and Gleneagles. If you would like to learn more about these trips, any of the clinics I offer or discuss some individual coaching please, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great season, all the best. Dan 11