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There's much more to learning this game than hitting it long and straight.

Tour quality putting will teach you how to read greens, read speed, develop and simple, consistent stroke, a sink more putts.

Tour Quality Golf

Tour quality putting will teach you how to read greens, read speed, develop a simple, consistent stroke, and sink more putts.



        Probable Golf Instruction

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May 5 /09

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Wow, my golf course finally opened last week on May 1; the latest opening ever. Looks like global warming, which is causing the average temperature of the Earth to increase, is also causing extremes in local areas as well. I wonder what kind of summer is in store. Anyhow, it's nice to finally be out on the links again. Welcome to the rest of you that have had late starts.

Click on any of the following Newsletter topics or just scroll down the page:

Golf Ball Choice -- Simple, isn't it?
More Backspin with the Wedge -- How?
How Slope Affects Pitch Shots
Elevation and Distance


Golf Ball Choice -- Simple?

I picked up my May Golf Digest issue to find some great information about golf ball choice The only problem was there was so information, it was a little overwhelming. Lots of graphs and numbers but hard to decipher which golf ball to play. And, I'm a numbers guy with an extensive background in physics and mathematics.

So, I thought I'd decipher all of the data to provide you with some great recommendations about which balls to play.

I premise my recommendations on five basic facts about scoring:

1. The majority of golf shots are from 100 yards and in (this includes putting).
2. All golfers sink more putts when they are closer to the hole.
3. To get close to the hole, the golfer must be able to impart significant backspin on the ball.
4. The type of golf ball (especially the cover) greatly influences how much backspin a golfer can impart.
5. Regardless of the type of golf ball (inner construction and cover), there is not a significant difference in distance off the tee. Read my Longest Golf Ball Report.

There have been many different tests of golf balls in recent years due to the availability of golf ball launch monitors. Golf Digest used this technology to measure launch angle and initial backspin of golf balls hit under similar conditions.

Ideally for a drive, a golfer wants a launch angle of about 12 degrees and backspin rate of about 2600 rpm (actual values depend on your clubhead speed). Golf Digest hit 28 different balls with the same club and a clubhead speed of 96 mph (a little faster than average golfer). They found the launch angles varied in total by only 1 degree. Backspin values varied by only 400 rpm. Both of these variances produce very minor differences in distance.

However, when they tested the same golf balls with a Wedge, they found significant differences in launch angle and backspin. The launch angles varied from about 27 to 39 degrees and backspins varied from about 4200 rpm to 7500 rpm. The balls with greatest backspin had the lowest launch angle. These balls all have urethane covers that are much softer and stick to the clubface longer during impact. The result is more backspin and lower launch.

And, the urethane cover balls are the "premium balls" on the market, some of them with "premium prices." Here are the balls which had the highest backspin rates in order from highest to lowest:

Bridgestone B330-S, Srixon Z-Star, Titleist Pro V1, Titleist Pro V1X, Srixon Z-Star X, TaylorMade TP-Black, Taylormade TP-Red, Bridgestone B330, Nike ONE Tour, Callaway Tour I, Taylormade Burner TP, Nike ONE Tour D, Callaway Tour IX, Bridgestone E5+, Bridgestone B330-RX, Callaway HX Hote Bite.

The balls in blue font above are premium balls (+$40 per dozen). The balls in black font are medium priced balls ($22-$35 per dozen).

Some lower priced balls (<$22 per dozen) that get medium backspin are:

Titleist NXT Tour, Pinnacle Plantinum Feel, Titleist DT Roll, Titleist DT Carry, Taylor Made Burner.

So, there are lots of great golf balls out there that you can play and get lots of backspin. I'd really encourage you to play a premium golf ball whenever possible. You'll find you'll save more shots with your short game.

Answer my new poll question about confidence in club selection!


I have used my computer golf ball projectile model to predict the effect of many variables on golf shots. The purpose has been to provide golfers with the tools to make better club selection choices on the golf course. More confidence in club choice equates to improved commitment, improved confidence and better golf shots; all resulting in lower scores.

Go ahead, choose your weapon against uncertainty and poor golf shots. All golfers can benefit from these golf tips, regardless of handicap.

You can look at all of my products here: Order Golf Tips & Accessories


More Backspin with the Wedge -- How?

Are you always impressed how the pros can get so much backspin on their shots, especially with their wedges? So am I. Even though you probably don't have the proper swing technique to enable you to get as much backspin, there are some things you can change to increase the amount of backspin you currently have. And, as discussed above, the more backspin you can generate, the quicker you can stop the ball and the closer you can get the ball for lower scores.

To maximize the amount of backspin on your wedge shots, do the following:

1. Play a premium high spin golf ball.
2. Play wth a wedge that has square grooves or U-grooves (amateurs can do so until 2024; pros have until 2010). Plus, the larger the width and depth of the grooves (thus larger volume), the less water will get between the club and ball (when conditions are wet).
3. Play the ball back in your stance, a 2-4 inches back of center. This will promote a descendng blow (hitting the golf ball first before the club starts digging into the turf. For an image, click here.
4. Keep the clubface clean and dry. Grass and moisture will reduce friction between the clubface and ball resulting in less backspin. That's why you get less backspin when hitting from the rough.

Dave Pelz has done a lot of research on the short game. A lot of his research results are in his book.

Click here to order Dave's Pelz's Short Game Bible, OR get it at your local bookstore. BUT, whatever you do, GET IT !! Your game will love you for it.


How Slope Affects Pitch Shots

     I was at the beach the other day with my kids and took along Dave Pelz's "Short Game Bible". I can't say more good thinkgs about this book and the great knowledge Dave has added to the game. I'd really recommend you get your own copy. You can order it from Amazon using the following link. Yes, I get something for the purchase; I think about 70 cents, so that's not the reason for the recommendation. Or, get it at your local book store or library.
Click here to order Dave's Book.

     In his book, Dave does an excellent job of describing the effects of different scenarios on the ball's ability to stop quickly. As in my two previous newsletters, I emphasized the importance of playing a high spin ball; one with a soft cover. In some scenarios, however, even a high spin ball won't enable you to get the ball close.

     Look at the diagrams below. They can be applied to pitch shots (30-80 yards) as well as to full length shots. In the first and second diagrams, you can see the effects of playing to a green higher and lower in elevation to you and your ball. When the ball lands on a higher green, the ball will land with a more shallow angle and therefore not stop as quickly. When playing to a green lower, the ball will land with a steeper angle and stop much more quickly. It's crucial that the golfer take this into account in order to judge getting the ball close to the hole.

     In the third diagram, the golfer is hitting from a downhill lie and and uphill lie. From a downhill lie, the ball will have a lower trajectory and thus not stop as quickly. To play a downhill lie, one plays the ball farther back in the stance which decreases the effective loft of the club, making the trajectory even lower. From an uphill like, the ball will have a higher trajectory than normal, land with a steeper angle of attack and thus stop more quickly than normal.

     Of course, if you're playing a high spin ball (click here for some examples), you'll be more able to stop the ball in situations like those described above. Play a hard ball, however, and you'll have a tough time stopping the ball in all circumstances. If you were faced with hitting from below in the 2nd diagram or hitting from a downhill lie in the 3rd diagram, it might not be realistic to get the ball close. That's part of your golf management. Expect to hit it past the pin and hopefully make the putt coming back, as opposed to trying to get it close and making a double or triple bogey.

     If your goal is in fact to shoot lower scores, focus on improving your short game because that's where over half your shots occur. To improve your short game, use a soft, high spin ball. They cost a little more, but they're well worth it.


Elevation Changes & Club Selection

   If you watched the 2009 Masters, you might recall how great Kenny Perry's distance control was with his irons. It was very impressive given that many of the iron shots at Augusta are uphill or downhill. Guessing with club selection can be very damaging to a player's ability to play the shot; doubt and uncertainty make it very difficult to commit to, and execute a golf shot.

   As I've cited in previous newsletters, the majority of golfers come up short on their shots the majority of the time. Hitting uphill or downhill makes it even more difficult to club properly, commit to and execute the shot. Uphill and downhill par 3s tend to have higher scoring averages for this reason.

  A major reason why golfers tend to play their own golf course better than others is familiarity with what clubs to hit. They are able to have more confidence in the clubs they select because of past rounds, are able to commit to the club they select and therefore execute better swings more often.

The science of golf ball trajectories is now well understood. As I have done with my computer model, its easy to determine the effect of each club's range when playing up to a green or down to a green. All one needs to do is estimate the elevation change, adjust your club selection and fire. In my report on compensating for elevation changes, I explain a very easy way of estimating elevation changes by just using the flagstick as a reference.

Try this simple experiment over your next 10 rounds:

† Keep track of how often you hit the correct club on each hole. Record as well whether you landed short or long due to a clubbing error or just mishitting the shot.
† Then compare your statistics between holes that are level and holes which involve an elevation change on your approach shot.
† I think you'll find that on holes which have elevation changes, you'll mis- club more and mis-hit more shots.
† The consequences of mis-clubbing to your score are large.

Recall that my emphasis is enabling yourself to make better club selections for all your shots. Having good understanding of your shot pattern plays a key role in where to aim and what club to select.

My premise is that all golfers can shoot lower scores without physically improving ball striking or their short game (not that I'm advocating not working on those skills), by making better club choices.


Trying to find answers on my website? Here's how.

1. Go to my Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. There's a link to it on my pages from the left hand menu near the top of the page, just below the Search icon. It's called "FAQs." You then click on the graphic icon and you'll be taken to my database page. For your convenience, here it is:

I've answered hundreds of questions over the past 6 years and have created a fairly large database. You can search it out. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, submit a question and I'll answer it.

2. On all of my web pages, there is a search feature in the top left section, right underneath my LOGO. Just place your search keywords in the search box, select "This Site" below it, and then press "Search." What will come up is a Google search of the pages on my site with relevance. You can also search the entire internet by selecting "Web" instead.
Go to my main page now: Home or just check the top left menu of this page.

3. Also, directly under the Google Search area, you'll find a pop down menu called "Your Topic." Select the topic of interest and press "Go."

I would suggest you bookmark my main page and/or your specific areas of interest so that you can find them easily in the future. On each page at the very top, there is a link you can click on:
"Click here to add this page to your favourites"

Hope you find all you're looking for.

You can learn more from NEW Titleist Pro-V1 by clicking HERE.



A list of resources that have been used to produce this newsletter can be found on my web site here.

Hope I provided some useful ways for you to become better prepared for you best golf season ever.

Ken Tannar

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