tips from the pros
You may be good, but you can always be better. Check out these tips from our pros to help all aspects of your game. You can also see a Pro Tip for each hole on the course layout page.
HOW TO PLAY OUR COURSE
Here are some strategies to walk you through playing the golf course at Caledon Country Club. There is much to be said about playing a course with strategy instead of teeing up and swinging for the fences with driver every par 4 and 5 and hoping for the best. If we don’t have a plan, we are putting ourselves in potentially tough situations by ending up behind trees, in bunkers, out of bounds and in water hazards. Unless driver is needed in order to hit over 200 yards then there is some thought and strategy which can highly benefit your scores. If you play thoughtful golf then you are giving yourself the opportunity to take out the “high scores” in your round. This isn’t to say that strategic golf guarantees no more bad shots just that it helps average out scores and provides more consistency during your round. A hole by hole overview of how I would recommend you play the course follows:
Hole #1, Glory The first hole has a “Risk reward Shot.” A good tee shot which travels to the green about 240 yds can set up an eagle. However, if your drive goes wayward you will look at bogey or worse. A smarter play would be to hit a mid to long iron up the fairway leaving yourself a wedge approach.
Hole #2, Foreshadow This drive must stay away from long and left as that is OB. A good tee shot here is one that travels about 240 yards up the fairway. The approach shot has two options: roll a low shot up or hit a high ball in. The green slopes back to front so best to leave the approach short of the pin if possible.
Hole #3, Devil’s Corridor The 3rd hole has a very tight tee shot. There is trouble on both sides so there is something to be said about hitting it in the short grass here. If you are a long hitter you could try going over the trees on the right cutting off significant yardage but this is risky. The reliable shot would be middle about 200-225yds leaving a mid iron to hybrid approach to green. Par is a great score here due to the dangerous tee shot.
Hole #4, The Pines This hole is fairly narrow from the tee deck and requires that you play to the left or hit a small draw. Driver is a good bet here for most players however if you hit a long ball a hybrid or 3 wood is a smarter play. To land the ball on the green requires a high approach shot as it is well protected with bunkers.
Hole #5, The Chute This short hole requires that you have precise distance control, as there is a steep slope short and trouble right/left. A short to mid iron is all that is required for most golfers to reach the dance floor here; just choose wisely.
Hole #6, The Runway This fairway slopes slightly to the right and is a great opportunity for your longest drive of the day as it runs downhill from the tee. There isn’t much trouble out there but a drive down the left is best. The green is reachable in two with a good drive and is pretty forgiving and large.
Hole #7, Slippery Slope Long hitters can drive the green or get very close but beware the trees just off the green on both sides. The smart play is to hit a shot of about 200 yards. The fairway is fairly wide at this yardage and it sets up a short iron approach to a well bunkered and sloping green. A precise approach is called for here to score well.
Hole #8, Hello Willow This long par 3 has no easy or safe way to play. Just hit a long iron or wood depending on your length and be happy if you get a par. The green is large so be sure to be mindful of pin position and give yourself enough club to get there.
Hole #9, Go For Broke Another very short par 4 that has a very high risk reward. There is trouble everywhere but if you hit a straight shot the green is reachable. A lay up is the reasonable way to play the hole; drive it over the water and leave yourself a short iron to the large green.
Hole #10, Lefty’s Dream If there is anyway that you can hit a ball that turns to the left a bit, do it. This hole has a narrow chute and than turns pretty sharp left. If your tee shot is straight it just leaves you with a long approach to the green. A driver or fairway wood off the tee is standard here. The approach to the green is straightforward with the option of a low roller or high approach.
Hole #11, Off the Rails A reasonably short hole which sets up well for a driver, plenty of room down the right hand side but a bit tight down the left. A drive which goes 200-250yds is all that is needed to leave a mid iron to the green. Try and keep the approach to the left as it is the safer side.
Hole #12, The Prayer is a very picturesque hole but don’t let it fool you; it can be tricky. This tee shot requires that you get the correct distance as the green is short front to back and has a pretty big swale (slope) in the front. If you miss short or to the left you will be faced with a tough uphill pitch. The green also slopes from back to front so try and leave the approach short.
Hole #13, Higher Ground You have a very good opportunity for birdie here. The fairway is reasonably wide but avoid going left of the fairway as trouble lurks. A tee shot that travels about 240yds is ideal as it narrows up towards the hole. The approach is fairly narrow and the green is very deep so be sure to get the distance right.
Hole #14, The Signature This is the signature hole and it can play very tough. Unless you can hit a drive about 240yds on the fly its best to hit down the fairway and avoid trying to carry the trees on the left. If you can hit a deep ball than align left and aim over about 100-200 feet of trees. The danger is you can’t see your ball land and if your shot is short or to far left it will be lost, so it is a risk reward tee shot. This hole is very long if you can’t fly the trees so just keep your second shot on the short stuff and try and hit the green with the 3rd shot. 5 is a great score here so just try and get through.
Hole #15, Alcatraz This is another short par 4 which can be driven greenside by really long hitters but the ideal play is a tee shot of between 225-250yds in the fairway. This will set up a pretty easy approach with a high or low running option. The green is very deep and slopes again from back to front so placement of approach will help to lower your score.
Hole #16, Forgiveness This hole is a tough mid length par 3. It is all carry to the pin and usually into a prevailing wind. I would recommend playing an extra club and taking a smooth swing here. Hitting it short here could mean ending up in the meandering creek.
Hole #17, Amen This is a long par 5 that requires a good drive. Driver is about the only logical club here so take a swing and keep it away from OB left. The second shot is hit to a forgiving landing area unless your tee shot sails around 280 plus than it can be a green light to go for the green. The green has a fairly wide opening to allow for low approaches and high ones.
Hole #18, Redemption is a fairly difficult and long finishing par 4. Just think of this hole as a short par 5 and go for the green in two!! I recommend a driver or 3 wood off the tee avoiding a shot that goes left as OB is lurking. Once off the tee just hit a hybrid or long iron at the center and hope it rolls up. There isn’t much to worry about greenside here.
For this months article I wanted to speak to the topic of practice. The concept of practice is to work on a skill using correct technique. When practicing with correct technique the results will be much more consistent. If your time is limited then I would recommend spending your precious time on the short game: chipping, pitching and putting. This area will help to improve your scores more than any other. The short swing is a “mini” full swing. If the “mini swing is completed with proper alignment and path then it bodes well for full swing mechanics. Any new golfer or seasoned golfer would be doing themselves a favour by practicing the short swing. I’m a firm believer that golf should be learned from the green back to the tee.
If you have one hour to practice this is what I would recommend. Go to a practice green and start by chipping from just off the green for about fifteen minutes. Next, if there is enough room, work on some pitch shots from roughly 10-15 yds off the green for another fifteen minutes. The second half of that hour I would recommend working on long putts and short putts, spending equal time on both. If there is a bunker by the practice green then splash a few shots out for about 5 minutes.
Here are a few different ideas to practice these parts of the game.
Chipping: Take 10 golf balls and hit each one to an alternate hole; switch the target for every shot. Doing this will help improve your touch and is much more difficult than simply chipping all 10 repetitively to the same hole, therefore you will get more out of your practice session.
Pitching: Use the same principal of alternating targets but this time change your club after every 10 shots. Try a pitching wedge first, then switch to a sand wedge and then a lob wedge if you have one. Even try a 7 iron out to see how your touch is holding up.
Putting: Start with placing 5 balls in a ring around the hole all spaced at 3 feet from the cup. Attempt to sink all 5 consecutively then try the same thing from a 4 foot distance. Once your short stroke is warmed up, move on to long putts. Pick a spot about 20 feet away from a hole and get 10 balls. Form a semi circle starting at a hole and moving past. The radius should be 6 feet for this drill. Use golf balls, tees or markers to form the semi circle. Attempt all 10 putts and only count those that either go in or those that end up within the semi circle boundaries; in line with or past the hole and within the 6 foot radius.
I think these drills will help you with your game and I believe that practicing the short game will help to lower your scores in a hurry.
BEST TIME FOR GOLF
With summer having ended just a little while ago we are now in the “shoulder season” at golf courses across Canada. Here are a few reasons why fall golf should be a top priority for all golfers.
Some of the best golf can occur this time of year especially if you are a fan of scenery and the outdoors. At Caledon Country Club we happen to have some very nice vistas and views particularly because of our many elevation changes. With the changing of the colours of the many trees it can be a sight to behold. And, having played all season you should also be hitting the ball your best so why stop playing?
Another point to be made is that the winter is very long and golf simulators can’t compare to the real thing. If you don’t play in October, the wait for spring golf will be excruciatingly long and the rust can become almost unbearable, potentially resulting in expensive trips down south to quench your golfing thirst.
There can be some very good golfing values in the fall; rates typically drop in October. After the round try lunch or dinner in our restaurant and hike the surrounding trails including checking out the mini badlands just up the road, a favorite of local tourists. Or catch a ride on the Credit Valley Explorer train: www.creditvalleyexplorer.com
I hope this month’s article was a good pep talk to help everyone get the most out of the remainder of this golf season. We have to take advantage of fall golf because not only is it the the most picturesque but it also a very long time to wait until spring.
Chipping is equal parts technique and creativity. It requires touch and imagination to land in the proper spot on the green and roll the ball out to a close proximity to the pin. It requires a solid understanding of trajectory and release. You have to be able to estimate how far a ball will fly and then how far it will role with a given club. Seeing as it is such a short shot we don’t want to be throwing away strokes by flubbing and topping our way to the hole. Hopefully these tips and drills will help you get up and down more often.
Here are a couple of key points to think about when setting up and executing a chip shot.
First the setup keys:
Stand with narrow stance and very close to the ball. This helps to ensure a descending strike. Also align the ball up with the back of your stance and press your hands a little toward the target (ahead of the ball). Finally adjust your body slightly to position approximately 70% of your weight over your left/forward leg.
Take a short and controlled back swing with very little or no hinge, hands to knee height or less. This will vary depending on the club and the distance to the target. Attempt to hold the club head from releasing on the follow through and keep your left wrist flat. Make a conscious effort to keep the lower body quiet and clip the grass on down swing before and after the ball.
Two club drill:
Hold one club in each hand and swing both at the same time. The goal is to keep the club shafts the same distance apart during the entire swing. Really focus on making a nice short controlled swing while doing this. If either of your hands become too active one of the clubs will pass the other.
One foot back drill:
Set up with a closed stance, pull your right foot back and then lift your right heel up. This will position all of your weight over your forward foot. To balance yourself you will need to keep steady throughout your swing. Doing this should help you make solid contact consistently.
Let us know if this month’s tip was helpful and if you have more success getting up and down from off the green.
4 SWING TRIGGERS
Having a sequence to your swing is very important. Everyone’s game can benefit when following a proper sequence of triggers in their golf swing. The following are four separate swing triggers to be aware of.
In the setup position everyone needs a trigger to initiate the backswing. This can be a waggle, which can loosen and ease the tension in ones arms and forearms. It is a good idea to feel like the club head starts the sequence to the back swing.
Another trigger would be to hinge the wrists when the club is about half way back on your swing. This will set you up early to complete a proper shoulder turn. Try to resist rotation in the lower body at this point. This increases the separation between the lower and upper body, which improves coil and as a result provides more power in your swing.
A third trigger is to start the down swing with a proper right elbow position. This means that the elbow is pointed towards the ground and is moving forward towards your right hip, brushing ones side. This will help you to keep the club on a proper swing path, to maintain a straight shot. (if you shoot left this will refer to your left elbow position).
The last trigger should be an extension of the arms and a complete follow through. Just past impact with the ball, both arms should be in a straight position and your forearms should be rotating to the left (right handed players). Your arms should be swinging in the direction of the target and your upper body turning to face the target. Ideally one’s lower body will finish in the same direction of the target. At this point maintain your balance, bring the club to a high finished position and hold for a few seconds.
If you follow these four triggers in proper sequence your golf swing will surely benefit. This should be practiced at the driving range when you have time to slow your swing down and work on the individual sequences of your swing. After much practice and repetition you will see positive results on the golf course.
For this month’s tip I was thinking about the changing of the weather and the increasingly windy conditions we are experiencing. I thought it might be beneficial to talk about keeping the ball low and how to play smart golf in high winds. Something that we must understand about playing into strong winds is that a slightly less than straight shot will be exaggerated further by the wind. So it is far more beneficial to swing slower, use more club and keep the ball lower in order to help keep the shot in play. This is especially true when hitting directly into the wind. Many golfers swing out of their shoes trying to make up for the loss of distance that the wind represents and then actually end up losing their ball!! Instead of trying to swing for the fences in high winds try these tips:
Next time you are playing golf in windy conditions I hope you’ll try these tips out. I think you will find that the day will be less frustrating. After all, golf should be enjoyed in all types of weather conditions not just calm sunny days!
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