Exercise program

Daniel Lee (15) of South Carolina writes: I play a lot of golf. I also play baseball. When I weightlift for baseball, my golf games goes sour. I do want to get stronger, bigger, and hit the golf ball farther. Do you have any suggestions on an exercise program for myself that would keep me in shape and help my golf game?

Scott Robbins:
Continue to lift what your doing. However, have your trainer add stretching to your program so you do not lose flexibility. As you lift to get stronger and more fit, be patient and let your body adjust to it’s new shape and feel. That is what David Duval had to do as he added weight training this year. Once he adjusted, he won his last 3 tournaments. Maybe that can happen for you!

Alaska Junior Amateur

Chris LaMonica of Juneau, Alaska writes: I’m sixteen years old and I’ve been playing golf for almost 3 years This summer I got down to about a five handicap. I have a good all around game and have won several local tournaments. I would now like to compete in some tournaments that are more competitive. This coming summer I would like to compete in the Alaska Junior Amateur but I can’t find any information about it. I was wondering if you could send me some info on it. Thanks a lot.

Scott Robbins:
I do not have any information on the Alaska Junior Amateur. However, I would suggest a few areas to begin a search. First is at you local golf course and your local PGA Professional. Secondly, contact the closest PGA of America office (start at the PGA web page, pga.com). Third, contact the local newspaper and ask the source for the big events in the state and a contact name. Good Luck with your search.

Schools with Professional Golf Management Program

Iris Kaptein (18) of Huntsville, Ontario, Canada asks: Which colleges or universities offer the Professional Golf Management Program in Ontario? Which one would you consider the best school for this in Ontario?

Scott Robbins:
The closest University to you that I know of is Ferris State in Michigan. However, I suggest you contact the PGA of America at pga.com and ask them the same question. Good Luck on your desire to become a PGA Member Professional.

How to get backspin

Cliff Ang (19) of Saint Louis, MO writes: I was wondering if you can tell me how to impart backspin on the ball to make it roll back or prevent it from rolling forward on the green. I can only make the ball stop quickly but not make it spin back.

Scott Robbins:
Backspin is the product of how much club head speed you are imparting to the ball, how centered the hit is, the loft of the club you’re using and the angle of attack at the ball (usually determined by the club). The more loft a club has, the shorter the shaft is and that creates a more up and down swing, hence a “steep” angle of attack. Therefore an 8, 9 or wedge will fly high, impart backwards spin and stop or back up on the green, considering the green is not too hard (nothing stops then).
So, the things you need to check in your ball flight are: trajectory (height); curvature (mainly in your longer irons and woods); and distance. If there is excessive curvature then you need to work on more solid ball strikes towards the center of the club. If the distance is short then you need to work on a bigger circle (arc) for the clubhead to create more momentum(speed). If the flight is low and the divots barely noticeable then you need to work on the plane of your swing. Get with a PGA Professional and have him/her look at your swing.

Add yards to driver

Cliff Ang (19) of St. Louis, MO writes: I consistently drive around 240+ yards off the tee with my driver. I could swing harder and get it to around 270 yards but I would really want to get to around 300 yards. Are those extra 30 yards worth it to swing even harder on the ball or are there better ways of achieving this.

Scott Robbins:
There are two important factors in driving the ball long. One is clubhead speed at impact and the second is how solid (centered on the face) do you hit it. Start there first. If you are not consistently striking the center of the face then you need to work on getting your swing more “on plane” where you will deliver the shaft and the club on the same angle you began on at address.
If that is okay, then work on speed. Work on two areas for speed. First work on creating a wider arc, not necessarily a longer arc or swing. (witness Tiger Woods. His swing is not long but is very wide). You do this by coordinating your body rotation and your arm swing so that you maintain the distance between your sternum and your hands throughout the swing. The second this is to work out to create more strength and flexibility.
Go see your nearest PGA Teaching Professional and have him be your eyes to see if you need a swing plane, arc or strength adjustment to meet your goals.

Golf scholarships

Ryan Sinclair (15) of St. Catharines Ontario, Canada writes: I have a question about golf scholarships. At what age should someone start writing to a university to gain information about attaining a scholarship. Also being from Canada, is it harder to gain acceptance to American Universities? Any help would be appreciated.

Scott Robbins:
If you are currently playing on a golf team and playing some junior tournaments and have had some, moderate or great success, start writing coaches now. Definitely by the Spring of your Junior year. If you can play in some AJGA tournaments, do it. Many golf coaches look there as well as the new PGA Junior Series in the U.S. Good Luck!

Club fitting

Louie Frances Dobson (15) of Mt Hagen WHP Papua New Guinea asks: Well I’ve been playing golf for along time seens I was 5 years old now and I really enjoyed the game but now for 2/3 years I’m playing serious golf “But I still enjoy it” My HCP is 12 and when I play, I play great golf most of the time shooting 75-79 for 18 hole but sometimes I play like a Mongeral Like today I shot a 89.My question is that is it my clubs that are making me play bad at times because I’v had them seens I was 7 “they were my dads clubs in 1976” They are shorter then standered length and I’m 189cm tall I drive 240+ metres. Should I get new clubs or not?

Scott Robbins:
I had to do some calculating to understand the metric measure to the “American” measurements I am used to. It does sound as if you could use some new clubs considering what you have told me. Here in America, club fitting has been for a long time an important duty of the PGA Golf Professional, especially the instructors.
I encourage you to look for someone who can properly fit you for length, shaft flex and lie angle of the clubs you will need. There is a saying I like to use when I talk to someone about clubs. “This game is hard enough to play without having to learn with ill fitted equipment. The equipment should be built to fit the player’s game, the player should not have to change to fit his equipment.” Unfortunately 90+% of the golfers do just the opposite.
Good luck on finding a club fitter and avoiding those times when you play like a Mongrol!

Play golf in college

Jason Askew (16) of Tuscaloosa, AL, USA writes: I’ve played golf since I was born. My dream is to play golf in college then play on the PGA Tour. My question is how can I make my dream come true?

Scott Robbins:
What a great question! Just like the great actors, musicians, and all professional athletes, the pinnacle of success in one’s chosen field is a result of hard work, diligence to detail and luck.
Work smart. Find a PGA Professional you are confident in, that has proven he can help you with your game and recruit him to be a teacher, confidant and mentor and buy into your dream to help you achieve your success. Work hard on the right things. With diligence. Learn all you can about ball striking, short game, putting, strategy, management of the course, management of yourself.
Sam Snead said it best. The game becomes 10% skill and 90% luck. And the harder I work, the luckier I get! Good Luck, Jason. May the luck and talent and perseverance be with you and I hope I see that you have achieved your goal sometime in the next 10-15 years.

How to get on PGA Tour

Ray Pursley (15) of Billings, MT asks: Just what does it take to get on the PGA Tour because i cant wait for the chance to get on.

Scott Robbins:
Great play and a lot of luck. This year they changed the format a little and by time you get there it will probably change again. First Stage of qualifying for the PGA Tour and the Nike Tour is a 72 hole event. Depending on the location and on the amount of entries the Tour determines how many will go to the Second Stage. As an example, 88 players teed it up in Bogart, Georgia in October. 25 went to Second Stage.
Second Stage is less sites with approximately the same size fields. However at this stage you also add some players from the Nike Tour and PGA Tour from the current year. It too is 72 holes.
Final Stage is a one place location (Greenlefe C.C, in Florida this year). At the final stage you are again adding players from the PGA Tour (usually #s 126-150 on the current money list) to the qualifiers from Second Stage. This year the field was 130 players. The top 35 went to the PGA Tour, the next 70 to fully exempt on the Nike Tour and the rest as conditional players on the Nike Tour.
However once you make it through Q-school you are not on Tour. You are ranked according to your Q-school finish and are taken on a first come, first serve basis in tournaments. Remember, last years top 125 on Tour still have precedence over any Q-school qualifier.
It’s a long and hard road. It’s very rewarding once you are there.
Start working hard, never loose sight of your dream and give it your all!

Putter swing

Chris Jolley (12) of Jacksonville, Florida, asks: When you are putting do you let the putter head swing freely?

Scott Robbins:
Oh Chris – you have re opened a great debate. Do I swing the putter freely or control the club from the handle? It’s a matter of preference to you. There are great putters out on Tour, past and present that echo both. Ben Crenshaw, Tiger Woods, Loren Roberts are 3 I believe are in full control of the club. Corey Pavin and Payne Stewart are examples, I believe are swingers of the club head. Find the one for you that is easiest to return the club head square on a more often, consistent basis and is easiest for you to control distance, especially from 40 feet and longer. Get a PGA Professional to look at your game and your putting to be sure they are congruent (match). Good Luck and make a ton of putts!