Library of Articles

“Select the area you want to learn more about and enjoy – while reading these articles, please understand there is no “Magic Pill” that will solve your golf woes. However, education is one of the first steps to understanding.”

Pre Routine & Getting Started

Short Pre Routine/Getting Started

“The Importance of a Perfect Address and a Pre-Shot Routine”
By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

Our consistent alignment to the target, posture and position of the ball are crucial to our performance of creating a repeatable and efficient golf swing. During the address we have 100% control of our actions. We can ALL look like a tour professional in this position. Make it perfect! The back swing and the down swing are not 100% controllable and depend on muscle memory and reflex which are trainable actions, with use of proper drills. Your local PGA/LPGA professional can help you identify the proper drills for YOUR golf needs.

FACT: “Amateur golfers, generally do not align themselves correctly to the target nor do they have a perfect address position”.

TIP: Develop a pre-shot routine starting from behind the ball and pick out an intermediate object 3-4 feet in front of your ball. This object should be on or very close to your target line. It is easier to align your club to an object 3-4 feet in front of you than it is to align it to a target 20 feet or 200+ yards away. Use the acronym C.H.E.F. to develop your routine. This is your recipe for alignment. The “C” stands for “CLUB”, “H” for “Hands”, “E” and the “F” stand for “Eyes and Feet”.

Stand beside the ball in your golf position with your feet together. Check the ball position to ensure you are the proper distance from the ball. Begin your acronym. “C” Club – align the club face with the intermediate target that you selected 3-4 feet away. “H” Hands – Place your hands on the club by taking your grip. (Ensure that the club does not move and changes your alignment on your intermediate target) “E and F” are together because they happen at the same time. Eyes are looking at the TARGET while you set your feet wider in their normal golf stance. You should face the target so that your eyes are level while looking at the target. Don’t just glance out of the corner of the eye.

Note: Your feet move while your eyes are looking at your target

If you feel uncomfortable, always look back to the target and adjust the position of your feet while looking at the target. This pre-routine is very common among better players and yes… even tour players. Perform this routine for ALL golf shots, even putts. This routine has three very important benefits:
1) It provides you with a disciplined method to perform the same pre-shot routine and achieve the same position each time
2) It allows you to focus on each step of the address
3) It orients you to the target and not the area surrounding your ball

This will lead to a comfortable habit of getting ready to swing. This should take 4 – 6 seconds. Long pre-routines over the ball allow time for distracting thoughts to enter your mind. It will take longer in the beginning because you are adapting to the routine. You should not use this on the course until you practice it and get comfortable. The purpose of the pre-routine is to develop a simple method of actions to put you in the same correct address position and to distract you from all the distractions of playing golf.

Many times I see golfers on the range, place clubs along their toe line to ensure correct alignment. However, this is not allowed on the golf course. I like the use of an alignment aid as long as it is used as a double check and not as a guide. Place the club down to ensure that right handed golfers are slightly to the left of the target and left handed golfers are slightly to the right of the target. Go through your set up with CHEF – look down to double check that your feet are perfect – if it not – start over and continue to start from the beginning until you get it correct. Use the club on the ground as a double check NOT as a guide of where to place your feet.

Be VERY attentive to this part of the game. This is the foundation upon which we build a golf swing. If you want consistent results… the actions that you take must be consistent. New or changing actions will result in varying results. This is true with everything … not just golf!

Pre Routine/Getting Started 2

“Taking it to the Course and Handling the PRESSURE

A.K.A. The Importance of a Routine”

By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

Although most of us will never experience the thrill of a sudden death playoff on the PGA Tour, we fight similar demons every time we tee it up. We’ve all heard “I’ve got a great swing on the range”. The driving range is wide and there are always more balls. The course offers only narrow slits for fairways and only one shot to get it there. This pressure for many is too much to bear.

Being able handle the pressure and take it on the course is a result of three steps.
• Practice your swing and make your swing as simple as possible. Practice all aspects of the game (Putting, Chipping, Pitching, Short Irons, Long Irons, Fairway Woods and Driver). PGA assistance is needed many times in order to accomplish this goal and simplify your swing.
• Routine is the step-by-step process of the total golf swing. Many times it begins before the club is chosen. Most players will practice the swing but few practice the routine. Making this routine repeatable on the course requires it be practiced on the range. Not long ago I was practicing my routine. I hit the same iron and never moved my target. When I returned to the clubhouse, I took some grief from the local pros because one of them noticed that I took between 9 and 10 seconds to hit every shot once I approached the ball. They thought this was a little anal. I simply said thanks. My goal was to do the same thing before every swing. I wasn’t focused on the number of seconds. I was focused on repeating the same sequence of events before and during every shot (which coincidentally took the same number of seconds). Making this routine, “routine” is the goal. We all need something that we are familiar with, when under the pressures of scoring.
• Understanding your level and how to move to the next level is key to being able to take it to the course. This over-simplistic way of describing this key is very effective with my students. There are 5 steps of pressure that you must perform under.
1 You must be able to swing the club without a ball and accomplish your goal.
2 You must be able to swing the club with a ball and accomplish your swing goal
3 You must be able to swing the club with a ball and accomplish your swing goal with a ball on the course
4 You must be able to swing the club with a ball and accomplish your swing goal with a ball on the course under the pressure of a bet or a tournament
5 The last pressure step is that of a Professional golf (such as a PGA Tour playoff) or televised amateur championship play, such as the U.S. Amateur.

Typically players that attempt #1 have difficulty with #2 primarily because of swing flaws that make their swing complicated. When you can perform #1 with a high 90+% your results with #2 are less than 20%. When you practice and work #2 up to a high 90+%, your results with #3 will be less than 20%. When you work #3 up to a high 90+%, your #4 will only be less than 20% and the same for #5.
Each time you add an additional pressure step;
we revert to old habits and less than perfect swings.
While each of these steps build upon one another and are necessary for a more repeatable and consistent swing… the single area that is the easiest for most golfers to build is the “Routine”. This in my opinion (and many other top teachers) is the essential building block that ALL good golf swings are built upon. The purpose of the routine is to prepare you to hit a shot in any given circumstance just as you would on the practice range without any added pressure. If you notice the professionals, they do their own pre-routine actions. While some waggle the club and others stutter step into the ball, each routine is designed to occupy time. What I mean by that is we do not want ANY stray thoughts entering my brain just before I swing at the ball. How many of us have been playing and the left side of the hole is out of bounds and at the last instant before you swing your little demon inside your brain says “don’t hit it left”… We all hate that because inevitably we either hit it left or way right to prevent the left out of bounds… So a very effective way to quiet the demons is have our brain occupied with a routine that doesn’t allow any STAY thoughts to enter the process.
Yours for better golf,

Pre Routine/Getting Started 3

Coming soon.

Short Game/Wedges

Short Game/Wedges

How to Control Specific Distance in your Short-Game:
By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

There are four things that must happen in order to make a golf swing. We must rotate our body, shift our weight, swing our arms and re-square our wrist/hands. All of these things must harmoniously happen while we’re fighting this overwhelming urge to hit the ball. That is the battle that all of us fight each time we tee it up on the nearby links. The putting stroke is the simplest motion because it contains only one of these actions – the arm swing. There are several reasons for only using your arms:
1) The fewer moving parts are easier to control and train
2) Both shifting of weight, rotation of the body and movement of the wrist cause more energy to be exerted on the ball. When energy is exerted it has to be controlled in order to get the proper distance
3) Controlling only the arm swing is the easiest to understand and perform.

This arm only motion is not just for putting. It is used for any shot that is short enough that you do not have to rotate or turn your body in order to get enough arm swing. Use the following drill to train yourself on the proper movement of your arms to control distance.

Everyone has an innate ability to judge the amount of power to exert when tossing an object. We can use that innate judgment to CONTROL the distance of our chips and putts.

Practice tossing a ball underhanded from your golf position – concentrate on SPECIFIC DISTANCE! Repeat this smooth/fluid motion WITHOUT moving your wrist or your body!

From just off the green, with a 7-iron, place the ball slightly back in your stance. Imitate the same motion with your club as you did with your arm during the toss – smooth/fluid, no WRIST OR BODY MOVEMENT!

Place the ball in the center of your stance for putting and slightly back in your stance for short chip shots. Experiment with different clubs at different distances from around the green. The ball should look as though it is being softly tossed underhanded when the club strikes it. This allows our instinct to gauge the amount of pressure to apply to the shot and control the distance.

Beginners and many others experience a term we call “Ping-Pong Golf.” That’s when they have a difficult time controlling distances and the result is the ball going from one side of the hole to the other, etc. This drill helps all levels of players control their distance and eliminate Ping-Pong Golf.

Short Game/Wedges 2

“How Good is your Up-and-Down Game?”

By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)Just what is an up-and-down? An up-and-down is the term used to describe getting the ball from where it is to “up” on the green and “down” into the hole utilizing only two strokes. Typically this is used to describe when a golfer is just off the green and chips or pitches the ball close enough to the hole to make the putt. This statistic is measured on the Professional Tours. The players that are very efficient at this are generally the players that are on the top of leader boards.This stat is particularly important to you as the amateur because this particular area can save lots of strokes and dramatically lower your scores. The typical amateur that misses the green and finds himself in a rough, un-even lie around the green will plop the ball out on the green in one or two shots and then take two, three or more putts to get the ball into the hole. Using simple math, the amateur has taken 3, 4 or 5 shots and the skilled up-and-down player has only taken two. These additional strokes over the course of many missed greens quickly add up to a frustrating score – vs. – an acceptable or even great score.The best place to start improving your up-and-down game or “short game”, as it is commonly called; is understanding and believing its’ importance to you. Many of my articles and others you read have been targeting how to hit the ball farther and straighter. All of these were designed to teach you not miss the green. However, we are human and we are going to make mistakes. We are going to miss greens. The understanding and proper practice of this part of the game can really benefit the best players and most assuredly help the typical amateurs. Very few golfers have the capability to hit the ball as far and as straight as professionals we see on TV. However, we all have the capability of hitting the correct shot from just off the green and hitting it close enough to make the putt. All of us have that capability. I say again… All of us have that capability. Most golfers don’t have the technique and have not practiced the shot thousands of times, but we have the capability. I can’t count the times that I have witnessed a superior golfer beaten by a good short game opponent. Anyone that has been around the game of golf knows the value of the short game.The technique to a deft short game is pretty simple. There are four principles to follow to improving your short game:
1) The shot should appear effortless, smooth and contain no “hit.” (Getting rid of the “hit” in your swing is more of a challenge than you might think. I’ll address that in other articles.
2) Your body must remain quite as to not add unexpected power from your wrist, weight shift or un-controlled turning of the body.
3) The short game must contain imagination and creativity.
4) Practice, Practice, Practice!The simplest technique is practice with your putter from just a few off the green – gradually make the shot longer and longer up to about 15 feet off the green. USE A PUTTING STROKE… This may sound silly. But, almost every golfer changes their putting stroke to a chipping or more of a “HIT” when they need more power. Use the same simple putting stroke and add the correct amount of power to get the ball where you want it. After you get comfortable with this speed and you are seeing some consistency… change the club to a pitching wedge and keep the same stroke. Move the ball back in your stance to make it easier to make perfect contact. You will need to add power to compensate for the ball traveling into the air. But, keep the putting stroke. Resist the urge to hit the ball or to lift it. Maintain the putting stroke and simply add the necessary power to get the ball to the hole. As you get further from the hole, you will need to make bigger swings that will no longer be a putting stroke. Keep the swing as simple as possible and gradually add small wrist and body motions to get slightly more power. Small steps are best. Limit the moving parts and keep it simple. Move the ball forward and back in your stance to see the different shots and how this changes the flight.You must hit lots of shots with several clubs in order to understand how they work and what each one does. A PGA Teaching Professional can guide you through this and many other parts of the golf swing that will save strokes. As with any training in any sport, you must have fun and your practice should be productive. Play competitive games with a fellow golfer at a practice range. Each taking turns trying to get the closest to a target. How many in a row can you get in a 10-foot circle? My favorite is trying to land a ball into a 5-gallon bucket that you can get at any hardware store. I spent countless hours competing against my Dad in our backyard seeing who could get the first one in the bucket. That gradually changed to which of us got the most in the bucket out of 10 shots. Good luck and have fun learning and improving this part of your game.

Short Game/Wedges 3

Coming soon.



Approach Shot

Approach Shot


PUTTING –The Game Within the Game

By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

Let me first divide golfers into one of three categories. Some golfers will have elements of more than one category.

CATEGORY 1 – The Beginner is not just the person starting to learn the game. Many times this golfer that has played for many years, but has devoted very little time or effort into getting better The Level I (Beginner) usually lacks the smooth, rhythmic and accelerating fundamentals of the putting stroke.  Many times a golfer will never move out of this category despite years of golfing experience. The “Beginner” usually:

  • Does not know the fundamentals of the putting stroke
  • Putts 2 – 5 times per green (averages 40 – 50 putts per round)
  • Has trouble controlling speed and direction of putts

CATEGORY 2 – The Developer is the golfer that is in transition from one category to the next.  Many golfers never advance beyond this category.  This golfer is one that works to improve or their athletic ability has provided enough skill for them to start in this category. The “Developer” usually:

  • Knows and tries to implement sound technique in a putting stroke – many times has taken some good advice or professional lessons
  • Putts 1 – 4 times per green (averages 34 – 42 putts per round)
  • Has trouble controlling speed of putts

CATEGORY 3 – The Player is the golfer may or may not be athletic but works to improve.  The player has accomplished the rigors of technical proficiency. The stroke is smooth and rhythmic.  The “Player” usually:

  • Scores well below bogey golf and putts 1 – 2 times per green (averages 23 – 34 putts per round) NOTE: 3-putts are rare – less than 1:27:
  • Has wonderful speed control
  • Has probably taken PGA/LPGA lessons and has practiced what they have learned

Decide which category fits your game the best and realize that your first goal is to get to the next category.  Do not try to jump to the very top all at once. Golfers tend to be very impatient when it comes to getting better. Getting better can come quickly, however only through better technique and practice.

 To get from Category 1 to Category 2 – You need to understand the fundamentals of the putting stroke. The putting stroke needs to be smooth, rhythmic and accelerating with correct alignment.  It should appear that you are tossing a ball using your arm swing to generate power. If you practice tossing balls to a specific distance – you should notice a smooth rhythm with a shorter back swing and a longer follow-through (accelerating). If your body remains still and the only part that is moving is the arm – this should give you the vision of what a technically sound putting stroke should look and feel like.  Speed control is the ultimate goal.

There are several parts of the body that cause problems during the putting stroke.  The hips can turn or bend, weight can shift from one side to the other and the wrist or head can move.  If you eliminate these additional movements, the swing is simpler and easier to control. The real challenge is to accomplish this without looking and feeling like a robot. But that has to do with going from Category 2 to Category 3 and beyond.

The reason that we strive to achieve technical perfection is so that we can swing the club without thinking about it.  A great example of this is “Golf’s Latest Great Feat”, the 7-iron that Shaun Micheel hit at the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship. The shot landed only inches from the hole under the greatest pressure he had ever experienced in his life. This was truly an example of a situation that he did not need to be thinking and needed to trust his technically sound swing.

It has been said that a great ball striker that is a good putter will not make it on the PGA Tour. However, a good ball striker and a great putter will thrive on the PGA Tour.  Listening to some professionals in their interviews makes one think they can’t putt at all when in fact they are exceptional in this area and are truly great.  It is not an accident that the most frequent stat for the champion each week is lowest putting average.  During the PGA Championship the media dwelled on the difficulty of the course and specifically driving accuracy.  During Shaun Micheel’s Wanamaker trophy presentation ceremony stated “I didn’t drive it that well this week…thank God for the putter”.

What truly makes a “great” putter?  The first things that come to mind are creativity, imagination and feel.  None of these are possible if you are locked up in being technically perfect. While I want every student to achieve technical perfection – I want him or her to enjoy the freedom to swing using creativity, imagination and feel.

DRILL:  From several feet away, toss a golf ball underhanded into a round container.  Repeat this process several times and realize what you are doing in order to accomplish this simple task.  You are swinging your arm. Your attention is on the hole. You are most likely using your creativity, imagination and feel in order to “get the ball in the hole”. You are not thinking about how far back your back swing is, your grip pressure on the ball or any of the other 100’s of thoughts that you could be thinking. You kept it simple and your effort is to get it into the hole. That is my advice for the golfers that want to move from Level II to Level III and beyond…Keep it simple (technically sound – no extra moving parts) and get it in the hole.  You have to trust your stroke and use all of the tools at your disposal.

DRILL:  Practice putting with your eyes on the hole. You will probably miss hit some putts (that’s why we look down). However, try this and attempt to replicate the feeling of tossing the ball at the round container. Keep it simple. If you do not miss hit the ball, you should come very close to making the putt.  After all, you are in charge of where the ball goes.

Putting 2

Coming soon.

Putting 3

Coming soon.

Art of Scoring

Art of Scoring

“Hit it Further with Less Effort”
By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

Hit it further with less effort. That statement has been around golf forever. Any golfer that has ever played this game has told themselves that they should not swing so hard. They have probably even shared this little tidbit of knowledge with others. We are incredibly smart creatures and we all know that when we swing too hard we lose control and miss the center/solid contact with the ball. The trouble is that we don’t know that we swinging too hard until after the fact and we see the not-so-perfect result.
It helps to understand some of the reasons that we swing so hard and what we can do to overcome this innate desire. First as a general rule, men are the biggest abusers of this swing infraction. It is rare when a typical female golfer over swings. I am not saying that it doesn’t happen; only that it is rare. Women typically swing too carefully, trying to control the swing and not releasing the energy from their coiling action. Men on the other hand, because of certain aggressive tendencies that require intensive professional therapy, tend to over swing and not maintain their balance and pace (tempo). It is not completely fair to group all women golfers in the same group, or for that matter all male golfers. For fairness we’ll group these tendencies into easy-swingers and over-swingers vs. female and male.
The powerful and effective golf swing is not designed to be controlled. To produce this swing we coil the energy in our back-swing and release the energy through the ball in our downswing. This action is much like a rubber band being pulled back and once it is completely taut, it is released. Both the easy-swingers and the over-swingers can benefit from this analogy. The easy-swingers need the understanding that the rubber band needs to be released to get it to go the maximum distance. The over-swingers need the understanding that the rubber band can’t be forced during the release. Can you imagine pulling a rubber band back and trying to slow it down at the release in order to guide it? Can you imagine pulling a rubber band back and trying to push it further as it is released? These are two common flaws. All teachers face the same dilemma. We constantly are attempting to get the easy-swingers to get out of their comfort zone and swing more aggressively and we are constantly trying to get the over-swingers to contain the violence and hit the ball in the fairway.
Easy-swingers – stop trying to control the swing and let it go. This is not easy and even though it sounds easy, do not be misled. We as humans find it difficult to give up control in many parts of our life, especially when we want a specific outcome. You want the ball to go where you want it and giving up the control is a real challenge.
Over-swingers – stop trying to force the swing. The swing should build speed. One of the most common reasons for over swinging is golfers try to hit the ball from the top of the swing with the smaller arm muscles vs. core muscles. The change of direction from back to forward is a critical area of the swing. This little 1/10 of a second is where almost all swings flaws start. I hear constantly about how “PGA Professionals make it look so easy.” Club speed for most professionals is over 125 mph and the typical amateur club speed is only 90 mph. However, the amateur looks like they are working and swinging much harder. The smoothness of the professional swing comes from the transition from the back swing to the forward swing. This transition is smooth and slow in order to let the club head build speed. If the club starts off too fast the golfer is trying to force the swing much like trying to force the rubber band. This gives a forceful appearance and a jerky non-smooth action. A PGA Teaching Professional can guide you through your swing and show you ways to increase you distance, accuracy and repeat-ability by swinging with less effort.

Good luck and may the NON-FORCE be with you!

Art of Scoring 2

Coming soon.

Art of Scoring 3

Coming soon.

Smart Golf

Smart Golf

“Playing Smart Golf”

By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

No one has ever accused golfers of being very smart. Especially those that do not play the game and do not understand the challenges associated with chasing the little white ball around. After all it is the challenge and the excitement of the challenge that keeps us coming back. The golfer is usually the brunt of many jokes. Those of us that do endeavor to play this sport understand the attraction and allusive skill required that we so desperately seek. The term “Smart Golf” in the simplest form is simply… make good decisions that limit the risk. Control your distances with rehearsal and technique.
S – Specific Distance
M – Management
A – Apply
R – Rehearsed
T – Technique

Golf is NOT about hitting the ball as far as possible. While that is part of the fun and challenge, it is not a very smart way of approaching the score. Most golfers automatically pull out the driver on virtually every par 4 and par 5. Then virtually every golfer will pull out a 3 wood on the second shot on every par 5. If we can pause the wild thoughts that may be pinging around in your head, listen to the logic.

Just because the hole is a long hole… does not mean that you should hit the longest available option.

Let’s work backwards for one moment. The following are statements that are true and not up for debate. If you feel one of the following “7 Truths” is not true, you will need to evaluate some of the information that you are basing your flawed thinking:
#1 – A putting stroke is easier to perform than a chipping action
#2 – A chipping action is easier to perform than a pitching motion
#3 – A pitching motion is easier to perform than a swinging motion
#4 – A shorter club is more consistent than a longer club
#5 – A shot off of a tee is easier to hit and has more forgiveness than one on the ground
#6 – A shot that is high risk and you feel that you can only hit 20% of the time will not work every time you try
#7 – Finally, the final truth is plans work better when they are planned ahead vs. on the fly

Based on these truths… Let’s evaluate where the un-necessary strokes are occurring. Most golfers, when asked “which is your worst part of the game … short game? or long game? Most will answer long game because that is the hardest. The real answer is that that long game may be the hardest, but it only comprises 20 – 25 % of the score. The biggest percentage of shots occurs less than 75 yards from the hole.

Determine what your score is on every hole after you are 75 yards or closer. If your score is 3 on each of the 18 holes, your score would be 54. The reality is that for every stroke less than 54 typically equates to a stroke less than 90 in your overall score. The goal is to work that 75 yard distance back to 150 yards and only shoot 54, or less from that distance. For every stroke less than 54 at 150 yards, that usually equates to a stroke less than 80 and at 200 yards that means that every time you shoot less than 54 is a stroke under par. This is a view of looking at the closer distances first rather than the longer distances first. This is commonly referred to as from the “hole out” method vs. from the tee to the green method. The above information has nothing to do with seeing a teacher or changing your swing. This is simply a different tool to allow you to focus your attention to the specific area that needs your attention.

After your mind set has changed, let’s develop one known accurate and consistent distance. Typically this is your sand wedge moved back in your stance and hitting a very controlled shot with your focus on the precise center contact of the ball on the face of the club. A distance laser is really helpful when developing a very specific distance. Go out to the range and hit a shot with your sand wedge with NO Target. Your job is to repeat the same swing with the same contact and the same flight trajectory. After you feel as though you can repeat the shot to the same area… laser that distance where it lands, NOT WHERE IT ROLLS. It is rare that a target on the range is exactly the distance you need to practice. So don’t try to change your distance to fit the target. Master this shot! Find a discolored area in the grass or a mound to shoot for to get the exact distance you want. Take this shot to the course and try to get yourself at the right distance as many times during your round to hit this shot. Keep in mind that the wetness or dryness of the ground and the speed and hardness of the green will play a factor in your calculations. If you can incorporate this shot into your game, you should be able to get the ball up and down from that distance some or most of the time. That saves strokes!

NOTE: Moving up and down the grip without changing the swing will change the distance the ball travels. Typically, all the way to the bottom of the grip to all the way to the end of the grip equals 6 yards. Moving the ball forward and back in the stance lowers and raises the ball trajectory. Use these minor adjustments to get the ball height and distance you are seeking. Also, try adding a bit of power or reducing the power to your shot and see if that distance is consistent. If it is then you now have more options in your arsenal.

Now that you have ONE shot in your arsenal, let’s name it your “go-to” shot. You can use your “go-to” shot with any of your wedges and maybe even your 9 iron. There should be 8 – 10 yards difference between each club. Be aware that a typical pitching wedge is 47 degrees and sand wedges are typically 56 degrees. There is about 3 degrees difference between clubs. So if you only have a Pitching wedge and a sand wedge, there is a huge gap of 9 degrees. It may benefit you to get a “Gap” wedge that is approximately 50-52 degrees.

In summary: If you have 4 clubs that you use this shot with – that equals 4 distances that are available to you to use on the course. When you shorten the club and move all the way to the bottom of the grip… that provides the in between distances for your “Go-to” shot. Using this technique, you should have about a 32 – 40 yard area that your precise distance is known and practiced.

“SMART” golf is taking this Specific Distance Management and Applying the Rehearsed Technique at every opportunity on the course.

If you cannot safely get to a par 4 or par 5… then lay up to a distance that you can use your “go-to” shot. Learn how to get from all of your “Go-to” distances into the hole in only 2 shots… Good Luck!

Smart Golf 2

Coming soon.

Smart Golf 3

Coming soon.

Rules and Equipment

Rules and Equipment

Winter Golf Ball Tip

By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

Professional baseball players and ordinary golfers share a common disdain for playing in the cold. Batters face the stinging sensation that accompanies a 95-mile-per-hour fastball in on the hands, and golfers face the stinging sensation associated with thin/off center shots and hard golf balls. Ouch.
For those brave enough to get out there in the frigid winter months, consider changing to a low compression ball (US Kids 80 compression, Precept Laddie or Lady, etc.). Choosing the nuggets that have been marinating in your trunk or basement since last October is a mistake. Air temperature wreaks more havoc on distance than the temperature of the ball itself, but balls left in cold places tend to harden, making mis-hits harsher on the hands.
“There are two important points to keep in mind about playing golf in cold weather,” said Steve Ogg, vice president of golf ball research and development for Callaway Golf. “The first is that golf balls are not as resilient, and the second is that the air is denser as compared to warm temperatures. Both of these factors result in a loss of distance. You may even need to adjust your club selection, depending on how cold it is.”
In other words, those high compression balls will not go as far as low compression balls when the mercury drops below about 50 degrees. And if you store them in a cold climate, like your trunk or garage, they’ll harden, which will result in more sting on your mis-hits.
The optimum temperature for a golf ball is 80 degrees. As a ball’s temperature drops, it won’t compress as much off the clubface. For maximum playability, store the balls at room temperature and when playing store that extra one in your pocket to keep it warm. USGA Rules do not allow artificial warming of golf balls via heaters, hand warmers, etc. But, this is only in USGA sanctioned events. When you and your buddies are out this winter… hand warmers are cheap and very useful at keeping your golf balls and your hands warm.

Rules and Equipment 2

Coming soon.

Rules and Equipment 3

Coming soon.



New Years Resolutions vs. Values and Traditions?

By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

Golf is steeped in rich values and traditions. It had the humble beginnings of an early human picking up a stick and “whacking” a rock. Then it evolved into the sport of Kings. Traditions create legends that will live forever. The traditions of golf, great as they may be, are overshadowed by the wonderful values that it possesses. Etiquette, sportsmanship, proper behavior and integrity are as much of a part of this game as “whacking” the ball. Golf is not the only place to get introduced to these values…. but it’s a good one.

The values of golf are the same as those in life! These values teach us to play with the boundaries of rules, respect for each other and the course, and integrity. Golf is the only NCAA sport in which the contestants regularly govern themselves. In golf, as in life, we do not have the constant watchful eye of officials to hold us accountable for our lapses in judgments.

Sport historians debate about Tyson vs. Ali, ’76 Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls of the 90’s or Nicklaus in his prime vs. Woods of today. The golf explosion that we have experienced in the last several years (Tigermania or The New Breed of Golfer) has resulted in bringing many new golfers to the game. Driving ranges are full of new golfers being introduced to golf by well-intended friends and family. Typically, the object is to “whack” it as far as you can or in some cases … just hit it. This “new wave” of golfer is lacking the introduction to the etiquette, rules, traditions and values that golf offers, not to mention the proper technique on how to swing. Each of us has a responsibility to learn the rules and etiquette of golf. No one has a larger responsibility of training than those of my fellow PGA/LPGA members and me. The BEST way to show the values of golf is to “play by example” and that is intended for ALL of us who endeavor to play this game.

Frustration is a part of every learned task, but frustration does not have to lead to an angry demonstration of how far to throw the club. Behavior of this nature does not belong anywhere, especially in an environment of etiquette, sportsmanship and proper behavior. We are supposed to show our children how to act and behave. Golf is one of the few sports, if not the only venue left that can show them that we are civilized and that our conduct is a direct insight to the quality person that we are inside. So if you are one of those club-throwing, temper tantrum, 4-letter screamers you too can change and maybe you will start getting more invitations to play. An afternoon surrounded by sunshine and nature under the most manicured of conditions should be enjoyed without having to listen to an angry temper tantrum and the fear of being hit by a thrown club by one of your playing partners.

Today’s professional golf athlete is leaner, bigger, stronger and in better physical condition than their counter-parts just a few years ago. I can’t answer the question of Tiger vs. Jack. However, I can tell you that my money would be on Tiger because of his physical conditioning. (and I am a serious Jack fan) The LPGA and PGA Professionals of today are in the traveling gym on tour several hours everyday. They are not just hitting balls. They have the best Sports Physiologist, Physical Trainers and Teachers/Coaches in the world at their disposal.

Physical conditioning leaders such as “The New Breed” of young golfer are not on the top of their perspective tours by accident. Today’s professionals are setting the example in more ways than just etiquette and proper behavior. We as golfers of all ages, gender or background need to observe and appreciate the role models that are in front of us. If your New Year’s resolution included losing a few pounds and getting in better shape, follow Nike’s advice “Just Do it”. Live healthier and live longer. Besides the longer we live the longer we get to play golf.

With summer upon us, teach your child some life values and get them started in golf – the right way. Get involved yourself and play by example. Create memories that will last a lifetime. The Professional Golf Association (PGA) has committed its 26,000+ members and its financial support to promoting, teaching and making golf better for all of us. As a member of that prestigious professional organization, I have pledged my oath to promote the game of golf. Many people still do not know to look for the PGA endorsement and logo. Quality PGA professional instruction and guidance is readily available wherever it is displayed.

Etiquette 2

Coming soon.

Etiquette 3

Coming soon.


“Don’t Wait to Get Better”

By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

Golfers typically spend the warm weather getting their game in shape. Old Man Winter strolls in just about the time you’ve figured it out. I challenge you to not wait to get better. Don’t take the winter off. You need to keep playing and/or swinging throughout the winter. No, you don’t have to buy a winter home in Florida. However, if you do let me know and I’ll let my readers know where they can stay to avoid those costly hotels. (That was a joke) Seriously, there are many ways that you can maintain your golf condition throughout the winter months.

There are three simple rules of thumb that will help. These same rules apply to golfers who travel and don’t have the time to play as often as they would like.

RULE #1 Continue to swing. Swinging a club regularly helps maintain your muscles elongation and your current range of motion. Muscles, when not being used, will atrophy and loose their elasticity. In addition, joints too loose some range of motion with prolonged absence of use. (Age doesn’t help.) You should warm-up properly before swinging in order to avoid injury. Pay special attention to the hip joint, torso and the infamous lower back. See Swing/Stretching drill below.

NOTE: Swing indoors with high ceilings, away from potential casualties and light fixtures. If you do not have high ceilings, use a short club. When traveling, clubs do not fit very well in luggage. Use a travel club that has two short parts and screws together.

RULE #2 Beware of negative events. Many golfers listen to their demons tell them that they have lost it, or they are playing poorly because they are just bad golfers. If you decide to venture out when its 38 degrees and you have on 13 layers of clothes, your probably not going to hit the ball or score as well as you can. Have fun, and enjoy having everyone else laugh at you for being out there to start with. Even a single extra layer of clothes can affect the swing much less several layers. Choose your clothes carefully and keep positive thoughts – it’s just a game!

RULE #3 Seek PGA Instruction anytime. Every golfer is cautious about whom to trust with their swing. You should be cautious. Typically golfers play their most golf when it’s warm and everyone is reluctant to change during the playing months because of the fear that they will get worse before better. You should not get worse before you get better. If you do, you got too much information or the wrong information. The reality is that most golfers feel that way. The good PGA and LPGA teachers are changing that myth little-by-little and student-by-student everyday. What better time to make the changes in your swing than a time that you are playing and can go practice the new information. Don’t wait for a specific season to move to the next level.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Students get better faster when they are receptive to change.

Stretching Drill: The 20 Swing Exercise
This warm-up drill starts in the golf stance position with one of the heavier short clubs (PW or SW). Your head should stay centered with minimal motion. Your target foot should NOT move and your back foot (non-target foot) should come up on the toe in the finish position. Begin by swinging the club at 5% speed but 100% of range of motion back and forth. Do not stop the movement of the club. Take the club all the way into your backswing and all the way through to your finish. Gradually swing faster and faster as you feel your body getting looser. By the time you get to the 15th swing – you should be able to hear the swoosh of the club and begin to swing with100% controlled power. This is a lower back, golf muscle specific drill. You are stretching the lower back side-to-side. Follow this exercise by bending forward to touch your toes or knees and stretching backward to reach behind you and over your head. This stretches the lower back forward and backward. Do not bounce and move at your own pace.

Swing Drill: The 20 Swing Balance Drill
AFTER you are stretched and loose: Do the same swing method as the Stretching Drill; except swing 100% of your normal golf swing – DO NOT STOP THE MOVEMENT OF THE CLUB! This drill is to promote balance. You should be able to swing 20 aggressive swings with 100% backswing through 100% finish position without falling over and losing your balance. It’s harder than it seems. Keep your footing and balance. This helps you make better contact with the ball.

Miscellaneous 2

“How do I shoot below 90?”

By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

This is a question or the same question with a different number, for most if not all golfers. This is both a mental thing and a physical thing. Let me explain. My experience with more than 80,000 golf lessons has demonstrated that anyone with average physical ability should be scoring in the 90’s or lower. The reasons most golfers do not actually accomplish their personal goal is actually quite simple.

“Golfers hit balls and visually interpret the information from the shot. A very high percentage of the time, the information they interpret is wrong. This wrong information causes the golfer to incorporate actions into the swing to correct the wrong information.” Ernie Boshers, PGA

How can any problem be solved based on incorrect information? This viscous cycle is repeated over and over every day on every driving range in the world.

As you may have guessed, the physical actions that golfers develop from this cycle create a flawed golf swing. This flawed golf swing leads to a swing that has extra movements and actions that complicate the basic simple swing. Complicated swings are not as repeatable as simple swings. This is why most ranges are full of golfers wondering and scratching their heads why the shots don’t look the same… but, it feels the same.
Good teachers are able to educate their students on their specific steps to improve and they are able to coach them through the necessary changes to get better. It is rare for golfers to improve or reach certain quantifiable goals without the assistance of a good teacher. Physical changes are nearly impossible to accomplish without professional assistance. There is an old phrase in golf “feel is not real”. This is in reference to making a golf swing. In actuality, the swing takes place so quickly that the brain cannot process the emotion of feel in the milliseconds it would take to make changes that would make any difference in the swing. Not to mention, our “feel” is based on some degree of our visual information – which we already know, is probably flawed.
The control of the mental aspect of golf is a key element to improvement. Positive feelings and attitude are only small parts of the mind game that is played before, during and after the round has ended. How we process our successes and failures can have lasting effects on our physique. Our ability to quiet the distractions has a direct impact on our ability to focus and concentrate.
My suggestion is that you listen to some of the great teachers of the game. Read their books. Listen to their wisdom. Don’t look for the magic pill – it does not exist. Learn the game, study the game but do not take what you read and start making physical changes to your swing. I have read and been privileged to know and work with some of these legends. I have taken all of their wisdom and applied it to my teaching and into the next few sentences:
“You don’t have eyes of in the back of your head… This is because we were not intended to look backward on what we have already done but, forward on what we must do. Golf is played one shot at a time. After that shot, then you have the next one shot, until you finish the round. ‘Stay in the present!’ Each shot has a goal. Sometimes we meet that goal, other times we do not. We cannot let the last shot affect the next. The only time that we should let the past affect the future is when we take positive memories from the past and replay them in order to promote a positive occurrence in the present. It is ok to be angry over a failed shot, but you are only allowed to be angry for 5 seconds and you are still required to conduct yourself in a respectful and considerate manner to others.”
When being challenged to shoot that certain score or to beat one of your golfing buddies in a $2 Nassau, remember to focus on the present and play 1 shot at a time. We have all seen golfers self-destruct after a bad hole or even a single swing. This is usually because the golfer is reflecting on the previous swing and not in the present. Remember – one shot at a time. The next time you find yourself looking at the score, feeling the nerves or distracted. You need to focus on positive thoughts and stay in the present for the next shot. If your “90” demon still tells you that you can go bogey-bogey-bogey and shoot an 89, tell your demon that you are going to play one shot at a time and go par-birdie-par and shoot 85! Good Luck!

Miscellaneous 3

“Are you keeping your head down?”

By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

          Almost every golfer that has been given a tip from one of his friends has been told, “you’re lifting your head, that’s why you keep topping it”.  I and my PGA counterparts, have been trying to dispel this rumor for many years.  The fact is that the head does not cause us to lift off the ball and result in a topped shot.  For many years now golfers have associated the topped shot to “I looked up and that’s why I missed it”.

In fact, it is impossible for the head to cause a topped shot.  There are ONLY five elements of the golf swing that cause us to lift our club and hit the thin or topped shot:

  • The first element is the knees – The knees are supposed to have a slight amount of relaxed flex to them at address. If during the downswing we straighten them, it will result in a lifting action.


2)  The second element is the hips – The hips are commonly miss-used during the swing.  When the hip joint changes angles (lowers or rises) during the down swing, this must be managed by a compensating move with one of the other elements. I see this most commonly on athletes that have played baseball or softball.  When the hips are popped straight up during the downswing the club head generates a whipping action and increases speed.  This is not the worst thing that could happen in baseball because the goal is to hit it hard and if you miss it you get several more swings.  In golf we have a different goal with a small ball and only one swing.  We don’t have that luxury of several attempts.

3)  The third element is the elbows/shoulders – This is the most common factor is the infamous topped shot.  If during the down swing the shoulders are lifted and/or the elbows bend the result is the same.  The reason for this pulling the shoulder/elbows is tension.  Tension comes from the desire to control what the club does and where it goes.  One of my favorite analogies is:  “The String Analogy” If I had a string with a rock tied to the end of it and I started to swing it around in a circle.  This centrifugal force will straighten the string.   If your arms were this string, they also would be straight because of the centrifugal force and not because of tension.  When you bend your arms or pull your shoulders, it is because you are tense vs. relaxed.

4)  The fourth are the ankles and toes – if you were to get up on your toes by flexing your ankles, you could rise off the ball. This can happen but, is rarely the cause.

5)  The fifth element is an action of the wrist called scooping. Scooping is the breaking of your wrist and allowing the club head to pass the hands. Many times scooping also includes the lifting of the arms and the tilting back of the spine. This entire action is generally used to lift the ball in the air. When this happens, the clubface passes over the top of the ball and hitting the ball with the bottom of the club. Scooping is one of the most common swing flaws by amateurs. But, can be seen in average mid-handicappers as well.

The most common of these elements that I have seen in my 25 years of teaching is frequently a combination of #2 and #3 (The Hips and Elbows). The typical move on the downswing is to lower the upper body by bending down at the hips and to compensate for this by bending the elbows. The golfer is doing two things wrong, and they must do both of them wrong to the same degree each swing to develop consistency. This creates a very in-consistent golf swing.

NOTE: This lowering of the upper body is many times by the golfer that is trying desperately to KEEP THEIR HEAD DOWN! So as you go forth into the golf world, be smarter and at least talk to the right part of the body. Your head lifting is not the problem.

Think of your body as a tall 100 story building. When you are standing as tall as you can to get measured for height, you are 100 stories high. As soon as you set your feet in the golf position and slightly bend at the waist you are not 100 stories high any longer. You are, let’s say, 90 stories tall. Make your backswing and stay 90 stores tall. Turn into your impact position and stay 90 stores tall. Only after you hit the ball should you change your floor position on your building. When you are finished, you should be close to 100 stories tall again. To steal the great quote slogan from Do Equis® Beer “Stay thirsty my friends” I want you to “Stay tall my friends”.

One of my PGA counterparts Charlie King, PGA has written a great book that covers this subject to a great and entertaining degree.  The book is called “You’re Not Lifting Your Head” and it can be found in almost any major bookstore or online. It is very entertaining and a must read for the golfer that thinks they are lifting their head.

Miscellaneous 4

“Simple Adjustments Cause Complicated Swings”

By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

The typical human can be and is very creative.  This is both an advantage and can be a disadvantage in golf.  There are ten’s of thousands of scratch players in the world and only a few hundred have separated themselves as great players.  This is due in part, to an innate ability that is very closely related to the creativity within each player.  This creativeness, when applied properly can make a good player a great player.  When it is applied improperly it has the opposite negative effect.

Many times the golfer will seek the advice of friends or even some teachers of the game (you notice I did not say PGA Teachers).  Their advice is probably going to come from what they saw on the Golf Channel last night, read in a Magazine last week or something that is working for them.  When the typical golfer is leaning, most will eventually figure out how to hit the ball towards a target with some degree of proficiency.  They make little adjustments to their stance, posture, grip, etc. in order to accomplish their goal.  This doesn’t sound too bad!  However, these little adjustments are off-setting errors.  Off-setting errors is a term that I use to describe the self-taught corrections of the golf swing.

For example: Most golfers do not rotate their hands properly during the golf swing and through impact.  This causes an open club-face and results in a fade or a slice.  Some of the common self-taught corrections that the average golfer would use to correct this are:

  • Casting or an over-the-top action in order to swing their arms more inside, rather than to the target (this allows for the impending curve)
  • Align themselves more to the left or right rather than square to the target
  • Closing the club-face at the address position
  • Rotate their non-target hand under the shaft

One or any combination of these can compensate for the lack of rotation during the swing.  These simple actions require a counter action and this creates more moving parts and complicates the swing.

Thus we have the term “off-setting errors”.  Swings with off-setting errors are more complicated and less repeatable.  No matter who your golf professional is, he or she will agree that the simpler the golf swing is, the easier it is to repeat.  The more moving parts there are in a swing, the harder the swing is to manage.

Take a moment and think about all the great players – there is a reason that they all virtually look the same at the address position, at impact and at the finish.  There are some distinctive differences during some swings.  However, in these three positions there is very little difference in any of them.

An analogy that I use is, off-setting errors are like darts.  One dart represents one compensation within the golf swing.  If you grab 3 darts and throw them at the dartboard, sometimes all 3 will hit the board, other times only one or two.  When all 3 hit, the compensations all worked and the result is a great shot.  When less than 3 hit, the shot is less than great.  I hear golfers agonize over “Why can’t I hit shots like that ALL the time?”  I typically find 3 or more off-setting errors in an average swing.  Through education, drills and practice these self-taught corrections can be identified and eliminated.  The best advice is:

  • Align yourself properly and square to your target
  • Grip the club properly with a balanced grip
  • Keep your swing simple
  • Seek the advice of a PGA/LPGA Teaching Professional

We as a species are incredibly intelligent creatures.  We train ourselves with self-taught corrections to make up for other flaws. The way most golfers learn and play the game is to use self-taught corrections until it stops working and then they try another.  They develop a non-repeating swing that is inconsistent and will not perform under pressure.  Their swing becomes a guess at which correction will work today, or this moment, and they become the proverbial dog chasing his tail on the course, not knowing which correction to use or how to hit the same shot over and over.

Simplify and Repeat!

Miscellaneous 5

“Simplify Your Swing”

By Ernie Boshers, PGA Director of Golf The Georgia Trail (770) 497-GOLF (4653)

 “Compensating errors” is a term that I use to describe the self-taught corrections of the golf swing.

For Example:  A common problem facing golfers is that during the downswing they pull their arms towards their body and the clubface across the ball – (the over-the-top or outside-in swing).  This creates a glancing blow resulting in loss of distance and direction. This can be really confusing to most golfers, because this action can cause the ball to curve in either direction.  There are a number of reasons that cause this natural pull in towards the body.  However, the net result is that it is a major swing flaw.  Golfers that face this will typically:

  • Adjust their grip by rotating the non-target hand under the shaft (The right hand for right-handed golfers)
  • Align themselves more to the left or right rather than square to the target
  • Close the club at the address position
  • Modify the wrist/hand action during the swing

This is only a short list of the extra actions that can be created for this particular swing flaw.  Each swing flaw has its own list and compensations.  The problem is that these extra movements create extra moving pieces to compensate for the first. The more moving pieces… the more complicated the swing and harder to reproduce.  This is just one example of “compensating errors”.   One or any combination of “errors” can be created to compensate for any swing flaw.  The typical amateur golf swing has many compensating errors.

A good teachers job is remove these extra moving parts and simplify the golf swing.

             An analogy that I use to explain compensating errors is like “throwing darts”.  One dart represents a simple swing. All additional darts represent additional moving parts of a compensating error.  The more darts that you grab and throw at the dartboard the more chance you have of one or more darts missing the board.  When all of the darts hit the board, the result is a great shot.  When some of the darts miss, it’s less than great.

After a great shot on the range… I hear golfers constantly agonize over “Why can’t I hit shots like that ALL of the time?”   The answer is that most golfers learn and play the game by using self-taught corrections until that correction stops working and then they try another, and another, etc.  Many times golfers go to the course trying to find that “magic pill” correction that seemed to be working on the range.  The next thing that happens is that they are asking themselves why I can’t hit shots on the course like I was hitting on the range just a few minutes ago.

Their swing becomes a guess at which correction will work on this shot.  Sometimes they are right and many times they are not.  They become the proverbial dog chasing his tail on the course, not knowing which correction to use and how to hit the same shot over and over. Golfers with these type self-corrections develop a non-repeating swing that in inconsistent and will not perform under pressure. The best advice is:

  • Stop looking for the “Magic Pill” – there isn’t one! Simple repeatable swings require education about your swing, hard work and training.
  • Align yourself and your target properly – square to your target. Stop allowing your alignment to change. At the very least, this will reduce your ability to continually adjust your starting position. I believe that if you are trying to get consistent results – you must apply consistent information. If you change your alignment with every errant shot… you will continue to be proverbial dog chasing his tail.
  • Seek the advice of a good PGA/LPGA Teaching Professional

Simplify and Repeat!