As we celebrate Memorial Day and thank those who have served both past and present, it seems timely that we talk about how the golf world shows its support of service members and their families. One such organization is Caddy For A Cure, which has just launched a new program called Operation Warrior Golf.
Operation Warrior Golf’s mission is to offer wounded warriors and active duty service members the opportunity to use state-of-the-art teaching technology to receive free professional golf instruction. With the help of V1 Sports, a digital media technology and sports motion analysis company, Operation Warrior Golf is able to give virtual lessons wherever a student is located.
“This new platform allows me to be able to give lessons on the go from wherever I am, and more importantly, from wherever they are,” said Russ Holden, CEO of Caddy for a Cure. “It’s the perfect tool for enabling us to achieve our goal of benefiting many more warriors than we’re currently reaching with this great game of golf.”
Caddy For A Cure was created by Holden, who has spent more than 25 years teaching and caddying on the PGA Tour. The organization offers the chance to walk next to the greatest names in the world of golf at a sanctioned PGA Tour event. Since the beginning, Caddy For A Cure has been committed to helping others through the game of golf. It is a not-for-profit organization helping others through children and families affected by Fanconi anemia (a genetic disorder that most commonly leads to cancer), Birdies for the Brave, the PGA Tour player’s charity, the PGA Tour host site charity and the PGA Tour Caddy Assistance Fund. It is impressive that 100 percent of the proceeds raised by Caddy For A Cure go directly to charity. Offering unforgettable memories to service members during the years has been very rewarding for Holden, but he still wanted to offer more.
Teaching has come naturally to Holden, who has has coached two-time Masters Champion Bernhard Langer and is a PGA Class A Professional and former head professional at Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla. He has always felt golf is a great therapeutic vehicle and has used the V1 teaching platform for a number of years with some of the best golfers in the world as well as his warrior students. The price of bringing in service members and setting them up with lessons and lodging can easily add up, and the high costs and logistics have always been problems limiting Holden.
Holden contacted V1 Sports to explain his idea. As Gary Palis, vice president of V1 Sports explained, his company was more than happy to say yes.
“We have been supporters of Caddy For A Cure since its inception nearly 12 years ago,” he said. “We have watched the good that they do for so many and when Russ called about this new mission, we could not say ‘yes’ fast enough. We are proud to support this PGA Professional and his drive to assist our brave wounded warriors and active duty servicemen and women serving overseas.”
Through use of the V1 Golf App, Holden can give virtual lessons to a limitless number of students that he would otherwise be unable to reach. V1’s software can be used with any compatible smartphone. A warrior or service member can send a video of their golf swing and have it analyzed. So, students are not just getting a free golf lesson, they are getting true, professional instruction from a PGA professional.
Through Caddy For A Cure and now Operation Warrior Golf, Holden and his team are not only sharing their knowledge and love of the game, they are giving back to those who have given so much for all of us.
You can find out more about Caddy For A Cure and Operation Warrior Golf at: www.caddyforacure.com/operationwarriorgolf
The Wedge Guy: Playing your best
No matter what our experience, ability and handicap, all of us golfers have one thing in common–we want to play the best we can every time we tee it up. But unfortunately, that is not always the case. Having a bad day on the course is just part of the game, it seems, regardless of your skill level. But there are things we can do to make that happen less often, and other ways to get back on track when a round begins to go awry.
Let’s start with giving ourselves the best chance of a good round every time.
Setting up a good round
It all starts on your drive to the course, or even when you are getting dressed to go play. Think about good shots you’ve been hitting recently, and good swings you’ve made. Picture drives that were long and straight, iron shots that just hunted the flag, recovery shots that saved par and putts that dropped. I know it’s a cliché, but there really is no substitute for positive thoughts when it comes to golf.
When you get to the course, whether you change shoes in the parking lot or the locker room, S-L-O-W….D-O-W-N. Savor the fact that you have a round of golf in front of you —not work, not yard or house chores. It is time for F-U-N!
Give yourself a chance to perform your best golf right from the first tee
If it’s worth taking a few hours out of your day, it’s darn sure worth taking an extra 10-15 minutes to give yourself a chance. Stretch your legs and back/shoulder muscles that have shortened up from a few days or a week at the office and/or even a few hours of sleep. This is crucial to performing your best. Take a dozen or two back and forth horizontal swings with your sand wedge to get the blood flowing. These aren’t “practice swings” but more like baseball swings to further stretch out your shoulders and back and upper arms and get the feel of the club in your hands.
And for Pete’s sake, hit at least a dozen or so shots before you go to the first tee. At least a few chips and/or pitches and some putts. You have to get the feel of impact refreshed to have a chance.
Getting the derailed train back on track
We all are going to hit bad shots, no matter what kind of game you have, but what wrecks a round is when you get it going sideways for more than one hole. When that happens, the round can still be saved, but the key is to remove the stress caused by the bad shots or holes and build on something you can believe in. It is normal to find yourself tightening up as a result of a bad hole or two, so take an extra minute to “step outside”. Walk away from your group (since you are probably last to hit now anyway), and take some deep breaths. Get your tension down and get positive thoughts back into your head. Take some practice swings with those positive thoughts back in mind.
Here are what I find to be four keys to getting the train back on track
Reach for the 3-wood. If you have hit a couple of bad drives, drop back to the 3-wood, and get one in the fairway. It won’t be all that much shorter than your driver, and it will build some confidence. If the driver is the problem, in fact, bench it for the rest of the round.
Play to the “safe” side. If your iron shots are not sharp, play to the safe side of the greens and give yourself a chance to avoid the big number and put a par or two on the card. When you get your “mojo” back, you can fire at the flags again.
Play the fault. If you are blocking shots right, or a hook has raised its ugly head, play it! That is, if you can’t find the fault and fix it quickly. The range is the place to fix things, the course is for scoring. Unless you can find the fix quickly, just “dance with who brung you.”
Loosen up. A few bad shots will cause us to build body tension, and the first place that manifests is in our grip pressure. You cannot hold a golf club lightly enough, in my opinion–your body won’t let you. But you sure can get into a death grip quickly when the tension mounts. Run a mental check on your grip pressure and lighten up, particularly in the right thumb and forefingers. It will change things immediately.
So, there are my thoughts on playing your best. I’ll bet the readers have their own suggestions, too, so let’s all share our ideas, OK? This should be fun and informative for all of us.
And as always, if you have a topic you would like me to address in a future column, just shoot me an email to [email protected].
Club Junkie: Rapsodo MLM Personal Launch Monitor, Srixon XV balls, TaylorMade SIM2 Max 3-wood
I have been using a Rapsodo MLM for most of the year to track my practice and give me some numbers on my range sessions. The MLM is great for tracking your bag, distances, dispersion, and ball speed. Use it indoors into a net or on the range; the MLM has so many features. New Srixon XV golf balls are softer and more playable for the golfer who doesn’t need super low spin.
Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Speed release patterns and restriction removals for the best golf of your life
If you’ve been keeping your head or practicing to steer your golf club towards the target. Or worse, restricting your backswing because you feel a loss of control, you are setting yourself up for constant disappointment because your anatomy was designed to yield.
Best driver 2021: By club fitters for you!
Rickie Fowler makes dramatic iron change
Lee Westwood WITB 2021 (The Players)
Best fairway woods of 2021: By club fitters for you!
Justin Thomas’ winning WITB: 2021 Players Championship
Sergio Garcia WITB 2021 (The Players)
‘Shut it!’ – Paul Casey puts disrespectful spectator in his place
Lee Westwood won’t have ‘secret weapon’ caddie on the bag for 2021 Masters
Billy Horschel’s winning WITB: 2021 WGC-Dell Match Play
WGC Match Play Tour Truck Report: New putters for Kuchar, McIlroy, Poulter
Steve Stricker’s winning WITB: 2021 Chubb Classic
Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond (9 degrees @8.5) Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC Tour Spec 7.2 X (45 inches,...
Emiliano Grillo WITB 2021 (April)
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees @ 8.5, Tour Flat adapter) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X (45.75 inches,...
Stewart Cink’s winning WITB: 2021 RBC Heritage
Driver: Ping G425 Max (10.5 degrees, CG shifter neutral) Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 6 TX (45.25 inches) 3-wood:...
Lydia Ko’s winning WITB: 2021 Lotte Championship
Lydia Ko what’s in the bag accurate as of the Lotte Championship. Driver: PXG 0811 X Proto (9 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi...
Whats in the Bag3 weeks ago
Jordan Spieth’s winning WITB 2021 Valero Texas Open
19th Hole3 weeks ago
Dustin Johnson unveils Champions Dinner menu (and it’s not sandwiches)
Whats in the Bag3 weeks ago
Abraham Ancer WITB 2021 (April)
Opinion & Analysis2 weeks ago
The 23 players who can win the Masters
19th Hole2 weeks ago
Bryson leaves Vijay mesmerized in unmissable video from the Masters
Whats in the Bag2 weeks ago
Dustin Johnson WITB 2021 Masters
Whats in the Bag2 weeks ago
Patty Tavatanakit’s winning WITB: 2021 ANA Inspiration
Equipment3 weeks ago
Edel introduces moveable weight Swing Match wedges for 2021