Why We’re Thankful

Here’s a little secret to life you already know: it’s good to be grateful for the things we have. That’s not to say we shouldn’t have goals and work towards them, but taking some time to reflect on wanting we have already is always beneficial. Heck, we even have a holiday dedicated to that ideal tomorrow. Here are a few things we’re appreciative of this year:

HRGC Members:

We wouldn’t have an operation without the guys and gals that make up our membership. Thank you for being the backbone of our golf course.

Public Players:

Ditto to above. Thanks to the Rapid Citians (not sure if that’s right), area locals and tourists who come to play Hart Ranch.

Maintenance Staff:

Thanks to Adam, David and the entire crew for working their tails off year-round to make Hart the best-conditioned course in the area.

Shop/OC Staff:

It’s nice to see friendly people when you walk into an establishment isn’t it?

Our Setting:

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more tranquil place to play golf than Hart Ranch (especially around dusk).

The TrackMan Sim Room:

Be sure to get out and try it this winter. Not only is it a blast, but you’ll learn a lot about your game.

Our Shop:

If you haven’t stopped in in awhile, we’ve done a little rearranging. Come check it out.

Tiger vs. Phil:

Black Friday is admittedly a weird time to put on a big PPV event, but we bet it’ll be bunches more entertaining than the national sports media is giving it credit for.

Hole #15:

For teaching us all that our score doesn’t matter until we get through you.

Golf:

For being the most infuriating, fantastic, cursed, marvelous, annoying, remarkable, nauseating, terrific, disheartening and incredible game ever devised.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone, and be sure to take advantage of our Black Friday deals all weekend long. Happy golfing!

 

 

 

The Evolution of Golf – The New Rules of 2019

Part 1

Chapter 1

New Rules

Golf is evolving, and as players we need to evolve with it. This blog series will focus on some of the ongoing revolutions in golf, including technology, instruction, rule changes and more. It’s said that you can’t fix a problem if you don’t acknowledge it exists, and golf as a whole took awhile to admit that the game was in decline.  With cost, time and perception the pervading issues, a major shift needed to occur in order to keep the industry afloat. We’re currently in the midst of that shift, and leaders have worked hard to refashion the game into something everyone gets a chance to experience and enjoy. No matter your golf knowledge or skill level, this blog will help you stay ahead of the curve as the game evolves. Let’s get started.

Click Here for a Comprehensive List and Explanations

We can agree most casual golfers don’t always adhere to the rule book, even if they want to. The Rules of Golf and Decisions On the Rules of Golf are tomes that contain all sorts of crazy golf scenarios. While of course important and necessary, no one is going to sit down and read these things cover-to-cover. Most golfers figure out the rules simply by playing and learning as they go, or asking their pros, which means most people don’t really play by the rules (which is totally fine in my book as long as you’re not in competition or gambling).

Regardless, we need some sort of standards for competition, and the old rules were no doubt outdated (say that three times fast). After a ton of research and listening to golfers worldwide, the USGA and R&A decided to mend the rules to modernize the game and speed up play. Above you can see 20 of the most important changes. Overall, I think they hit the nail on the head. Some really stupid rules like not being able to repair spike marks on the green or having to hit off of rocks in the bunker have been eliminated, and some should help speed up play, like being able to putt with the flag in the hole.

I’m not going to go over every single new rule, because that would be drudgery for both of us, but I will point out a few of my favorites.

Ball Search Reduced from 5 to 3 Minutes

Some say the most excruciating part of golf is the shank. I’d argue it’s waiting for the fella romping around in the jungle he has no prayer of getting out of to find his Pinnacle from 1994. We all know it sucks to lose golf balls, but c’mon. 3 minutes is perfect.

Ball Moved During Search, or Accidentally on Putting Green – Replace With No Penalty

These are kind of the genesis to making the game more lenient. Think DJ at Oakmont.

Local Rule – Stroke and Distance on O.B.s and Lost Balls

Local rules can be established at courses where under penalty of two strokes you can drop rather than re-hit from the original spot on O.B.s and lost balls. This will explain it better than I can:

This should hopefully eliminate the dreaded “drive back to the tee while the foursome behind you waits and shank another one O.B. in front of them.” FYI, you won’t be seeing this one on Tour or in elite Amateur competitions.

Penalty Areas Rather than Water Hazards

“Water Hazards” no longer exist, meaning any part of the course may now be deemed a Penalty Area. At Hart Ranch, for example, we weren’t able to make the left side of 11 or 15, the back of 16 or the left of 17 Water Hazards, as those areas aren’t a sea, lake, pond, river or ditch. Not saying we will automatically make those Penalty Areas, but we now have the ability to do so by the rules.

Ability to Ground Club in Penalty Area

We’re already in trouble, we should be able to do whatever necessary to get out of there.

Overall, these changes are going to be a good thing for golf. We will touch on some more rules stuff later in the series. Thanks for reading and we’ll catch you next week!

 

 

TrackMan Glossary

Swinging out to play on the sim? Take a look at some terms so you’re prepared when all these numbers pop out at you:

Club Speed – Club Speed is the speed the club is travelling immediately prior to impact. More Club Speed equals more potential distance.

Ball Speed – Ball Speed is created by Club Speed and impact. Bad impact such as shots hit on the heel or toe will reduce the potential Ball Speed.

Smash Factor – Smash Factor is ball speed divided by club speed. Smash factor relates to the amount of energy transferred from the clubhead to the ball. The higher the smash factor the better the energy transfer.

Spin Rate – Spin Rate is the amount of spin on the ball immediately after impact. Spin has a major impact on the height and distance of a shot. Spin Rate is one of the least appreciated numbers, especially in windy conditions.

Launch Angle – Launch Angle is the angle the ball takes off at relative to the ground. Launch Angle is highly correlated to Dynamic Loft.

Dynamic Loft – Dynamic Loft is the amount of loft on the clubface at impact. The golfer’s Attack Angle, how the shaft bends, how the golfer releases the club, whether the face is open or closed and where the ball is contacted on the face all impact dynamic loft.

Attack Angle – Attack Angle is the direction the clubhead is moving (up or down) at impact. Shots hit off the ground should have a negative attack angle.

Club Path – Club Path is the direction the clubhead is moving (right or left) at impact. A positive value means the club is moving to the right (“in-to-out” for a right-handed golfer and a negative value means the club is moving to the left (“out-to-in” for a right-handed golfer.

Face Angle – Face Angle is the direction the clubface is pointed (right or left) at impact. This relates to Target Line rather than Club Path (Face-to-Path). Face Angle greatly influences whether the ball starts left or right of target.

Carry – Carry is the distance the ball flies through the air. This is influenced by everything above.

We can’t wait to see you at Hart Ranch! Happy golfing!

The Kinematic Sequence

Take a close look at the above video, especially the downswing. Without reading further, take a minute or two and really try to observe what is happening.

OK, since you didn’t do that, I’ll just tell you. What you’re observing is a near-perfect kinematic sequence, or what you hear golf announcers and great players call efficiency.

You can go all sorts of crazy watching extremely technical videos that will break down the sequence frame-by-frame, but in all honesty that’s not going to help your golf game. I’m going to try to make it as simple as possible.

kinematic sequence is the order in which various parts of the body and club accelerate and decelerate. There is a kinematic sequence in the backswing, but it’s more often referenced in the downswing, so that’s what we’ll focus on today.

Think of it like throwing a ball. In a good throwing motion, the first thing you do is step forward with your lower body, then rotate your torso, then fling your arm, then release the ball. A bad motion would be to fling your arm, then rotate, then step. This wouldn’t feel very natural, and the ball wouldn’t fly very far. It’s the same in golf.

To start the downswing, we want to lead with our lower body, then rotate our torso, then swing our arms and finally release the club. The builds speed until it is released fully into the clubhead at the moment of impact. Take a look:

From GForceGolf.com

Most people tend to start the downswing with their upper body. Again, this is like flinging your arm before you step to throw a ball. We need to get into the habit of starting the downswing with our lower body. See what a legend (who was way ahead of his time) had to say about it:

One of the best drills to learn a good kinematic sequence is the stop-at-the-top drill. It’ll be tricky to hit good shots at first, but stick with it. Slowly take the club to the top of the backswing, then stop for a good 2-3 seconds. Now feel your lower body unwind, followed by your torso (ribcage), then swing your arms, then whip the club through the ball. Do this slowly at first. You’ll feel a good stretch in your midsection and probably your upper lead arm. Keep working at it until you can actually hit balls. When you can make decent contact a few times, you’re well on your way.

This is probably the most important aspect of a good golf swing, so keep at it. If you can change this, you’ll definitely become a better ballstriker. Happy golfing!

Building the Sim Room (Photo Gallery)

A photo gallery update on our progress…much more to come!

The TrackMan Simulator

The TrackMan Simulator

If you’ve stepped inside the Hart Ranch Pro Shop lately, you’ve noticed some big changes. We’ve gutted out the back room for our brand-new TrackMan Simulator, opening November 1st (which can’t come soon enough with the way the weather looks). Here are some of the changes from last year:

  1. Projector and Screen

Last year we hit into a net and watched the ball flight on the TV screen. This year, we’re hitting into a large screen with an image of the course/range. This will obviously offer a much more immersive experience. You TrackMan numbers will show up on a different TV display so you can monitor the quality of your shots.

This isn’t ours but it will look somewhat similar.

  1. TrackMan

We used a SkyTrak launch monitor last year, and while it was fairly accurate, we’ve upgraded to the most advanced launch monitor ever made. TrackMan is the gold standard for Tour players, Top 100 instructors, clubfitters and golf industry leaders. The numbers you see while watching PGA and LPGA Tour broadcasts often come from TrackMan.

  1. Surround Sound

To make the simulator experience more immersive than ever, the room will have surround sound. Feel free to play music, or just listen to the natural sounds the golf course software offers. You can also watch/listen to any games or TV shows you may want to watch.

  1. New Mat

While the hitting mat we had last year was OK, it got worn down through a lot of use. We’re upgrading to a more durable and realistic-feeling mat. This will give you a better sense of the quality of your shot and won’t allow you to “cheat” your results as much (this makes you a better player!).

  1. More Comfort

With lounge chairs, tables, more TVs and more space we’re able to offer an awesome setting for your next get-together. Birthday parties, corporate outings, big-game nights and more are welcome.

Last year those who don’t play much golf might have felt a little uncomfortable as the SkyTrak sat fairly close to the ball. With TrackMan you don’t have to worry about hitting the device as it sits behind the golfer.

We’re obviously excited to get up-and-running. Stay tuned to your email and Facebook as we’ll be offering some awesome deals and memberships as we get closer to opening. Let’s hope we can get in a few more great days of outdoor golf, but if not an awesome indoor golf experience is right around the corner!

Ryder Cup Preview

Ryder Cup Preview

Hard to believe it’s been two years since the Ryder Cup was hosted in (kind of) our own backyard. The U.S. put on a dominating performance at Hazeltine National in Chaska, MN, (17-11 U.S. win) and the Euros will be looking forward to avenging the loss on their (kind of) home turf. Let’s take a look at the Ryder Cup so you know what you’re talking about this weekend.

Dates: September 28th – 30th

The Course: Le Golf National, Guyancourt, France (Outside of Paris)

Par 72, 7,331 Yards

The Albatros Course at Le Golf National will host the 2018 Ryder Cup, as well as the 2024 Olympics. Le Golf National has hosted the French Open on the European Tour since 1991 (with the exception of 1999 and 2001), so obviously some of the Euro players will have a course history advantage. Take a look at the course here. The place looks gorgeous.

The Format: The Ryder Cup is played over three days. The first two days are comprised of four-ball and foursome matches (see below), and the third day is 12 singles matches.

Four-ball is basically best ball, where everyone plays their own ball. In teams of two, the lowest score on each hole is taken. The team who has the lowest score wins the hole. If it’s a tie, the hole is halved. If you win more holes than your opponent, you win the match.

Foursomes is alternate shot, also played in teams of two. One player tees off on odd holes and the other on even. The team who has the lowest score wins the hole. If it’s a tie, the hole is halved. If you win more holes than your opponent, you win the match.

Singles is straight up match-play. Everyone will play singles on Sunday. The player who has the lowest score wins the hole. If it’s a tie, the hole is halved. If you win more holes than your opponent, you win the match (notice a trend?).

A team wins the Ryder Cup by gaining 14 ½ points (out of a possible 28). Each match in the three formats is worth one point, with halves (ties) worth ½ point. If the Ryder Cup ends in a 14-14 draw, the previous winner retains the cup. That would be the U.S. this year folks.

The Teams:

U.S.A. (CP = Captain’s Pick)

Captain: Jim Furyk

Vice-Captains: David Duval, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Steve Stricker

Players: Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Bryson Dechambeau (CP), Tony Finau (CP), Phil Mickelson (CP), Tiger Woods (duh, CP)

Europe:

Captain: Thomas Bjorn

Vice-Captains: Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington, Robert Karlsson, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood

Players: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrell Hatton, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Alex Noren, Thorbjorn Oleson, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Paul Casey (CP), Sergio Garcia (CP), Henrik Stenson (CP), Ian Poulter (duh, CP)

For the U.S., the top eight in the Ryder Cup points standings automatically qualify. The Captain (Furyk) then chooses four other players.

The European team’s first four are decided by the European points list, then the next four the World points list. The last four are also Captain’s picks (Bjorn).

What to Expect: As always, an electric atmosphere. I was lucky enough to go to the Saturday matches at Hazeltine in 2016, and it was, for lack of a better word, nuts. People were dressed in crazy costumes, screaming at the top of their lungs and yes, inebriated. It seemed to attract a different type of golf fan, which is awesome. I can’t speak for the Europeans, or if it will be any different because it’s the first Ryder Cup played in France, but I would guess they’ll be just as wild.

The U.S. hasn’t won in Europe in 25 years, but many experts think this is the team to do it. The Americans have often been overshadowed by drama between players (cough…cough…Tiger and Phil) players and captains (cough…cough…Watson and Phil) and simply not as much team chemistry as the Euros have had.

This team, however, is stacked. The U.S. has 9 of the top 15 players in the world. There is much more comradery than in years past. Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth grew up together, and are obviously good friends with Rickie Fowler. Koepka and DJ work out together and play a similar type of game. Mickelson has mentored many of these guys since they first hit the Tour. Patrick Reed is basically the U.S. version of Ian Poulter.

That’s not to say the Euros won’t be tough, especially at the site of the French Open. Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood are in fantastic form, and Francesco Molinari won the (British) Open this year. They will be a little more used to the course and have home-field advantage, which I didn’t think was big in golf until Hazeltine last year. The crowds will be roaring and chanting through all three days.

Prediction: U.S. 14 ½, Europe 13 ½

I’m predicting one of the closest Ryder Cups in years. This is the strongest U.S.A. team since world rankings were introduced in 1986, but they’re away from home on a somewhat unfamiliar course.

Enjoy the pageantry this weekend ladies and gents. Happy golfing!

What Does TrackMan Do?

What Does Trackman Do?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware that we now have TrackMan at Hart Ranch. This week, we’re going to give you some insight into what exactly TrackMan is, what it’s capable of and how it can help improve your game.

TrackMan is a radar system that reads club and ball data by the changing frequency of microwaves reflected off the club and ball (much like a doppler weather system). This allows TrackMan to record critical data, including Club Path and Speed, Attack Angle, etc. In essence, it shows exactly why a golf ball behaves the way it does. TrackMan has redefined golf instruction, as old ball-flight “laws” were shown to be false when TrackMan was introduced to the industry. For example, for years people thought that club path was the main indicator of where the golf ball started relative to the target line. TrackMan showed that Face Angle was actually the main indicator (~80%). This along with other new data has changed golf instruction significantly.

Here are some of the many parameters TrackMan records:

Ball Speed: The speed of the ball immediately after impact. The biggest factor for distance. Center contact creates the most ball speed (relates directly to Smash Factor).

Club Speed: The speed of the clubhead at impact. More Club Speed equals more potential distance (relates directly to Smash Factor).

Smash Factor (Club Speed divided by Ball Speed): The amount of energy transferred from the club to the ball. The higher the number, the better. Max of 1.5(1) due to USGA club regulations.

Spin Rate: The amount of spin on the ball immediately after impact. Extremely important for distance and height of golf shots.

Club Path: The direction the club is moving (right or left) at impact.

Face Angle: The direction the face is pointing (right or left) at impact. This is the main factor in determining the starting line of the shot.

Face to Path: The direction the face is pointing relative to the path of the club. This is different than Face Angle, as it relates directly to where the face is pointing compared to the path of the club rather than the target line. Assuming centered contact, this is the main factor for Spin Axis (a fancy word for how the ball curves in the air).

Attack Angle: The direction the clubhead is moving (up or down) at impact. Shots hit directly off the ground should have a negative Attack Angle in order to create ball-first contact (this isn’t to say you should try to smash down on the ball like chopping wood folks).

Carry: What we all want more of. Carry is how far the ball is hit in the air before landing. Carry is mainly determined by Ball Speed, Club Speed, Smash Factor, Launch Angle and Spin Rate.

These are just a few of the numbers you’ll get when hitting golf shots on TrackMan. This data is why the best instructors and players in the world rely on it to get better, and so can you. Whenever we as instructors ask what our students struggle with, the overwhelming answer is “consistency.” The truth is, your swing is probably much more consistent than you think, just not necessarily in the correct way. TrackMan gives us reliable data to show you why you hit the ball the way you do, and ultimately give you the tools and drills to help you improve.

Be sure to stay tuned as we post updates on our new simulator room (it’s going to be awesome) and other TrackMan events. We’re ready to help you unleash your potential. Happy golfing!

The Trackman Cometh

The Trackman Cometh

Besides the fairly recent revolution in golf ball and club design, nothing has changed the game of golf more than launch monitor technology. We’re proud to announce that we have acquired Trackman, widely recognized as the most advanced launch monitor in the world. Used by tour pros, instructors and amateurs around the globe, nothing has advanced the understanding of why the golf ball flies the way it does quite like Trackman.

Obviously, we’re excited. In the coming weeks, we will schedule demo days where you can hit shots on Trackman to get your numbers. It will also be available for certain lessons and clubfittings, giving you exact details on why you’re hitting that monster slice or hook. When the cold weather inevitably hits (ugh) we will move Trackman inside. There will be more information to follow as we iron out details, so stay tuned.

If you’d like to further your understanding, we highly suggest visiting TrackmanUniversity.com, where you can get a free, in-depth education on everything our new launch monitor offers. We’re looking forward to making your golf game better than ever. Updates will follow soon ladies and gents…let’s have some fun!

Hart Ranch in Autumn

Hart Ranch in the Fall

“Cheesy quote about summer passing, leaves falling, changing colors, pumpkins and how lovely Hart Ranch is in the fall.”

-Those of Us Who Golf Hart Ranch in the Fall

Ladies and gentlemen, summer is almost officially over. That means the kids are back in school, football season is gearing up and some of the best tournaments of the year are coming to Hart Ranch. Be sure to clear your calendar for the following events:

September 15thRetribution of the Ranch (4-Person Scramble)

September 29th – LA Open (ask Pro Shop for details)

October 13th – 14thGary Gross Memorial 3-Stick

October 27thHeaven and Hell (2-Person Scramble, Wavi Benefit)

We also have a Tuesday Night Fall League starting next Tuesday, September 4th. This will be a 2-person team League with no weekly commitment (play any time after 4pm). We’ll play through October 9th, with a different format each week. Just call the shop at (605) 341-5703 by 1pm each Tuesday to sign up and reserve your tee times.

Keep an eye on the blog, your email and Facebook as we have some big news coming in the next couple weeks. Don’t worry, it’s a good thing. Let’s all enjoy the nirvana that is fall golf at Hart Ranch and try not to think about winter being a few short months away. Happy golfing!