Tee It Up With The Little Pro: Ch. 10


We have advanced in our golf learning process and covered the fundamentals of the set up and swing and studied “cause and effect” so that we understand why the golf ball behaves as it does upon contact and during flight.

As Old Tom Morris said, “let’s go play”. We are now entering the realm of “shotmaking, not “ball beating” which is confined to the practice range. Shotmaking is artful, beautiful, and most importantly, FUN.

We have arrived at the first tee and will now endeavor to bridge the gap between the practice tee and the golf course. We will begin to work on playing the game and learning how to apply all of the lessons we have learned regarding the golf swing itself.

All golfers struggle to bring the pure swing we employ on the range to the golf course and often we are left disappointed and wondering what happened to that solid contact we were feeling on the practice range. We feel like our swing deserted us because the range and golf course are indeed two very different worlds.

We need to create a bridge that transports our golf swing from the range to the first tee through the 18th green. The bridge I refer to is called “shot making procedure”. There are four required steps that we must follow as we consider the shot we are about to play.

4 Steps To Shot Making

1. Golf Ball

How does it lie? What is it about the lie that we must consider and allow for during the shot.

2. The Target

Identify the target, select the exact spot you where you want the ball to settle.

3. Envision The Shot

Feel the shot, see the flight of the ball.

4. Have One Single Swing Thought To Trigger The Swing

“Swing The Handle”

The Golf Ball

Study the lie of the ball, how is it sitting in the grass? Is the lie clean and on top of the grass, slightly settled down in the grass, buried in the rough? Is it on a bare dirt lie, in a divot? As we study the lie, I prefer that we look at the whole ball or the crown of the ball rather than the backside of the ball.

What does the terrain tell us? Is the lie downhill, side hill, up hill, flat?

How will we make contact with the ball? How do we adjust our ball position, weight distribution, and stance to take into account the various conditions of our lie?

The Target

Remember that our objective is to move the ball from point A (where it lies) to point B (where we want the ball to land). Each shot introduces a problem that requires a solution.

In order to identify the landing spot we must process multiple pieces of information; distance, terrain, wind force and direction, obstacles (bunker, hazard, trees,) and decide what trajectory and force to impart of the golf ball.

Envision The Shot

See the ball flight and path and select the club we will use to deliver the trajectory, distance, and direction. For this to occur, we must process all of the information in steps 1 and 2, and then allow our subconscious to take over and see the flight of the ball and feel the stroke and force of the swing.

In short, we use our conscious mind to process all the data and then remove it and allow our body to activate in order to deliver the proper stroke to the ball. We remove the obstacles and negatives once we have processed them into identifying the shot needed and allow only positive thoughts to deliver the feel and vision of the shot we are about to make.

Have One Single Swing Thought To Trigger The Swing

We are now at the point where we will initiate the swing and we need a single, manageable, and compelling swing thought in order to execute the shot precisely and successfully. One swing thought only; “Swing The Handle” from one side of your body to the other.

Every behavior exhibited by the golf ball from launch through landing is a result of what you do with the handle of the golf club. The distance, direction, spin, curve of the ball, and trajectory are caused by what happens at the handle of the club. After all, the handle is the only point of contact between us and the ball.

So there you have it. Improve your shot making by following these 4 simple, yet critical steps that will help remove all negative thoughts, develop a positive and repetitive routine that will become automatic, resulting in crisp, powerful shot making.

On the next tee we will delve more deeply to help you understand how to approach each lie, terrain condition, elevations, and wind conditions.

Until then, Keep Swinging The Handle!

Eddie Merrins "The Little Pro"

Affectionately known as “The Little Pro”, Eddie Merrins has long been revered as a golf guru. “The Little Pro” has had success at every level throughout his career.

During his 14 years as UCLA men’s golf coach, the team reached #1 and won an NCAA National Championship. Eddie also had a stellar professional career playing in over 200 PGA Tour events including 8 US Opens, 6 PGA Championships, and 2 British Opens. While playing professionally he managed to leave his mark as a Club Professional at some of the most famed clubs in the United States, including Merion and Bel-Air Country Club where he is currently the Golf Professional Emeritus after a 40 year run as the Director of Golf.

Throughout his career he’s had the opportunity to instruct some of the biggest names in entertainment, as well as some of the highest-level professional and amateur golfers. His teaching philosophy propelled him into a class of few peers. He’s listed as a Top 100 Golf Magazine instructor and has been elected to numerous Halls of Fame, and most recently, as an inductee to the PGA of America Hall of Fame.

“The Little Pro” has a unique ability to effectively communicate the golf swing, as he displayed by authoring a best-selling book “Swing the Handle, Not the Clubhead”. This book led to the success of the “Swing the Handle” video series. You can purchase both here.

"The Little Pro" is passing along his knowledge through these articles with the help of his longtime friend Rick Oldach.