Full Swing Coaching Program Practice with Team Guru with special guest Nicklaus Sutton

Three years ago I transformed my teaching into purely “Long Term Coaching Programs” which include supervised practices with the team #teamguru. Here is an opening presentation of a full swing session with a few guys where I discuss the difference between “blocked vs. random” practice and the key to getting your range swing to the golf course. I had the help of my son, Nicklaus who is one of the top juniors in NC. He was gracious enough to hit some shots for us and talk about what we are working on together.


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Thanks for reading and watching


PRACTICE? What Do You Mean I Have To Practice?

Big Thanks to @LiamPGA for the topic tonight. Be sure to follow Liam’s tweets on twitter. I was listening to XM radio the other day and the topic was, “What are the top reasons why golfers don’t practice?” I would love to hear your top 5 if you would leave them in the comment section. Some of the answers were 1. I only have time to play not practice 2. My wife complains if I am at the golf course for that long etc. You get the idea. I think it is primarily because 1. It takes commitment to change 2. Players don’t have a plan for improvement so they are just cementing bad habits and 3. Most people are impatient and quit trying if it they don’t see results right away.

This just in……..ready! GOLF IS HARD PEOPLE! ok, don’t stop reading. In my opinion, this is what makes golf so great…..the challenge. The fact that we will never be satisfied with the level we are playing to makes it the greatest game in the world.  So here is a few nuggets on how to build a practice plan

1. know what you are trying to accomplish get with your coach and discuss the keys until they are clear. If your coach can’t explain it so you can understand the what, why and how…….find another coach!

2. Use your mirror if it’s too cold or the weather is bad. Rehearsal swings with your eyes on it is the next best thing to a video. I caution you to not hit too many balls into a net without ball flight validation. Could be more harmful than good.

3. spend 60% of your time inside 60 yards and include putting. Search my archives and find the putting post I did on Putting Boot Camp for drills to include in your time..

4. Spend half of 50% of your time in mechanical mode which includes your workstation (see video) and working on changing your pattern. The other half should be practicing like your play which should include (a pre-shot routine, lining up to different targets, changing clubs and learning to hit different shots ( the 9 ball drill )…..Playing par 2 on the practice green with one ball to see what you can shoot. This is an area most golfers don’t spend enough time in so you can successfully transfer the skill to the golf course……Any Ranger Rick’s out there?

Bottom line is that you can get some work done even if the weather is bad. Let me know if this helps motivate you to take a lesson and then go practice. There are No shortcuts to improving at golf. Talk to you tomorrow night.

Follow me on twitter @twitter.com/golfgurutv

Share this post with your friends and leave your comments below. Give me your top 5 reasons that you don’t practice

See you on the lesson tee at Carmel,


Students Of The Game…..Consistency Is Not A Goal!!

Tonight I want to speak to the students in the room. Specifically the ones here that are interested in getting better. Who really wants to improve their scores? Raise your hands high! Is that your real objective? You would be surprised to find that it isn’t always the case. At the beginning of every lesson or golf school, I always ask the student what is your goal for today and where do you want your game to look like in a years time? Anything past that is for tour players. You would be surprised by some of the answers that i get from such a simple question. (or is it). I enjoy asking the goal question and telling them that their answers cannot include the word CONSISTENCY and you wouldn’t believe the look on their faces because they were all going to say it….”I just want to be more consistent”. As a golf coach, that phrase means very little to me as I attempt to gain valuable information about your game that will help direct me towered helping you play better. Players, you have to be more specific. As I watch a new student warm up and hit every shot to the right, i might joke that you are incredibly consistent………..smile 🙂 the point is, you have to be more specific when setting your goals and a quality coach should be able to help you with this. The first step is with an accurate assessment of your current condition. Now I understand that there are goals that apply to different level of players and this important because the only thing worse than not setting goals is to set them too high only to get frustrated. For example, a beginning golfer might set a goal of getting the ball airborne every time and that is ok. There is nothing worse than a new golfer thinking that they should hit it perfect (just like their friend who has been playing for years) and getting frustrated and quitting the game. Here are some examples of specific yet simple goals and I will give you an easy way to organize your plan for next season.
1. Stop slicing or hooking

2. To hit the ball more solid instead of hitting the ground behind the ball or catching it thin 

3. To hit more fairways or greens

4. To hit my pitch shots the right distance

5. To stop 3 putting

6. To hit my fairway woods off the ground 

7. Gain distance (very popular) but a good goal 

8. To understand my golf swing and what to work on

9. I want to get the ball out of the bunker every time

These examples are what I call skill building goals. As a coach,  I can work with these answers and build a plan to improve these skills which will ultimately lead to the second kind of goal (Outcome Goals). These are good guidance to get started and keep you focused. Examples of outcome goals would be to win the club championship or your flight in the member guest. To lower your handicap from 15 to 9. to qualify for the state amateur or to break 80 for the first time.
These are great starting points but it’s only the beginning. I understand that there are two types of golf 1) ego Golf and 2)scoring golf
Ego golf is the player that doesn’t care what they shoot as long as they hit the ball farther than their golfing buddies so that they can talk about you in the bar after your round. These players look great on the range but can’t post a score.  These are the types of players that drive coaches crazy because we feel that the ultimate goal is to score lower and we don’t care how you do it. If I have to hear,” I shot my career low……buttttt I really putted well on that day,” So What! Its part of the game. The same player goes out and hits 15 greens and shoots worse but is happy with it.

Start by keeping basic stats (gir’s, fir’s, putts, up and downs, penalty strokes) or get a software program that does it for you. My favorite is www.shotbyshot.com. This will help you to establish a pattern to see where you are actually weak and where you are strong. After you chart 10 rounds, share it with your coach and you can start to set some goals. Here is an example: Lets say you set a goal to lower your handicap from 15 to 9. You chart your rounds and you are hitting 8 greens in reg. 9 fairways with no penalty shots, your up and down % is less than 30 and you are averaging 38 putts per round. If you are like most golfers you are still trying to hit the ball better to get your greens in reg up to 14 because that is what the top tour player is doing. Wrong! Your coach is going to say hop in the cart and lets introduce you to the short game area and putting green. He may even sign you up for an AimPoint clinic, if you are lucky! Build the skills that will help you reach your goals. Be honest with yourself and don’t worry so much about what others think when you are practicing your weaknesses. Pretty soon they will be asking you what has changed when you are thrashing them)  which is the greatest compliment as a golfer…..and the most rewarding.

Be smart this winter and you will thank me later. Dont let your ego keep you from reaching your goals this upcoming season. See you here tomorrow night!

Follow me on twitter @golfgurutv

See you on the lesson tee,


Winter Practice – Mirror Work

As we all get cabin fever this winter, I am constantly getting questions of how you can work on your golf game indoors. There are several ways to be effective inside but few are as valuable as “mirror work”. Of course you can putt in the house (hopefully with the Kure) and chip balls into the sofa, just don’t skull it please……..but standing in front of a mirror and going through the positions that you are trying to change can be helpful. Slow motion swings require patience but can change you faster than banging balls at full tilt when it is difficult to actually feel everything that is going on. So before you start your mirror work here are a few rules:

1) Understand what you are working on and where the club and your body should be. Hopefully your instructor has made it clear to where the club should be or body positions etc. ( If not you could be doing more harm than good)

2) try a weighted club, a swing fan or an Orange whip trainer to your session for a bit of a fitness workout.

I will be shooting a few videos on this subject when I get the time but until then, enjoy a video archive on changing the club face in the mirror.


Follow me on twitter @ twitter.com/onplanegolf.com or friend me up on facebook @ facebook.com/jasonsuttongolf.com…….to work with me at the Dana Rader Golf School call 704-542-7635 to schedule some time.

See you on the lesson tee,


20 Days With the Guru, Day 7: That Which Can Be Measured Can Be Improved….But How Do You Know

How do you know what to practice? Most golfers tend to practice what they are good at because it is fun. You hit your favorite club so you can look good on the range because you are self-conscious about what you look like and how you are perceived. This is normal human behavior as no one wants to be embarrassed or look bad especially when it comes to golf. The serious and intelligent golfers practice their weaknesses instead of their strengths, you just have to be courageous and be able to take a good hard look at your entire game. So let’s say that you have bought into what I just said, the key is to first KNOW your WEAKNESSES. Only then can we get the most out of our practice sessions and really start to see improvement. I use a great piece of technology that will allow you to track your progress, target your weaknesses and be able to put together an intelligent practice program every time you go to the
practice ground. It is called SHOTBYSHOT.  This is the best software to track your progress that I have ever seen. What I really like about it is that it compares your stats in each area of your game to your goal handicap. (example:if you are a 5 handicap and want to be a scratch, you will see what your stats should be in each area to reach your goal. It then highlights your weakest area so you know what to focus on in your practice). It also gives you precise stats on your putting from specified distances that you record after each round). I use this to Taylor practice sessions for my tour players and elite juniors. It makes it easy for the player and the coach to create a plan for improvement.
Once you start to record some scores into shotbyshot.com, here are some general recommendations for practice structure and a few drills that can give you measurement in each area of your game.  Here is a link to Peter Sanders Blog (owner of shotbyshot.com)
Disclaimer******YOU MUST OWN YOUR GOLF GAME! AND YOUR PRACTICE! Your coach should not have to force you to practice, if so, you don’t deserve to get better. Remember,”YOU CANT FOOL GOLF,”
The Median Drill (short game)
also called the eleven ball drill. You can use this on any short game shot……pitch, chip, bunkers etc. Pick a shot. You can use multiple targets if you have more than 1 pin on your practice green. Hit eleven shots to your targets. Take away the closest 5 balls. Measure how close to the hole your 6th ball is. This is your distance.your goal is to decrease this distance. Clear measurement.

14 Ball Drill (driving accuracy)
Pick out an imaginary fairway on your practice range. Maybe two flags as wide as wide as your average fairway as a reference. Going through your golf course routine, hit 14 drivers as you would in a round of golf. Count how many that you hit into your imaginary fairway. MEASUREMENT! Set your goals accordingly.

30 foot drill (putting)
Measure off a 30 foot putt. It is approximately 10 steps. Lay a club or dowel rod 3 feet behind the hole. Hit ten putts in attempt to make the putt or leave the ball in between the hole and the stick. Count how many you get in the zone. Measurement. This will help with your distance control.
Whatever your practice plan is, always include some form of putting practice.

So I hope this helps organize your practice in the upcoming season always remember,”In order to get to where you are going, you must know where you are. Only then can you figure out how to get there”

See you on the lesson tee,


A Practice Plan :Serious Golfers Only Please


How many times have you been faced with a shot on the golf course and you don’t have a clue how to hit it. “Pressure is only a result of non preparation”. Thats deep, huh? It is true and it is up to you to prepare yourself for every situation that you will face on the golf course. I don’t care if you’re a tour player trying to prepare for the second shot on #13 where you have to hit a cut off of a hook lie into the green with a 2 iron or preparing for the club championship at your home club, you must be prepared. This doesn’t mean just understanding how to play the shot but physically putting in the work so that you absolutely trust it when faced with it under pressure. I was fortunate enough to attend the Golf Magazine Top 100 teaching summit last week and acquired some great information that I will be blogging about in the upcoming weeks. Jason Carbone, an outstanding coach and the new director of instruction at Baltusrol, shared with us an excellent practice plan that he gives his tournament players to get them prepared for competition. I will lay it out for you. Here is your weekly tournament checklist. You can tweak it as time permits or chunk it into sections to fit your schedule

  • Draw Tee shots (9 for 15 in the fairway)
  • Fade Tee shots (9 for 15 in the fairway)
  • 9 shot drill with a 5 iron
  • 9 shot drill with a 8 iron

******9 shot drill is :low draw, medium draw, high draw. low straight, medium straight, high straight, low fade, medium fade, hight fade. Hit all the shots to complete.

  • wedge shots to 40 yds. 60 yds. 80 yds. 100 yds. : hit each target 3 times (use towels, impact bags or flags for targets)
  • 30 ft. bunker shot off of all 5 lies (flat, uphill, downhill, ball above ft, ball below ft.)
  • flop shots (full swings @every 5 yards)
  • 9 hole bump and runs (5 out of 9 up and ins)
  • 9 holes lob wedge (5 out of 9 up and ins)
  • 9 holes lag putts 30 ft (pa 2 and break par)
  • 3 to 10 ft ladder drill (putt one ball to each tee or rung on the ladder)
  • play 9 or 18 holes from the forward tees
  • 9 or 18 holes (worst ball scramble):play 2 balls and play the worst shot until you hole out
  • 9 holes approach shots (aim for rough and see what you can shoot)
  • 9 holes approach shots (aim for bunkers and see what you can shoot)
  • work on pre shot routine with workstation on the ground for aim and ball position

I have already started using this with my tournament players and they love it. Have some structure with you practice, make your practice more like on course situations and you won’t be Ranger Rick any longer. Best of Luck



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