Thursday, October 29, 2009

In trouble? Pelz has the answer

Dave Pelz wants to get you out of trouble.

When Pelz, primarily known for his deep study of putting and the short game, launched a study on wedge play, he discovered something else along the way. It's usually two or three holes that ruin a round of golf.

Maybe that's not news but after logging in the hole-by-hole results from many thousands of rounds played at the World Amateur Handicap tournament at Myrtle Beach, Pelz was more convinced than ever that if golfers could eliminate the really big number on their cards, their handicaps would drop significantly.

In his latest book, 'Damage Control,' Pelz has a plan for helping everyone from tour players to the weekend golfer avoid -- or at least minimize -- the big blow-up.

"I found a pattern," Pelz said in a recent phone interview. "Almost always, golfers play below their handicap level for 13, 14, 15 holes a round. Then they screw it up.

"They throw disastrous scores in there. If they can just get rid of that, they can lower their handicaps by three to five shots without changing their golf swings."

As you might suspect, it involves practice. Not a lot but some. Pelz points out that everyone practices hitting shots from good lies on level land. The trouble comes when you're having to hack one out of the trees or chop it out of the cabbage and you try to do something you're not prepared to do.

Knowing what to do and how to do it, Pelz said, is the key.

"The first thing I found out is it's not the first shot that gets you into trouble," Pelz said. "Everybody does that. It's the shot that follows the first one. They often hit from the frying pan to the fire. It's the shot that goes from bad to worse that's the real problem."

Pros hit it in trouble, Pelz points out, but they're adept at minimizing the damage. They don't let a one-stroke mistake turn into a four-stroke penalty.

In his book, which includes an abundance of photos, charts and graphs, Pelz lays out a method to improving your damage control. He gives you a practice plan that doesn't require a lot of work. It's more about becoming familiar with shots you may face so you're more ready when the moment arrives.

He teaches you how to make ultra-flat swings, very upright swings, stop your swing quickly, play from severe sidehill lies and other challenges.

"I was always told I needed to work on my driving and keep (the ball) out of trouble," Pelz said. "I'd have been much better off learning how to get out of trouble first.

"If you got mediocre at damage control, (the big number) would go down to one every 10 rounds. A pro only has one every 27 rounds. That's a heckuva difference."

On another matter, Pelz said he's still working with Phil Mickelson, who credited a putting lesson from Dave Stockton with sparking his late-season resurgence. Pelz calls Stockton "one of my heroes" and expects Mickelson to be ready next year if his family's health issues continue to improve.

"I think once his short-game and putting get back to his standards, he's going to be a heckuva player."


George said...

I got an early copy of the book over a year ago, and it's helped me quite a bit...ok, well, when I remember what I read, which isn't as often as I'd like... Anyway, the book is a really fascinating read in and of itself, and DID actually help me quite a bit when it was fresh in my head.

Now if I could just find the book now, in all the boxes of golf books I have somewhere...

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