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Get a Grip!

As golfers, we strive to attain a golf club grip which is fundamentally sound, functional and comfortable.  Unfortunately, we have hands of different shapes and sizes that, at times, keep us from finding a golf club grip which works consistently over time. One possible cause for the continual search for a “perfect grip” is grip pressure.  Grip pressure can be as simple as holding the club within the fingers/palms while gently swinging the club or it can evolve into a white-knuckled, blistered-fingered, death grip which wears off the grip manufacturer’s label. As a golf instructor, I have found many golfers hold the golf club too tightly, leading to a multitude of concerns.  This observation has caused me to suggest to players a grip pressure scale of sorts, for example, on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 10 being a vice-like grip and a 1 being barely hanging on to the club, we should think of having a grip pressure with our top hand of a 6, and a 4 in the lower hand.  A lighter feeling grip, in the mid-range, will allow for a smoother takeaway in the backswing, a slight “lag” at the top of the swing and descending strike through the impact zone finishing with a “release” of the hands/wrists to complete the swing. Here’s a practice drill I use and have suggested to others, called the “Pistol Grip”.

Pat-Hickey-image-1 5.29When practicing a light touch on the grip and to help me find a rhythm, I take short swings with a wedge with my right index finger and thumb off the club (Image 1). This drill forces me to swing within balance and find a consistent tempo through the swing. I am not concerned with distance, but instead, soft grip pressure while making solid contact. 

Pat-Hickey-image-2 5.29.15In Image 2, I take the club back parallel to the ground, still with right index finger and thumb off the grip, and then concentrate on making a descending strike down on the back of the ball. The light “pistol grip” touch in my right hand allows for a “release” of the hands. Once I begin to feel a smooth rhythm in my swing after a dozen short shots I progress to a mid-iron concentrating on a light consistent grip pressure and finally finishing with a few driver shots holding the club as lightly as possible. Give this drill a try and you will definitely feel an improvement in grip pressure, swing tempo and solid impact. 

Pat Hickey, PGA Teaching Professional

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Ph: 630.260.8217

Food for Thought - Restaurant News

FathersDayBrunch2Father’s Day Brunch

Join us for our spectacular Father’s Day Sunday Brunch on Sunday, June 21st at the Red Oak Room at Cantigny Golf.  Our menu includes an omelet station, eggs Benedict, smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail, crab legs, various specialty salads, cheese and charcuterie displays, a special Father’s day inspired carvery station, specialty entrees made with seasonal ingredients, a lavishly decadent dessert station and much, much more!  We have also created a special drink menu of Bloody Marys, American craft beers and whisky drinks with Dad in mind. 

Two hour seatings are at 10:00 am, 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm.  Make your reservations now.  Our holiday buffets are one of the most popular events at Cantigny and annually sell-out.  Reservations can be made at 630 260-8194.

Fareways Grill Weekly Specials

Although there are many options on the Fareways Grill menu and some guests have their usual favorites, Chef John and his talented Culinary Staff create a couple of new specials every week until Labor Day just so your taste buds never get bored.  Many items are so popular as specials, they are added to the regular menu the next year, (Bacon-Blue Cheese Popcorn, Mini Steak Tacos, Midwest Free-Range Buffalo Burger, French Onion Grilled Cheese, etc.). We have started the 2015 weekly specials this Memorial Day week with Sriracha Dusted Chicharones with Mole Sauce and, a perennial favorite, our Turkey Pastrami Rueben Sandwich.  When you dine with us at the Fareways Grill, be sure to turn the menu over to page two to see what delicious specials our Chefs have created next.

How to ‘Smash’ Your Drives and Gain Power in Your Swing

Are you tired of hitting weak drives and watching your distance diminish year after year?  Then say goodbye to weak drives and discover how you can SMASH your drives and gain real power with your swing regardless of the club you are using. It’s a totally new approach I’ve discovered to gaining distance… and it’s helping all of my golf fitness and performance clients.

It’s been known for a long time now that the longest hitters on tour get most of their energy and power in their swings from the ground up.  In other words, by compressing their legs and body weight down into the ground at the proper times during their swing cycle, the energy travels back up from the ground, through their body and back down through the golf club to the golf ball at impact.

Callaway image for 5.28.15There are two times during your golf swing that you should feel your body get ’heavier’ as you compress into the ground for more power in your swing:

1) During your backswing

2) During the transition for forward swing  

Backswing - Your backswing loading or compression down into the inside ball of your back foot (right foot for a right hand golfer) should occur gradually from address to the completion of your entire backswing. This allows for optimal coiling of your upper body over a stable lower body.

Transition to forward swing - Once you have reached the top of your full backswing, you now make a slight weight transfer back to a 50/50 weight distribution as you also compress both feet even more firmly into the ground. There should be very little unwinding of your upper body coil during this transition phase of your swing --- only a downward compression of your body weight into the ground through both feet. Your hips and legs will bend slightly more than they were at address and you will feel your ab muscles, glut muscles, hip and thigh muscles contract as though you were about to ‘hop’ slightly off the ground.

Now that you are fully compressed and loaded into the ground, it’s time to simply unwind and release all of the stored energy generated in your body through the golf club and to the golf ball at impact. When you have performed the compression elements of your swing properly, huge amounts of power will be created in your swing for much greater swing speed and distance.   Try this simple ‘Hop and Twist’ drill I’ve put together to get the feel for how to build more compression forces and power into your full swing.  And, if you’d like to learn more about how to get a customized, golf fitness and total performance training program for yourself, let me help! 

You can call me at (630) 567-7572 or email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule your FREE Consultation. I look forward to meeting you!

Paul Callaway, PT, PhD

Pitch Perfect

TFTour pros make executing a 50 yard pitch shot from the fairway look effortless.  For amateurs, that shot may seem more elusive or even scary.  What are the secrets to being pitch perfect? A successful 50 yard pitch shot from the fairway takes a combination of good equipment, correct technique and lots of practice.
Having the proper wedge makes this shot a lot easier.  Use a wedge that has around 52-58-degrees of loft.  Average bounce of around 10 degrees will work well on most turf unless you are playing off extreme hardpan conditions.  The newer the clubface the better the grooves will be.  Having new, clean grooves with additional clubface roughness through milling techniques are important factors to getting the necessary spin rate. A quality golf ball with the softer cover will also allow you to get more spin.
Along with well designed equipment, good technique is paramount to keeping the ball low with a lot of spin so it will land and stop after a couple of hops.  Set up in a good golf posture with the ball positioned centered with more weight favored on the target side foot.  The backswing length will be just short of a half swing position. The key to the downswing is to keep the hands slightly in front of the clubhead as you continually rotate your shoulders through impact.  You should see the club moving left after impact (for a right handed player). This will deliver a slightly shallow swing that will deloft the clubface and deliver lots of spin.
Finally, you need to practice this shot on fairway grass to get the correct feel through impact.  Practicing out of the rough will add too much grass between the ball and the clubface and take away spin- that is a different shot to practice.  For best retention and learning, practice the shot from lengths that vary around 5 yards from your 50 yards starting position(45-55 yard shots).  Slightly changing the distance makes your brain work harder!  If you want to see how you stack up against those tour pros from this distance check out Mark Broadie's book, Every Shot Counts.  This book has a table (Table 9.12) on page 201 that allows you to play a practice game where you hit 5 shots from 50 yards and then take your median distance to compare against the pros.
If you have any questions on how to "pitch perfect," please contact me at the academy.
Submitted by: Tina Favia, Golf Academy LPGA Teaching Professional
Contact Tina: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 630.260.8273

Golf Course Opens April 3 — Take the Red Oak Club Challenge!

2015-Cantigny-Red-Oak-Club-card v3-300x190The opening of the golf course is always an exciting time of year for the Cantigny staff. First and foremost, we get to welcome back our golfing friends after the long, cold winter. Needless to say, we are every bit as anxious as you to knock the dust off the clubs and enjoy a round of golf with all the great people who visit Cantigny.

The other cause for excitement is that we finally get to put our wintertime planning into action. During the winter, we enjoy the process of reviewing our programming, enhancing our many great attributes, and developing new ways of serving our golf clientele. This year’s big “unveiling” comes in the form of the Red Oak Club, a loyalty program that quickly rewards you for your participation at Cantigny. There is no cost to join the Red Oak Club and this is our first-ever program that offers an 18-hole reward that can be played anytime, along with other great rewards.

Be sure to sign up for the Red Oak Club right away because the leading point earner by Memorial Day will be awarded a mutually arranged overnight stay at the New Farm house (located off the 9th fairway of the Woodside course), along with a complimentary foursome of golf the next morning!We will also award each of the next top 5 point earners a complimentary 18-hole round of golf.

You may sign up for the Red Oak Club in the Golf Shop or at the Golf Academy, or by calling 630.260.8197. I look forward to creating many new great memories with you at Cantigny this year as we continue to find new ways to make your Cantigny experience more enjoyable.





Submitted by: Patrick Lynch, Head Golf Professional
Contact Patrick: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 630.260.8272