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Rivers Edge Golf Training Tips

On this edition of Tee It UP Grand Strand, host Shan Coughlin visits the Rivers Edge Golf Club in Shalotte, NC to discuss course updates with head golf professional Jeff Pianelli, and also to get a few lessons and pointers on how to improve her golf swing.  This is the Rivers Edge Golf Training Tips edition but also talk about the course and what spring golfers can expect when they come out to play.

Rivers Edge Golf Training Tips“The course is overall in great shape,” Pianelli said. “I know everybody’s had a wet winter. Greens are as fast as we’ve had them here in a couple years. We have different Platinum specials that are out there. A lot of package plays that have already been booked for the spring, which is great for us to see,” he said. “We appreciate our golf directors that are out there that do that for us. Just looking forward to a good 2016.”

Directing her attention to the items laid out in front of them, Coughlin said it is time for golfers to set their “mojo” for the new golf season.  Of the items laid out in front of them, Pianelli picked up a tennis racket and begins the training session.

“Golf – a lot of us say – is backwards,” he said. “But when it comes to the golf club, it has an angle on it, whereas a tennis racket does not. So what I like to do with this – it gives you a big surface to hit to…but what I like to do with this is just to get folks to understand where your hand would be at impact. And what we’re really trying to achieve with the club is to really drive the golf ball down into the ground. So for a second, the ball bounces but is wedged between the ground and the club and rises up the face,” Pianelli said.  He told Coughlin that this does create spin, and backspin is a good thing. Backspin helps the ball to climb and carry, whereas topspin will decrease the chance of carry.  With this exercise, Pianelli said he will softly toss the ball up to his student, and the idea is to get them to drive the ball into the ground about 10 feet in front of them. It’s really about understanding where your hands are, he said.

TRivers Edge Golf Training Tipshe second object Pianelli picks in this Rivers Edge Golf Training Tips edition up is a disc. Coughlin describes the size of the disc as a 14- to 16-inch pizza. Coughlin tells listeners that there are two discs, one under each of her feet, that she is supposed to be balancing on. Pianelli hands Coughlin a club.  “Golf swing is very much based on core,” he told Coughlin. “Okay, strength and balance. So, if we get the core of our body to do the turning in the swing, we eliminate a million different errors that can happen, when normally, we think of our arms and our hands.”  The bonus of this exercise, is that you can make a full swing, although Pianelli does not suggest beginners put the club down to the ground because the disc holds the student up about three to four inches. He said as you address the ball, you want to have the club about three inches above the ground and then just turn.  Coughlin said if this can be done without bouncing, like she was, she would assume balance gets better and better, and then the swing gets better and better.

The third object Pianelli refers to during this training session is a kettlebell.  “Again, outside the box…I always try to tie the body into the swing, which is different than most – they want to talk about hands and where the different things go. Your hands will react as they’re supposed to react,” Pianelli said. While the hands are meant to react as a reflex, the idea is to get the body to do the work.  Coughlin describes the exercise. Holding a 15-lb kettlebell with both hands, she is supposed to try to feel like she is moving the ball with her hands in front of her, while just moving her core. The weight of the ball turns to the right and turns to the left, and Coughlin’s weight shifts right to left.  “If we get the feeling in the swing, like the club head weighs 10 lbs, everybody would improve,” Pianelli said.  When performing this exercise, Pianelli said the shoulders are not to move across the body, and you only want to lift the kettlebell to about hip-level and down. Not too fast, and focus on technique.

The final object in Pianelli’s lesson is a plow stick, which is used as a swing aid. Pianelli said these are available for about $17 in a golf store, but if you go to Lowe’s up north where it snows, they are about about $2.50.  For more information about lessons and the golf course or for more Rivers Edge Golf Training Tips, visit PlayRiversEdge.com or call the pro shop at (910) 755-3434. Rivers Edge Golf Course is also featured on TheGolfDirector.com and PlatinumGolf.com.