Ben Harvey - Shuksan GC


Bio: Ben grew up playing at Sham Na Pum GC in Richland where he and friends would sometimes play 72 holes a day in the summer. He has worked at Shuksan for eight years, off and on. He started there when the course opened in 1994 but left a couple of years later to manage a Pro Golf Discount store in San Diego. He returned in 2007 and is now the head professional.

Teaching Philosophy: Once my student has the fundamentals of the address position correct, I like to talk about what he/she should be feeling during the swing. I do not want to concern them with getting the club into a specific position necessarily, as I believe that can add stress and prevent good tempo. Added to which, many people just can’t physically get into some of the positions some teachers advise. I encourage my pupils to visualize what shot they are trying to hit, remain relaxed and swing the clubhead freely.

Contact: 360-398-8888

Basic Rate: $45/45 minutes

Pre-Shot Routine Vital for Putts Too

Most golfers know the value of a pre-shot routine, even if they fail to complete one for every shot. What some don’t realize, however, is that a routine on the putting green is every bit as important as it on the tee or in the fairway.

I play with a lot of golfers who dutifully perform their pre-shot routine every time they hit a driver or a full approach shot. They stand behind the ball, pick a target, step up, waggle a couple of times and fire. But when it comes to the short game, the routine disappears altogether and is replaced with a set of moves (or lack of them) that are different from what they were on the last hole, and the one before that, and the one…

My advice is to develop a routine for use on and around the greens, just like you have done for longer shots. For instance, when I’m on the putting surface, I always take a brief look at the putt from behind the hole (Image 1), and then return to the other side of the ball where I get a feel for the pace of the putt by swinging my putter back and forth in my right hand whilst looking at the hole (Image 2).

When I have visualized the putt I want to hit over and over again, I step up to the side of the ball and make a couple of practice strokes, using the exact same stroke I want to use for the actual putt  (Image 3). Then I place the putterhead behind the ball, step into my stance, take a couple more looks at the hole, and forget about everything except replicating the stroke I just practiced (Image 4).

Take my word for it; if you can develop a sound routine that you perform almost sub-consciously time after time, you will take the stress out of testy downhill three-footers. 

One last tip; ball position is an inexact science when putting. I’ve seen countless players position the ball opposite their left toes almost, while others put it slightly in front of the center of their stance. Whatever works best for you is fine, but just make sure you have the ball in exactly the same place for every putt (Image 5). Changing the position of the ball adds an unnecessary variable to putting when, ideally, you want to make everything as simple as possible.



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