In our newest sporting series, palmbeachillustrated.com has called on golf pros from some of the area’s top clubs, resorts, courses and schools to give aspiring players a better handle on their golf game. Teeing off with our first bit of golfing advice, we enlisted the help of Matt Denzer, director of instruction for the David Leadbetter Golf Academy at PGA National Resort & Spa. Denzer speaks to the finer points of bunker basics and being a better wind player below.
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DENZER: This year, the annual PGA Championship will be held at The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island Golf Resort. While the course has a tremendous history and will be stretched out to more than 7,600 yards, this will not be the only test for the players. Two areas of the game that will prove to be a huge test will be the players' ability to control the trajectory of the golf ball in wind and their bunker play. Here are a few things you can do to improve your game in these areas:
Bunker basics: The most common fault I see with players in the bunkers is the tendency to try and lift the ball out. This often results in thin or fat bunker shots. For more consistency, set at least 60 percent of your weight on your front side at address, open up the clubface and swing to a full follow through. This should provide you with a more reliable, consistent shot.
Trajectory control: It’s surprising how often players tend to under-club in the wind. One key fact to understand when playing in the wind is the harder you swing, the more the ball spins—thus, the shorter it travels. To become a good wind player, try these two changes: First, start by grabbing three or four higher clubs then normal (with no or slight wind). Then swing with a shorter back swing and follow through. As you get better with these two changes, you will be surprised how well the ball pierces the wind.
If you have a golf question you would like answered by Matt Denzer, email the online editor.
Having joined the Leadbetter team in 2003, Matt Denzer is helping improve Palm Beach County’s golf game one golfer at a time. As director of instruction at the David Leadbetter Academy, located at PGA National Resort & Spa, Denzer is not only responsible for the day-to-day operations of the academy but also leads lessons and classes for students, from weekend warriors to aspiring pros. The academy is all encompassing, with lessons and classes on topics such as physical conditioning, practice technique, course management, equipment selection, the mechanics of the game, using V1 Pro Software and video analysis and a full swing analysis and instruction. “The most gratifying part of my job is when that light-bulb moment happens with a student, when it just clicks after working so hard," Denzer says.
As a member of the South Florida PGA Section, when not on the links teaching a class, Denzer can be found knocking a few around area courses playing PGA events—a chance to “dust off the clubs,” he says, and hit the links with area professionals and test each others' game.
What’s in the bag?
Sponsored by Callaway Golf, Denzer has a full bag of tricks from one of the giants of the game. Totting the RAZR series, these clubs play as good as they look:
- Callaway RAZR Fit Driver, 8.5 degree
- Callaway RAZR Fit 3wood, 15 degree
- Callaway RAZR X hybrid, 21 degree
- Callaway RAZR X, tour irons 4-pw
- Callaway Forged Wedges: 60, 55 and 50
- Odyssey Black Series, # 2 putter