Greenside Bunkers…How To Break 100…Barney Beard Golf

How to Get Out of Greenside Bunkers

The first week of June I’ll be back from vacation.

Call: 352-638-4180. Email: barneybeardgolf@yahoo.com.

Go to my website for more information: barneybeardgolf.com.

Occasionally you’ll find yourself in a greenside bunker. Your first goal should be the same as that of the great Jack Nicklaus who was a poor sand player. He knew he wasn’t good out of the sand. What was his winning strategy? Your plan should be the same as his, don’t get into the sand in the first place. Harvey Penick would agree.

When you stand on the tee box or when you’re hitting your approach into the green, note where the trouble is and plan to avoid it. Aim away from trouble. You’ll never be perfect at avoiding trouble but if you avoid a few bunkers, along with avoiding a few other bad places on the golf course, you’ll find your handicap going lower and lower. Smart play will make breaking 100 easier than you might think.

When you find yourself in a sand trap, your goal should be to get out in one stroke and be somewhere on or near the green, close enough to the flag to get up and down. I know you can do it. I know you can.

My Daddy understands sand play. Daddy figures getting out of the sand is one of the easiest shots in golf. All you have to do, Daddy says, is open the face of your sand wedge, play the ball in the middle/front of your stance, lower your hands between your legs so you’ll hit the ground and pretend there’s half a grapefruit under your golf ball. If you hit the sand behind the ball and take out enough sand under the ball to equal half a grapefruit, the ball and sand will fly up and out of the sand trap in what will look like an explosion.

Here’s another way to think about it. Pretend your ball is lying on the center of a hundred page paperback book about the size of a dollar bill. Your ball is sitting on George Washington’s face on the cover of that unopened book. Open your clubface. With a full, firm swing, take away all the sand under the ball that would make up the thickness of the paperback book. If you take away that much sand from under the ball with a full swing, the ball MUST fly up and out of the sand trap.

  1. Use your sand wedge with a wide-open face. The clubface of your sand wedge at address in the sand trap will look like you’re going to miss the green to the right. Trust me. Open your clubface. You really can’t open it too much. Even though you have an open face, you’ll swing the clubhead on a line towards your target. If you open the clubface of your sand wedge substantially, the shaft end of the clubhead, the heel end, will hit the sand first and the head of the sand wedge will behave like a sled. The head of the sand wedge will slide through the sand and under the ball.  The sand wedge will take a layer of sand on the clubface that will cushion the impact. Because of the open face, the clubhead won’t dig deep. Sleds don’t dig. Plows dig. You don’t want to swing a plow.  A square clubface will plow the sand and go too deep. If you close the face of your sand wedge, as most beginners do, the toe will hit the sand first and your clubhead will dig like a plow and make it difficult to get the ball out of the bunker. Only close your clubface and swing your sand wedge like a plow when you have a buried lie in the sand.
  2. Hands and handle down lower to make the clubhead go lower. At address, push your hands straight down towards your knees to make the clubhead go lower, to make the clubhead describe a path under the golf ball. If you hold your hands up like a normal shot in the fairway off grass, you might only lightly brush the sand or not hit the sand at all. Hands and handle DOWN will help you take a nice, big divot of sand.
  3. The golf ball never touches the metal face of your sand wedge. You don’t hit the golf ball with your metal clubface. You take the sand out from under the ball. Your clubhead hits the sand a couple of inches before it gets to the ball and takes away a layer of sand. The clubhead comes out of the sand a couple of inches past the ball. If you take away a layer of sand under the ball, your clubhead will be covered in sand when it gets directly under the ball and the ball will be softly tossed out of the greenside bunker upon that lovely layer of soft sand. The golf ball NEVER touches the metal face of the sand wedge.
  4. Getting out of a greenside bunker requires a full swing. The sand absorbs a great deal of energy as the clubhead passes under the ball. You must not coast into impact when you’re coming out of a greenside bunker.  You must not be afraid to take a full swing. Learn to use a full swing and take plenty of sand under the ball. The clubhead slides under the ball. The golf ball does NOT hit the metal of the clubface.  You can’t be timid when you’re in a bunker. If you take a half swing at a ball in the bunker you’ll get half way out of the sand. Be firm. You can do this.
  5. You control distance by controlling the amount of sand you take from under the ball. The more sand you take, the slower the clubhead will be traveling when it gets to the ball. The less sand you take, the faster the clubhead will be traveling when it gets to the golf ball. Remember, never allow the metal of the clubhead to contact the golf ball. Once you begin getting out of the sand in one swing, you’ll learn to control distance better and better.

As you learn how to get out of the sand in one swing, you’ll learn how to get the ball closer and closer to the flag. There are lots of folks who know how to show you this on video but there’s no better way to learn how to get out of a greenside bunker than to take your sand wedge and a bucket of balls and go to the sand trap at the practice range. With a little work you’ll end up getting out of the sand with your first swing most of the time and you’ll break 100 more times than not.

Play Often, Have Fun, Respect the Game,

Barney Beard

ps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: How Not to be Embarrassed on the First Tee.

pps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: Left Hand Version.

ppps. I also have a blog about stories and letters for my grandchildren. Click Here.

Copyright 2020 Barney Beard Golf. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

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Pitching Around the Green…Short Game…Barney Beard Golf

Putt from off the green when you can.

Chip when you can’t putt.

Pitch only when you can’t putt or chip.

What is pitching? Pitching around the green is a ‘part shot’. It’s a shot with less than a full backswing. Pitching is a high, arching lob shot that stops quickly when it hits the ground. The pitch shot spends more time in the air than rolling on the ground. Imagine tossing a ball underhanded over a high volley ball net. That’s the trajectory of a pitch shot.

When should you pitch? If you want to break 100, pitch only when you can’t putt or chip.

Why? Executing a pitch shot requires more precision than chipping or putting. When possible, choose putting or chipping over pitching if ground conditions allow. Pitching should be the amateur’s last option. It is the most difficult shot to hit and control around the green.

When should you use a pitch shot? The golfer should pitch when faced with a shot around the green over an intervening hazard, such as a sand trap, that requires the ball to stop quickly. A pitch shot requires a high trajectory shot from a highly lofted club.

Which club should you use when pitching? Choose the highest lofted club in your bag for pitching. A sand wedge has about 56º loft. Some golfers will also carry a lob wedge which has 60º. The pitching wedge is  NOT for pitching.

Why don’t I use the pitching wedge for pitching? Because now-a-days it isn’t the highest lofted club in your bag.  The club named ‘Pitching Wedge‘ used to be the club with the highest loft before Gene Sarazen invented the sand wedge in 1932. In the olden days you would use your pitching wedge for a pitch shot because no one had a sand wedge.  If you have a pitch shot around the green you should use your sand wedge because it has a lot more loft than your now mis-named pitching wedge. Never use your pitching wedge for pitching around the green. The sand wedge has about 12º more loft than the pitching wedge. The pitching wedge is simply the carry-over name from the old days. The modern pitching wedge is more accurately described as the 10 iron in your series of numbered irons. The pitching wedge has only 4° more loft than your 9 iron. The modern pitching wedge has about 45º loft as opposed to your sand wedge with 56º loft or the lob wedge with 60º. If you want to hit a shot high into the air that will stop quickly, you should use the highest lofted club in your bag which will be the sand wedge or lob wedge.

Note: Club manufacturers have lowered the club lofts substantially over the years. I gave a lesson to a lady who had a pitching wedge with only 36º loft—a 6 or 7 iron in the old days.

How do I hit a pitch shot? When you pitch, you have chosen a shot in which the bottom of the club MUST disturb the soil. The bottom of the club MUST disturb the soil directly under the ball in order for the ball to hit the center of the very large face of the sand wedge.

To execute this shot you should have a lie with at least a little grass under the ball. If you have a ‘tight lie’ around the green you probably won’t choose to pitch the ball. If you have a tight lie, if your ball is lying on the bare soil, you probably won’t be able to pitch the ball high into the air.

Here’s how to play the pitch shot:

  1. You have determined you have a good lie for pitching.
  2. Play the ball in the middle of your stance or slightly to the right. Never play the ball towards the front foot. When you hit a pitch shot the club head must be on the downward path all the way to impact. The clubhead can never be on the upward path at impact. You can scoop ice cream but you can’t scoop a pitch shot.
  3. Grip the club normally with a firm grip. 
  4. Open the clubface slightly. You need all the loft you can get usually. Better to have an open face than a closed face when you pitch.
  5. Swing through the ball. Never stab at the ball.
  6. Making certain the bottom of the club skips off the dirt. In other words, imagine the golf ball sitting on a silver dollar.  The leading edge of the clubhead must knock the silver dollar out from under the ball. The leading edge of your club must pass UNDER the golf ball. The bottom of the clubhead MUST bounce off the soil directly under the golf ball.
  7. The handle of the club should be in the middle of your body at address. At address, the handle of the club should be in line with your sternum if you want the ball to go high. Your hands and the handle of the club must not be to the left of your belt buckle unless you want the ball to go lower. Hands positioned well in front of the ball are for a shot you’ll learn next year.
  8. Lean slightly to your left heel and keep the weight there. There is no weight shift in short shots around the green. If you shift your weight to your right during the backswing you will hit the ground behind the ball. Lean to the right and you’ll have a fright. Lean to the left–be your best self. Here’s a visual to help you understand why your clubhead MUST hit the soil under the ball when you pitch around the green. Pick up the sand wedge vertically with the handle straight up in the air above your head. Hold the club so that the clubhead is at eye level. Place a golf ball on the middle of the face of the wedge—right in front of your eyes. As you hold the ball in the center of the clubface with the head of your sand wedge or lob wedge at eye level, notice how much of the clubhead is BELOW the bottom of the ball. You MUST skip the bottom of the club off the soil in order to hit the ball in the center of the club face. You do not want to take a fat divot before you strike the ball. You simply want the club head to skip  like skimming a stone on water at the lake. In this case, the soil is the water. Get the bottom of the club down to the soil.
  9. Take a LOW backswing. If you take a low backswing and make a low follow through this will insure the club will skip off the soil. If you take a steep backswing you’ll stick your pick in the ground, won’t you?
  10. Remember: Short shot–short backswing. Longer shot–longer backswing.

Always putt when you can. If you can’t putt, then chip. If you can’t putt or chip, then you are forced to pitch. Learn to skip that big bottom of your sand wedge off the soil with a slightly open clubface. That’s called pitching.

Play Often, Have Fun, Respect the Game,

Barney Beard

ps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: How Not to be Embarrassed on the First Tee.

pps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: Left Hand Version.

ppps. I also have a blog about stories and letters for my grandchildren. Click Here.

Copyright 2020 Barney Beard Golf. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

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Chipping…The Hop Shot…A Short Game Part Shot…Barney Beard Golf

Putt onto the green when you can.

Chip onto the green only when you can’t putt.

What shot do you choose when you have determined unpredictable ground conditions prohibit putting from off the green? When you can’t putt, the wise golfer’s second choice will be to choose the low trajectory chip shot. A chip shot hops over unpredictable ground conditions. A chip shot travels for a short time through the air barely above ground level and then rolls to the flag. It’s a low shot.

A chip shot is a knee high or lower shot. A chip shot never goes high. A chip spends more time on the ground rolling than in the air. A chip behaves much like a putt when it’s rolling on the ground.

Chip with your 7 iron. Golfers are allowed only fourteen clubs. Therefore, some clubs do double duty. Experienced golfers can hit a long approach with their 7 iron–a full shot. They can use that same 7 iron for chipping when close to the green—a part-shot.

When you’re chipping, you’ll hit the ball with your 7 iron with almost the same lateral force you would use if you were using your putter from that same distance. That’s why you need to become proficient with your putter from off the green. Putting from off the green and chipping from off the green are brother and sister. You’ll use practically the same lateral force with both. The feel you will develop when you learn to putt from off the green will serve you well when you are forced to chip from off the green.

The set up for a chip shot is different from the set up for a putt because of the difference in the loft of the two clubs. The 7 iron has a good bit of loft. The putter no loft.

You play the ball more off your front foot when you putt from off the green because the putter has no loft. You play a chip shot off your right foot because you have a club with loft and the 7-iron must brush the soil in order to hit the ball in the middle of the clubface.

  1. You choose to chip the golf ball onto the green when unpredictable ground conditions prohibit the use of the putter.
  2. A chip shot hops over unpredictable ground conditions and then rolls onto the green.
  3. A chip shot does not go high into the air. (A short shot high into the air is called a pitch shot).
  4. A chip is executed much like a long putt but using a lofted club, usually a 7 or 8 iron.
  5. The heavy head and flat bottom of the 7 iron makes it easy to use in the longer grass around the green.

How do you chip with a 7 iron?

  1. Grip down the handle of your 7 iron. Grip down so the 7 iron is the same length as your putter. When chipping I always touch the steel shaft of my 7 iron with my right index finger so I can be assured of the exact same balance point every time I chip.
  2. Feet very close together—almost touching.
  3. Point your right toe at the ball. Place your right foot perfectly square to the intended line of flight. Thus, your right foot is at a perfect right angle to the target line. Kinda like a T-square would look.
  4. Stand very close to the ball. The ball should be no more than 12 or 14 inches from your right big toe.
  5. Stand a little more upright than a full-swing shot because you’re standing so close and you’re gripping down the handle all the way to the shaft.
  6. The top of the handle of the club almost touching your clothing. Standing too far from the ball makes your arms unstable and you’ll tend to spray the ball.
  7. Let the top of the handle of the 7 iron be pointing toward your left shoulder joint in a line with your left arm. This will put your hands and head in front of the club head and the ball.
  8. Have more weight on your left heel than the right.
  9.  No weight transfer during the shot. NEVER let the weight transfer to your right leg during the backswing. There is NO WEIGHT SHIFT in chipping. NONE. Your weight is on your left heel throughout the swing. There is no need for a weight transfer. This is a delicate part-shot. Don’t complicate things with weight shift.
  10. Use very little wrist action. (no flipping of the wrists)
  11. L-o-w to the ground backswing with very little wrist action.
  12. Swing through the ball with a smooth stroke (not a jabbing motion). Almost let the club swing itself.
  13. Steady head throughout the swing just like the putting action.
  14. See the spot under the ball after impact. After you swing through the ball and the ball is on its way, make certain you see the ground where the ball was. This will insure you keep a steady head throughout.
  15. Strike the ball with a downward blow. Because you’re playing the golf ball on the right side of your stance in front of your right toe and you’re leaning left with your weight on your left heel, the clubhead will contact the golf ball with a downward motion. (if the ball was on the left side of your stance you would tend to contact the ball on the upswing)
  16. The bottom of the club will go through the ball and down into the grass to the soil—this is why using the putter from off the green is easier than chipping. The putter doesn’t contact the soil.
  17. Control distance with length of backswing. The golfer controls distance on all part shots by using a shorter backswing for short shots and a longer backswing for longer shots. Short shot around the green-short backswing. Longer shot around the green-longer backswing.

WARNING-Any weight shift to the right leg in an attempt to help the ball into the air with an upward, scooping-flipping motion of the club head will be bad—very bad—really bad. Scooping is excellent for ice cream but dreadful for chipping.

Play Often, Have Fun, Respect the Game,

Barney Beard

ps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: How Not to be Embarrassed on the First Tee. My Momma would be proud of me. My book, Golf for Beginners won two awards, the silver from FAPA  and the Elit bronze.

pps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: Left Hand Version.

ppps. I also have a blog about stories and letters for my grandchildren. Click Here.

Copyright 2020 Barney Beard Golf. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

My historical novel about the Cherokee deportation, A White Killing Frost, is on the shelf ready for you to check out in the Lady Lake Library and the Sumter County Library in Wildwood. It’s also available in almost every public library system in both Georgia and Florida. How good is that?  The digital book is $2.99.Click Here.

I’ve been collecting useful golf instructional books for my students. I keep them in my truck. If you are interested in any of the following titles come by the range and purchase any  for $2.00. All books are used and in good to excellent condition. Some appear to have never been read.  Here’s the list: Golf Begins at 50 by: Gary Player, Augusta National & The Masters: A Photographers Scrapbook, David Ledbetter’s Positive Practice, Dave Peltz Short Game Bible, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by: Bob Rotella, Little Red Book by: Harvey Penick, From the Fairway by: Michael Hobbs, Trouble Shooting by: Michael Hobbs, For All Who Love the Game by: Harvey Penick, And if You Play Golf You’re My Friend by: Harvey Penick, Are you Kidding Me? Rocco Mediate.

 

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Let’s Take a Few Weeks Off…Barney Beard Golf

Good Morning!!

Beginning immediately I’m taking a week or two off from my normal golf teaching activities. I love golf. I love to teach golf. I love to play golf. I love to hit golf balls. I love to talk about golf.

For the next while I’m going to stay around the house and write and garden.

For the next while I’ll answer any question you have if you’ll send it to my email: barneybeardgolf@yahoo.com.

I also love to write and to garden. Maybe I’ll post some pictures of my books and my flowers?

We’ll reschedule your lessons when the time is appropriate. I plan on resuming my teaching activities on the other side of this thing.

Be safe. Be wise.

Barney Beard

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Putting From Off the Green…Short Game…Barney Beard Golf

Putting from off the green

Always your first choice.

I want you to learn to play well enough so you can break 100 on an 18 hole golf course.

You can do it. One of the tools you should have in your golfing arsenal is the ability to putt to the flag from off the green when you hit an errant shot.

Putting from off the green should always be your first choice when you have missed with your approach shot. Chipping is your second choice and pitching is your very, very last choice.

Your first choice: Putt from off the green

Your second choice: Chip when you can’t putt

Your last choice: Pitching with a lofted club

You should putt from off the green when you can. When you have predictable ground conditions, putt your ball to the flag. Practice putting from off the green. Learn when you can and can’t putt. Knowing when ground conditions are acceptable or not acceptable for putting from off the green comes from practice. You’ll have to go to the practice green to hone this skill, but it’s well worth it. Ask the pros.

When you begin practicing putting from off the green, you’ll find it easier to get the ball closer to the hole than you might think. You’ll also flub far fewer shots when you use your putter from off the green.

The secret is to learn when you can and when you can’t putt from off the green.

Go to your practice green and practice putting from off the green. Learn when you can and cannot putt from off the green.

When you have determined ground conditions are unpredictable, your second choice from off the green will be to chip with a 7 iron. We’ll talk about that in our next lesson. Chipping with a 7 iron will fly the ball a short distance in the air OVER the unpredictable ground conditions. A chip is a low-trajectory shot. It’s only about knee high.

Chipping is more difficult than putting and should never be your first choice. Chipping will be the next lesson. This lesson is about putting from off the green. Using your putter when you miss the green is the easiest way to get the ball close to the hole.

When you practice, hit your putt from off the green and then see if you can make the next putt. See if you can get the ball ‘up and down’, that is, getting the ball into the hole from off the green in only two shots. You must learn to get the ball ‘up and down’ with some frequency if you want to break 100 regularly.

Make a game of your practice.

  1. Take one ball to the practice green.
  2. Putt from off the green.
  3. After you make your first putt from off the green, hit the same ball again and see if you can make the putt.
  4. Continue hitting that one ball with your putter until you get it into the hole. Remember, golf is a game.
  5. Putt from various places around the practice green.
  6. Learn what ground conditions are conducive for putting and what ground conditions prevent putting from off the green.
  7. With practice you’ll learn when you can putt from off the green. You’ll also learn when you’re FORCED by unpredictable ground conditions to chip. Learn to assess ground conditions around the green.
  8. When you practice, practice with one ball all the way to the bottom of the cup.
  9. See how few strokes you can use. Learn to get up and down with your putter.
  10. Golf is a game. Have Funl

Here are a few tips.

  1. When putting from off the green play the ball a little bit more forward in your stance. This will help the ball up, and rolling on top of the grass. Playing the ball forward gives your putter just that little bit of loft it needs to get the ball up and rolling on your target line.
  2. When putting from off the green, have a stable table. Put 99% of your weight on your heels with no weight shift.
  3. Use very little wrist break. The wrists are used to develop power. You generally don’t need much power when putting, do you? It’s difficult to keep the ball on line if you’re using a lot of wrist action.

Note: The more you learn to putt from off the green the better you’ll be at chipping. Putting from off the green and chipping are brother and sister. They both deliver energy to the ball laterally. Pitching, your last short-game choice, is a distant 4th cousin. The technique and form used in pitching is not related to putting from off the green and chipping.

Remember: Putting from off the green is your first choice. People who use their putter from off the green live longer, have more money in the bank, drive nicer cars, have more fun and generally are better looking!

Play Often, Have Fun, Respect the Game,

Barney Beard

ps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: How Not to be Embarrassed on the First Tee. My Momma would be proud of me. My book, Golf for Beginners won two awards, the silver from FAPA  and the Elit bronze.

pps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: Left Hand Version.

ppps. I also have a blog about stories and letters for my grandchildren. Click Here.

Copyright 2020 Barney Beard Golf. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

My historical novel about the Cherokee deportation, A White Killing Frost, is on the shelf ready for you to check out in the Lady Lake Library and the Sumter County Library in Wildwood. It’s also available in almost every public library system in both Georgia and Florida. How good is that?  The digital book is $2.99.Click Here.

I’ve been collecting useful golf instructional books for my students. I keep them in my truck. If you are interested in any of the following titles come by the range and purchase any  for $2.00. All books are used and in good to excellent condition. Some appear to have never been read.  Here’s the list: Golf Begins at 50 by: Gary Player, Augusta National & The Masters: A Photographers Scrapbook, David Ledbetter’s Positive Practice, Dave Peltz Short Game Bible, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by: Bob Rotella, Little Red Book by: Harvey Penick, From the Fairway by: Michael Hobbs, Trouble Shooting by: Michael Hobbs, For All Who Love the Game by: Harvey Penick, And if You Play Golf You’re My Friend by: Harvey Penick, Are you Kidding Me? Rocco Mediate.

 

 

 

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Lag Putting…Putting From Long Distance…Hula Hoop…Barney Beard Golf

 

Be a Hula-Hoop putter from longer distances.

When you’re on the green and more than 20 feet from the hole, learn to stop the ball close beside the hole by being a hula hoop putter. It’s a wonderful thing to walk up and confidently tap your second putt into the hole with one hand on your putter, a wonderful thing indeed.

Professionals know if they are more than 20 feet from the cup they’re probably not going to make the putt. Professionals make about 14% of their putts from 20 feet and only 7% of their putts at 30 feet.

If you’re 20 feet and closer to the hole, try to stop the ball within six inches of the hole on either side. Since the hole is 4 1/4 inches in diameter, that makes a circle around the hole of 16 inches, doesn’t it? That’s a circle about the size of the steering wheel on your car. That’s a pretty big circle. If your first putt is inside the steering wheel circle you’re going to have a very short second putt, aren’t you?

When you get beyond 20 feet from the hole, give yourself a slightly larger margin of error. You should make your circle bigger than the steering wheel on your car. When you’re 20, 30 or 40 feet from the hole and beyond, be a hula-hoop putter.

At those longer distances, pretend there’s a hula hoop lying on the ground around the hole. Get your putt to stop inside the hula hoop. If you’re inside the hula hoop you’ll have a short, makeable second putt.

Remember, when you’re putting from longer distances you’re not going to make many putts. Your goal is lag the ball up close to the hole so you rarely 3-putt. It’s hard to break 100 if you’re taking 3-putts every time you’re a long distance from the cup.

Like everything else in golf, you’ll need to practice to improve your lag putting.  The more time you spend working on your short game on the practice green, the more quickly you’ll develop a feel for lag putting, and the easier it will be for you to break 100.

Here’s my advice.

  1. Each time you play go a few minutes early and practice lag putting.
  2. Take four balls to the practice green.
  3. Hit all four balls to the same distant target.
  4. Practice different distances.
  5. Learn to stop the ball inside the ‘hula hoop’.

I enjoy making a game out of my practice. I like to putt to a distant hole and then see how many of the four balls I can make on the second putt. If I make all four, I do a little hula dance and pretend I’m ready to play in the Masters.

Play Often, Have Fun, Respect the Game,

Barney Beard

ps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: How Not to be Embarrassed on the First Tee. My Momma would be proud of me. My book, Golf for Beginners won two awards, the silver from FAPA  and the Elit bronze.

pps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: Left Hand Version.

ppps. I also have a blog about stories and letters for my grandchildren. Click Here.

Copyright 2020 Barney Beard Golf. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

My historical novel about the Cherokee deportation, A White Killing Frost, is on the shelf ready for you to check out in the Lady Lake Library and the Sumter County Library in Wildwood. It’s also available in almost every public library system in both Georgia and Florida. How good is that?  The digital book is $2.99.Click Here.

I’ve been collecting useful golf instructional books for my students. I keep them in my truck. If you are interested in any of the following titles come by the range and purchase any  for $2.00. All books are used and in good to excellent condition. Some appear to have never been read.  Here’s the list: Golf Begins at 50 by: Gary Player, Augusta National & The Masters: A Photographers Scrapbook, David Ledbetter’s Positive Practice, Dave Peltz Short Game Bible, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by: Bob Rotella, Little Red Book by: Harvey Penick, From the Fairway by: Michael Hobbs, Trouble Shooting by: Michael Hobbs, For All Who Love the Game by: Harvey Penick, And if You Play Golf You’re My Friend by: Harvey Penick, Are you Kidding Me? Rocco Mediate.

 

 

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The Short Game…Mid Range Putts…20 feet and Closer…Barney Beard Golf

Tips for mid-range putting-20 feet and less.

Ok, you know how to make the short putts.  We expect to make a lot of the short putts but what should our expectations be for putts a little longer, say from 5 to 20 feet? What should we be thinking if we want to break 100?

Once you’re a little bit farther from the hole and the putts aren’t so easy, your single thought should be to stop the ball within six inches of the hole in case the ball doesn’t drop into the cup. If you’re twenty feet away and you stop the ball six inches from the hole you’ll avoid the dreaded 3-putt. It’s hard to break 100 if you’re 3-putting frequently.

Facts:

  1. At 7 feet from the hole professional golfers make 50% of their putts.
  2. From 20 feet they make 14%.
  3. From 30 feet the professionals make only 7% of their putts.
  4. You’re not going to do better than that, are you?

If you want to break 100, the most important thing from mid-range distances is to make certain you stop the ball close to the hole to assure yourself a 2 putt. Stopping the ball close to the hole with your putter is your goal. In order to stop the ball within six inches of the hole you’ll have to learn speed control, won’t you? You can’t have the ball running 5 feet past the hole every time you have a longer putt. You must control your speed on longer putts or you’ll have a hard time breaking 100.

Here’s a simple and easy way to practice. Each time you play arrive a few minutes early. Go to the practice green and for five minutes practice mid-range putts. Practice stopping the ball close to the hole.

Here’s the drill:

  1. Take four balls to the practice green.
  2. Lay the balls on the green 5 feet from the hole.
  3. Putt all four balls.
  4. Try to make the putts.
  5. If your ball goes into the hole, great.
  6. If you miss the hole, make certain the ball stops within 6 inches of the hole, maybe six inches past or six inches short or six inches to the left or six inches to the right. Got it?
  7. Learn to control your speed so you stop the ball 6 inches from the hole.
  8. Your goal is to take no more than 2 putts on any green when you play.

Your goal on a longer putt is to leave it so close to the cup that you can walk up and tap it in with one hand. Great!

You can do this with a little practice, can’t you? Of course you can break 100 regularly, of course you can.

Play Often, Have Fun, Respect the Game,

Barney Beard

ps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: How Not to be Embarrassed on the First Tee. My Momma would be proud of me. My book, Golf for Beginners won two awards, the silver from FAPA  and the Elit bronze.

pps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: Left Hand Version.

ppps. I also have a blog about stories and letters for my grandchildren. Click Here.

Copyright 2020 Barney Beard Golf. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

Well, I’ve finally done it. My historical novel about the Cherokee deportation, A White Killing Frost, is on the shelf ready for you to check out in the Lady Lake Library and the Sumter County Library in Wildwood. It’s also available in almost every public library system in both Georgia and Florida. How good is that? Also, you can buy it directly from me off my tailgate for a discount price and you won’t have to pay shipping. I suppose I am a late bloomer, as my mom suggested long ago. How good is that? The book is also available on Amazon both digitally and hard copy. The digital book is only $2.99.Click Here.

I’ve been collecting useful golf instructional books for my students or anyone. I keep them in my truck. If you are interested in any of the following titles come by the range and purchase any  for $2.00. All books are used and in good to excellent condition. Some appear to have never been read.  Here’s the list: Golf Begins at 50 by: Gary Player, Augusta National & The Masters: A Photographers Scrapbook, David Ledbetter’s Positive Practice, Dave Peltz Short Game Bible, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by: Bob Rotella, Little Red Book by: Harvey Penick, From the Fairway by: Michael Hobbs, Trouble Shooting by: Michael Hobbs, For All Who Love the Game by: Harvey Penick, And if You Play Golf You’re My Friend by: Harvey Penick, Are you Kidding Me? Rocco Mediate.

 

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Short Putts…Barney Beard Golf

Before each round of golf, spend at least five minutes practicing short putts, really short putts.

Being able to make short putts is the single most important part of the golfer’s game. On the scorecard, a two foot putt counts the same as a two hundred yard drive.

Here’s a review of the set up for short putts:

  1. The shorter the putter, the better. Grip the bottom of the handle with your bottom fingers on the shaft of your putter.
  2. You want a stable-table. Your lower body must be firmly attached to the ground. To achieve this, put 95% of your weight on your heels. This will anchor your lower body to the ground.
  3. There is no weight shift in putting.
  4. Bend your knees.
  5. Stand close to ball, the closer the better.
  6. Try to have your EYES directly above the ball.
  7. Maintain a steady head. During the putting stroke the head should not move left or right or up and down.
  8. The wrists should hardly move during the stroke. Don’t flip at the ball by using your wrists.
  9. The stroke should be made by gently rocking the shoulders. (left hand low helps to limit wrist movement)
  10. The backswing should be short, as short as you can make it without stabbing at the ball.

Here’s the drill to help you learn to make more short putts:

  1. Take four balls and your putter to the practice green.
  2. Find a hole that is flat with no break.
  3. Place a ball no more than 10 inches from the hole.
  4. Leave the little flagstick in.
  5. Hit the putt and try to make your golf ball hit the little flagstick dead center.
  6. When you can make eight putts in a row, hitting the flagstick dead center, then go to 11 inches from the cup and repeat. You get the point.

You may think this a silly little drill, but it teaches the golfer important things about short putts.

It will teach you to find/see the center of the hole from short distances and give you a great deal of confidence when you have a 2 or 3 foot putt during your round.

When you can make eight putts in a row from 18 inches you’ll be the best putter on your block.

Play Often, Have Fun, Respect the Game,

Barney Beard

ps. I’ve been collecting useful golf instructional books for my students or anyone. I keep them in my truck. If you are interested in any of the following titles come by the range and purchase any  for $2.00. All books are used and in good to excellent condition. Some appear to have never been read.  Here’s the list: Golf Begins at 50 by: Gary Player, Augusta National & The Masters: A Photographers Scrapbook, David Ledbetter’s Positive Practice, Dave Peltz Short Game Bible, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by: Bob Rotella, Little Red Book by: Harvey Penick, From the Fairway by: Michael Hobbs, Trouble Shooting by: Michael Hobbs, For All Who Love the Game by: Harvey Penick, And if You Play Golf You’re My Friend by: Harvey Penick, Are you Kidding Me? Rocco Mediate,

ps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: How Not to be Embarrassed on the First Tee. My Momma would be proud of me. My book, Golf for Beginners won two awards, the silver from FAPA  and the Elit bronze.

pps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: Left Hand Version.

ppps. I also have a blog about stories and letters for my grandchildren. Click Here.

Copyright 2020 Barney Beard Golf. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

Well, I’ve finally done it. My historical novel about the Cherokee deportation, A White Killing Frost, is on the shelf ready for you to check out in the Lady Lake Library and the Sumter County Library in Wildwood. It’s also available in almost every public library system in both Georgia and Florida. How good is that? Also, you can buy it directly from me off my tailgate for a discount price and you won’t have to pay shipping. I suppose I am a late bloomer, as my mom suggested long ago. How good is that? The book is also available on Amazon both digitally and hard copy. The digital book is only $2.99.Click Here.

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Putting: the Soul of Golf…Bobby Locke…Barney Beard Golf

 

Putting is the Soul of Golf

Putting can be divided into four different areas

Putts less than 4 feet.

Putts less than 20 feet.

Putts longer than 20 feet.

Putting from off the green.

 

Some golfers are born with an ability to putt. They’re able to make short putts, lag longer putts up beside the hole and almost always avoid the dreaded 3-putt. If you’re this kind of natural putter, stop reading. Whatever it is you have that enables you to send the ball where you want to with your putter, is wonderful. I don’t want to mess with your innate skill. I don’t want to upset your nicely arranged God-given apple cart.

However, if you’re not a natural putter, read on. If you’re the kind of person who likes to read and do a little research, do yourself a favor and learn a little bit about Bobby Locke and his approach to putting and you might also find my little offering here useful. I hope so.

  1. Learn to Read Greens. Sometimes the slope on a green is dramatic and easily seen. Other times the slope on a green is subtle and near impossible to detect. Therefore, learning to ‘read’ the green is critical if you want to be a good putter. Here’s an excellent way to learn to ‘read’ greens. Take four balls to the practice green. Slowly roll a ball underhanded with just enough force to make it travel twenty or thirty feet. Roll it much like you would roll a bowling ball. Watch the golf ball slowly roll across the green’s surface. Watch what happens to the golf ball as it rolls. Observe how it travels along the slopes and contours of the green. Roll a second ball slowly. Observe. Learn. Roll and observe a golf ball on the same path ten times. Learn. Do this manually first. Don’t use your putter. You don’t want to teach yourself the bad habit of jerking your head up the moment you strike the ball in order to observe the ball. After you have rolled about ten balls manually and learned, then try your putter. Observe. Feel. Learn.
  2. All Putts are Straight. The golfer can only start a putted ball in a straight line. Gravity, slope of the green, speed, momentum, grain of the grass and friction will determine the path the putt will travel and precisely where the putted ball will stop. A golfer learns from experience what will cause a ball to curve as it rolls on an unlevel surface. Experience will teach a golfer how hard to strike a ball to make it travel a given distance uphill or downhill.  In any case, once the golfer has determined what the putt will do once it is rolling towards its target, the golfer will decide precisely what line to start the putt. The golfer can only strike the ball on a single, straight, given line. It is critical the golfer sees in the mind the first twelve inches of the putt and imagines those first inches his putted ball will travel to be a straight line, a straight line, a straight line. You get the picture. If you strike the ball with your putter while imagining curved lines, you’re imagining something you can never accomplish. After you have ‘read’ the green, determine the initial line and as you are standing over the putt you’re imagining a straight line directly in front of your ball leading away from your ball. Once you’re ready to putt, never imagine a long curved line.
  3. Spot Putting. You know how to set up to putt. You know how to read the greens. All you have to do now is start the ball on the line that will take it to the hole. How do you do that? Be a spot putter. See a spot on the surface of the green about twelve inches in front of your ball. It is a spot directly on the line you want to start the putted ball. It is the spot you want the ball to roll directly over. No matter how long the putt, no matter how drastically the ball will curve later, you must see those first twelve inches of the ball’s path and imagine a perfectly straight putt coming off your putter. You must roll the ball over a near target, a spot, twelve inches or so in front of your ball. The spot you choose will be some imperfection in the surface of the green, a spike mark, a discoloration or such like. Remember: All putts begin as a straight line. That’s paramount.
  4. Hear the Ball Fall into the Cup. This is difficult for most people. We want to see. We want to follow the path of the ball to the cup with our eyes. We want to watch the ball fall. We want to see. The problem with watching our putt is we tend to look too quickly. We tend to move our bodies before the ball has left our putter face. Try this on the practice green: take four balls and find a flat putt of about 4 feet. Putt the four balls and listen. Don’t look up until you hear the ball fall into the hole or you’re sure the ball has stopped rolling. Do this and learn. I guarantee if you do this you’ll learn a great deal about striking a golf ball with a putter and you’ll improve your putting.

Play Often, Have Fun, Respect the Game,

Barney Beard

ps. I’ve been collecting useful golf instructional books for sale to my students or anyone. I keep them in my truck. If you are interested in any of the following titles come by the range and purchase any  for $2.00. All books are used and in good to excellent condition. Some appear to have never been read.  Here’s the list: Golf Begins at 50 by: Gary Player, Augusta National & The Masters: A Photographers Scrapbook, David Ledbetter’s Positive Practice, Dave Peltz Short Game Bible, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by: Bob Rotella, Little Red Book by: Harvey Penick, From the Fairway by: Michael Hobbs, Trouble Shooting by: Michael Hobbs, For All Who Love the Game by: Harvey Penick, And if You Play Golf You’re My Friend by: Harvey Penick, Are you Kidding Me? Rocco Mediate,

ps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: How Not to be Embarrassed on the First Tee. My Momma would be proud of me. My book, Golf for Beginners won two awards, the silver from FAPA  and the Elit bronze.

pps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: Left Hand Version.

ppps. I also have a blog about stories and letters for my grandchildren. Click Here.

Copyright 2020 Barney Beard Golf. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

Well, I’ve finally done it. My historical novel about the Cherokee deportation, A White Killing Frost, is on the shelf ready for you to check out in the Lady Lake Library and the Sumter County Library in Wildwood. It’s also available in almost every public library system in both Georgia and Florida. How good is that? Also, you can buy it directly from me off my tailgate for a discount price and you won’t have to pay shipping. I suppose I am a late bloomer, as my mom suggested long ago. How good is that? The book is also available on Amazon both digitally and hard copy. The digital book is only $2.99.Click Here.

 

 

 

  1. You want a stable-table. Your lower body must be firmly attached to the ground. To achieve this, put 95% of your weight on your heels. This will anchor your lower body to the ground
  2. Bend your knees.
  3. Stand close to ball…the closer the better.
  4. Try to have your EYE over the top of the ball.
  5. You want a steady head. During the putting stroke the head should not move left or right or up and down.
  6. The wrists should hardly move during the stroke.
  7. The stroke should be made by gently rocking the shoulders.
  8. The backswing should be short…as short as you can make it without stabbing at the ball.

 

 

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Common Short Game Shots…Barney Beard Golf

If you want to break 100 consistently you’ll do yourself a favor to understand and learn to execute the common shots in the short game. Know when to use each of the following shots and the basic technique for each.

You must get on the right bus to get to the right place.

The set-up is most important in each of these shots. Set yourself up correctly and your chances of accomplishing what you have in mind are increased. Set up improperly and you’ll be on the wrong bus, you’ll go to the wrong place and it will cost you when you get back to the clubhouse.

Here are the most common shots in the short game:

  1. Putts less than 4 feet—short putts.
  2. Putts 20 feet or less—mid range putts.
  3. Putts 20 feet and longer—lag putts.
  4. Putting from off the Green.
  5. Chipping.
  6. Pitching.
  7. Greenside Bunker Shots.

Here’s a brief description of each shot and the proper set-up for each. If you have any questions, please send an email to: barneybeardgolf@yahoo.com. Ask me anything.

Note: With all ‘partial shots’ of the short game, the length of backswing controls distance. A short shot requires a short backswing. The shorter the shot, the shorter the backswing. The longer the shot, the longer the backswing. You’ll have to do a bit of practicing to learn to control your backswing to get the desired distance.

Rule of thumb: Use the shortest backswing possible for the distance required. The head of the golf club must always be on the increase of speed as it approaches the golf ball. I can’t emphasize this enough. If your backswing is too long, it will cause you to allow the clubhead to slow as it approaches the ball.

  1. Putts less than 4 feet–short putts. This is the most common shot in golf. Every golfer who has ever played the game has to face this shot on almost every hole. Even the best don’t make many putts over 4 feet. Here’s how to practice: Go to the practice green. Find a hole on a flat spot. Put a ball 10 inches from the cup. Strike the putt and hit the little standard in the cup dead center with your golf ball. When you can do that 10 times in a row at 10 inches, go to 11 inches from the cup and do it 10 times in a row. You get the picture. Set-up for short putts: 99% of your weight on your heels. No lateral head movement. Grip down the putter handle. The shorter the putter, the better. No wrist movement. Your arms and the club swing smoothly as if they were a pendulum hinged on your shoulders. If you’re not a good putter, try left hand low. Use the shortest backswing possible and still get the ball to the hole.
  2. Putts 20 feet or less-mid range putts. Not even professionals make many of these. You won’t either. Your task is to make sure your ball stops so close you can tap it in with one hand. Here’s how to practice: Go to the practice range and find a flat putt of about 20 feet. Putt four balls to the cup. Stop all four balls within 6 inches of the hole. Your task is to make sure the ball stops within 6 inches of the cup. Set-up for 20 foot putts: Same set up as for the short putts. Use the shortest backswing possible.
  3. Putts 20 feet and longer-lag putts. Set up for lag putting: Same as shorter putts. However, as the putts get longer more wrist action will be necessary. This will come naturally with practice. Here’s how to practice: Go to the practice green. Take 4 balls. Practice long putts. Your task is to learn to ‘read’ the green. You’ll have to learn what gravity will do to the ball as it travels over ‘potato chip’ greens. Learn to study a long putt and determine what the starting line of the putt will be and how hard to strike the ball in order to stop the golf ball close to the hole. In lag putting you want to become a hula-hoop putter, that is, learn to stop the ball within a hula-hoop’s distance from the hole.
  4. Putting from off the green. If ground conditions permit, putt when you’re not on the green. How far away should you putt when you’re not on the green? As far away as the ground conditions will allow. Thirty yards wouldn’t be too far if the ground is smooth and the ball’s roll is predictable. Learning to putt from off the green is one of the most important skills you can ever develop in golf. Learning to putt from off the green will teach you when to chip and when to pitch. Set up for putting from off the green: Your stance and grip will be much like the stance and grip for any iron shot. When putting from off the green you’ll play the ball closer to your left foot than your right. You want to catch the ball ever so slightly on the upswing to get it running on top of the grass. Here’s how to practice: Go to different practice greens and learn when ground conditions permit putting from off the green and when unpredictable ground conditions prevent putting from off the green. Learn this by practice.
  5. Chipping. You’ll chip when you can’t putt from off the green. Chipping is a low-trajectory shot that barely gets up into the air. It spends very little time in the air. A chip will roll a much longer distance than it flies. When the golfer is off the green and unpredictable ground conditions prevent putting, the golfer will chip. Set up for chipping: You’ll chip with a mid lofted iron, like a 7 iron.  Grip down the 7 iron to the shaft to make it shorter and have more control, play it off the right big toe, weight on the left foot, no weight shift to the right foot, stand close to the ball. You’ll strike the ball with almost the exact same force as if you were going to putt the ball the same distance. The bottom of the 7 iron will bump the ground directly under the ball. The ball will fly over the unpredictable ground conditions knee high or lower and roll to the flag as if it were a putt. A chip will travel a short distance in the air and a long distance on the ground as it rolls to the cup.
  6. Pitching. Putt from off the green whenever you can. Chip when you can’t putt. Pitch when you can’t chip. Pitching is the most difficult of all short game shots. Pitching is a high trajectory shot with a high lofted wedge that rolls very little when it hits the ground. You’ll use this shot when you have to go over a sand trap or other such intervening problem and stop the ball quickly by the hole. If you’re off the green, your first choice will be putting. If unpredictable ground conditions prevent putting, you’ll chip. If there is an intervening hazard between you and area around the flagstick which prevents chipping, you’ll have to pitch. A pitch shot goes high and stops quickly. Pitching is the last choice in the short game arsenal. When you pitch, the best club to use is a 56° sand wedge or a 60° lob wedge. Never use a pitching wedge to pitch. The modern pitching wedge has about 45° loft. ‘Pitching Wedge’ is the old name for the highest lofted club in the golfer’s bag before the invention of the sand wedge in 1932. Set up for pitching: When you pitch, you’ll play the ball in the middle to middle back of your stance, closer to your right foot than your left. You’ll use a regular swing with quiet feet. Like all shots, you must have a stable table. Important: The bottom of the wedge must disturb the soil at the moment of impact or it won’t work.
  7. Greenside Bunkers. The technique for getting out of sand traps is simple. Imagine the golf ball lying on a dollar bill. Imagine the golf ball sitting on George’s face. Let your sand wedge remove a layer of sand that would be covered by the dollar bill. The metal of the golf club will not contact the ball. The ball will be thrown out of the sand trap on a layer of sand on the clubface of the sand wedge. Set up for greenside bunker shots:  Once you’re ready to take your stance, make certain you have good footing. Screw your shoes into the sand. Play the ball more forward than normal because you’ll strike the sand a couple of inches behind the ball. Open the clubface dramatically. This makes the bottom of the clubhead behave like a sled. The bottom of the clubhead will hit the sand, take a layer of sand but it won’t dig and take too much sand. You’ll have to swing hard enough to get the sand and the ball and get the ball to go far enough. This shot is often called an ‘explosion shot’ because of the explosion of sand that comes when the golfer swings hard and takes the ‘dollar bill’ of sand from under the ball.

The above information is brief. It should get you on the right bus and if you work at it you’ll get to the right place.

Play Often, Have Fun, Respect the Game

Barney Beard

ps. I’ve been collecting useful golf instructional books for sale to my students or anyone. I keep them in my truck. If you are interested in any of the following titles come by the range and purchase any  for $2.00. All books are used and in good to excellent condition. Some appear to have never been read.  Here’s the list: Golf Begins at 50 by: Gary Player, Augusta National & The Masters: A Photographers Scrapbook, David Ledbetter’s Positive Practice, Dave Peltz Short Game Bible, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by: Bob Rotella, Little Red Book by: Harvey Penick, From the Fairway by: Michael Hobbs, Trouble Shooting by: Michael Hobbs, For All Who Love the Game by: Harvey Penick, And if You Play Golf You’re My Friend by: Harvey Penick, Are you Kidding Me? Rocco Mediate,

ps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: How Not to be Embarrassed on the First Tee. My Momma would be proud of me. My book, Golf for Beginners won two awards, the silver from FAPA  and the Elit bronze.

pps. Click Here to order my book: Golf for Beginners: Left Hand Version.

ppps. I also have a blog about stories and letters for my grandchildren. Click Here.

Copyright 2019 Barney Beard Golf. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

Well, I’ve finally done it. My historical novel about the Cherokee deportation, A White Killing Frost, is on the shelf ready for you to check out in the Lady Lake Library and the Sumter County Library in Wildwood. It’s also available in almost every public library system in both Georgia and Florida. How good is that? Also, you can buy it directly from me off my tailgate for a discount price and you won’t have to pay shipping. I suppose I am a late bloomer, as my mom suggested long ago. How good is that? The book is also available on Amazon both digitally and hard copy. The digital book is only $2.99.Click Here.

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