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Scratch That Itch: Gaylord Golf Mecca Prep Time

That golf itch is starting as the calendar turns to March. Here’s five things you can do at home to scratch the itch as we march toward spring and golfing in the beautiful Gaylord Golf Mecca.

Make plans to get the time slot for your Mecca visit. Check out gaylordgolfmecca.com to learn about our 17 golf courses and 21 lodging partners. Read reviews in other places online. We get a lot of great ones. Decide which Mecca courses you want to play. Decide what kind of accommodations you want and figure your price point. A wide variety is available. Consider it golf trip homework. You can book a trip now and adjust as your trip gets closer. Did you know it is easier than ever to get to the Mecca? Do you realize there are direct flights from places like Dallas to nearby Traverse City? Some of our Mecca members have golf school opportunities and all have various lesson plans for the whole family. Again, go to gaylordgolfmecca.com.

Prepare your body by swinging a golf club in the garage. Make sure the ceiling is high enough, take your stance, get your grip on a 5-iron and swing. Slowly, half swings at first, and work up to three-quarter swings and finally full swings. It would be smart to do a few stretching exercises before grabbing a club and taking some swings. Use the 5-iron because it is roughly in the middle length area of all your clubs, and easy does it. Build rhythm and build up the bigger muscles and muscle memory for when you get a chance to go to the range or golf course.

Chip in the yard or out of the garage off a mat. If you just have to get outside, take some shag balls and two or three wedges and practice chip shots. Try things like opening up the face of the club to hit short flop shots. Try hitting different trajectories. Try a descending blow for spin. Try chipping five yards, then 10 yards, then 20 yards to a target towel. Make a game of it. The more you become acquainted with the things you can do with wedges and the golf ball, the more confident you will be when you return to the course. Feel for the short game is the hardest thing to get back. Work on your feel.

Putt on some carpet. It’s not perfect, but it can help with fundamentals of grip, posture, balance and making pure contact with the middle of the putter face. Use a big plastic cup on its side as your target. Go to smaller cups the better you get at four feet, then six feet, then eight feet. Make 10 three-footers in a row and work back one foot at a time if you can. Line up your feet with other clubs to work on straight lines. Putt one ball at others lined up around you. If you can hit golf balls, you can hit cups.

Watch instruction videos. The amount of instruction videos online is amazing. Your favorite teacher might have one available or a great suggestion. Most are helpful if only to pick up on some drills you can try when you finally get outside. Look through several to find a teacher you feel makes sense in terms of what you deem your weaknesses in the game. Instruction videos can be very specialized, from exercises to swing plane science. Find something that works for you. Golf.com (hit instruction tab) has some great stuff, and you can always seek online videos by Rick Smith and Jason Guss, two top national teachers who first made their mark working at Treetops Resort in the Mecca.

By Greg Johnson

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