Archive for the ‘Golf Instruction’ Category

Have a Problem? Ask the Top 100 Teachers!

January 26, 2010

Golf Magazine’s list of Top 100 Teachers holds a special place in the hearts of the Pine Needles and Mid Pines family, as our fearless leader Mrs. Peggy Kirk Bell holds an “emeritus” status on that list.

For many many  years, her name has graced that list for her outstanding performance and creativity in teaching the game of golf and she’s accompanied by the most elite teachers all over the country.  She’s one of six teachers who have been on that list since its creation in 1991, and on top of that the only woman!

Well the the Top 100 Teachers list has grown to be more than just a list since 1991.  Now the Golf Magazine website hosts a whole section about its Top 100 teachers with everything from a directory of all the teachers, to articles on instruction about certain aspects of the game, to what we find most interesting a blog to talk one on one to some of the top teachers themselves.

At the moment you can ask Top 100 teacher Brady Riggs of Woodley Lakes Golf Club in California, any question you may have.  As you peruse the blog, you see golfers all over the country writing in their problems whether it be how to gain more power or how to become a better iron player.  And you will see that Brady answers every question in an easy to understand and very conversational way.

This is a fantastic resource for golfers of all levels to get their questions answered for FREE!  You can’t beat that, especially getting advice from the best teachers in the country.  Visit the website and take a look yourself.


A Pre-Shot POSITIVE PICTURE: The Best Club In Your Bag! by Pat McGowan

January 6, 2010

There’s no question that practice is paramount to improving your golf game.  Consistent lower scores aren’t an accident.  It takes a committed and repetitive effort to become better in all aspects of the game.

This is universally understood….a “given” so to speak.  I would like to add something you may not have thought of, or, you don’t think is as important as physical practice.

The mental picture we have as we address each shot has more to do with the outcome than anything we do physically.  This is a strong statement so let’s take a minute to analyze.  Every golf shot results in one of two outcomes…you were pleased with the shot or you weren’t. Pretty simple…agreed?

A positive mental picture of a quality shot will allow our already honed skills to take over.  We “get out of our own way” when we picture or “see” a positive result…before we even hit the shot.  This good feeling (picture) relaxes us and lets our swing perform with no restrictions.

Conversely, what happens when you tell yourself, “stay away from that bunker, or, don’t hit it in that water.”  ? Your mind immediately focuses on this negative, you become tense, afraid, and restricted in your swing. It’s a terrible feeling to have this negative picture and we know what to expect when we play in this mindset.   Yuck!

Here’s your challenge…play 9 holes and picture the exact shot you want to hit each and every time.  It won’t be easy and it takes a lot of concentration.  Cast off the usual negative vibes that pop up.  Now, when you can consistently make it 9 holes with those positive pictures, you can start the process for the entire round.

There are two real truisms in golf…if you picture a negative outcome you will most surely “achieve” this result.  But, if you picture a good, positive outcome, chances are you’ll achieve this also….not every time; but, you’ve now given yourself the very best opportunity to hit a great shot.

Try this…you haven’t had to work on your swing, it costs nothing, and you will instantly become a better player.

Enjoy this great game,

Pat McGowan

Michelle Leads Team to Solheim Victory

August 27, 2009

Remember when a young phenom named Michelle Wie barely missed the cut (1 shot) in the men’s Hawaiian Open?  Well, she’s back and playing better than that highly talented and fearless 14-year old from Hawaii.

Michelle was picked as a Captain’s Choice for this year’s Solheim Cup.  Not exactly a risky pick, however, with Michelle’s history of injuries and questionable attitude, Captain Beth Daniel was under a microscope.  The doubters quickly left the playing field.

 What Michelle did last weekend was brilliant!  She lead the team with a 3-0-1 record (31/2 pts. out of 4) and her prodigious drives and stellar putting sent inspirational roars heard everywhere on the course.  That, with her huge smile and fist-pumping, set the stage for a great day of singles matches on Sunday.  USA won the last day singles by a score of 8-4, which gave them the Cup 16-12.

 The two most important elements to becoming a great player (whatever level), in my opinion, are: 1. You must be very positive on the golf course (great attitude) and, 2. You must be an excellent putter.

 Michelle recently went to see Dave Stockton for some help.  Dave happens to be known for being one of the all-time best putters in the history of the game.  (And teachers).  I’ve played several times with Dave…the reputation is well deserved.

 Overall, this weekend we saw a young lady who broke away from the scrutiny of her overly “hands on” parents, played, smiled, and genuinely enjoyed the wonderful competition.  She did herself and her Country proud.

 Watch out for the newest version of “Wie” golf in 2010 as she rips it off the tee, makes putts, and I’m sure will win ALOT.

 Oh, did I mention that she’s “finally matured” and ready to win.  After all, she is the ripe-old age of……yes,….19!

 Enjoy this great game, everyone.

 All the best,                      

 Pat McGowan

Pat McGowan’s Pre-Round Routine

July 24, 2009

Golfers often rush to the first tee and without a proper warm-up expect to play well.  It may happen occasionally, but most of the time you can expect a long day at the links.

If you want to perform well each time you play, you must take the time to warm-up.  I’m not talking about a long practice session.  So here’s a plan that will help you effectively prepare for your round when you only have 20-30 minutes before your tee time.

Get about 20 practice balls and head for the range.  Do a few long and slow stretches i.e. (club resting on neck and shoulders and do a full shoulder turn and hold).  Now, hit about a dozen wedge shots.  Some as short as 10 yards, all the way up to a full wedge.  All the while, swinging slowly (with good tempo) and taking a rhythmic practice swing between each shot.  Always have a target and use your pre-shot routine every time.  Now, hit a few mid-irons (6 or 7) and a couple of drives.  End this part of your warm-up by playing an imaginary 1st hole.  Select whatever club you’ll tee off with on your 1st hole, and then after playing this shot select the club you’ll play next and hit that “imaginary shot.”  This will help you with the transition from the driving range to the golf course.

Next, go to the putting green and (if possible) hit some chip shots.  Spend the last 5-10 minutes putting.  (After all, this is the most important club in your bag and it should get the bulk of your practice time.)  Practice your longer (lag putts) first and then end your session with several minutes on the short (2 to 4 foot) putts.  Make 3 short ones in a row before you’re done.  This way, you have a positive mind-set and you’re taking successful feed-back to the golf course.

Now as you head to the first tee you’re stretched-out, warmed-up, un-rushed and ready for an enjoyable round.

Follow this simple, yet effective routine and you’ll find yourself enjoying this great game more than you ever thought possible.

Make those putts!                  

All the best,                        

Pat McGowan

There’s more to a Golfari than just Golf…

May 25, 2009

While many joined their families at the beach or fired up the grill for the Memorial Day weekend, the staff at Pine Needles prepared for the fourth and final Ladies Golfari.  The last group of ladies arrived over the weekend with a golf bag on their back and a smile on their faces. 

Over the past four weeks, the Golfari ladies have experienced the very best golf instruction, but most importantly they’ve been able to let their hair down and relax.  While the women are on the golf course during the day improving their games, it’s the nightly festivities many look forward to.  Whether they are enjoying fine food, dancing with Pat McGowan to classic hits played by a favorite local band, the McKenzie Brothers, or chatting casually at dinner with Mrs. Bell, there is always something to do.  

So when this week comes to an end, the ladies will leave not only with new shots to practice and great tans but fantastic stories to tell their friends.  We have 28 members on the ShareGolfari site so far, and everyone is sharing pictures of their time here at Pine Needles.  Visit to see the fun and become a member!  

There’s no rest for the weary as the Pine Needles staff prepare for the Adult Golfari, June 14-19.  Check out our website for more information on all the Golfaris and the events happening around Pine Needles and Mid Pines.

Mrs. Bell and women at the Ladies Golfari

Great First Week of the May Ladies Golfari

May 11, 2009

The first week of the Ladies Golfari has come to an end, and the second session begins today.  The first session was full of fun and top notch instruction from our professionals.  Although it started out rainy, the week definitely ended on a high note with the sun shining and the course in perfect condition.   The ladies thoroughly enjoyed themselves, as almost half signed up for next year before heading home.

For those who attended the first session and want to stay in touch with new and old friends, sign up for ShareGolfari.  Click on the logo on the homepage of our website, and create your profile.  You can post pictures of your stay, connect with fellow golfers, and share your experience for everyone to enjoy.  Some pictures of the first week have already been posted, so go take a look!

We’re looking forward to a repeat performance as the staff at Pine Needles embarks on the second session.  Space is still available for the third and fourth week for ladies to sign up.

Golfari ladies enjoying the Pine Needles course

Golfari ladies enjoying the Pine Needles course

Ladies May Golfari Starting Soon!

April 27, 2009
Pine Needles May 2009 Ladies Only Golfari

     The Ladies Golfaris’ are as expected, for ladies only.  Playing golf at Pine Needles and Mid Pines isn’t a game – it’s an experience.  You are surrounded by 36 stunning holes that meander lazily through the towering longleaf pine trees of southeast North Carolina.  It’s golf the way golf was meant to be – traditional, beautifully designed courses to challenge your skill and take your breath away with their simple beauty.
     Although challenging, our courses are remarkably women-friendly.  Our world-respected, ladies-only sessions promise a very personalized approach to learning and improving your game.

     Designed by the legendary Donald Ross, both Pine Needles and Mid Pines were built with his hallmark passion for strategy rather than brute force. Pine Needles is ranked number one as “Favorite Places to play for women in America” – Golf For Women Magazine.
     Whether you are a beginner or an experienced golfer, we will work to dramatically improve all areas of your game. Each day is a mix of instruction both on the lesson tee and on the golf course, then sit back and relax in the company of friends, new and old.

Click Here to request more information about our Golfaris or call us today at (800) 290-2334.
Dates and Rates:

May ’09 Ladies-Only Golfari
Monday, May 4 – Friday, May 8
Monday, May 11 – Friday, May 15
Monday, May 18 – Friday, May 22
Saturday, May 23 – Wednesday, May 27
Monday, June 1 – Friday, June 5
$2545 Standard / $2645 Deluxe / $2745 Master / $2845 Premier

Early Arrival and Late Departures:
$210 Standard / $220 Deluxe / $230 Master / $240 Premier Rooms 
Ladies Golfari Daily Schedule
7:00-9:00 AM Breakfast Buffet (Dress is Casual)
7:00-8:00 AM Optional Stretching Classes
9:00-9:30 AM Presentation of Day’s Instruction by Peggy Kirk Bell
9:30-12:15 AM Individual Instruction According to Skill Level
12:15-1:30 PM Luncheon Buffet (Dress is Casual)
2:00 PM Afternoon Golf (Participants will alternate golf instruction daily. Example: Monday AM, Tuesday PM; or Monday PM, Tuesday AM, etc.)
7:00-8:15 PM Dinner (Dress is Casual)
8:15-9:15 PM Evening Activities

Note: Upon arrival, you will receive a daily agenda. In the event of inclement weather, Pine Needles’ state of the art inside facilities provide for continued instruction.

Click Here to request more information about our Golfaris or call us today at (800) 290-2334.