Tag Archives: Lake of Isles

From the Publisher: Looking Forward to a Fine 2013!

Delaney Gagnon, left, of Ledyard is The Resident contest winner for the sold-out One Direction concert at Mohegan Sun on December 1. “The whole stadium roared with cheers!” she reports on page 8. Here, Delaney is greeted by Alexis Ann and “Santa” Tom Cantone, Vice-President for Sports and Entertainment at Mohegan Sun.

Delaney Gagnon, left, of Ledyard is The Resident contest winner for the sold-out One Direction concert at Mohegan Sun on December 1. “The whole stadium roared with cheers!” she reports on page 8. Here, Delaney is greeted by Alexis Ann and “Santa” Tom Cantone, Vice-President for Sports and Entertainment at Mohegan Sun.

As you take a look through this Year in Review, you’ll see many folks being honored and many businesses that are celebrating milestones and expansions. You’ll also take note of people and institutions that have “given back” to our communities: they enjoy serving us, and we’re proud of their accomplishments. They extend themselves well beyond the products or services they offer.

The Resident itself entered its 23rd year of publication this past October.  We enjoy sharing your good news! We especially take special pride in saluting the achievements of our military!

Certainly the majesty and drama of OpSail and the celebratory glamor of the centennial of Lawrence+Memorial Hospital touched many of us; and our two grand casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino, remain generous in their gracious hosting for a myriad of community gatherings, from the fun and fanciful to the august and commemorative. The two Tribes, around since the beginning—indeed, before the beginning–are welcome parts of our lives and our economy. Likewise, other major hospitality centers like the Mystic Marriott, Stonington Meadows, the Norwich Inn, Groton Inn and Suites, Norwich Holiday Inn, and Lake of Isles offer venues for events of regional significance and, yes, a chance to dress your best, flash a bit of your sweetest bling, and step out with others who care about you and our region.

Our regional financial institutions provide foundations for our homes and employment, so it’s a continuing pleasure to see them—and their people—prosper. The outreach of these companies—among them Dime Bank, Charter Oak, CorePlus, Putnam Bank, Citizens Bank, Liberty, Eastern Federal, Chelsea Groton, Scient, People’s, Wells Fargo—keep us on a solid footing even as they express faith in our future. Our service Clubs—Lions, Rotary, and the Chambers of Commerce—link civic pride to business throughout the year.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Alexis Anneditor & publisher

Alexis Ann
editor & publisher

Effective Practice – Full Swing Part I

by Derek Hooper

If you want to get better at this game, there is only one way to accomplish that – practice. I don’t just mean going to a driving range and hitting a large bucket of balls with your driver with no target and no goals for that session. That is exercise not practice. If you want to get better you need to do regular, effective practice.

Effective practice is any practice session where before you begin you clearly define what you will do in that session, how you will do it and you will have a measure to know if you achieved your goal. Only once you start doing this type of practice regularly will you start to see real improvement in your golf game. So how do you devise such a practice session?

Your first step is to assess your current full swing game and decide what aspect of it, if improved, will give you the greatest gains in performance. Taking a golf lesson with your local PGA Professional is the quickest, easiest and most accurate assessment of your swing you can get, and will be time and money well spent. They will break down your swing with you and explain where and why you are getting into trouble, before showing you practice drills to help you improve the areas of weakness. They will also tell you how to assess your ball flight so you will know if you are doing the drill correctly and thus improving.

Armed with these practice drills, you can now design your effective practice session by answering the questions and guidelines below:

1. How much total time to I have for my practice session?

2. Set up an effective practice station on a quiet section of the range, with clubs on the ground for alignment and ball position.

3. There should be at least two practice swings for every ball hit.

4. Golf is a target game, so always practice to a target.

5. Give every shot and practice swing your fullest attention – quality is more important than quantity.

6. Examine your ball flight after every shot and ask yourself if during the swing you achieved the swing change you are trying to make.

7. Based on the last swing and ball flight decide your focus for the next set of practice swing and shot. Be sure to stay focused on the goals and drills for that particular practice session. Do not allow yourself to drift into reactionary practice where all you are doing is making corrections based on the previous shot.

Follow this effective practice outline every time you work on your full swing and coupled with regular feedback from your PGA Professional, your improvement is all but guaranteed.

Derek Hooper is the Director of Instruction at Lake of Isles Golf Academy. Derek has a college degree in teaching and over 14 years experience conducting lesson programs in Australia, Japan and Taiwan. Before moving to the United States, Derek was the Director of Instruction at the David Duval Golf Academy in Miyazaki, Japan. Derek can be contacted at 888.475.3746 or dhooper@troongolf.com.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

by Derek Hooper

I never met a golfer who doesn’t want to play better. But I met many golfers who don’t know what they need to do to play better. If you want to get anywhere in life, whether it be to drive from your home to New York City or take your lowest score from 94 to 89, you will need a plan. As the new golf season dawns, there is no better time to devise your golf plan to guide you to lower scores this golfing season.

Your first step is to take stock of your golf game. What would you like to achieve with your golf this season? Would you like to consistently break 100, 90, 80 or par? What areas of your game would need to improve for you to achieve this goal? What were the strengths and weaknesses of your game last season? Do you need to be more accurate or hit the ball longer? Is the problem technical or do you not have the strength and flexibility to achieve your ball striking goals?

Once you answer these questions, your next step is to design your plan or roadmap as to how you will achieve these goals. Your plan should include how often you will work on your game, and specifically how much time you will spend on each area from putting through to driving and playing on the course. The time you have to commit to your improvement must be balanced so as not to neglect any area but still allow maximum focus on the areas that need the most attention. You will also need to decide what you will do within the time you have committed. Simply standing on a driving range and pounding balls will not guarantee improvement. Your practice needs to be structured and disciplined with drills and time set aside to check your progress.

All of these things you can do on your own, but the process will be a lot more fun and your progress more efficient if you find someone to help you work through your improvement program. The best person to do this with is your local PGA Professional. Find someone who is willing to take the time to work through the above process with you, where both of you have input into the design of the program. Meeting with your Professional regularly will also help to speed up your improvement, as they will not let you wander far from the plan you have in place. You can take a lesson as often or as little as you like, but getting some professional help will be worth it in the long term.

So don’t let this season end the same as the last with another mediocre season of golf shots with occasional flashes of brilliance. Make the commitment to playing the best golf of your life this season and find out how good you really can play.

Derek Hooper is the Director of Instruction at Lake of Isles Golf Academy. Derek has a college degree in teaching and over 14 years experience conducting lesson programs in Australia, Japan and Taiwan. Before moving to the United States, Derek was the Director of Instruction at the David Duval Golf Academy in Miyazaki, Japan. Derek can be contacted at 888.475.3746 or  dhooper@troongolf.com.

Impact

by Derek Hooper

Every move we make in the golf swing is about setting ourselves up for one single instant in time – impact. It is at this point when the club comes into contact with the ball and the resultant ball flight is determined. The only things the ball will react to is what is happening with the club at the moment of impact – the angle of the clubface in relation to the target line, the path the club makes into the ball, where the ball is struck on the clubface, the speed of the club and the angle of attack.

All great players have very similar impact conditions. They have more weight on the lead leg, the hips are turned slightly open to the target line and the shaft is leaning slightly towards target. Each of these moves combine to ensure a ball first contact and thus better control over the ball flight.

Too many players strike the ground before the ball, trapping grass and dirt between the clubface and ball that compromises both distance and directional control. The first step in attaining a good impact position is to understand exactly what it is.

Impact Rehearsal Drill:

Take your normal address position with a 7 iron and place the club head against something solid. This could be the edge of a piece of furniture or a door jam. Then try to push the club head into the resistance. You will be able to generate the most force if you rotate your hips towards target, move some weight to the lead leg and the arms are ahead of the club head thus creating some shaft lean.

The objective is not to try and create maximum force but rather to notice how the body positions change when the objective is to apply some force. The position described above, the one your body instinctually moves to, is what we are looking for at the moment of impact.
Tee Drill:

Once you have an understanding of what impact should feel like the next goal is to put that feeling into a swing motion. A drill that works very well for this purpose is the tee drill.

Lay a tee on the ground three inches behind the club head in your normal address position. The objective is to take short swings missing the tee but get the club to hit the ground on the target side of the tee. The only way you can do this is to reproduce the impact position you learned in the rehearsal drill. Once you can do this drill consistently without a ball, add a ball and while taking short swings try to hit the ball then the ground while missing the tee.

This drill encourages a downward swing path, good shaft lean, lower body rotation and weight moving to the lead side, all the characteristics of a good impact position.

Derek Hooper is the Director of Instruction at Lake of Isles Golf Academy. Derek has a college degree in teaching and over 14 years experience conducting lesson programs in Australia, Japan and Taiwan. Before moving to the United States, Derek was the Director of Instruction at the David Duval Golf Academy in Miyazaki, Japan. Derek can be contacted at 888.475.3746 or dhooper@troongolf.com.

Lake of Isles Hosts 12th Annual Native American Classic

story & photo
by Jessica Warzeniak

Celebrities, entertainers and professional athletes played in the 12th annual Native American Classic, June 8-9, at the Lake of Isles golf resort in North Stonington. The two-day event, hosted by professional golfer Jim Thorpe, is a fundraiser to supplement the financial resources for educational and athletic programs. The money raised is distributed to Catching the Dream, the Bill Dickey Scholarship Association and various youth organizations throughout SECT.

“Sincerely, it’s an honor,” said Richard E. Sebastian, Councilor, MPTN, when asked how he liked playing golf with the legendary Jim Thorpe, host and champion PGA Tour. “In all the tournaments I have played in, this is the first one I ever played with him. I had him for 18 holes. It’s impressive, even at his age, what he is capable of. The last three to four holes, we were getting tired, but this guy is getting stronger.”

“You do the best you can and there’s nothing else you can do,” said Jim. Apparently, Jim’s best is good enough, as he helped his team to victory on the South Course. “It is my pleasure to give back.”

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In-Swing Fundamentals – The Backswing I

by Derek Hooper

The backswing in golf is a series of movements that places the body into an athletically loaded position from which there can be a free release of power through impact. A well-coordinated backswing is the combination or blending of three simple body movements.

Backswing movement 1 – Wrist cock:

The club is raised in the backswing due to the cocking of the wrists. To feel this motion take your normal address position and bend the wrists so that the club is lifted up in front of you.

Backswing movement 2 – Arm lift:

The club is raised up over shoulder height due to the lifting of the arms. It is important that the arm lift stays in front of the body and is not accompanied by a raising of the body or loss of posture.

Backswing movement 3 – Body rotation:

The club head moves away from the ball due to the upper body rotating away from target and loading into the rear leg. There will be a point in the backswing where you will not be able to turn the upper body any further without the lower body rotating. This is the point at which the lower body should start to turn, not before.

The challenge that most golfers face is in blending these three actions together in the correct amounts. A common mistake that players will make is to take the club away from the ball through wrist and forearm rolling. This takes the club too far behind the body and forces a correction in the downswing to get the club back to the ball – the common over the top move which starts the ball left of target.

So how can you learn a good back swing and thus make hitting the ball more consistently a little easier.

Drill 1: Handshake drill

Take your normal set up position but without a club in hand. If you are right handed, place your right hand behind your back and keep the left hand in front of you. Now turn to the right like you would to shake hands with someone. You will notice how you turn the arm and upper body together and the arm stays in front of the upper body. This is how the arm and body should work in an athletic backswing.

Drill 2: Plane drill

Take your set up with a mirror to your right side and hold a 5 iron at the bottom of the grip. Place a second club on the ground to represent your target line. Now slowly make your takeaway, arms and upper body turning together as in Drill #1 and watch your movements in the mirror. Your goal is to ensure the club you are holding is either pointing at or parallel to the club on the ground at all times while the triangle formed between your arms and chest stays in front of you. When you can do this, you are swinging on plane with arms and body working together in a well-coordinated backswing.

Derek Hooper is the Director of Instruction at Lake of Isles Golf Academy. Derek has a college degree in teaching and over 13 years experience conducting lesson programs in Australia, Japan and Taiwan. Before moving to the United States Derek was the Director of Instruction at the David Duval Golf Academy in Miyazaki, Japan. Derek can be contacted at 888.475.3746 or dhooper@troongolf.com.

In-Swing Fundamentals – The Take Away

by Derek Hooper

The first 18 inches of your take away set you up for either a smooth, athletic swing or a swing which is a series of corrections and recoveries in an attempt to get the club back on the ball at impact. We all recognize that the club must move away from the ball to start the backswing and the easiest way to do this is with the hands and forearms. This is the easiest way but not the most efficient when your goal is high club head speed and center of club face contact.

The object of any take away is to get the club moving away wide and on plane. Width will help in the production of club head speed and thus distance. An on plane swing will help to produce consistency in the centeredness of strike. So how can you make a good take away and avoid the pitfalls that so many golfers fall into when starting their backswing?

Drill 1: Club in Stomach

In your golf address position take a 7-iron and place the butt end of the club into your stomach. Take your golf- grip on the club with your arms hanging as they would in your normal address position. This will mean your hands are placed on the shaft of the club. In this position the club will be pointing at the target line.
From this position take the triangle you have created between your arms and chest and turn that all together into your take away. The club should remain on your stomach and perpendicular to your chest. In doing this the club head will stay in front of you and outside your hand line. When doing this drill the club should not reach horizontal and the club should always stay in front of your chest.

This is a great drill in that it gives you the correct feeling of the upper body and club working away together into the take away.


Drill 2: Mirror Drill

Take your set up with a mirror to your non-target side – right side for right hand players. Place a second club on the ground to represent your target line. Now slowly make your takeaway with arms and upper body together while watching your movements in the mirror. Your goal is to ensure the club you are holding is always either pointing at or parallel to the club on the ground. Continue the backswing until the club reaches hip high or horizontal. At this point the club should be parallel to the target line.

You will notice in doing this drill that the wrists cock the club away and the club head stays outside the hand line. This is the correct move in the take away – the upper body rotation moves the club away from the ball and the wrists cock to gradually lift the club up into the backswing.

Once you get the correct take away feeling from these drills, then you are ready to take it to the range and start working on your take away while hitting some balls.

Derek Hooper is the Director of Instruction at Lake of Isles Golf Academy. Derek has a college degree in teaching and over 13 years experience conducting lesson programs in Australia, Japan and Taiwan. Before moving to the United States Derek was the Director of Instruction at the David Duval Golf Academy in Miyazaki, Japan. Derek can be contacted at 888.475.3746 or dhooper@troongolf.com