Author Colby Blanchard

Weekend Warmup

Weekend Warmup

The Weekend Warmup is a series of fun, ladies-only clinics held on Friday nights at Five Iron Golf’s Baltimore, Chicago, New York (Flatiron) and Philadelphia locations. Tickets include an hour and a half group lesson, two free drinks, and a bunch of new friends to play golf with or hit the town with!

Grueter Golf x Five Iron

Grueter Golf (GG) is on a mission to encourage more women to enter the golf world by creating lighthearted golf content and organizing beginner-friendly outings & female-driven, golf-centric social events for golfers of all skill levels. Whether the event is ladies-only or coed, the vibe is friendly and encourages all attendees to appreciate the game in a fun, non-competitive setting. 

Five Iron Golf is GG’s “home club,” where we take lessons, throw parties, and meet up with friends for a round of golf (or a round of drinks) any time of year. Being a golf nut in the middle of Manhattan is hard– the winters are long and cold, and it’s often tough to make it out to an outdoor golf course. Five Iron’s casual setting and convenient locations make it the ideal setting for beginner golfers and pros alike. 

 

The Grueter Golf Ladies Club

We want our girls to be golfing 24/7, so members of the Grueter Golf Ladies Club receive exclusive discounts at Five Iron Golf. Perks include 20% discount on all sim rentals, beverages and lessons as well as the opportunity to play on Grueter Golf’s league team every season. 

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Sip & Swing

Five Iron’s Women’s Golf Clinic

Whether you’ve never picked up a golf club or you’re an avid player, join us to work on your game while enjoying an open bar, food and giveaways! We’ll warm up with some beverages and instruction from PGA professionals who are ready to help you learn and improve your game.

Don’t have golf clubs? No problem. We have complimentary sets at each of our locations for right-handed and left-handed players.

Upcoming Events: 

  • Sunday, April 5 – 5-7 pm 
  • Friday, June 12 – 6-8pm  
  • Thursday, August 20 – 6-8pm 
  • Sunday, October 18 – 5-7pm 
  • Sunday, December 6 – 5-7pm
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Ball Position

Matt Brady – Chicago

Ball position is considered a fundamental for many instructors, including myself. But, there are conflicting schools of thought. Let’s clear the air and see which one works for you and why. I was taught as a kid that wedges through 7 iron are played in the middle of your stance, 6 iron through 3 wood is played a ball or two more towards our left foot and the driver is played just inside your left foot or left knee. Other instructors emphasize more of a singular ball position in line with your left ear or the logo on a golf shirt. There are benefits to doing either method. The first method is the variable ball position. Benefits would, this can help ensure more of a downward strike into the ball in the middle of your stance using shorter irons which could help create better and cleaner contact. On the other hand a stable ball position means its a constant in your swing and requires less thinking with one less variable to be conscious of. This could help if you’re still in the learning phase. Now my favorite method or way of thinking was made famous by Jack Nicklaus and republished in Golf Digest in 2010. He thinks about keeping the ball position just left of center with the only adjustment being the width of his stance. It may look like he’s playing the ball in different spots but it’s only because his feet are closer together for short irons and progressively wider as the club he’s using gets longer. These are three very distinct methods of ball position, all have pros and cons. I would encourage any new player or even scratch golfers to play around with these and see what you have the most success with. After all, it’s your golf game, your swing, and your puzzle to put together.

You can book a lesson with Matt in Chicago by clicking here.

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Connection and Efficiency in the golf swing

Matt Brady – Chicago

Connection and Efficiency are hot button words when it comes to the golf swing. If you’ve ever taken a golf lesson or spent time browsing youtube videos, odds are you’ve heard one, if not both mentioned before. Lets define what these mean in very general terms then dive into how they apply to the golf swing.  

Connection is defined as a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else, easy to understand right? In the golf swing this is most often referenced in the relationship between the players arms and their body. Meaning that for most players we would like to see the arms establish and maintain connection throughout the swing from static setup positions to the backswing and through the contact point with the golf ball. There are minor exceptions to this rule, but not as much as you might think. The player that comes to mind is Justin Thomas, he has very high hands at the top of his swing and it looks like his arms come away from his body and they do just a bit. But, one of his first moves to the downswing is to reconnect his arms to his body and maintain that connection through the hitting zone. So, the question begs itself, how do you get better connection through the swing? There are lots of ways and things you can focus on, whether it be the right elbow tucked into your rib cage at address and keeping it close to your body back and through the swing, or feeling your left arm across your chest at the top of the swing. The answer is, whatever helps you get the repeatable ball flight that you want is the correct way to do it. 

The second part of this post is about efficiency, its defined as, achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or preventing the wasteful use of a particular resource. This points us back to the first part of the post. Connection and efficiency, for my money, are very similar when it comes to the swing itself,and you cannot have one without the other. Yes, they can be referring to different portions of the golf swing, but start with the connection piece mentioned above and I hope this helps clear up any fuzzy thoughts you had about these. Lets keep it simple and find more fairways.

You can book a lesson with Matt in Chicago by clicking here.

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Tuning Up Your Tempo

Dan McCracken – NYC

Tuning Up Your Tempo 

Everyone wants a good tempo to their golf swing, but what are you doing to improve yours?  When it comes to playing good golf consistently, I would make the case that your tempo/timing is as important as your swing mechanics, maybe more.  Proper swing mechanics allows a golfer to generate their desired ball flight. Once a golfer is capable of hitting a good shot, the focus then shifts to the ability to repeat that good shot.  When it comes to putting something on repeat, it’s all about timing. If a golfer can improve the consistency of their timing, they can improve the consistency of their ball flight.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “swing smooth” before.  I’m sure you’ve also been told to not rush the club back in the takeaway.  What you might be surprised to hear is that most people suffer from swinging the club back too slow.  Yes, when I see students struggle with tempo it is almost always a result of them swinging the club back much too slowly.  Allow me to explain. Club head speed creates ball speed and distance. The faster we swing the club, the farther we can hit the ball.  In most full swing golf shots, the player is looking to generate a considerable amount of club speed. So if you focus on taking the club back slowly, this puts all the speed generation responsibility on your downswing.  When this happens we create an inefficient tempo. Generally this is the culprit when a golfer mentions they felt rushed or quick during a swing.  A golfer who needs to work overtime to build speed in the downswing will almost always lose control over their arm and wrist structure.  This is how poor tempo can result in poor technique.

The phrase I like to use with students is this: “Free up the backswing.  There is no need to rush, but we want momentum built with our backswing. If we can build some momentum, this will allow us to transition smoothly and control our body through the ball.”  If you’re waiting until you get to the top of your backswing to crank up the speed, you’re most likely in trouble. Controlling your change of direction from backswing to downswing is vital to quality ball striking.  If you are working to create force at this moment, you’ve most likely lost control.

For a long time, working on your tempo meant experimenting somewhat aimlessly with different feelings.  Now, with the help of technology like Blast Motion Golf, we can measure and quantify our tempo. Tempo is the ratio of your backswing time to your downswing time.  By placing these sensors on the best players in the world, Blast Motion learned the average tempo for a professional golfer is somewhere between 2:1 and 3:1 depending on whether they are holding a wedge or putter vs. a driver.  As we see people struggle with their tempo, that ratio usually grows 4:1 and above. Slower backswings resulting in worse shots.  

What we can take away from all this is that we are trying to achieve a balanced and efficient tempo.  If you plan on swinging down fast, don’t swing back slowly. Also, in your search for consistency allow your timing to take center stage.  Consistent tempo generally leads to consistent technique, this does not always prove true the other way around. Whatever comes the most naturally to you will always almost be the easiest thing to repeat.  So own your tempo, keep your transition smooth and have fun out there.

You can book a lesson with Dan in NYC by clicking here.

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The Flatiron Membership

Can you tell us about the 5i membership?

While membership is not a requirement to enjoy all that Five Iron Golf has to offer… It is the first indication that you share our familial motivation, dedication, and appreciation for this silly game. Our goal is to provide an inclusive urban golf experience that allows all walks of life the opportunity to “master” this perplexing game. As a Five Iron Golf Member, you are entitled to the following: Membership Perks

 

Does it benefit players of certain levels more than others? 
We are confident that golfers of every level can benefit from a Five Iron membership. Whether you intend to learn the basics, are seeking private instruction, want immediate data-driven feedback, or just a moment to escape the stressors of city living… Five Iron Golf offers everyone the opportunity to utilize Full Swings state of the art analysis software during each simulator experience. 
 
What are some memories that stick with you from your years of managing memberships? 
The random introductions that magically evolve into friendships & golf foursomes… The trials and tribulations of everyone’s pursuit of perfection… The excitement of a career round or individual achievement… The NYC competitiveness… The ongoing inside jokes… The TERRIBLE swings… The unexpected post-swing profanity… The non-golf networking… The HOLE-IN-ONES… The 6AM money matches…   The laughs… The “I need a lesson NOW’s”… The 5i loyalty… The utter love of the game… The dedicated staff… The fact that we are in the middle of Manhattan for all of the above!
 
Is there anything that makes the 5i membership special to you? 
I whole-heartedly believe that our shared struggles are what bring us back day to day. Life in NYC will inevitably train you to persevere, and nothing is more inspiring than a packed house, at 6AM,In the middle of winter. This is a testament to the dedication this sport demands. The game of golf can provide a lifetime of emotion in a just 18 holes (Fear, confidence, elation, disappointment, anger, humor). Real or simulated…We are all searching for our next best shot. 
 
Has managing the 5i membership taught you anything? 
Be a friend first… We all started somewhere & this game will drive you mad if you “go it alone”
 
What can you say about the 5i members? 
LeGeNDrY!!!!
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A Quick Nine With Dan McCracken

1. Tell us about your career as a golf pro?
Golf is all I have ever really done.  I started washing carts and picking the range at a course called Willow Brook Country Club in South Jersey as soon as I was able to work. My Grandfather worked there in his retirement and I had been going up to Willow Brook since I could walk, it’s where I was introduced to the game.  In High School I began caddying and working the bag drop at Galloway National Golf Club. I attended Penn State University where I majored in Professional Golf Management. After becoming a PGA Professional I worked at various Golf and Country Clubs including: The Apawamis Club, Congressional Country Club, Siwanoy Country Club, Medalist Golf Club, The Philadelphia Cricket Club and Canoe Brook Country Club.  Through my time working at these various clubs I discovered my true passion for Teaching and Coaching, which helped lead me to Five Iron Golf.

2. If you could go back in time and coach yourself, what would you work on?
Putting, Wedges, and Game Management.

3. Who have been major influences in your career?
There are many answers to this question.  First two answers would have to be my Grandfather who introduced me to the game, and Brian Feldschneider who was the first Golf Professional I met and worked for at Willow Brook.  Tiger Woods is who made golf cool and a true sport in my eyes, so he needs to be included. Lastly would be the other instructors who I’ve followed and learned from, including but not limited too: Mac O’Grady, Mike Hebron, George Gankas, Mike Bender, Stan Utley, Chuck Cook, Shauheen Nakhjavani, Scott Hamilton, and John Dunigan.

4. What have you learned from other instructors?
To answer as succinctly as possible: everything.  There is a lot that goes into giving a good golf lesson and I have seen lots of different styles that work effectively.  The common threads among all the best instructors in my opinion would be: 

  1. A full understanding of cause and effect as it pertains to the golf ball,club and body.
  2. The passion to continue learning.  
  3. Always putting their students thoughts, needs, and opinions first.

5. How do you define success for a student?
The student is the only person who can determine our goals as a team.  My role on our team is to help determine a realistic road map/timeline for achieving those goals and providing the knowledge and resources to get us there.  Achieving those goals is success.

6. How has technology helped your teaching?
It has been game changing.  My instruction has gotten more and more efficient as I’ve adopted more and more technology.  Simply put tech helps me take the guesswork out so we can identify the root cause of a golfers problems faster, and get to work on fixing them.

7. What are the best tools in your arsenal when it comes to creative instruction?
All over the map here.  Alignment Sticks, Swing Video, Impact Bag, Towel, BodiTrak Pressure Matt and Pool Noodles to name a few.  I also use chairs, resistance bands and the simulator wall for some specific drill work.

8.What’s your favorite golf movie?
Caddyshack

9.Who’s your favorite golfer and why?
Tiger.  He’s the GOAT and a big reason why I am a Golf Pro.

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How to Setup For A Golf Shot – 5i Swing Academy

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A Quick Nine With Matt Brady

1. Tell us about your career as a golf pro?

My career as a golf pro began as a child, playing with my dad and grandfather that instilled my passion for the game, its been a lifelong journey. I had to opportunity to work at several private and public golf clubs as well as social golf experiences like TopGolf.

 

2. If you could go back in time and coach yourself, what would you work on?
If I could go back in time I would tell myself to be patient and trust the process. This game is a marathon, not a sprint, and we all need to enjoy the journey along the way.

 

3. Who have been major influences in your career.
My major influences have been my dad and grandfather but also many mentors along the way in many different areas of golf like operations, teaching, coaching and business development.

 

4. What have you learned from other instructors?
When you’re a new golf instructor a lot of us are eager to impart our knowledge too fast with too much information. The biggest lessons learned have been to slow down, keep the message simple and understandable. After all it’s only good help and advice if the student comprehends the message and can apply it.

 

5. How do you define success for a student?
I define success for my students with three basic themes, are they having fun, do they understand how to get better and have they achieved the goals they set out at the beginning of the process and along the way.

 

6. How has technology helped your teaching?
The technology present here at Five Iron is state-of-the-art, and has opened my eyes as an instructor. Now we can correlate a feeling in our swing with data present with every swing, this can really expedite the students understanding of why changes are made and how it can help their golf game.

 

7. What are the best tools in your arsenal when it comes to creative instruction?
Creatively I’m always trying to come up with new drills to enhance changes. However I find that simple changes and drills that can be done at home have the best retention with students. Wall drills are some of my favorites to create awareness of the club and the students physical movement.

 

8. What’s your favorite golf movie?
Favorite golf movie is Tin Cup, hands down!

 

9. Who’s your favorite golfer and why?
I have two favorite golfers, Jack Nicklaus, being that he’s from my home state and Ernie Els for his buttery smooth swing.

 

You can schedule a lesson with Matt in Chicago by clicking here.

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Matching Grip to Swing

Matt Brady – Chicago

If you ever taken a golf lesson or watched YouTube videos late into the night, tirelessly working to improve your golf game. Odds are you’ve watched more than your fair share of content about how to grip the club. Were going to cover pressure points so we have a track for success when building a good grip. When establishing a good grip there are a few cool tricks of the trade to help ensure proper gripping. Starting with right handed golfers, I always start top hand (left hand) first, with the goal in mind to feel pressure points on the left pad of your hand, closest to your pinky finger. This goes in tandem with feeling pressure in the left “trigger” finger with the second knuckle on the back of the grip. If done correctly, when you hold the golf club in front of you parallel to the ground, you’ll feel the pinky side pad of your left hand on top of the club, as well as the trigger finger or left pointer finger under the club. Now if you lower the golf club to the ground you should see your middle and index finger knuckles on top of the grip. This would be considered a traditional grip which we’ll dive into the second half of this post. When we discuss lefties this is simply reversed starting with the right hand.

So, we have the top hand on the grip now let’s add the bottom hand closest to the club head. This may seem obvious but ideally the hands mesh well together and create a tight fit. Specifically, for a right handed golfer, the left thumb should mold or mesh under the pad of the right thumb. Again creating a seamless fit that will keep your hands working together instead if separately.

The second part of this post will address your grip and hand position matching your swing and typical shot shape. This section could apply to more experienced players who have a swing that’s repeatable and consistent. But this can also be top of mind if addressing a player with a physical limitations such as lower back issues or stroke victims who only have dexterity in one hand. Harvey Penick, who famously taught many tour players like Ben Crenshaw and who wrote the Little Red Book, said, “if you have a bad swing you don’t need a good grip”. Golf swings are very unique to each and every golfer and the grip needs to match for that reason. One of the most famous examples would be Ben Hogan, who changed from a traditional perhaps strong grip, to a weaker grip because of his tendency to hook the ball left. Now, there are swings flaws that need to be addressed if you’re too far outside of the acceptable variances. But, if your swing is repeatable and your miss is too severe one way or the other sometimes the easiest and most effective change would be a quick grip modification to create more consistency. If a right handed player is hooking the ball consistently the easiest and quickest change could simply be to feel like the back of the left palm is facing the target instead of pointing to the sky. Vice versus, for someone who fades or slices the ball, would be to turn the left hand more on top of the club feeling that it’s pointing at the sky. Now these are very general references and I would always recommend asking a professional opinion with your local club professional.

You can book a lesson with Matt in Chicago by clicking here.

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