A buddy of mine got a chance to play Oakmont quite a few years ago. I had been there for a couple of Opens, and told him to spend a substantial amount of time on and around the practice green chipping and putting, since neither he nor I had ever played on greens like those. He called me when he got home and thanked me for the advice. He claimed to have had only two 3 putt greens when he left his approach too far from the hole.
As far as "better" courses having nicer greens, I guess it's where you are and what kind of players you have. There's a local course called Kennsington that I absolutely love! The greens are huge, undulating, and quite fast. However, it's a public, daily fee course. I could spend all day fixing ball marks! I do what I can without holding up play.
I appreciate Pretzel's comment about the course that hires someone to go around and do nothing but fix ball marks. Sounds like a great job for a motivated kid. Teach him how, give him or her a repair tool, cart, and turn them loose.
However, I am reminded of the quote from the 18th and 19th Century German writer and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who wrote, "Let every man sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean!"
I still like this method. It feels like I using my bottom hand as a "forehand" to the chip toward the apex and let the ball break downhill to the hole . Great for downhill chips
I look at the top back corner edge of the ball to chip the ball that kicks right and look at the leading edge of the wedge rather than the ball if I want to kick left
I find I can also shut and lay open the wedge face with the same hand and make it easy to hit out of the sand with similar rhythm
Tough practice session today. It's hot out there (even at 8pm), and I'm tired from 36 holes of golf this weekend in 90-degree heat...and probably about 36 beers (not while golfing, but still).
I'm sticking with the same practice template. First half of the session focuses on backswing and downswing path; second half focuses on clubface control. Every swing is on video and reviewed.
I was a bad "stupid monkey" for about 5 swings at the beginning...I was thinking about the "short-arm" stuff above, and trying to work on it. Based on the slow-mo video, I was actually able to get one REALLY good inline impact with the 6-iron by DRIVING my hands forward...but I made terribly fat contact. After that swing I made myself stop and put it completely out of my head. I didn't even take any more face-on video. F-O-C-U-S is key right now.
After that brief distraction, my swing path and backswing work went OK...I was getting a bit lazy on the backswing and not completing my turn on some swings, but I'm doing better at hitting my downswing positions. Contact and ball flight with the irons is really good right now (relative to my skill level). I was hitting mostly my "on-course" pushes, moving towards push-fades with the longer clubs, but with overall very solid contact and height.
I think my A4 is pretty good on this swing...full shoulder turn and good hip turn (not sure about hand/arm position, but that's not part of what I'm working on right now):
Club is in-line with the hands at A6 (that's good):
Impact (not checking anything here yet, but including for completeness). I can tell I'm still "short-arming" it at impact, but I'm not worried about that yet:
Game Golf tag basically visible at A8 (that's good):
I'm also finally hitting my target positions with my driver, which represents progress. Contact was pretty bad tonight (quite a few heel and toe strikes), so I just slowed it down to 75% with the driver and focused on path. Hit some decent 200-yard baby-fades with that swing (also a bunch of my "on-course" pushes).
A4 here felt a bit abbreviated, but it looks OK on the video (feel was probably because it was not a full-speed swing):
Club is in-line with the hands at A6 (took me a damn month to be able to do this with the driver, but...it's getting more and more consistent):
Impact for completeness:
Good A8 here for the driver (again, I say "really good" only in terms of the swing path I've been working towards):
Overall, I think it was a good night of work on swing path, considering how I was feeling.
As for the clubface control drill: I really need to find a way to put something downrange (or start going to a different range to work on that piece). Without a visual reference, the open/closed clubface positions are way too exaggerated. I'm probably still working on the skill (the "twist"), but not as productively as I could be. This might be the piece that prompts me to buy a small net for the backyard.
Summary / Next Steps
I'm hoping to get one more practice session in this week before my trip to work with @iacas on Saturday. Based on my slow progress to date, unless that session is some sort of cosmic breakthrough, I don't think I'm going to be ready to add any more drills or pieces to work on yet. If I tried to add another swing thought on either the backswing or downswing, I'm pretty sure it'd mess up one of my current priorities. Especially since I've only cracked the surface of the clubface control drill.
We'll see. I suppose if I were to focus on getting into a better position at A4, I could work that into the backswing drills I've been doing...or something similar.