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Defining the “No Brainer” Short Game System

Defining the “No Brainer” Short Game System

By Coach Josh Apple

Paul chipNo matter the sport, athletes have an innate, or natural, ability to do the functions required of that particular sport. Football players naturally know how to throw and catch a ball, basketball players natural know how to dribble, and golfers naturally are capable of swinging the club. For golf, just like any sport, the technique can be improved through coaching, but over-coaching can be detrimental. An effective instructor takes what a player does naturally and makes it better, rather than tearing apart the innate to construct a new swing.

These innate swings not only make every golfer unique, but can actually be used as a tool to test and measure shots in the short game. You may have heard of the famous clock system that requires players to think mechanically about a certain length of backswing. This type of practice can be effective, but isn’t natural. Rather, why not make natural swings and then measure how far they go? That sounds like a more reliable and repeatable concept, especially on the course under pressure.

Here are the basic short game techniques:

Chipping: Shots with a carry of about 10 yards or less and a high % of roll, the club head does not get on plane (above the hands)
Pitching: Shots from about 10 to 50-60 yards with a carry to roll ratio of 60-90%, the club head does get on plane
Flopping: Shots from about 1 to 30 yards with a carry to roll ratio of at least 90%, the club head does get on plane

The “No Brainer” system is a way of tracking how far your natural chipping, pitching and flopping motions go in the air without a target and without thought. This can be completed in any open area, whether a short game facility, empty driving range, or even your backyard. All testing should be done from a neutral setup position.

The best way to begin tracking is with the chipping technique and your most lofted club, which is likely a lob or sand wedge. If you are by yourself, place a grid of tees in small increments so that you can clearly identify where the ball lands. If you are fortunate enough to have someone with you, have him or her marking where each ball lands. Either way, you will hit 5-10 shots and then take the average landing spot. This distance will be your “No Brainer” for your chipping technique. Keeping the same club in your hands and sticking with the same technique, you will next track your “No Brainer Minus” and “No Brainer Plus” swings. Again, you should not be thinking about technical positions. Rather, you are using your own natural swing, whatever length that may be, and making slight adjustments.

This process is continued with each club that you use for the chipping technique. Therefore, you will have three different distances with each club for chipping.  Once you have completed the chipping technique, you may begin tracking the pitching technique and even the flopping technique.

Here is an example of a “No Brainer” chart for the chipping technique:

Club No Brainer – No Brainer No Brainer +
Lob Wedge 4 6 8
Sand Wedge 5 7 9
Gap Wedge 6 8 10
Pitching Wedge 7 9 11
9 Iron 8 10 12

After completing the tracking, you will have consistent and reliable distances that you can hit short game shots without technical thought. You can write these numbers down and keep them in your golf bag, or memorize your favorite ones. They don’t require any extra practice because they are innate motions. It is a good idea, however, to re-measure each year, or maybe every few years as the numbers may change slightly over time.

For more information about "No Brainer" group classes or private sessions, contact Coach Josh Apple at japple@raspberrygolfacademy.com or look under "Group Programs" on our website.

RGA Celebrates 10 Years of Growing the Game!

RGA Celebrates 10 Years of Growing the Game!

By Coach Josh Apple

pat and players on green blog

The Raspberry Golf Academy is proud to present its 10-year anniversary!

RGA was founded in 2008 at Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club by Director of Instruction Patrick McGuire, and is comprised of a team of experts under his leadership. McGuire built the academy with two hitting bays with all of the latest technology the golf industry has to offer. Since it was founded, the academy has become the premier place for all things golf improvement in Northern Virginia. Now with six locations, five of which are in the Northern Virginia market, the program is booming and students of all abilities continue to improve on a daily basis.

- Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club- Leesburg, Va.
- Augustine Golf Club- Stafford, Va.
- Bull Run Golf Club- Haymarket, Va.
- Old Hickory Golf Club- Woodbridge, Va.
- Royal Manchester Golf Links- Mount Wolf, Pa.
- Virginia Golf Center- Clifton, Va.

The number one focus and mission statement for the Raspberry Golf Academy is to make the students better and to lower the national handicap. This is just not something they say, but is what they live by as a staff. McGuire believes he has “cracked the code” on how to make this dream a reality.

The RGA instructors value technology and know how to use it to their advantage. Armed with FlightScope launch monitors, KVEST 3D technology, BodiTrak pressure mats, SAM PuttLab machines, traditional cameras and large flat screen televisions, there is no mystery that can’t be solved.

In addition to an emphasis on technology, McGuire and his team of experts have developed unique programs only offered at RGA facilities by certified performance coaches. These programs provide a rare opportunity for any golfer of any level.

- Find Your Number: A program that evaluates and tracks ability by scoring skill level
- No Brainer: A short game system that provides structure to the player’s natural swings
- Project 130: A wedging system from 130 yards and in that provides structure to the player’s natural swings
- Path to the Tour: Taking a group of professional golfers and putting them through all of the above programs to prep for Q-School

In addition to having knowledgeable coaches, RGA has also partnered with the best and brightest beyond working on the mechanics of the golf swing, including club fitters, strength coaches, and mental coaches.

Be on the look out for regular posts on RGA coaches and programs as we celebrate 10 years!

RGA Student Paul Peterson wins on the Asian Tour

RGA Student Paul Peterson Wins on the Asian Tour
By Josh Applepaul p fb web

Paul Peterson established himself as a significant player on the international stage when he claimed his first European Tour title at the 2016 Czech Masters, outdueling European Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters by one stroke. That win solidified Peterson’s career and proved that the Raspberry Golf Academy had a recipe for success.

Although Peterson did not have a victory in 2017, the 29-year-old had been steadily showing progress and signs that he would return to the winner’s circle again soon. That win finally came on Jan. 28 when he took down a strong field in the Asian Tour’s Myanmar Open, his first victory on the Asian Tour. He fired scores of 68-66-71-66 (-13) to prevail by two strokes, including a birdie on the 72nd hole to confirm the win.

The momentum from that win carried over to the next week, as he finished T11 on the European Tour’s Maybank Championship the first week of February, with scores of 69-70-65-70 (-14). After those two strong finishes, Peterson reached a new career high of No. 120 in the World Golf Rankings, ahead of many well-known PGA Tour stars.

Peterson originally reached the Asian Tour in 2014 through the Raspberry Golf Academy’s Path to the Tour program. He trained with Patrick McGuire and the other RGA instructors at the Legacy Golf Resort in Phoenix, Az., preparing for Asian Tour Q-School. He achieved full status on the tour in his first attempt. Through his work with RGA, Peterson was able to transition from a mini tour player to a very successful Asian Tour player immediately. For Peterson to at last get his first win on the Asian Tour in 2018 was a special experience.

“This victory is very special as the Asian Tour is where I started and to be able to get a win here really means a lot,” Peterson said. “I had to make that transition from Asia to Europe and I was trying to play in as many events as I could. So it just feels right that I’m finally able to have a win under my belt out here in Myanmar.”

Despite playing a busy schedule in Europe and Asia and being from the West coast of the United States, Peterson continues to travel to Leesburg, Va. to work with McGuire at Raspberry Falls. Peterson also works closely with RGA mental coach, Oscar Coetze, and RGA strength coach, Walt Cline. RGA instructor Lisa Deel also provides assistance through her knowledge on K-VEST.

The Raspberry Golf Academy model of a team effort proved it can take an average developmental tour player and turn him into one of the best players in the world. All four of the golfers from the original Path to the Tour program have seen varying degrees of success, but Peterson was the most devoted to the program and continues to be fully bought in to the system, leading to the most accomplishments.