Akshay Bhatia, 17, full of swagger and set for PGA Tour debut at Valspar

At the Walker Cup practice session in December, U.S. captain Nathaniel Crosby left junior golfer Akshay Bhatia with one final piece of advice ahead of the Jones Cup Invitational in late January.

“He said, ‘You better be in the final group on Sunday so I don’t have to chase you around,’ ” Bhatia recalled.

Bhatia, 17, did better than that. He defeated Georgia sophomore Davis Thompson on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff at Ocean Forest Golf Club on St. Simons Island, Ga., after the final round was canceled due to rain.

“I’m just sorry he ended up driving five hours to watch me play one hole,” Bhatia said of Crosby’s trip.

The victory at one of amateur golf’s most prestigious invitationals should shoot Bhatia, Golfweek’s No. 1-ranked junior and the reigning AJGA player of the year, even higher on Crosby’s “watch list” for the Walker Cup, which will be played Sept. 7-8 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

“Oh my gosh, it would be a dream come true,” Bhatia of Wake Forest, N.C., said of a chance to represent the 10-man U.S. side. “You just don’t get that opportunity too many times. Just to be part of the practice session was unreal.”

But Bhatia was even more overcome by the fact that joining a prestigious list of Jones Cup champions – including Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas and Beau Hossler – also earned him a berth in the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic this fall.

“I’ve worked so hard, and that’s one of my dreams to play a PGA Tour event while still in high school,” Bhatia said.

Bhatia won’t have to wait much longer to fulfill his dream of playing in a PGA Tour event. Bhatia tells Golfweek he has accepted a sponsorship exemption into the Valspar Championship on March 21-24 at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Bhatia has played in Thursday and Monday PGA Tour Qualifiers, further confirmation that he intends to skip college and turn professional in January when he turns 18.

“It’s made me stronger mentally,” Bhatia said of trying to earn one of four available spots at qualifying. “Once I get through one, I think I’ll make a bunch more. I’m just lacking experience.”

He showed he’s more than capable of holding his own against the game’s top amateurs. Beating a field consisting of top collegians at the Jones Cup in his first start back after nursing a back injury suffered in late November during the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions helps validate Bhatia’s decision to forgo college.

As much as Bhatia would like to make the Walker Cup team – and he plans to play the European and British Amateurs this summer in preparation for links golf – he sees it merely as a stop along his journey to making the PGA Tour. He has tunnel vision, his eyes locked in on a pro golf career.

George Gankas, one of his team of instructors, described Bhatia as mature beyond his years and noted a surge in his confidence and self-belief. Gankas recounted a telling conversation he had with Bhatia at the U.S. Amateur in August.

“He said, ‘I guess I have to start acting like ‘The Man’ because I’m pretty much ‘The Man’ among the juniors,’ ” Gankas said. “Since that point, his walk is different, the way he talks is different and the way he carries himself is different. It’s not in a cocky way; he’s just a more confident player.

“He’ll win a tournament and ask, ‘What needs to be better?’ How many kids his age do that? He’s trying to figure a way to get better to win by more.”

Bhatia, who crushed the field at the AJGA’s Polo Golf Junior Classic by 10 strokes in June, has a home putting studio and a TrackMan, and practices at TPC Wakefield playing two-ball, best-ball and from the front tees to ingrain shooting low scores and two-ball, worst ball and dropping a ball behind trouble (such as a patch of trees) from a par-3 distance away and trying to make no worse than par as games to improve his scrambling skills. He is a lanky lefty weighing only 129 pounds, but he has the flexibility of Gumby.

“Every time I put him on my Instagram everyone goes, ‘Eat a cheeseburger, dude!’” Gankas said. “He says he’s trying to get fat, but he can’t do it.”

Bhatia may be thin as a rail, but pound-for-pound he’s maximizing his swing speed, averaging 119 mph, and recently sent Gankas a video where he hit 124.8 mph.

“I couldn’t even believe it,” said Bhatia, who credits the gain in velocity to his workouts and is striving for his swing speed and weight to equal the same figure.

As for his upcoming PGA Tour debut, he already arranged to play a practice round with Spaniard Jon Rahm and has his sights set on meeting Australian Jason Day, another of his heroes. And Bhatia’s not shy about how he might do. When asked if he thought he could win, he said, “I don’t see why not. As long as I can treat it like it’s just another event. It’s all about mindset, really.”

SOURCE:  Golfweek

STRATEGY FOR DOGLEGS

About to turn a corner? First, give that dogleg some thought

You say you can drive it 300 yards, but the last time you did it the hole was downhill, downwind and the ball caromed off the cartpath. You say you shoot in the low 80s, but you haven’t carded an 85 or better without two mulligans and a few generous gimme putts in about four years. When the question about what tees to play is asked, you’re already walking back to the blues or blacks. See where this is going? When it comes to this game, many golfers aren’t exactly honest about their current abilities—especially when assessing their next shot.

A common mental block is how best to play a dogleg hole with real trouble on either side of the fairway, says instructor Sean Foley.

“The ball tails off to the right for most of the golfers I see, so does it make any sense for them to stand on the tee box of a dogleg-left hole and try to curve their drive in that direction? No, but a lot of times they still try,” says Foley, a Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher. “What they should be doing is thinking of how to play the hole to the best of their abilities. In many cases, that means taking a shorter club, one that doesn’t peel off to the right as much, and just getting something out in the fairway.

“The reality is, sometimes the best you can do is give yourself a chance at a one-putt par. You have to accept that your game isn’t designed for certain holes, so your planning should change from How do I get home in regulation? to How do I avoid making double bogey?

That’s good advice, says sport psychologist Bob Rotella. Too often a visually intimidating hole, one that looks like it necessitates a specific type of drive, can cause golfers to divert from their strengths. Bad move.

“Mentally, you’ve got to stick with your game. Don’t let the shape of a hole solely dictate your strategy,” he says. “I wouldn’t try to hit a shot I didn’t know or usually play. If a driver doesn’t fit the hole, hit a 3-wood. If a 3-wood doesn’t fit, hit a hybrid, and so on. Do whatever it takes to put the ball in play. But be clear and commit to whatever shot you decide.”

If you can’t curve the ball to match the hole’s shape, another option is to use driver, but play for the “best miss,” says Hall of Fame golfer Tom Watson. If you analyze a hole carefully, that miss should be evident.

“When curving the ball away from the dogleg, the fairway becomes a smaller target,” Watson says. “The golfer must then think about where it’s best to miss the fairway, and this involves a lot of criteria such as length of the rough, where the flagstick is located, etc. For example, shortening the hole by missing in the interior rough sometimes can be a good option when planning your tee shot, but not on Pine Valley’s par-4 sixth, the hole you see here.”

If you’re skilled enough to be able to shape your tee shot with the dogleg, then consider how much of it you want to take on, Watson says. An accurate distance measurement to the part of the fairway you want to hit is key, but so is that whole thing about being honest with yourself.

“Knowing how far you have to carry the ball to clear a dogleg’s interior rough or interior bunker is not usually thought about by most golfers, but it’s critical,” Watson says. “That being said, most golfers don’t know how far they carry the ball with a driver, which is important in deciding the line to take when cutting the corner on a dogleg.”

That’s why it’s best to be generous with your target line, Foley says.

“If it’s a 200-yard carry and your best drives carry about 210 yards, you probably want to take a less risky route,” Foley says. “Better to be farther back in the fairway than trying to recover from being too aggressive with your line. The penalty for not making it on a dogleg is usually pretty severe.”

SOURCE:  Golfdigest

Shaker Run is Hiring for our Upcoming Season!

Shaker Run Golf Club will be holding open interviews next Wednesday, March 20th from 10 am – 4 pm in the clubhouse. 1320 Golf Club Dr. Lebanon, Oh 45036  |  (513)727-0007

Here is your chance to join our team at one of the premier golf courses in Ohio.  We take pride in providing top quality service to all our patrons and we are looking for talented individuals to fill the following positions…

  • Outside Services
  • Golf Shop Attendant
  • Line Cook
  • Dish Washer
  • Servers
  • Event Lead
  • Event Staff

For immediate consideration send you resume to Jamie Grant at jgrant@shakerrungolfclub.com or stop by the clubhouse to complete an application.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — A year ago, Tiger Woods hit 3-iron, 9-iron into the 18th green at TPC Sawgrass during the final round of the Players Championship. Tuesday morning, it was 3-wood, 3-iron.

He wasn’t the only one to notice a significant difference.

On the 450-yard seventh, Billy Horschel used to attack the par 4 with a driver or 3-wood and a wedge. This year, he’s hitting 5-iron into the green.

It has been more than a decade—2006 to be precise—since the Players Championship has been contested in March. Woods’ club choice on the final hole (as well as area resident Horschel’s) perhaps best sums up the biggest difference between the PGA Tour’s flagship event being played later in the spring versus now.

“The ball doesn’t fly as far and the golf course just plays slower,” said Woods, one of just 24 players in the 144-man field this week to have experienced the tournament in each month, and the only one to have won it in both, too. “The golf course plays so much shorter in May than it does in March. That’s probably the biggest difference. We’re going to have to hit more clubs off the tees, have a little bit longer clubs into the greens, but the difference is the greens are much slower and much more receptive.”

Those aren’t the only differences, however.

For one, the appearance of Pete Dye’s masterpiece is vastly different, with a heavy rye overseed giving the 7,189-yard track a lush, dark green look. It’s more than just an aesthetic. There’s a benefit for a venue that demands target golf.

“It sharpens the course,” said 2004 Players winner Adam Scott. “It suits it better. It gives it more definition for us.”

And about that grass, the rough off the fairway is also only about 2½-inches long. Thick, yes, but with the tightness of a hair brush, meaning there should be far fewer hack-it-out-and-hope second shots and more creativity and playability. Translation: Potential for better scoring opportunities.

On the flip side, wayward tee shots are more likely to run off into the pine straw and scrub rather than getting snagged by deep rough.

Around the green, things are even more telling.

“I’m surprised that even though the rough isn’t the same difficulty level because of the type of grass it still plays just as challenging around greens, where it’s super thick,” Jordan Spieth said. “Hitting into greens from this rough is easier but around the greens it plays different. Typically with overseed we don’t see a lot of rough. But It plays closer to bluegrass than bermuda.”

Then there’s the weather.

In May, temperatures routinely reached into the 90s and in some years the greens were burnt to the extent of being nearly unplayable. The course played firm, fast and bouncy.

This week, the forecast is calling for highs in the mid-70s for the first two rounds, with that number dipping into the mid 60s on the weekend.

Wind will also be a factor—breezes out of the north will make the course play that much longer, something that could be particularly impactful on the final two holes, the par-3 17th over water and the 462-yard 18th that features water up the entire left side.

“The 17th and 18th are dicey now,” Spieth said. “When the weather was warm and with less wind [in May], 17 was a pitching wedge. Now it could be an 8-iron. That’s a big difference.”

“In years past [on 17] the wind was behind you off the right, it was an easy club,” added Horschel. “You just had to worry about hitting it too good or too far. Now, you have to hit it the perfect height. The 18th is the same way. Guys used to be able to hit 3-wood and have a short iron in. Now it’s driver and a mid-iron or a 3-wood and a long iron.”

What will it all mean?

“They’re very different to play,” Scott said of the tournament being held in March instead of May. “I mean, it’s hard.”

SOURCE:  Golfworld

MEMBERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES at Shaker Run

Full Membership  |  $2400

  • 27 Hole Championship Golf Course, Previously Hailed as One of the “Top 100” Golf Courses in America
  • Membership is Inclusive of Practice Facility, Locker, and USGA GHIN Handicap Service
  • Membership is Active for One Calendar Year from Date Application is Accepted & Payment is Received.
  • You, your spouse, & dependents 23 & under receive 10% off Food Only inside The Grille @ 1320. 
  • No Food & Beverage Minimums.
  • 5% off Apparel inside the Golf Shop.
  • Book Starting Times 14 Days in Advance. ( 7 Days for Daily Play )
  • Guests receive $5.00 off Nine Hole Greens Fee & $10.00 off Eighteen Hole Greens Fee.
  • Advanced Registration / Discounted Pricing for Club Social Events & Tournaments.
  • Monthly Billing Available.

Silver Executive Membership  |  $1750

Membership is Restricted to anytime Monday – Friday.

  • 27 Hole Championship Golf Course, Previously Hailed as One of the “Top 100” Golf Courses in America.
  • Membership is Inclusive of Practice Facility, Locker, and USGA GHIN Handicap Service.
  • Membership is Active for One Calendar Year from Date Application is Accepted & Payment is Received.
  • You, your spouse, & dependents 23 & under receive 10% off Food Only inside The Grille @ 1320
  • No Food & Beverage Minimums.
  • 5% off Apparel inside the Golf Shop
  • Book Starting Times 14 Days in Advance. ( 7 Days for Daily Play )
  • Guests receive $5.00 off Nine Hole Greens Fee & $10.00 off Eighteen Hole Greens Fee.
  • Advanced Registration / Discounted Pricing to Club Social Events & Tournaments.
  • Monthly Billing Available.

SEE ALL DETAILS BY CLICK ON THE MEMBERSHIP TAB

SOCIAL MEMBERSHIP  |  $200

Includes…

  • Two 18 hole Rounds of Golf with cart at any time
  • 10% off Food Only inside The Grille @1320
  • Includes your spouse / dependents 23 & under living at home or in college
  • 5% off Apparel Only inside the Golf Shop
  • Special event offerings for card holders
  • Establish a House Account inside The Grille @1320

LIMITED TIME OFFER • ACT NOW!

SEE ALL DETAILS BY CLICKING THE SOCIAL MEMBERSHIP TAB

CORPORATE PARTNER’S CLUB

Designees will have full membership privileges to the club. Any accompanied or unaccompanied guest fees, cart fees as well as food & beverage, gratuities, and merchandise will be deducted from the account at time of use.  Greens & Cart Fees will be deducted at advertised rates for that specific time on our Tee Sheet.

*Please note that only a Designee has access to setup a starting time and is responsible for directing the utilization of the account funds.

Additional Benefits

  • Book starting times through the golf shop 17 days in advance.
  • Prepaid Cart Fees for the year included for Each Designee.
  • Waived Room Rental Charges for golf events.
  • Half off room rental rates for corporate meetings Monday through Friday.
  • 10% Off Food only for Each Designee inside Grille @ 1320.
  • 5% Off Apparel only for Each Designee inside the Golf Shop.
  • Quarterly Social Media Post thanking you for being a Corporate Partner of Shaker Run.
  • Advanced Registration on club Social Events / Club Tournaments.
  • Discounted pricing on Special Events hosted by Shaker Run.
  • All Corporate Partners will be recognized on a plaque within the renovated Club House.
  • All Corporate Partners will be recognized on our website.
  • Platinum Partners will be recognized on a Tee Box of their preference on one (1) available hole # 2 – 9 (Woodlands, Lakeside or Meadows).

Terms of Partnership

  • Each Partnership is valid for a calendar year from the date of payment and must be paid in full.
  • Designees either inclusive of the level selected or those who are added must be identified to Shaker Run upon the time of registration. Additional Designees may not be added until time of renewal and are subject to employment verification.
  • Partners are permitted to roll over a maximum of 10% of their funds annually, and would then be required to pay the difference plus any additional Designee fees to bring their account balance up to the appropriate level to start the next annual partnership cycle.  Any unused funds are forfeited upon renewal date if you choose not to renew.

SEE ALL DETAILS BY CLICKING THE CORPORATE PARTNER’S CLUB TAB

For more information, please call:
Joe Robertson, Director of Sales: 513.727.0007 x 223
jrobertson@shakerrungolfclub.com

Finish Your Swing Left of the Target

Proper Set-Up And Alignment Leads To ‘Full Circle’ Swing

We have all heard it. When getting information about aim and alignment, we often hear to “finish your swing facing your target.” Don’t do it — you will likely hit a shot that will not end up on line. You need to finish your swing facing LEFT of the target.

Look at all the Tour pros out there, they are clearly facing well left of their target at the finish, and that goes all the way back to proper set-up and address. Here’s how to put it all together:

AIM AND ALIGNMENT

First, place your hands on the grip, keeping the clubface square.

Then, aim the square clubface to the target on the line you established from behind the ball. The leading edge of your golf club will be at a right angle to the target line.

Next, align your body (checking feet, thighs, hips, and shoulders) parallel and left of the target line, addressing the golf ball.

If you feel as if you are really left of your target, you will be aligned correctly. Do not align your body to the target…aim your club at the target and align your body left of the target! (For left-handers — right of the target)

Last, with confidence, trust your aim and alignment and make your best effort to create the shot. Even if you do not hit it perfectly, it will likely be on line, heading towards the intended target—a great miss!

COMPLETE YOUR SWING

This is accurate information: Left is “Right” (correct) at address. However, finishing with your belt buckle facing the target line is stopping short of the full completion of the swing circle.

When you finish a good golf swing, your belt buckle will actually be facing LEFT of your target if you have completed the swing circle. The ball will track towards the target on the line you established in your pre-shot routine, but your body will not finish facing the target. If it does, it could result in a shot that leaks to the right of the intended target.

Think in terms of the two lines at address that might help you understand this critical piece of information relating to the completion of your golf swing motion.

Imagine that the target line is the “ball target” and the parallel line you have lined up your body on is the “body target.” The two lines are parallel at address and remain so during the swing motion, but it is just the golf ball that (hopefully) ends up on the “ball target” line you established.

Ideally, you will end up in a balanced finish position, facing the “body target” line you set at address, clearly left of the ball target line. The swing circle motion has been completed, allowing both the operator and the equipment to hit a shot “on line” to the target!

Understanding this very thing has been instrumental for improved aim, alignment, and result with my students. See if this perception change alters the directional reality of your golf shots.

As my students and I often say about these actions that improve your motion and game, “If you can, you MUST!”

LPGA Master Professional/PGA Honorary Director Deb Vangellow 

SOURCE:  Golftipsmag

Shaker Run is Hiring for our Upcoming Season!

Here is your chance to join our team at one of the premier golf courses in Ohio.  We take pride in providing top quality service to all our patrons and we are looking for talented individuals to fill the following positions…

  • Outside Services
  • Golf Shop Attendant
  • Line Cook
  • Dish Washer
  • Servers
  • Event Lead
  • Event Staff

For immediate consideration send you resume to Jamie Grant at jgrant@shakerrungolfclub.com or stop by the clubhouse to complete an application.

BECOME A CORPORATE PARTNER at Shaker Run

Our Corporate Partners Club is a prepaid annual spending account that provides an opportunity to entertain co-workers, clients & prospective new business partners.
SILVER | $5,000 | 1 Designee
GOLD | $10,000 | 2 Designees
PLATINUM | $15,000 | 3 Designees
Up to three (3) additional Designees can be added to your selected membership level at the following rate.  Individual Full Membership at Shaker Run including carts normally $2900:
SILVER | $2,500
GOLD | $2,250
PLATINUM | $2,000
Designees will have full membership privileges to the club.  Any accompanied or unaccompanied guest fees, cart fees as well as food & beverage, gratuities, and merchandise will be deducted from the account at time of use.  Greens & Cart Fees will be deducted at advertised rates for that specific time on our Tee Sheet.
*Please note that only a Designee has access to setup a starting time and is responsible for directing the utilization of the account funds.

Additional Benefits

  • Book starting times through the golf shop 17 days in advance.
  • Prepaid Cart Fees for the year included for Each Designee.
  • Waived Room Rental Charges for golf events.
  • Half off room rental rates for corporate meetings Monday through Friday.
  • 10% Off Food only for Each Designee inside Grille @ 1320.
  • 5% Off Apparel only for Each Designee inside the Golf Shop.
  • Quarterly Social Media Post thanking you for being a Corporate Partner of Shaker Run.
  • Advanced Registration on club Social Events / Club Tournaments.
  • Discounted pricing on Special Events hosted by Shaker Run.
  • All Corporate Partners will be recognized on a plaque within the renovated Club House.
  • All Corporate Partners will be recognized on our website.
  • Platinum Partners will be recognized on a Tee Box of their preference on one (1) available hole # 2 – 9 (Woodlands, Lakeside or Meadows).

Terms of Partnership

  • Each Partnership is valid for a calendar year from the date of payment and must be paid in full.
  • Designees either inclusive of the level selected or those who are added must be identified to Shaker Run upon the time of registration. Additional Designees may not be added until time of renewal and are subject to employment verification.
  • Partners are permitted to roll over a maximum of 10% of their funds annually, and would then be required to pay the difference plus any additional Designee fees to bring their account balance up to the appropriate level to start the next annual partnership cycle.  Any unused funds are forfeited upon renewal date if you choose not to renew.

For more information, please call:
Joe Robertson, Director of Sales: 513.727.0007 x 223
jrobertson@shakerrungolfclub.com

EVERY THURSDAY IN MARCH • 4 pm – 8 pm

ALL YOU CAN EAT • TACO BUFFET

Just $12 for Adults and $6 for Children

EVERY FRIDAY IN MARCH • 4 pm – 8 pm

It’s a Fish Fry!

Battered fried cod | french fries | coleslaw | hushpuppies

Wine Down Wednesday  |  Every Wednesday • 5 pm – 8 pm 

Sign n’ Wine  |  Wednesday, March 20th at 6 pm

Date Night with Wine Tasting | Saturday, March 23rd at 5 pm

For a full description of these Upcoming events visit the website

Make your reservations by calling 513-727-0007 option 3

Shaker Run is Hiring for our Upcoming Season!

Here is your chance to join our team at one of the premier golf courses in Ohio.  We take pride in providing top quality service to all our patrons and we are looking for talented individuals to fill the following positions…

  • Outside Services
  • Golf Shop Attendant
  • Line Cook
  • Dish Washer
  • Servers
  • Event Lead
  • Event Staff

For immediate consideration send you resume to Jamie Grant at jgrant@shakerrungolfclub.com or stop by the clubhouse to complete an application.