May 13, 2013

Jack Thomsen: Utilize Circular Mats and Variable Lies

Jack-ThomsenJack Thomsen, a PGA life member and author of “Golf: Find Center – Enter the Circle,” is the owner and founder of Jack Thomsen Golf Enterprises and owner and PGA head professional at Transcendental Golf in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.

Jack Thomsen on the importance of utilizing circular mats and variable lies:
I have used circular mats for teaching since 1985 and all mats at Transcendental Golf range are circular. The reasoning behind this is simple: square, rectangular, hexagram or pentagram mats that are linear aren’t ideal for practice because players tend to seek alignment from the outside edge of the mat. This means the golfer is looking forward (out in front) rather than down the line. Circular mats allow the player to align the clubface to any and all targets on a golf range. I adjusted our circular mats to include uneven, or “crooked,” lies so that players can practice different shots from all kinds of different lies. Each mat offers 360 degrees of angles for players to hit from so players can learn why an uphill shot comes up short, why to aim right with a hook lie, and so on, by practicing different shot trajectories from all kinds of different lie angles, whether it be uphill, downhill or sidehill. Non-flat or “crooked” lies teach calibration, including alignment and distance factors; even if golfers reduce their course yardage, without the proper “calibration,” it’s like a boxer’s left jab without a right cross. The lightweight unit can be easily turned by me or by a student, and it has 10 degrees of adjustable slope. Our mats are also smaller than some other sloped mats; our circular mats use less than 25 square feet, compared to others that are more than 220 square feet.

Jack Thomsen on the business impact of utilizing circular mats and variable lies:
As I have used circular and “crooked” lie mats, my students have gained a much better understanding of their golf swings and how to play from difficult lies. With a better understanding of these principals, my students have improved their scores and in turn increased my lesson bookings and instruction revenue each year. Transcendental Golf range is in a natural setting and isn’t near a main transportation artery, so most of my business is gained through word-of-mouth. Many of my students have benefited so much from the circular and “crooked” lie mats that they often refer their friends and families to use my facility. The more people who use the “crooked” lie mats, the more the referral rates increase and local golf courses experience speed of play has increased because of the “calibration” my students learn.