Rob Rashell
Director of Instruction
TPC Scottsdale
Scottsdale, AZ

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Every year I coach a team of junior golfers in a series of events called Ping Interclub. Fifty to sixty courses across the valley participate over a couple of months in the spring culminating with a state championship event at Grayhawk in the middle of May. These events allow me to spend time with the junior golfers I work with on the golf course during tournaments, very valuable feedback.

One of my players hit his drive in the fairway on the 10th hole and had a second shot of 136 yards to a front pin, 132 to the front of the green. We thought his nine iron should fly about 140 yards so a full nine should be about 12 feet behind the hole. He hit a great shot just right of the flag, but the ball carried further than we expected. I asked him to pace off the distance from the flag to his ball mark, actual carry yardage of the full nine iron he hit, 146.  

After just missing his 30 foot birdie putt and tapping in for par, we walked to the 11th hole, a par three. After grabbing the laser and shooting the flag, total distance, 146. At this point I just kind of smiled, certainly didn’t have to say much, this junior golfer obviously knew exactly what club to hit and how hard to hit it. The pin was in a difficult location, but it almost didn’t matter, he’d hit literally the exact shot 10 minutes earlier with the same club going in the same direction.

No mystery on the outcome, the nine iron flew dead pin high and stopped 3 feet from the hole, easy two. I know I’ve written about tracking your carry numbers, but I’m such a strong advocate of doing this I had to write about it again.  This does not mean you’re going to hit a great shot every time, but we all look for the same feeling on every shot. Complete confidence in both the club, how hard we should swing, and how far the ball actually flies.

This junior golfer thought his nine iron was supposed to go 140 and because he took the time to walk off the ball mark was rewarded with knowledge he could use on the very next hole. I see too many golfers confuse where the ball ends up with how far it flies, you have to know the how far it flies.

Talking with his dad after the round, his dad called what happened on ten and eleven “a nugget”, something to help make his son a little wiser and better on the golf course. I couldn’t agree more. Good luck!  

Rob Rashell is now the Director of  Instruction at TPC Scottsdale. You can reach him at