New updated category for Max’s blog.

GOLF ETIQUETTE: THE HOW AND WHY OF REPAIRING YOUR BALL MARK

The unique etiquette of golf is one that takes some beginner golfers some time to get used too. One of the biggest things to learn is how to repair your ball mark. Some beginner golfers have yet to learn this almost unspoken rule of the game, and then there are even some established and good-intentioned golfers out there that have been repairing their ball marks the wrong way.

Here is what a ball mark would look like directly after impact after a rainy day.

This article will stand as a friendly reminder to all golfers, men or women, young and old, beginner or avid, that fixing your ball marks it is a good habit to get into. This article will also delve into how to do it properly because it is an important part of the game and every golfer has an obligation to help take care of the courses we play. 

What is a ball mark?

A ball mark is a little depression or crater in the grass left by a golf ball when it lands on the green from a tee shot or approach shot. They’re formed usually by an extremely high or hard-hit shot in which the golf ball reaches enough velocity and direct impact to leave a golfball-sized dent on the putting surface. 

Why is it important to fix?

Unrepaired ball marks are a nightmare for a course grounds crew and you, the golfer! A ball mark that has gone unrepaired or repaired unproperly can kill the grass and can turn a beautiful and smooth green into a lifeless and crater filled surface that resembles the surface of the moon. 

Repairing a ball mark restores a smooth surface and helps keep the grass as green and healthy as it can be. A smooth and healthy green means a happy grounds crew who can allocate more time to tending to other parts of the course. Smooth greens also mean smoother putts for the golfer and less opportunity for a well-hit ball to be knocked offline by a divot in the green. 

A simple design divot repair tool, by Pinnacle. This is just one design, but they can look different and be made out of wood, metal, or plastic.

What is even more important than repairing your ball mark is making sure you are repairing it the proper way. Not only can an improper technique damage the green severely, but it also can take a long time to repair. Researchers at Kansas State University conducted a study that found repairing a ball mark incorrectly can actually cause more damage than not attempting to repair it at all, sometimes take twice as long.

What is a divot repair tool? 

A divot repair tool is exactly what it sounds like! It assists golfers in fixing their ball marks and should be an essential item in every golfer’s golf bag. It is a small two-pronged tool usually made out of hard plastic or metal. They are relatively cheap and can be found for sale at almost every golf course, but if you are a thrifty individual or have lost your divot repair tool you can use a golf tee to repair ball marks as well. 

How to properly repair a ball mark?

Here are the steps recommended by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America on how to properly repair divot holes on a green.

Follow step #1 and insert your repair tool into the turf like this at a 45-degree angle.

Step #1:   Take your ball mark repair tool and insert the prongs into the turf at the edge of the depression. Note: Do NOT insert the prongs into the depression itself, but at the rim of the depression.

Step #2:  The next step is to push the edge of the ball mark toward the center, using your ball mark repair tool in a “gentle twisting motion,” in the words of the GCSAA.

This is the step where golfers who incorrectly “repair” ball marks usually mess up. Many golfers believe the way to “fix” a ball mark is to insert the tool at an angle, so the prongs are beneath the center of the crater, and then to use the tool as a lever to push the bottom of the ball mark back up even with the surface. Do not do this! Pushing the bottom of the depression upward only tears the roots, and kills the grass.

The green on hole #8 at River Oaks Golf Course.

Step #3:  Once you’ve worked around the rim of the ball mark with your repair tool, pushing the grass toward the center, there’s only one thing left to do: Gently tamp down the repaired ball mark with your putter smooth the putting surface.

Please continue to repair your ball marks and remind others to do so as well, so we can keep our greens looking like this!

Community Blood Drive at Ice Arena

Sponsored by the City of Cottage Grove

Tuesday, June 9 | 9 AM- 3 PM

Please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
or visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter: City of CG to schedule an appointment.

Improve Your Game!

Does your game need some extra help?

Our staff is ready to help you improve your game, no matter your skill level! We have a variety of lesson options and clinics available to fit your needs, including both adult and junior lessons.

Call us at (651) 438-2121 to purchase, or order online through the button below!

FIVE DIFFERENT PUTTING GRIPS TO EXPERIMENT WITH

One afternoon a few years back I found myself golfing with my brother to test out a new putter I had bought. However, with the new putter I noticed all my putts, no matter where I was aiming, always seemed to pull left. It was after about the umpteenth putt that I had missed left when I began cursing the golf gods and thinking about giving up the sport for good. My brother, who was probably fed up with my complaining, tried to help me rectify my putting stroke.

“How to do grip your putter?” he asked.

“The same way I grip the rest of my clubs,” I replied, showing him my grip on the putter.

Close up of a traditional putting grip. This grip is how most golfers grip the rest of their clubs.

“Ahhh, the traditional way,” he said. “Have you thought about switching up how you hold the putter?”

“There is more than one way to hold it?”

My brother ran through about five different grips styles that he said could help stabilize my left wrist. I guess it was my left wrist wanting to flip that was messing up the alignment of my putt. I was blown away by the sheer number of creative grip styles people have found to improve their putting. After a whole summer of experimenting, I finally found a style that suits my putter and my stroke and I’ve been draining putts ever since . . . kind of. 

If you are struggling with your putting stroke or just looking to change a few dynamics of your game, here are five different unconventional putting grips to experiment with this season:

Close-up of a crosshanded or reverse style putting grip. The dominant hand goes on top. 

1. Cross Hand

The crosshanded grip is essentially the reverse style to the traditional golf grip, which is why it is also sometimes referred to as the reverse grip. Instead of holding the club with your dominant hand below your nondominant, switch it around and try gripping the putter with your dominant hand above your nondominant. This will give your nondominant hand more control and give you a more balanced swing. 

Pros who’ve used crosshanded grip include; Padraig Harrington, Jim Furyk, and Jordan Speith.

2. Split Hand

Close-up of split handed or hockey style putting grip. The longer the putter the wider the grip.

The split handed grip is essentially the traditional grip style except you unlink your hands to create some space. The nondominant hand steadies the top of the putter against your body while your dominant hand guides the putter shaft. A gap between your hands, however small, is said to increase the control over your putter and allow you to putt with greater accuracy.

Pros who’ve used split handed grip include; Natalie Gulbis, Daniel Chopra, and Happy Gilmore.

 

Close-up of Tommy Fleetwood’s claw or pencil style putting grip. The dominant hand holds the putter grip like a pencil.  

3. The Claw

The claw or pencil grip is essentially a variation on the split handed grip style where your dominant hand is almost taken completely of the club. The nondominant hand remains steady at the top of the putter shaft with your dominant hand underneath, gripping the shaft like a pencil. You are essentially only using the thumb, index, and middle finger of your dominant hand to grip the club and bring some equilibrium to your swing.

Pros who’ve used the claw grip include; Tommy Fleetwood, Phil Mickelson, and Sergio Garcia.

 

4. Palm to Palm

Close-up of palm to palm or prayer style putting grip. The palms are aligned and fingers overlap.

The palm to palm or prayer grip as it is sometimes called is exactly as it sounds. Instead of lining your up hands one after another like you would with a traditional grip, you bring your hands closer together by lining up your palms, wrapping your dominant hand snugly around the fingers of your nondominant. With this grip, bring your hands down from the top of the club and more to the middle of the club grip to help fix any wobbles.

Pros who’ve used the palm to palm grip include; Vijay Singh, Paul Dunne, and Matt Wallace.

 

Close-up of arm lock or braced style putting grip. The shaft of the putter is braced against the lead forearm.

5. Arm Lock

The arm lock putting grip looks like a very unconventional style, but it truly minimizes your ability to move your hands during the putting stroke. This stroke is perfect for those who have the “yips.” To achieve this grip, choke up on the putter. The putter should remain “locked” to the golfer’s lead forearm (nondominant hand) through the entire putting stroke while using your dominant hand to apply pressure forces the butt-end of the grip to maintain contact with your lead forearm.

Pros who’ve used the palm to palm grip include; Bernhard Langer, Soren Kjeldsen, and Jason Dufner.

Opening Day

We are ready to open TOMORROW!

Saturday, April 18th

First Tee Time 9:00 am

We can’t wait to see you back out on the course! We have implemented a new Touch-Free experience at our course. Click below to read more about our new procedures.

Book and pay for your round easily online.

KEEPING THE FLAGSTICK IN?

Pinehurst posted on Twitter announcing it was incorporating a 2” diameter PVC pipe cut to 2.5” in length, then popped into the hole.

While Minnesota golf courses remain closed during this public health crisis, other courses across the country continue to open their doors to golfers. Over the last month, many courses have made many surprising and creative innovations to help golfers stay safe during this pandemic. Courses have asked for pins to remain untouched while either reducing or raising the hole depths to avoid as much physical contact with the hole or flagstick as possible. A few places have even gone and removed the pins altogether. 

Either way, courses as a whole are advocating for golfers to avoid touching the pin and leave it in during your putt. Anyways, this whole thing got me thinking! If golfers will be expected to leave the pin in . . . how exactly will this affect their game?

Maybe you are used to putting with the pin in, but realistically this is probably a new phenomenon for most golfers. After all, it was only last year that the USGAchanged its rule on the subject. 

Under Rule 13.2a(2) of the USGA rule book, “There will no longer be a penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits a flagstick left in the hole.” 

What was once a violation of the basic rules of golf has now been deemed acceptable. This controversial rule change has now given golfers the option of leaving the flag in the hole during a putt. However, this raises a question. Does leaving in the pin help or hurt your putt? 

Bryson DeChambeau putting with the pin in.

In the PGA, it is still a controversial topic. Some say it is situational, while others would never dare to pull the pin. Then there are players like Bryson DeChambeauwho swear by it!

DeChambeau was a physics major at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He has been known to apply his knowledge of physics to help gain an edge in his golf game, effectively earning him the nickname The Scientist. According to DeChambeau’s mathematical and statistical analysis, you will hole a higher percentage of putts when you leave the flagstick in.

“The pin in is an easy one. It’s statistically proven to be a benefit in 99 percent of situations. Anything outside of ten feet I’m going to leave it in.” – Bryson DeChambeau

A putt about to fall into the hole with the flagstick in.

According to golf writer, Dave Pelz, the reason behind this philosophy is that a significant amount of energy is lost from a putt’s speed when the ball hits a fiberglass flagstick. The speed-loss allows gravity to pull the slower moving ball straight down into the cup more often than not. The pin is your friend. Even if you don’t hit it dead on, it can still help you. 

This summer, we may not get the option to pull the pin. Putting with the flag in may be forced upon us all. However, at least it is nice to know that it could potentially help us drain a few more putts and shave a few more strokes off our score!

Introducing a NEW Touch-Free Experience at River Oaks

We are looking forward to seeing you back out on the course again soon. When we open for play as decided by our state officials, we will have an all new touch-free experience to ensure the safety of our golfers and staff, including new procedures to limit contact and minimize touch points throughout the course.

We hope you all are staying safe and healthy during this time, and we will keep you updated on when we are able to re-open again soon. We appreciate your continued support and understanding.

Sincerely,

Your Friends at River Oaks Golf Course and Event Center

Updated Course Procedures

Golf:

  1. The golf shop and clubhouse will not be open.
  2. We will only be taking phone or online reservations for golf with prepayment.
  3. Please follow social distancing guidelines. Do not congregate in the parking lot.
  4. Please proceed to the starter tent 5 minutes before your tee time. Water, soda, and beer will be available for purchase at the starter tent.
  5. Carts will be sanitized after each use. If you have prepaid for a cart, please take one cart per person. Members of the same household can share one cart.
  6. Credit card only transactions will be allowed – we will not process cash transactions.
  7. Please do not remove the pins from the holes. We will have it set up so that you will not need to reach into the hole to get your ball.
  8. Water coolers, bunker rakes, benches, ball washers, or trash cans will be removed from the course. We will have a trash can at the end of your round to properly dispose of your trash.
  9. If you used a cart, after you are done golfing park the cart in the designated dirty cart area. Please remove all of your personal items and all of your garbage and dispose of your garbage in the trash dumpster located near the cart return.
  10. Do not linger in the parking lot.  Golfing is a privilege right now and we don’t want to lose that by having groups of people in the parking lot.

Range:

  1. Please pay at the starter tent.
  2. The charge will be $10 per hour per person for as many balls as you would like to hit. Payment can be made via credit card at the starter tent.
  3. Golf ball pyramids will be set up for golfers to use.
  4. Range balls will be disinfected after use.

Practice Green:

  1. We will use aiming sticks instead of holes on the practice green.
  2. Limit of 10 people on the practice green at one time.

We appreciate your support and flexibility during this unique time. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Golf ball on green grass of golf course - River Oaks Golf Course - Cottage Grove

2020 RIVER OAKS EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

As soon as River Oaks is granted permission to open up for the golf season, our course will be hosting and providing several events and activities to keep you and your friends and family occupied this summer. This year we are offering plenty of league options, lesson opportunities, and public events for our guests. Explore below to learn more about our league options, available lessons, scheduled tournaments and exciting events planned for the 2020 season. 

LEAGUES

River Oaks is offering several different leagues four days out of the week this year for every type of golfer, so finding one that fits you shouldn’t be hard. Below are the leagues we offer and the days and times each league meets throughout the summer, click on each league to learn more. Sign up for a league and spend your summer golfing!

Tuesday Afternoon Junior’s

Tuesday morning tee times at 11 AM starting June 16 – August 18.Couples League - River Oaks Golf Course - Cottage Grove

Tuesday Evening Couple’s

Tuesday evening tee times between 5-6 PM starting May 5 – August 25.

NEW! Tuesday Evening Millenial’s

Tuesday evening tee times between 6-7 PM starting May 5 – August 25.

Tuesday & Wednesday Morning Senior Men’s League

Tuesday morning tee times between 7-10 AM or Wednesday morning tee times between 6-11 AM starting April 14 – October 14.

Wednesday Evening Women and Wine League

Wednesday evening tee times between 5-6 PM starting May 6 – August 26.Women's League - River Oaks Golf Course - Cottage Grove

Thursday Morning Ladies League

Thursday morning tee times between 7-9 AM starting April 30 – September 17.

Saturday Morning Men’s Club

Saturday morning tee times between 7-10 AM starting April 25 – October 10.

LESSONS

River Oaks is offering lessons and clinics for adults, women, and juniors throughout the summer to help individuals improve their game in a fun and friendly environment. Below are the lessons we offer, click on each lesson to find the days and times and find one that fits your schedule. Sign up for a lesson and spend your summer learning a new talent!

Adult Beginner Golf Clinics

These lessons are geared towards anybody that wants to learn golf or get back into playing golf in a non-competitive, friendly, no-pressure environment. Instructors will go through the basics of the highlighted aspect of the game each lesson.

Women’s Beginner Golf Clinics

These lessons are geared toward women that have little to no golfing experience but want to get into the great game of golf in a non-competitive, friendly, no-pressure environment. Instructors will go through the basics of the highlighted aspect of the game each lesson.

Adult Intermediate Weekly Golf Camps

The next step after our Beginner Clinics are our month-long adult group lessons are geared toward intermediate players who have a grasp on the basics but need to brush up on some fundamentals to get to the next level. 

Junior Try-It Lessons

These lessons are for kids ages 6-11 years old and a beginner at golf. Kids will get a chicken tender basket with fries before instructors go through key points of the weekly skill and the kids get to swing their clubs. 

Junior Weeklong Golf Camps

These camps are geared toward beginner golfers that have little to no golfing experience and are interested in picking up the game. Instructors will teach the basics of the game starting with putting and chipping and then go through the fundamentals of the full swing with irons and woods. 

TOURNAMENTS

River Oaks is hosting a handful of tournaments this summer for those wishing to play in a competitive setting. Below are the tournament events we have already scheduled out, click on each tournament to learn more. Sign up for a tournament to compete for glory!

1st Annual Member-Guest Tournament

Saturday, May 30, 2020, shotgun start at 2 PM.

2020 Senior Men’s Invitational

Monday, July 13, 2020, shotgun start at 8 AM.

Club Championship Weekend

Saturday and Sunday, August 22nd and 23rd, 2020.

Ladies Invitational

Thursday, September 10, 2020, shotgun start at 8 AM.

Big Cup Scramble

Sunday, September 27, 2020, shotgun start at 9 AM.

BOCCE AND BAGS

River Oaks now has regulation bocce ball courts and bags boards! With our two newly built bocce courts and regulation bags boards, you can expect some tournament events scheduled for this summer. Our bocce courts are open to the public for free when there are no events scheduled. Grab some friends and meet at our patio bar overlooking the 18th hole and the Mississippi River for a fun summer evening. Follow our Facebook page and stay tuned for our upcoming bocce and bags events.

EVENTS

River Oaks is in the process of planning the dates and times for some awesome summer events! Just like last season, River Oaks will host many fun and exciting outings. Expect to see some of our delicious four-course dinners usually featuring a local brewery, winery, or distillery. There will be plenty of golf outings to attend as well, including Glow Golf, Greens and Brews, Green Keepers Revenge Day, and Employee-Member Tournament. Of course, we are hoping to squeeze in some live music events again this season as we did with Dueling Pianos. 

Please follow our Facebook page to stay updated with the dates and times of all our upcoming events!

Titleist Loyalty Program

We’ve partnered with Titleist to bring you the best golf gear. Now through 4/22 when you buy 3 dozen of Titleist’s V1, V1x, or AVX golf balls, you’ll get 1 dozen FREE. Skip work. Play golf. Save money.

Fill out our online order form below to order yours today!


Qualifying Details
  1. All 4 dozen must be for the same ball model, play number, personalization text and text color.
  2. All golf balls must contain Single Personalization only
  3. No logos available
  4. 4th dozen must be added to Cart to qualify
Shipping Details
  1. If your custom golf ball order qualifies for Loyalty Rewarded, our current lead time is 25 business days or less.

CORONA & THE GOLFING SEASON: WHAT CAN WE EXPECT?

The City of Cottage Grove is doing its part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and unfortunately, that means closing River Oaks until March 29th. It is such a shame that right when it seems that the Twin Cities is at the cusp of what seems like an early golf season we find our selves amid a national health emergency. Most public places are being avoided at all costs, events are being canceled, kids are out of school and people are working from home. It is a rather strange time . . . but what will all this mean for the golf season?

Well, the PGA has closed down in response to the coronavirus and some golf clubs around the nation are following suit. It is even questionable if there will be a Masters this year. 

Who knows what this national emergency will look like in two weeks? It could get better or worse, but either way, it doesn’t look like the virus is going away anytime soon. Even when we can all come out of quarantine (whenever that may be) we will still have to practice our social distancing. 

The truth is golf is a very low-risk scenario when it comes to spreading the virus, but that doesn’t mean that golf goes without any risk. When River Oaks does officially open up it’s the course for the season it will be good to implement these social distancing practices on the golf course.

Tips for golfing with the coronavirus:

  1. Golf can be a solitary sport, try golfing alone.
  2. If you are golfing with others, avoid the 18th green handshakes.
  3. Store a bottle of hand sanitizer in your golf bag.
  4. Wipe down your club handles and golf bag with alcohol wipes.
  5. Avoid picking up random golf balls you find on the course.
  6. Wipe down seat, steering wheels, handles, and cup holders if you take a cart or perhaps consider walking.
  7. Leave the cellphone in the car.
  8. Consider washing or sanitizing your golf glove before and after your round.

Following these simple tips will further help prevent the spread of COVID-19 once our golf season starts. The golf season will come. Everyone at River Oaks is anticipating and preparing for the day that we can finally open the course, but the health and safety of our customers mean a lot to us and we will work to continue to provide a safe environment and serve the needs of our customers as best as we can.