Mountain Blog

Get Back into the Swing of Things
Abbey Neerken - Friday, April 10, 2015

Crystal Mountain Driving Range - April 10, 2015

It’s time to dust off those clubs and get to the golf course, or at least the range! After all, the range has been open since Wednesday with the Betsie Valley to open Saturday (April 11) and the Mountain Ridge likely to follow in the next week or so. The Masters is on television and the forecast is calling for temps in the 60s and sun this weekend. If you don’t feel it already, you’ll be getting that “itch” to get on the course. Tee off the season right by doing these five things before your first round:

1. Ease into it 

Use it or lose it, remember that? When you stop doing a sport for a while, like all winter, you lose muscle memory. Don’t worry; it happens to everybody so ease back into it by getting the feel of your swing again. Start by swinging without a club, then get to the range. “Start with high lofting clubs and work your way to low lofting clubs,” says, Ed Laprade, director of golf instruction at Crystal Mountain.  Start small by chipping or putting and work your way up to the driver. You don’t want to kick off the season by shanking one on the first tee!

2. For the sake of your back, Please Stretch

Throwing your back out is not going to help your game. You don’t have to spend an hour at yoga before hitting the course or range, but you’ll want to warm up those muscles you haven’t used in a while. “Even beginning a simple workout regime to get those muscles working again can make a world of difference,” says Crystal Mountain Director of Golf, Brad Dean. His workout routine recently changed for golf season, and although he is sore now, Brad agrees that it is better than feeling sore during the peak of the golf season.

3. Get Real

Remember, it’s been an ice box for nearly five months so make sure your expectations of the course, the game, and especially yourself are realistic. “You cannot expect to play a mid-season game right out of the blocks,” says Laprade.  Don’t get frustrated just be happy, you’re playing golf again! 

4. Seek Help from a Professional

Bragging rights will be on the line soon enough, so get a few strokes up on your buddies by taking a lesson. Crystal Mountain Golf School has made Golf Magazine’s Top 25 in America twice. Crystal’s instructors have worked with every type of player from those who’ve played in The Masters and US Open to countless who have never even picked up a club. A pro can identify and fix that hitch in your swing or short-game. And if it’s you’re club’s fault (even though a good carpenter never blames the tools), they can help get you a custom fit. 

5. Spring Cleaning

Once you’ve exhumed your clubs from the basement or garage (try not to inhale too much dust), first make sure they’re all accounted for and get last year’s dirt and grass out of every groove and give them a nice shine. Go out get the necessities: a couple dozen balls, tees, new towel and while you’re at it, a new pair of shoes – you’ve earned it.

Congratulations! You are mentally and physically ready for five-and-a-half glorious months on the fairways and greens. See you on the first tee!

Crystal Mountain Driving Range - April 10, 2015

Anika Dy looks to drive, chip and putt to a title at Augusta National
Brian Lawson - Friday, April 03, 2015

While teaching a junior clinic at a golf show in Novi five years ago, Scott Wilson, Crystal Mountain’s Director of Player Development, met eight year old Anika Dy.

“I asked her when she started playing golf and she said, ‘When I was six,’” says Wilson. “I asked if she’d played any tournaments and she said yes. I asked how she did in those tournaments and she answered, ‘I won them.’”

This weekend the now 13-year-old Anika will be looking for another victory on one of golf’s most historic stages, Augusta National. By just about anyone’s standards you could already chalk this one up in the win column. She is one of just 10 girls in her age division and 40 from across the nation who will be competing in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals to be held on Sunday at the home of The Master’s. Two drives, two chips and two putts (from three different distances) means you have to make each swing count.

“Anika had to compete against kids from Michigan, Ohio and western Pennsylvania to get here,” adds Wilson. “But if you spend just a few minutes with her it’s easy to see how she takes everything in stride and excels in these situations.”

Anika and her family moved to northern Michigan in 2011 because they liked the lifestyle and not just to participate in Crystal’s Junior Elite program but to enjoy all four seasons - she’s also an avid snowboarder. Like any kid should, she’s tried any number of sports but her heart always brings her back to golf which is her main focus. And focused is precisely what she and Coach Wilson will be over the next two days.

The two will spend time practicing this afternoon at the Capital City Club just north of Atlanta. Tomorrow there will be another practice session at a club in Augusta before the main event on Sunday at Augusta National. The competition begins Sunday, April 5 at 9am and you can watch live at

Good luck Anika!

The Trunkslammer's Warm-up
Brian Lawson - Monday, August 11, 2014

The Trunkslammer's Warm-up

Every golfer is guilty of it at least once - if not a habitual offender. You roll into the parking lot minutes before the round begins. Throw on your shoes. Grab your clubs and slam the trunk before rushing straight to the first tee. It's anybody's guess what happens next.

You might just fire one right down the middle of the fairway but let's be realistic, a duck hook, slice into the woods or tweaked back is probably a more likely outcome. Director of Crystal Mountain Golf School, Scott Wilson sees it all the time.

"We all oversleep at one time or another. We're all busy at work or busy with the family. Even if you only have 10 minutes before your round there are few quick things you can do to ease into that first hole to prevent damage to your body and your scorecard."

1. Spend at least half of that 10 minutes just loosening up the core muscles that are key to the golf swing. Do a few side bends, twists and bend at the waist touching the ground to stretch out your back and hamstrings.

2. Take the heaviest iron out of your bag and swing it back and forth like a pendulum. Easy at first and then into a full swing. This will continue to loosen up the muscles and get you into the rhythm of swinging the club.

3. Spend a few minutes on the putting green to get a feel for the speed. Begin with The Ladder Drill (pictured above), rolling a putt across the green trying to leave the next putt five feet short of the previous and the next five feet short of that ball. Next, move to The Stair Drill (pictured below) dropping balls at three, four and five feet in a straight line from the hole and putting each into the cup. It not only helps with speed but can build a little confidence as well.

4. Leave the Big Dog in the bag on the first hole. It requires intense discipline but you're probably better off passing up the driver for a hybrid or 5-wood. Aim small, miss small. Once you've played a couple of holes and get into the groove, feel free to let the Big Dog eat.

This warm-up will work in a pinch but it's far from ideal. Scott recommends trying to arrive at the course an hour before your round. He'll help share how to best manage that hour of practice in an upcoming post on the Mountain Blog. Stay tuned.

Scott Wilson is the Director of Crystal Mountain Golf School with over 20 years experience as a PGA Instructor. He is a mainstay on Golf Digest's list of Top Teachers in Michigan and is a past recipient of the Michigan PGA's President's Plaque, awarded to those who have significantly contributed to growth of the game. 

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