Archive for the ‘Golf Swing’ Category

Purgatory Golf heads to Golf 365

By: Tony Adragna on March 27th, 2014

As we all know, Indiana winters can be brutal, especially for golfers who want to get out and practice their game. But now, with Golf365 in Noblesville, you no longer have to take four months off from golf.

Junior Golfer, Clay Merchent, and Purgatory’s Director of Golf, Mike Merchent, show you around the indoor golf facility, from the putting greens and target rooms to the golf simulator, in the video below.

Golf Instruction – The Elbow Drill

By: Tony Adragna on October 3rd, 2013

As Mike Merchent puts it, the Elbow Drill is one of the most beneficial drills he has ever used.

In the videos below, Mike shows you how to effectively perform the Elbow Drill and also the Elbow Drill with hip variation, and extensively explains why the drill is beneficial, and how to effectively perform it.


Posture and pivot. We’ve heard those terms a lot in golf. Well today, I’m going to show you a drill that will help you isolate those 2 fundamentals of the golf swing. Hi everybody, my name’s Mike Merchent. I’m coming to you from Purgatory Golf Club here in Noblesville, Indiana. The drill that I’m’ going to show you today is the elbow drill. This is a fantastic drill. It helps you with your posture, and it helps you with your pivot. First is the posture portion of it. What I’m going to do is I’m going to stand up here, I’m going to take this club, I’m going to place it behind my back in my elbows. Alright. Now right there, I’ve solved my posture issues. It’s going to force me to have a nice, straight, flat back. Then I’m going to bend from my hips, slightly bending my knees. Alright, this is my address position. My posture is perfect, and from this position, which is both called position number 1 or address, we set up to a simulated ball position, hold this for 3-5 seconds. Now from here, I’m going to shift to my right side, I’m going to point the club-face part of the club down toward the ball. Now here, I’ve got a nice stretch going, got my weight predominantly on my right side here, club’s pointing at or slightly behind the ball position. This the top of the backswing. Now, the forward part of the swing, I’m going to do in the elbow drill very much like I do in the golf swing, I shift the weight to my left foot, rotating my hips over to my left side, pointing this part of the club at or slightly behind the ball. This is either impact or slightly after impact. And then the fourth segment of this drill, I continue rotating with my hips and shoulders, where I’m looking down toward my target line, I’m standing straight up. All right, we’re going to do this one more time. 1, 2, weight on the right side, club pointed at the ball, 3, shift the weight to my left side, point the club at the ball, 4, rotate on and through. Okay. So this elbow drill, it’s really basic, very easy. Will help you with your posture, it will help you with your pivot. If you work on this drill every day before you hit shots, it’s a great way to get some heat in your muscles, get you warmed up a little bit. Try this drill, I hope it helps.


By now, you’ve seen me do the elbow drill. Today I’m going to show you just a little bit of an addition to the elbow drill that will help you isolate a particular part of your swing that I think is very, very important. Hi everybody, my name’s Mike Merchent, I’m coming to you from Purgatory Golf Club here in Noblesville, Indiana. The elbow drill, just to refresh your memory on the elbow drill, the club goes behind your back in your elbows. This forces you to have great posture. Nice, flat back here. Then I set up to the ball here, slightly bending my knees. This is position number 1, hold this for 3-5 seconds, then position number 2, weight shifts to my right foot, club’s pointing at or slightly behind the ball position – this really helps you with your flexibility and stretching. Position number 3, shift your weight to your left foot just like you do in your golf swing, point the club at or slightly behind the ball position, and then position 4, continue to rotate with your hips and shoulders to a finished position. Hold each one of these positions for 3-5 seconds, it’s a great way to start your practice session. You’re going to stretch your muscles a little bit, get a little bit of heat in them, it’s just a great way to start your practice session. But today, I’m going to add a little spin to that. Just like the elbow drill helps you with your posture and your pivot, this, just take a little bit of bungee cord here or surgical tubing, this is going to help you with your hips. Everybody wants to know “How do I move my hips in the golf swing?” Well, we’re going to show you today. Alright, you take this, and you hook this surgical tubing up right across the front of your hips, and as you can see, this really simulates the position that my hips are in. I do that, I add the club behind my back like I do in the elbow drill. Okay. We set up. We’re over the ball. Okay, perfect. This is position 1. From position 1 to position 2, we shift to our right, we point the club at or slightly behind the ball position. Notice how the club and my shoulders goes further to the right than the club attached to my hips. That means my shoulders are rotating more than my hips. Okay, now here’s where the magic comes, going from position 2 to position 3. I want to make sure that I get this club here attached to my hips to shift and move first and more than the club behind my shoulders. Alright. So notice this: That this club to my hips is pointing a little bit behind the golf ball, but the club behind my shoulders is way behind the golf ball. Now let’s look at it from the side view here. Now notice how this club here is pointed a lot further in front of me than the club behind my back and my elbows. What does that do? Well that’s the shoulder-hip separation that’s so critical in starting your downswing. We don’t start our downswing with our upper body, we start our downswing with our hips, we swing from the inside out, not from the circumference in. We’re at the top of our backswing, we want to now, as we start down, we want to move this club on our hips, we want our hips to move. Our hips are going to shift to the left and they’re going to rotate. Now notice how this club is leading now. This is a perfect position right here to, an isolation of the hips, and how the hips are supposed to move. And then, as you move through your swing, you keep the hips moving and the shoulders moving and they eventually pair up. The shoulders will actually move a little bit more coming through and then they’ll recoil back. But what you can do when you set up like this, just to free your hips up and just to isolate those hips so that you realize that they’re a really huge factor in the quality of your golf swing, just rotate your hips separate of your shoulders. It looks easier than it is, but I’ve been doing it a long time. Okay, let’s do this one more time. We’re going to go to the top of our backswing and stop, then I’m going to shift my hips and rotate my hips, and look, I get that club started first, and then rotate through. Most people do the exact opposite – they get to the top of their backswing, and *whoop*, the shoulders just come right over, get in front of their hips. Now you get into the same position eventually, but your sequence is all off. So this isolates the hips, gets your hips to move first. You don’t want your hips to trail, you want your hips to lead. So this is a little spin on the elbow drill, I don’t have a title for it yet, I don’t have a name for it yet, but I will soon. Try this; if you slice the ball a lot, there’s a good chance you’re coming over the top of it, which, there’s a good chance you’re doing that with your upper body. You need to learn how to use your hips, you need to learn how to isolate your hips, you need to learn how to get your hips moving first before your shoulders. Try this drill for a while, see if it helps you isolate your hips, see if it helps you with your slice.

Golf Lessons with Mike Merchent

By: purgatorygolf on March 28th, 2013

This golf lesson with Mike Merchent is our most watched video on our YouTube channel. He will be conducting a golf instruction training session Tuesday, April 9th at 11:30 a.m. for our staff. A maximum of 20 guests will be able to attend, free of charge.

I can honestly say that Mike understands the golf swing better than any other golf instructor I have met, seen on TV, or heard speak. Unfortunately he doesn’t have the time to provide personal instruction these days, the whole running a golf course thing gets in the way. So this is a great opportunity for you to learn from him 1st hand. If you’d like to attend, please contact the proshop 317-776-4653, ext. 1.

Mike will be conducting these internal training sessions once a month, leave a comment if you’d  like to be one of the golf swings he uses in a training session.

PS. This is a change, originally he was to conduct the training next week. Due to a scheduling conflict, Jon Stutz will instead be discussing the Rules of Golf and water hazards next Tuesday at 11:30. Please call the proshop if you’d like to join us for the Rules discussion & training.

Purgatory Insider Training

By: purgatorygolf on March 5th, 2013

Internal training, we’ll share with a few guests

The Golf Swing

by Mike Merchent, Director of Golf, he will select one volunteer, evaluate the swing impromptu, meaning on the spot, and make recommendations if appropriate to improve.

Rules of Golf

Head Professional, Jon Stutz, Jon will focus on rules that have been in the news when appropriate, otherwise he will take suggestions or use his best judgement as to what would be the most worth while.

Turf Care

James Brown will provide education on turf management, and where appropriate, reference the iBook Golf Course Management by Karl Danneberger, Ph.D.

Technology, photography

General Manager, Tenna Merchent will teach technology, iPhone photography, Pinterest, Blogging, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, and writing.


Tom Smith will provide culinary education, from food safety to wine appreciation.


March 12th, Tenna Merchent, Dropbox & 1password

March 19th off

March 26th Chef Tom, Food Safety

April 2nd, Mike Merchent, impromptu golf lesson with volunteer

April 9th Jon Stutz, Rules of Golf, water hazards

April 16th James Brown, Golf Course Management

Meeting time will be at 11:30 unless noted otherwise. We look forward to this weekly training geared to the continued development our staff, while keeping in mind what may interest our guests. Responsibility for topics and/or outside speakers will rotate through each leadership member. The training sessions will be limited to one hour. We are able to accommodate up to 20 outside guests. Sign up is by phone to the proshop at 317-776-4653 ext 1.








Currently the session will not be video taped, and we will not have remote participation. At a later time we may offer these options.


Here is the tentative schedule for the PGC insider training:


March 12th, Tenna Merchent Dropbox & 1password

March 19th off

March 26th Chef Tom, Food Safety

April 2nd, Mike Merchent impromptu golf lesson with volunteer

April 9th Jon Stutz, Rules of Golf, water hazards

April 16th James Brown Pythium Blight


The PGA Merchandise Show, What Do You Want to See?

By: Tenna Merchent on January 17th, 2013

The 2013 PGA Merchandise Show is Next Week in Orlando Florida! As golf geeks, we can’t wait for this show every year. We get to see all the new cool:

  • Equipment, drivers, hybrids, putters, wedges
  • Golf balls
  • Men’s clothes
  • Women’s clothes
  • Children’s clothes
  • Shoes, belts, hats
  • Ball marks
  • Awards
  • Spinner vans, yes they have decked out spinner vans

You name it, if it exists at a golf course it will be at the show. There is a whole section devoted completely to brand new products. Some of them are crazy, do you really want a picture of your little girl on your driver head? But some are really cool like the Switch belts we started carrying last year.

If you have trouble with focus, this can be a challenge. It is soooo HUGE, I actually bought a backpack that has a scooter that flips down so I can make around the whole show this year. We go with definite goals of what we have to see, and what would be nice to see.

That’s where you come in, is there anything you want to see. I can take pictures, probably some video, ask questions, get prices if there is anything you want me to investigate, I have 6 days to add it to my list.

So, what do you want to see from the PGA show?

3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Golf Game

By: Tenna Merchent on September 4th, 2012

Want to know 3 simple ways to improve your performance on the golf course?

  1. Eat a healthy breakfast.
  2. Eat a health lunch at the turn.
  3. Drink water & eat fruit while you are out on the course.

The brain & the body are immediately affected by what we eat & drink. Anyone who has ever had a cup of coffee knows the quick effect of caffeine. One beer can have a similar immediate effect.

If you don’t eat breakfast, you are essentially fasting from dinner the night before until lunch or dinner today. The first organ to suffer from temporary malnutrition is the brain.[1] We all know that golf is a mental game, not just physical.

Golf day nutrition

  1. Avoid refined sugar, artificial color & flavors, & preservatives
  2. Select complex carbohydrates, found mostly in grains (whole grain breads, pasta, & rice), potatoes, & carrots.

Complex carbohydrates represent a slow-release source of energy.[2] Most experts agree that a diet rich in complex carbohydrates is the best for performance in sports.[3] A study of cyclists proved that as they increased complex carbs in their diet, it took them longer to become fatigued.[4]

One of my favorite grab & go breakfasts is these simple homemade oatmeal cookies. The recipe originated with the Pritikin Center, a heart healthy diet/lifestyle. We modified it a tiny bit.

4 egg whites, whipped

2 tablespoons xylitol (a natural sweetener derived from corn, it can be purchased at Whole Foods or on-line)

  • ½ cup raisins
  • 4 cups oatmeal
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½  cup applesauce
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 Mix ingredients until uniformly moist. Drop dough by the tablespoonful on an ungreased cookie sheet. 
Bake for 15 minutes. 
Cool and serve.


[1]  Alexander Schauss, Barbara Friedlander Meyer, and Arnold Meyer, Eating for A’s, (New York: Pocket Books: a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.) pg. 18.

[2] Ibid p. 225

[3] ibid pg. 225

[4] ibid pg. 227

Hard Decisions about New Clubs

By: Tenna Merchent on July 17th, 2012

In this video, Mike and Clay Merchent discuss the difficult decision that Clay made regarding his awesome, but heavy new custom made clubs. His new club were custom made for him, so they were the right length and the proper lie, but they were still too heavy for his young swing. He ultimately made the tough decision to stick with his older junior clubs, and to save his new amazing custom clubs for when he is a little stronger and older. Very mature decision. Many junior golfers go to too long of a club before they are ready. It gives them short term benefits, but in the long run it hurts their game because the don’t learn how to generate club head speed with their core, which Clay actually does quite well.

Custom Club Fitting & Construction

By: Tenna Merchent on July 12th, 2012

Join Mike & Clay Merchent as Clay is fitted for his new custom clubs with Mizuno heads. Thank you to the talented Randy Campbell for all your hard work!


Bridgestone Ball Fitting for a Senior Golfer

By: Tenna Merchent on May 24th, 2012

In this video we catch up with senior golfer Dick Merchent as he is fitted by Bridgestone for a proper golf ball for his swing. Tadd, the gentleman from Bridgestone, does a great job of explaining how the laser will capture his swing. Through this analysis, they are able to recommend a more appropriate ball than the one he was using, and they add an amazing 27 yards to his carry. That is without changing his swing at all, just changing his ball! It’s a no-brainer.

Dick is quite the comedian, and the bloopers at the end are worth watching. Hope you find this as educational as we did, and of course fun.

Bridgestone Ball Fitting with Autumn & Scott

By: Tenna Merchent on May 18th, 2012

We were pleased to have the Bridgestone Ball Fitting team out at Purgatory Golf Club yesterday. They spent the entire afternoon, and much of the evening helping golfers test their golf swings, their current golf balls, and of course, a ball custom selected for their swing from Bridgestone. There analysis is quite scientific, and includes the speed of the golfer’s swing, impact on the club face, fade… numerous things that Scott describes in this video.

Autumn plays golf for Ball State University, and was kind enough to let us video tape her fitting session. It was quite interesting, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and yes, we included a few bloopers just for fun!