Golfing Tips

Master these simple golfing tips, designed to take your golf skills to the next level, and you'll be on your way to playing for par.

Upper Turn

Concept: Direction of turn vs. amount of turn

Action: After taking your posture, place a long post behind your neck the same way you would if you were doing squats in a gym. Practice your turn, keeping the post 90 degrees to your posture angles.

Moe Norman said the shoulders should only turn 17 degrees, so work around this angle. It is not until you put your left arm across your body that the turn will seem greater.

Note: Building coil in your swing generates more distance.

Upslope

Concept: Hit down to hit up, even when every fiber in your body wants to hit up the slope!

Action: All your clubs are designed to get the ball into the air, without any scooping action—even clubs like the driver and the 3 iron.

Stand on an upslope and make swings into the hill against the slope with a downward swing. If you keep the weight on your left foot and lean on your left side, the ball has no choice but to travel up into the air.

Variety

Concep: Variety during practice is the ingredient for staying fresh and eliminating burn out.

Action: Do not make the same putt from the same spot over and over again.

Hit a few bunker shots from the inside of the slope, both uphill and downhill, including the middle, to spice it up a bit.

Pitch the ball towards various targets.

Change locations. It will keep you fresh as you perform the same actions and take in the different surroundings.

Video Camera

Concept: After giving more than 10,000 golf lessons, I have been asked more than once to re-film a student because they exclaim it was a “one off” bad swing version of their swing the first time.

Action: Take 5 different videos of your swing, each time changing your swing thought. For example, on one swing, think about extending the right arm through the ball, whilst on another think about folding the left elbow through the ball.

What you will notice is that the swing looks the same, even though your thoughts were different.

Different thoughts won’t change your pattern instantly unless you have a new understanding.

Note: Why do so many people think their swing changes when they are using the driver? Sure, the driver swing will always look slightly different because the club is longer and tends to pull the body more, but the pattern is still the same.

Visualization

Concept: Add visualization to your pre-shot routine.

Action: Step 1: Take one practice swing. Many players tend to overdo this first step by taking too many practice swings. Unfortunately, taking too many practice swings can make a person more nervous and less confident about the shot.

All you need is one decent practice swing before hitting the ball. Keep it simple and try to keep your mind off the swing as much as possible. Your goal is to limber up your arms and shoulders, not over-exert yourself.

Step 2: Take a few steps back and visualize the club head hitting the ball in perfect harmony with your aim. Picture the ball flying through the air, with a perfect arc landing exactly where you want it to go. Literally pretend that you are making a real shot, then step up to the ball.

Step 3: Now it is time to get your aim set so you can hit the ball directly to your target. When you are ready, select an intermediate target a few feet in front of you, somewhere directly in line with your target making it easier to align your club face.

Step 4: At this point, you have taken one practice swing, visualized the entire shot in your mind, and have perfect aim. It is now time to swing your club. Before you make your shot, however, be sure to stay limber by waggling the club head. Once you're ready, it is time to let go and trust in your ability.

When you concentrate and visualize the look of the proper golf swing and get a clear focus for 15 seconds in your mind, it is equivalent to 10 hours of physical training! Tiger Woods’ coach said when he started working with Tiger, he was perplexed when Tiger would walk off and sit down and then come back. Tiger explained he was visualizing the swing changes he was being instructed to make. By doing this, he was quickening the learning process.

Visual Deterrent

Concept: Golfing architects prey on the ignorance of most golfers.

Action: Look for visual deterrents on the golf course. One example is a subtle bump built into a hole that may be 30-40 meters in front of the green. But from the fairway it looks as though the green is behind it.

Chances are, if you are not aware of visual deterrents, you will be well short of a hole because you under clubbed.

Volkswagen

Concept: Pinching your knees together, like the camber in the rear wheels of a Volkswagen Beetle.

Action: If you are trying to stop your reverse pivot by pinching your knees together or being pigeon toed please stop! Trying to block your weight shift causes problems elsewhere.

Allowing your weight to shift in a different direction helps you pivot correctly. So, open your right foot, flare it and let the body move around whilst relaxing your knees.

Remember: Golf is a game of opposites.

Wall

Concept: Understanding the flop shot path.

Action: To develop the correct path on your flop shot, place the club head against a wall and practice swinging back and through, keeping it against the wall. The most common mistake people make is sucking the club inside the wall on too flat a plane for this type of shot.

Also, be sure to open the club face at address by strengthening your left hand grip while keeping the right hand the same. As you make your backswing, the club face will open further.

Wilkinson

Concept: Johnny Wilkinson is famous for the unique way he goes about his goal kicking, but maybe there is something less obvious we can learn from him.

Wilkinson holds his elbows up as he kicks, allowing the sacrum to lock into the pelvis bone.

Action: 1.    Stand straight with your feet about shoulder width apart. Your hands
       should be on the grip and your arms close to chest height.

  1. Go up on your toes and come back down, keeping your arms up. Next, bend from your hips. Your sacrum will lock into your pelvis bone like Lego.
  2. Bend your knees so that you can feel some tension in your thighs, your back will remain straight. Hold your chin up.

Locking the sacrum into the pelvis creates a tension-free posture and, like Johnny Wilkinson, you can move your body as fast as you like without injury.

Windy Conditions

Concept: Practicing golf in windy weather can teach you a lot about shot shaping and mastering control over your ball flight.

Action: Apply these principles when you play in windy conditions:

  1. Use a club with far less loft than you need. This lowers the ball’s flight, minimizing the effects that heavy wind has on the ball. A strong wind tends to carry the ball with it. Less height gives you more control over the shot.
  2. For better control of your club when making a windy shot, tighten your grip.
  3. Never fight the strength of the wind. Embrace the conditions and use them to your advantage. Aim your shots in the opposite direction of the wind. This will teach you the basic skills of adaptation that you need on the golf course.
  4. To ensure your shot is played as accurately as possible in a fierce wind, use half your strength to make each swing smooth and steady.

Remember: When it’s breezy, swing it easy.

Wooden Board

Concept: Improve your ball striking.

Action: Hitting from a wooden board simulates a type of “hard pan” lie, teaching you to make contact with the ball first. Hitting from hard pan leaves little room for error. The negative result alone encourages you to make a better swing.

Wrist Watch

Concept: Use your wrist watch to monitor what your hands and wrists are doing.

Action: Make your normal swing and check your approach into impact .A correct impact is one where the watch face is pointing straight towards the target, thereby demonstrating that your wrist actions are correct.  

Hitting with the side of your left hand opens the club. In the proper golf swing, you need to square the back of the left hand.

Note: Keep your grip pressure a lot softer than you think!

Extra: Taking this a step further, Phil Mickelson wears his watch while playing, although he does it for the sake of rhythm. He likes to check from time to time on his own shot routine. Most golfers don’t wear any form of accessory when playing on the course because they tend to get in the way.

X out Your Hidden Tendencies

Concept: Spotting swing problems.

Accomplishing a better swing is a life-long process for every serious golfer. Becoming skilled enough to spot and fix a specific swing problem is part of the process.

Even professional golfers have coaches to help them with swing problems.

Actions: First, use your ball flight as a guide. Keep in mind that the less lofted the face the less backspin it imparts to the ball (which, of course, is why a long-iron flies so much lower than a pitching-wedge).

For a true reading of your club face alignment at impact, hit some shots with your driver. Any curvature indicates how you tend to deliver the club face at impact: looking right of target (open) if the shots mostly curve to the right; looking left of target (closed) if the shots mostly curve to the left.

To assess your club head path, hit some shots with your 9 iron. The strong backspin created by its steeply-pitched face negates any sidespin imparted on the ball. The shots will continue to fly in their starting direction with little or no curvature. If they start to the left, your club head path is from out-to-in. If they start to the right, you are swinging from in-to-out.

The interaction of backspin and sidespin is the answer, of course, to one of golf's great mysteries for many golfers:

“Why do my driver shots finish to the right and my short-irons finish to the left of the target?”

The truth is that the attack on the ball—out-to-in and open-faced—remains constant, while the countering of sidespin increases backspin as the clubs become more lofted, thereby disguising the club face error.

In short, just another example of golf's single most important fundamental: the flight of the ball always tells you everything you need to know to become a better player.

Xtreme Rough

Concept: Hitting through heavy grass.

When you are playing on the golf course, it may not happen often, but every now and then the golfer hits a shot so far off line that it strays into an area of the golf course that was never intended for play, where the rough is knee deep!

Some golf courses have grass that borders the fairways, reaching as high as 20 inches and topped with a heavy head of grain, which cause the stalks to droop.

Action: Two types of shots are involved when the rough is this deep:

  1. One shot is for when you are a considerable distance from the green.

On the longer shot you must surrender any hope of trying to reach the green. Your goal is to get the ball onto the side of the fairway and open up the green for the next shot. You should use a wedge or a 9 iron because these clubs have the loft to get the ball up quickly and the club head weight to fight through the grass. The face should be opened at address because the grass will grip the club head as it comes down, which tends to close the face.

The backswing should be upright and the downswing hard, with the left hand extremely firm. You won't get much distance here but you should be able to reach the fairway.

  1. The other shot is for when you are at the edge of the green.

An explosion shot is the best answer to deep grass around the greens, but it takes a little nerve. You should hit two or three inches behind the ball, as if you are hitting from sand. Emphasize the follow-through to get the ball up. The explosion shot out of deep grass behaves the same way it would if you hit from sand.

Zero In On Breaking 90

Concept: To consistently score under 90.

Action: To break 90, make par one more than the actual par itself. So, if the par of a hole is three, your personal par will be four. Thus, you are successful when you get the ball onto the green in two shots.

If the hole is a par-4, your individual par should be five, and you should be aiming to get the ball on the green in three shots. The same goes for a par-5, with your personal par being six for the hole. Success is getting the ball onto the green in four shots.

If you continue with this strategy you will begin to see by continuing to get the ball onto the green within your individual par, you will have the opportunity to take 2 putts on each hole and stay within the average score of five= (total score of 90).

 

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Zero In On The Target Line

Concept: The fundamental goal of golf is simple: Get the ball in the hole with the least amount of strokes using a variety of shots – chipping, pitching, full shots, and putting. So, the one skill that all good golfers learn is how to really zero in on the target line.

Action; Use your breath to connect yourself to your target. As you look at the target, draw your breath all the way along the target line to the club head then up the shaft into your stomach. Breathe out down your arms along the shaft through the club head along the target line until your reach your target.

After repeated practice with this technique your breath will feel like a laser beam.

Zero In On Eye Control

Concept: Do you find yourself looking at hazards, out of bounds, and the rough on the golf course?

Action: Separate 10 balls from your practice basket. Place the balls alongside your mat, and hit all 10 balls working on your eye control.

The only objects you are allowed to look at are the balls, your club head, and the target. Make sure you go through your per-shot routine for each ball and maintain strict eye contact only on the objects mentioned.

Zero In On keeping The Club Outside Your Hands

Concept: One of the most common swing errors occurs when golfers take their club too far inside the plane on the backswing. This move leads to many bad shots, including duck hooks, topped shots, and slices.

Action: Place your body with the wall behind you and take your address position with your backside touching the wall. Now, simulate your backswing (in slow motion) until your arms reach waist height.

Note: If your club touches the wall, you are too far inside.

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