Golf Practice "E"

East West

Concept: Shaping your golf shots is a strategy usually worked on at advanced levels. But with a few simple steps, even a mid to high handicapper can start shaping golf shots.

Action: I encourage players to adopt one shape of shot, as this takes away one side of the golf course and agree with Ben Hogan when he said the correct golf swing is one that lends itself to a draw.

Draw an imaginary line from the ball to the target and hit shots where the ball starts a little right of the target line to the east and then draws back towards the line but never crosses the line to the west.

Use this shot-shaping exercise to control the starting direction and the amount of draw.

Note: Golf is not the type of game that offers rewards for unnecessary risks. There is no point hitting high or low, curving back and forth, unless there is a high-risk reward ration.

Egg–scrambled

Concept: Because of the better-prepared and faster greens today, it is possible to take out any wrist action in the putting stroke, which leads to more consistency.

Action: Stabilizing the wrist action in your putting stroke keeps the club face square whilst enhancing your distance control.

Place a raw egg between your forearms to restrain your wrist action and go through your normal practice routine, which should include some long putts.

Eliminate all wrist action or else you will crack the egg.

Elephant Trunk

Concept: The biggest set-up mistake golfers make is standing too far from the ball. Any time you extend your arms “out” towards the ball, you're in trouble. This is going to create tension and will lead to fat shots.

Action: Form your normal stance from the ball and take your right arm off the golf club allowing it to hang like an elephant trunk. Next, can you fit your hands span between yourself and the top of the club? If yes, you are standing the correct distance from the ball.

Add this set-up step to your pre-shot routine.

End Over End

Concept: Putting the ball on greens that are spiked or bumpy involves controlling the golf ball at the moment of impact and immediately after.

When putting on bumpy greens with your typical stroke, the ball has practically no spin when it leaves the club head. For the first several inches (depending on the length of your putt) the ball is really skidding along before rotating and rolling towards the hole.

When the green is unusually bumpy the standard putt becomes a problem because of the lack of spin. The ball may hit something small on the way and deflect from the target, long before it creates its own inertia. Being knocked offline a half an inch in the beginning becomes a few feet by the time it reaches the hole.

Action: To develop the control you need on bumpy greens and develop a more end-over-end roll, putt the ball on the upswing. Hitting up will give the ball over-spin from the time it leaves the club head.

Over-spin helps the ball remain on target, especially during those first few crucial inches.

Place a coin directly behind your ball. Practice hitting up on your ball by missing the coin.

Note: When playing on bumpy greens it also pays to use a heavier putter.

Enough Force

Concept: What is the correct holing speed? A ball landing 1 or 2 feet shy of the hole has no way of going in. Therefore, the first step in putting is to hit the ball with enough force. If the ball misses the hole, it should travel no more than 17 inches past the hole. Any further and it is travelling too fast.

Action: On the practice green, hit putts from different distances until you start to get a better grasp on how hard to hit the ball from various lengths. Practice from 8, 20 and 40 feet and use different angles around the hole.

A ball rolling 17 inches behind the hole is travelling at the correct holing speed. Anything travelling past this distance is approaching the hole too fast and will likely jump out of the hole.

BONUS: Tiger Woods’ Solid Stance: The next time you watch Tiger Woods putt, ignore for a moment where the ball goes and focus instead on his hips and legs. They stay still throughout the stroke. This is one of the major points of difference between top players and many amateurs.

By keeping the hips and legs steady, Tiger establishes a solid foundation as he swings the putter back and through, producing an in-line stroke on a more consistent basis.

Note: The size of the swing should be in proportion to the length of the putt. Too much swing will result in a loss of accuracy.

Tiger uses the reverse overlap putting grip. This is thought to be the best way to control the putter. The putter meets the ball on a slight upward arc, imparting a smooth roll.