30 August 2011

    The ball doesn't move

    Take a backswing, and then stop at the top and look down at the ball. Guess what? The ball didn't move. It's still there, exactly the same way it was before you started the swing. So why is there this great need to hurry down and hit it before you've even completed the backswing? There shouldn't be. The ball won't move. It will just stay there. You could take ten seconds to complete the swing and the ball will still be there. Make that simple concept a part of your thinking process. Relax. The ball doesn't move till you actually hit it. You can take a nice, smooth backswing and downswing, and allow the club to strike the ball at the bottom when the clubhead speed and timing is just right. Try it. The ball will be waiting for you.

    25 August 2011

    Tunnel vision

    When you’re driving a car through a tunnel, all you can see is what's ahead, right? There is nothing to the side of you to distract you. So it should be in golf. You survey what's out there on the hole, determine the tunnel or proper target line towards the hole and then act on it. Eliminate all distractions to the sides, and set out on your path to get you to the hole. Your objective on the drive is to get from the tee box to the middle of the fairway. Your objective on the approach shot is to land it on the green, as close to the hole as is practical and possible. Miss a green, and you chip toward the hole. Hit the green, you zero in on the putt until you hole out. See your target through “tunnel” vision. Eliminate the other variables. Keep it simple, focus and execute each shot to go directly to your particular target and you will get there in fewer strokes.

    20 August 2011

    Stop hitting it fat

    For those who iron shots fat (too much dirt/grass), there's a good chance you are doing many things right, but simply need to change ball position in accordance with your stance. Try moving the ball back in your stance – be it a quarter of an inch, a half, or even a whole inch – closer to the midpoint between your feet. You want to have the ball positioned in your stance in the spot that consistently allows you to strike it cleanly.

    15 August 2011

    Staying down on short shots

    You can look up too early to see where your shot goes, and sometimes you can look up too late. The best method is the modern golf swing, but sometimes on shorter shots, the head needs to stay down a bit longer. Here's a drill: Practice a long putt. Make sure after hitting the ball, you have stayed down on the ball until it’s at least half-way to the hole. Do the same on chips. Stay down well after the ball is struck – looking at the spot where you've just hit the ball until the ball is at least half-way to the hole – then look up. Try the same method with lofty pitches; don't look up till the ball has landed on the ground. You’ll improve your ball striking, and reduce the chances of hitting it thin.

    10 August 2011

    Be it woods or irons, keep your swing the same

    Many people question if they should change their swings according to which club they're using. The short answer is No - the modern golf swing should be the same with irons and woods.

    First, check your ball position with the irons. Just 10 years ago, most golfers moved their ball position for each club up to 14 inches - from inside the forward heel for drivers - to inside the back foot for wedges. This "forced" us to have slightly different swings for each club.

    Today's top players change their ball position only about 3 inches from driver to wedge to putter. This allows the swing to be nearly exactly the same with all clubs. The only change is the width of the stance - controlled by moving the back foot from narrower to a wider stance - based on the length of the club being used. The key is keeping your center behind the golf ball.

    Picture: Two professionals: one with a driver; and one with an 8-iron. Notice how their head and center set up behind the ball? This allows them to swing the short iron and driver with the same, basic swing mechanics. The amateur shown at the right has her "head and center" already in front of the ball at address, causing a very steep angles into the ball. This results in weak contact ... usually short and right of the target.

    Drills: Try placing your 9-iron in the center of your stance for 5 balls. Then move the ball position forward 2 inches and hit 5 more balls. Then move the ball forward, and hit 5 more balls. Each time, you should notice a shallower divot and crisper contact.

    6 August 2011

    The Out, Up and Down blueprint

    Getting out of trouble, and then getting up and down to save par is something that happens more often for really good golfers than it does for the not-so-good. You are salvaging a score when it could have been a disaster. But, it is something that can be done. And, to a varying degree, getting out of trouble and salvaging bogey can be just as rewarding. To accomplish this after you’ve found yourself in trouble, you have to do three things: 1 – You have to hit a shot that gets you out of trouble. Find the fairway or a position near the green; 2 – Hit the next shot up onto the green, preferably as close to the pin as possible, but at least on the surface; and 3 – Attempt a putt to save par (or bogey) . If you hole it, you have gotten up and down. If you miss the putt because it was just too far of a putt to make, that’s OK. Out, up and down (in two) keeps the big numbers off the board.

    2 August 2011

    Putting primer

    Try to establish a routine before each putt, and here’s a quick checklist you may want to consider. While your order of thoughts may be different, make sure you go through the same process each time. 1 – Determine the distance of your putt. For this example, let’s pick 40 feet as an example. 2 – Determine if it's straight, left-to-right, right-to-left, and to what degree. 3 – Determine whether it's level, uphill, downhill or where it flattens out if on a hill. Then, determine how firm you must hit the ball from 40 feet in order to leave yourself a ‘gimme.’ Then, aim along your chosen line, stay down and execute your shot – firm and confident. And repeat the same process the next time you putt.