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Golf Instruction

Master the most difficult shots and learn long drive secrets with our golf instruction articles. Our online golf lessons will help you transform your game.



Get Happy

Get HappyAs an instructor, one of the most common swing flaws I see is the dreaded reverse pivot. This move wreaks havoc on any golfer’s ability to hit consistently good golf shots. One of the best ways to overcome the reverse pivot is to try a drill designed to make it impossible to hold your weight back on your downswing. I call it the baseball drill, or the “Happy Gilmore,” named after the title character in the film who steps into the golf ball the way a field goal kicker lunges toward the ball.

High Hopes

High HopesYou’ll discover the need to hit over an obstacle—tree, fence, even a scoreboard—during the course of an everyday round. And while amateurs fear the shot, pros know that only a few setup adjustments can fuel success.

Accelerate The Putter

Accelerate The PutterAcceleration is the increasing speed at which the clubhead moves through the ball and is important not only for hitting shots of substantial distance, but also for short putts. In fact, if you find that you’re missing too many short putts, the cause may be failure to accelerate the putterhead. Here’s a drill that will help.

Triple Overlap

Triple OverlapOne of the most common causes of bad pitches and chips is the dominant hand (right for righties) taking over  the swing. The result is typically scooped or thin contact that produces fat or sculled shots. To alleviate this tendency, learn to make your hands work together by experimenting with the triple-overlap grip. This technique effectively takes the dominant hand out of the swing, and promotes a descending blow, which is absolutely critical to creating crisp contact and consistent results.

Turn Three Shots Into Two

Use these simple chips to become a scoring machine

Turn Three Shots Into TwoWhether your skills are strictly amateur or allow you to keep pace with any single-digit handicapper, you’ll never reach your true potential as a golfer unless you learn one of the game’s great tricks: turning three shots into two around the greens. In other words, you must find a way to become a scorer. Scoring is what separates the better players you know from everybody else. Taken to a higher analogy, it’s what separates the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh from the rest of the players on the PGA Tour.

Alternate Driving

When your driving goes south -- or when situations call for something other than the big dog -- ?don't forget your options

Alternate DrivingThe well-worn cliché “drive for show, putt for dough” is familiar to most golfers, but heeded by few. Hitting big drives is, in fact, often the most desirable accomplishment in the game for many recreational players, most of whom are less concerned with score than the bragging rights that accompany a long drive. Players who are interested in shooting good scores, however, know that accurate driving, or strategically positioning the ball off the tee, is a critical part of playing solid golf, and sometimes mandates the use of different clubs.

Myth Busters

Many popular swing tips and equipment theories are just plain wrong

Myth BustersIf you practice your backswing at a gas pump while talking on your cell phone, the station will explode. It’s myths like this—though hardly as ludicrous—that can send golfers who need the right answers into a tailspin. The trouble with myths is that most sound reasonable, and usually are passed from one golfer to the next with only good intentions. Nevertheless, the common tip shared across grill room tables and on tee boxes nationwide tends to do more harm than good if only because the true reasoning behind the suggestion is misunderstood. Let’s clear the air, shall we?

Ten-Minute Swing Changes

Quick Fixes To Save You From Suffering A Bad Day On The Course

Ten-Minute Swing ChangesThe situation: You’re on the range hitting balls, extremely off line and not very solid, with only 10 minutes remaining before your assigned tee time. The remedy: W.O.O.D.—quick adjustments that Work Only One Day, otherwise known as the “quick fix.” These “Band-Aids” are a necessary part of the game and come in handy when you don’t have time to seek out a long-term correction from your teaching pro. The key is knowing what needs adjusting. If you choose the wrong adjustment, things could get worse.

Is Your Swing Out Of Date?

In with the new. The swings of today?s top young golfers are vastly more efficient than those used by yesterday's heroes, which begs the question

Is Your Swing Out Of Date?The trophy cases of the likes of Nicklaus, Irwin, Miller, Stewart and Trevino are full of championship hardware, but all had swings that would now be considered old-fashioned. Yesterday’s players used a significant amount of lateral lower-body movement, which placed a lot of undue stress on the neck, hips and back. The great young players of today strive for a more stacked position at impact, which is both more efficient and much healthier for the body.

Sweet Spot: Retief Goosen

Sweet Spot: Retief GoosenCurrently ranked fifth in the world, Retief Goosen is an elite-level player who has two U.S. Open titles on his resume and the potential to win several more. Known for long, accurate driving and clutch putting, Goosen’s swing is somewhat idiosyncratic, filled with compensating moves that make it less than ideal by modern standards.

Alignment Beats The Slice

Alignment Beats The Slice

Body alignment is one of two key setup elements most frequently changed by amateur golfers (the other is ball position). Because players often associate the alignment of their upper body with the starting direction of the ball off the clubface, they tend to incorrectly alter their alignment for a variety of reasons, the most common of which is to compensate for a chronic pull slice. While the logic of aiming the torso further left to prevent hitting the ball to the right may appear sound at first, this faulty compensation actually causes more harm than good in the long term.

Good Breaks

Good Breaks

To be a great putter, you have to have sound fundamentals. This requires a steady putting stroke that regularly sends the ball rolling in the desired direction. You also ought to have a clear idea of what direction you should roll the ball—not only in the first few feet, but also during the entire distance of the putt. To do this effectively, you need to know how the green breaks by looking at two components of the putt: speed and direction. Some instructors argue that speed is the most important factor in putting because it dictates direction—that is, more speed equals less break, less speed equals more break.

Conquer Obstacles

Take the high route over what?s between you and your target

Conquer ObstaclesMany golfers have difficulty in hitting a high-trajectory shot when they have to. A reason for this inability is a ball position that’s too far back in the stance. This makes varying the trajectory of your shots nearly impossible.

Match Posture With Path

Match Posture With PathThe secret to consistently putting well is to match your posture to your stroke type. However, the conventional wisdom applied by most recreational golfers is that while putting, anything goes (witness the claw grip, the left-hand low technique and the belly-anchored stroke). And while many a Tour victory has been fueled by an unorthodox method, one fundamental shouldn’t be ignored: How you stand to the ball conditions how you stroke it.

Conquer Hardpan

Conquer HardpanRegardless of where you play, you’ll eventually face a tough pitch off hardpan. This is a dicey situation, as ultra-tight lies such as hardpan make it easy for the clubhead to bounce off the turf and into the top half of the golf ball, skulling it over the green. The key for pitches off hardpan is to make sure the clubhead does anything but bounce off the turf. Knowing how to accomplish this will save you strokes not only in this situation, but in dozens of others that involve tight lies.

No-Frills Putting Drills

Nine easy ways to lower your score

No-Frills Putting DrillsA quiet body, a ball at rest, a short back-and-forth motion—how could something so simple cause so many headaches? It’s a question that occupies the minds of touring professionals and weekend warriors alike. Wouldn’t it be great if putting was as simple as it sounds, where every round was as automatic as the clinic Aaron Baddeley put on at Harbour Town this year (97 putts over 72 holes)? Jeff Ritter, director of instruction at the ASU Karsten Golf Academy in Tempe, Ariz., believes putting isn’t complicated. And to help solve your putting woes, he has put together his No-Frills Putting Drills—nine straightforward, no-nonsense exercises intended to be practiced on your own, without the aid of an instructor. Practice these drills and, before you know it, you’ll actually look forward to working with the flatstick.

Hinge For Power

Hinge For PowerAmateurs have problems hitting crisp iron shots due to two fatal flaws. First, the takeaway tends to be too low to the ground, which delays the proper hinging of the wrists until too late in the backswing. Second, in a misguided effort to create power, the arms tend to swing too far in the backswing. This causes a breakdown in posture and usually leads to a reverse pivot. These flaws cause mis-hits and a lack of distance and control.

Dial In The Distance

Dial In The DistanceTo get the clubhead traveling a little faster (a necessary requirement for hitting longer shots), you need to create a longer backswing with an increase in the amount of arm swing and body turn. Not only must the swing be a little longer, but you need to pick up the pace of your swing to increase clubhead speed as well. The pace of the forwardswing should be slightly faster than normal.

Align The Easy Way

Align The Easy WayMost of my students struggle with the slice. Many of these golfers have serious swing issues, but the majority certainly possess enough talent and an understanding of the golf swing to keep slices at bay. The problem is they’re trapped into hitting slices because their setup facilitates swinging on the out-in path to which all slices owe their existence.

Hill Rides

Uphill and downhill lies are a challenge as they demand balance and control of the clubface throughout the swing

Hill RidesSet up with your spine perpendicular to the slope and shoulders parallel to the ground so you can swing up the slope on the backswing and down the slope on the forwardswing. The arrangement of your body will favor the creation of an upright swing and make it more difficult to square the face through the hitting area—that’s why a shot from a downhill lie tends to curve a little to the right. To help shallow the plane and encourage a swing that’s a little more around your body, drop your right foot back to close your stance slightly and match up the ball position to your stance by putting it about two inches back of normal.

Swing Barefoot For Balance

Swing Barefoot For BalanceThe majority of recreational golfers fail to achieve the balance needed to excel at golf or any athletic activity. One of the reasons why most golfers don’t swing in balance is that they swing too hard. A rule I like to impose on my students is “Swing as hard as you want to as long as you finish the swing in balance.”

Keep It Level

Keep It LevelOne of the keys to a solid golf swing is a level turn of the shoulders and hips during the backswing. A solid rotation not only promotes consistent ballstriking, but lays the foundation for achieving maximum distance as well.

Preload The Power

Preload The PowerI’m frequently approached at my power clinics and exhibitions by senior golfers who claim they’ve lost strength and suppleness, which translates into shorter tee shots. My advice to them for regaining lost distance is simple and direct: pre-load your power. By that I mean seniors should make a few swing adjustments to compensate for advancing age and a diminished ability to turn their shoulders and torque their torso.

Clear The Way

Clear The WayYou can’t hit big drives if your body gets stuck. That’s why I make a point of rotating my hips completely open on the downswing. This allows my arms to fully extend through the hitting area. Not only do my hips clear, but they remain level, which is key. By rotating through on a level plane, my right shoulder, arm and hip are able to continue adding power through impact. This prevents my body from getting stuck, which would limit the potential for clubhead speed by forcing me to hit only with my hands.

Alter Your Focus

Alter Your FocusOne of the first lessons most golfers learn is to “keep your eye on the ball.” I’m here to offer a better suggestion: Move your eyes behind the ball. Heresy, you say? I don’t think so. That’s because when a golfer makes his or her backswing with a full turn of the shoulders and a proper shift of weight, the center of his or her chest, or sternum, will be well behind the ball. (Exactly how far behind the ball depends on an individual’s suppleness and flexibility.)

 
 
 
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