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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.



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.)

Coil And Load

Coil And LoadThere are many keys to a powerful swing, and my number-one focus is to establish a powerful backswing coil. Notice how my left arm is parallel to the ground while the shaft is perpendicular to it. This position indicates a massive turn away from the ball and not a simple lifting of the club to the top (you can see my entire body stretching and straining to get turned). The coil is further enhanced by my left foot, which is firmly on the ground. This limits the amount I can turn my hips while still allowing me to rotate my shoulders as much as possible.

Focus On The Finish

Focus On The FinishMany amateurs are so consumed with anxiety about the incremental parts of the golf swing (grip, alignment, posture, setup, etc.) that they lose sight of the overall objective, which is to strike the ball squarely and forcefully. Let me suggest a method to alleviate this anxiety: Focus on the finish.

Wake Up Your Game!

Wake Up Your Game!

Sometimes golf just isn’t fair. Professional baseball has Spring Training. The NFL and NBA have training camps and a handful of preseason scrimmages. But golf? Well, it’s up to each and every professional to get their game on track on their own and show up ready to compete at the highest level. There’s no organized stretching sessions (Can you see Tim Herron or Phil Mickelson showing up?), no group mental conditioning, no preseason practice tournaments. Professionals are left to prepare by themselves.

Under 100

Five lessons that will lower your handicap in '07

Under 100

Golf isn’t a game of who hits it the best, it’s a game of who misses it the least. Even the best players in the world routinely mis-hit shots. In fact, the average Tour player hits only about 12 greens per round! How do they miss one out of every three greens and still manage to routinely shoot under par? Two reasons: steely determination and a red-hot short game.

Squat For Power

Squat For PowerTo begin the downswing, I squat to create leverage. The squat disappears as my left leg straightens, however. This move creates tremendous power and speed.

Shotshaping Formulas

How to make the shots you need to play your best

Shotshaping FormulasIt's a “how-to” world these days. Everywhere you look, you'll find someone, somewhere or something dedicated to what I like to call, “HTH” (How-To Hysteria). “How to bake a cake, how to wire a motorcycle, how to build an arboretum, how to fix a car—we as a culture have become so fascinated by the “how-to” genre that dozens of magazines, Websites and even television channels have been developed to help you help yourself. Luckily, Golf Tips is no exception, as the authors in every instructional story provide you with the scoop on how to become a better player.

Caddy Knows Best

Five key tips learned from a PGA Tour caddy

Caddy Knows BestAs a golf instructor and PGA Tour caddy, I’ve seen my fair share of golf swings, ranging from the sweet rhythms of the best players in the world to the herky-jerky moves of the frustrated first-timer. Yet despite the huge gap in natural ability between the novice and the professional, I’ve learned it’s not uncommon for the world’s elite players to struggle with a few of the same mechanics and course-management issues that a casual 18-handicapper might face during a round. The swings of touring professionals may be more advanced, but nobody is ever really immune to the occasional swing flaw or mental mistake. We’re all human after all.

Slice No More!

Destroy the banana ball in 4 easy steps

Slice No More!Beating the slice once and for all is a goal that can be accomplished by almost any golfer, provided the right approach is taken. In my four-step system, there are no quick fixes—just sound instruction that focuses on key slice-causing elements and methods for eliminating them from the golf swing. In step one, you'll learn to analyze your divots and figure out if your slice is the result of a bad path or a faulty clubface angle, or both. Step two will tell you how to determine what type of downswing you have and what powers it. In step three, the question of proper grip and how to match it to your downswing type is addressed, and in step four, you'll learn to match your position at the top with the right transitional move toward the ball and impact.

Glove Secrets

Slicing

Glove SecretsThe first fundamental I teach every new student is how to properly hold the club because good golf swings start with good grips. Your hands are your only connection to the club, thus making them the primary mover of the shaft and controller of the clubface. If you hold the club incorrectly, you’re immediately at a disadvantage and more likely to make compensations in your swing.

L.A.W.S. Revisited

Match your swing to your body type for maximum performance

L.A.W.S. RevisitedNot all athletes or golfers have an extreme body type. Instead, a great number of players fall into the “in-between” category, meaning they have a relatively “average” build with a solid combination of flexibility and strength. If you have this type of body, you need to develop a swing that takes advantage of both attributes, not just one or the other. This body type is best suited to a Leverage swing.

Tips From The Tour

Study the best in the world and improve your game

Tips From The TourIt goes without saying that the players who compete on the PGA Tour are the best in the world. Not only do they have impressive natural talent, but every guy out there spends a tremendous amount of time and effort working on his technique, strategy and fitness. For those of us not fortunate enough to be able to spend all day, every day improving our all-around game, this opportunity seems like a dream come true. For the players on Tour, however, it's a job that they take seriously, and one that's both extremely competitive and tough.

It's Not Your Fault!

Never make the same mistake twice and start shooting lower scores by fixing your swing faults

It's Not Your Fault!The game of golf is full of excuses. Whether it's an excuse for a bad shot, a bad pair of slacks or the dreaded excuse for a late or missed tee time, golf is littered with blame. Rarely, however, does a golfer blame himself or herself for a poorly hit shot. It could have been a distraction, a bad lie, a miscalculated yardage or my favorite—an unexpected 40 mph gust of wind. In any case, and despite the plethora of excuses for what seems like everything in golf, if you want to get better at actually playing golf, you must check your ego at the door.

A Lifetime Of Lessons: Lesson 2 Chip Shots

An excerpt from Marshall Smith's latest instruction book focuses on the 50-year teaching veteran's favorite tips.

A Lifetime Of Lessons: Lesson 2 Chip ShotsThe most important thing you can do to improve your chipping game is to know your distances precisely. Here’s a drill that can help. Find an area where you can pace off 30, 60 and 90 yards. Then place a small builder’s brick at each distance. Hit pitch shots at the 30-yard brick until you land one on it. You’ll get a great thrill from seeing the ball bounce way up in the air, and you should start to develop confidence and an aggressive attitude when you begin to hit such a small target with regularity. After you hit the brick from 30 yards, go for 60 then 90 yards.

The Secret To Speed

For more clubhead MPH and more yards, turn to your hips

The Secret To SpeedIf there’s an absolute truth in golf, it’s that the faster you can move the clubhead, the greater the potential for extra distance. Granted, you still need to make solid contact in the center of the face and with the club moving on the proper plane, but all other things being equal, more speed definitely means more yards. The big question is: Where does speed come from? Your hands can move fairly quickly, and there’s no faster part of your body than your fingers. But where the golf swing is concerned, a fast clubhead almost always results from fast hips moving correctly and in the proper direction.

Money Shots

Every round requires at least one money-shot situation to win a few skins or to stay competitive when the chips are down

Money ShotsIt doesn’t matter how great or poor you’re playing, any given round requires at least one spectacular shot to win a skin, save a much-needed stroke or, in some cases, avert a disaster. We like to call these “money shots,” as opposed to “miracle shots,” because we believe that with practice, these types of shots will be your go-to plays when the game is on the line. Better yet, learning a few money shots will not only help you lower scores, but your overall game is likely to improve, thanks to a newfound confidence in knowing you can face anything that comes your way.

Five Fundamentals Of Iron Play

Improve your scoring by refreshing yourself with the must-know components of the iron swing

Five Fundamentals Of Iron PlayWe admit, blasting a huge drive is a ton of fun. Nothing beats splitting the fairway with every ounce of swing speed you have, watching the ball soar for what seems like miles in the air and basking in the success of the result. But what’s a 300-yard drive if you can’t hit the green on your second shot? Worthless!

Swing Thoughts That Really Work

Think your way to a better golf swing now

Swing Thoughts That Really WorkOld-school golf instruction is full of imagery that was originally created to help players make what were perceived as the the proper moves in the swing. In those days, many of the technical aspects of the golf swing weren’t completely understood, largely due to the lack of video technology that exists today. Instead, players mostly relied on feel, natural talent and repetition to hone their technique and overall game. Not surprisingly, the average scores of recreational golfers barely ever improved significantly, other than what was delivered by technological advances in equipment and golf course conditioning.

Finishing School

Look at the end of your swing to find and fix hidden flaws

Finishing SchoolBasically, there are only two positions in the golf swing: the address and the finish. Everything else is a motion and, as such, difficult to analyze. But the finish is static and allows for serious self-analysis. If you know what to look for, then how you end your swing can give you some good ideas of what’s going on in your motion.

Two Wrongs Make A Right

Don't fear flaws, use them to correct any type of ballflight

Two Wrongs Make A Right

No matter how fundamentally superior the swings of the world’s best players are to those belonging to the rest of us, there has never been, nor is it likely will there ever be, a golf swing without at least one flaw.

Its Your Turn

Its Your Turn

Most recreational golfers think the pros are playing a completely different game and that they struggle with totally different mistakes. Of course, touring pros are more advanced than weekend golfers in terms of technique and ability level, but believe it or not, there are some problems that almost all golfers struggle with from time to time. 

An Easier Way?

Fueled by the legend?and memory?of Moe Norman, the single-axis swing continues to intrigue with its simplicity

An Easier Way?Moe Norman was considered by many to be the best ballstriker of all time. Even Ben Hogan was once quoted as saying that “Moe was the only guy that I would walk across the street to watch hit balls.” But anyone who’s familiar with Moe Norman knows that his golf swing was a bit unconventional. Compared to today’s popular techniques, Norman’s golf swing adhered to a single axis, not the two planes normally associated with the modern dynamic. Taking away and returning the club on a single plane fueled Norman’s consistency and correctness at impact by “de-complexing” the swing. Is a single-axis motion the best way to swing a golf club? The debate has raged for decades. At the very least, it effectively simplifies and helps improve the most important part of the swing—impact. A comparison of the single-axis technique and the modern swing shows how.

Bunker Magic

4 different shots with four different clubs from greenside sand

Bunker MagicBunkers are the only place on the golf course where you’re not always required to hit it perfectly. It’s okay—even encouraged—that you sometimes hit it fat, hold the face open through impact and minimize your weight shift and rotation. So why, then, are golfers terrified of what seemingly should be one of golf’s easier shots? Astonishingly, the top player on the PGA Tour through 20 rounds of golf this year—Luke Donald—has nearly a 90 percent success rate from the sand. There’s no reason you can’t be at least half that good.

Hip Work

Hip Work

The three components for proper hip movement—a critical component of a fundamentally solid downswing—are weight shift, a slight lateral slide and hip whip (the explosive rotation just before impact that generates power). Good players know how to mix these components in the proper proportion to achieve both maximum power and outstanding accuracy.

 
 
 
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