It’s been well documented that a solid short game is the key to consistently shooting lower scores. A vital part of the short-game mix is the “finesse shot,” typically from within 100 yards of the green. On a finesse shot, your mindset must be quite different from that applied to the full swing. For example, when hitting a shot with a full swing, your goal is to hit the ball as hard and far as possible.
Skilled golfers know that true power results from the upper body coiling over the resistance of the lower body, and that the key to this is establishing good footwork. Typical modern-day pros are flexible enough to get the upper body behind the ball without having to lift the left foot off the ground. Instead, they shift their weight to the inside of the right foot as the left foot rolls slightly inward, allowing the left knee to rotate behind the ball. From this position, they shift weight laterally on the downswing, pushing off the ground with the right foot.
Add closed and open-faced shots to your short-game arsenal
The plethora of multiple wedge offerings is fantastic. They’ve made extinct the old saying “a sand wedge is the only wedge a good player needs.” That adage came from Greg Norman, who I bet has added a lob wedge to his set since. Nevertheless, despite owning the tools for hitting any number of specific yardages from 125 yards and in, most short shots you’ll face will require something much different than a full swing from one of the two or three wedges in your bag.
Cure the majority of your flaws by adopting a rock-solid setup
If there’s one thing a seasoned golf instructor can do, it’s spot a solid setup, even from 50 yards away. One look is all it takes for an experienced teacher to recognize athleticism and balance. The reason why? Any instructor worth his or her salt will stress the fundamentals of a solid setup if solid results are what the student seeks.
Just how important are the feet, legs and hips? Well, some argue that they are the heart and soul of the golf swing. In fact, it was Byron Nelson who brought us the idea of “flexing the shaft with the lower body.” Jack Nicklaus also has repeatedly said that the swing begins from the ground up. Then why, despite advice from two of the best golfers who ever played, does the average golfer try to “muscle” the ball with his or her upper body?
Simple tips and drills for finding the fairway more often
The higher the handicap, the more pivotal the tee ball becomes. Driving the ball into water, rough, bunkers, trees and other hazards is what causes high-handicappers to rack up strokes. As players become more proficient, they develop skills to execute trouble shots and hit pitches from the rough and sand, putting less pressure on hitting fairways. It’s almost as if good players expect to miss every now and then, feeling confident in knowing that they have the tools to recover from an errant drive. High-handicappers, unfortunately, don’t have that luxury.
In order to deliver the golf club powerfully into the back of the golf ball, you must maintain a firm base with your lower body and create a powerful backswing coil. This coil results by turning the upper body against the resistance of the lower body. Good players facilitate the creation of coil by maintaining the gap between the knees on the backswing (right). They unleash the energy stored in the coil by closing the gap on the downswing.
My standard response to a question I frequently field at clinics and exhibitions about the proper feeling at address is: “It’s like cement and spaghetti.” That strange combination of metaphors raises a few eyebrows until I explain what I mean.
Why is it that some golfers improve dramatically and rapidly while others, no matter what they do, fail to advance beyond the level of novice? As a golf instructor who has given more than 10,000 golf lessons over the past eight years, I’m here to tell you why: Achieving successful results from a golf lesson begins and ends with you, not the instructor. An effective golf instructor can only do so much and is only as good as the student allows him or her to be. Hence, the first step to becoming a better golfer begins with becoming a better student.
Learn the secrets of the longest drivers in the world
Recreational golfers, top amateurs and pros have at least one thing in common—they all want to drive it long. It’s a desire all golfers have, which is why driving ranges are full of people swinging out of their shoes in the attempt to hit it higher, longer and farther.
In the late 1970s, the greatest player in the world came to the realization that he had to change his swing in order to better control his golf ball in the wind. That golfer, Jack Nicklaus, spent the better part of a year relearning the golf swing in heavy Florida winds. A few years later, Nick Faldo retooled his leggy, high-ball hitting motion by inserting mechanisms that helped him lower his trajectory in order to produce a more penetrating ballflight. The move led him to six majors.
Controlling your wedge distances is more difficult than you think. The key is to benchmark your yardages with a “three-swing system.” Since we can no longer make a full swing, we must create a simple method of defining swing length as it relates to ball carry distance. First, I make a quarter-length swing, where my hands finish about waist high. Second, the half-swing, where I gauge my left arm position as being level to the ground. Finally, my three-quarter-length swing, where my hands reach shoulder high.
A wrist- or hand-dominated motion can be useful in certain situations
around the green, where less-than-perfect lies mandate a conscious
manipulation of the clubhead. However, being wristy or handsy on the
tee, where the objective is to generate maximum power and distance, is
a definite no-no. With the big stick, you should strive to keep your
hands and wrists as quiet—or passive—as possible.
Professional and low-handicap golfers consider the swing plane to be one of the most important concepts in golf. Swing plane directly relates to how straight, high and far one can hit the ball. At the same time, swing plane is one of the most intimidating terms for high-handicappers, simply because they’re not sure what a swing plane is, let alone what a good one looks like.
Generate a more productive swing by correctly moving the right elbow
Contrary to popular belief, the arms and elbows, from address to the top of the backswing, travel only a short distance. This is a reality few recreational players grasp. Most choose to believe that the arms and elbows travel a very great distance, and this is what provides power in the golf swing. These golfers are drastically misinformed. Power isn’t generated by swinging the arms and elbows out and away from your body. In fact, just the opposite is true. Read on to learn why and how to develop a more compact, more efficient and more productive swing.
Like all sports, golf requires a high degree of hand-eye coordination, as well as advanced hand motor skills. If you don’t employ your hands correctly, you’ll find it difficult to hit quality golf shots consistently. As a golfer who’s serious about improving, it’s imperative that you learn what role the hands play in the golf swing. Once you do, you’ll have all the tools to take your shotmaking to a much higher level.
Easy keys for making the most of every swing during every round
Are you one of those golfers who absolutely pures it on the practice range with every club in the bag, but eventually goes into the tank during the course of play? It’s an unfortunate scenario experienced by a vast majority of golfers, most often caused by too little time dedicated to practice or too long a time period between rounds. For most golfers, the onset of trouble starts on the very first tee, where high anxiety invariably sends the tee shot deep into the woods.
The golf swing in its most simple form is a circle. The radius of this circle, back and through to the finish, is defined by the length of your left arm (for a right-handed golfer). Obviously, the wider the circle, the better.
There’s only one thing that can cause a slice, and that’s a clubface that’s either open (or opening) at the point of contact. That being said, here are three tips to help you square up the clubface and rid your game of that slice forever!
The ability to control putterhead speed translates into the ability to control the speed of the ball and, ultimately, your ability to make more than your fair share of putts. If your control has become shaky, here’s a two-part drill to help you get the ball rolling at the speed you desire.
Like any aspect of the game, improving your bunker play takes practice. But practicing the wrong technique will do little but further ingrain whatever mistakes you’re already making. As a result, instead of getting better, you’ll probably just get worse. The good news is, the fundamentals of solid sand play are actually pretty simple, and can be learned quickly provided you take the time to make certain your setup and execution are correct.
According to golf stat man L.J. Riccio, Ph.D., the most important factor for low scores is greens in regulation. Statistically, every extra green you hit in regulation is equal to two strokes off your average score. The problem is that, over the long haul, you’re not going to be in position to hit a green in regulation unless you’ve driven it long enough for a short-iron approach. That’s why this Going Low is dedicated to showing you how to “stand back and let the big dog eat”— in other words, to crush it off the tee.
Throughout my 15 years of teaching, I’ve learned no two golfers swing the club alike. I’ve also learned that, despite the individual thumbprint every player puts on his or her swing, good swings share several common traits at key points of the motion. Unfortunately, these traits differ from the commonalities found in the swings of lesser-skilled golfers. In fact, high-handicapped golfers tend to do the exact opposite of what a fundamentally solid swing requires. Of course, you don’t need to swing exactly like a Tour player to improve your ballstriking. However, building a few of the common traits found in higher-level swings into your own will pay huge dividends, especially those that pertain to pitching and chipping.
A good golf teacher can spot a great swing a mile away. Such recognition is based on years of experience.
As an instructor with over 50 years of teaching experience, I’ve seen my fair share of golf swings—both good and bad. Most of the “bad” swings I see are marred by basically the same series of mistakes. Similarly, good motions are defined by several, rock-solid commonalities that, if you know what to look for, stand out like a sore thumb on a tiny hand.
Throughout my 15 years of teaching, I’ve learned no two swings are alike. I’ve also learned that, despite the individual thumbprint every player puts on his or her swing, good swings share several common traits at key points. Unfortunately, these traits differ from the commonalities found in the swings of lesser-skilled golfers. In fact, high-handicapped golfers tend to do the exact opposite of what a fundamentally solid swing requires.