An excerpt from Marshall Smith's latest instruction book focuses on the 50-year teaching veteran's favorite tips.
The most important thing you can do to improve your chipping game is to
know your distances precisely. Heres a drill that can help. Find an
area where you can pace off 30, 60 and 90 yards. Then place a small
builders brick at each distance. Hit pitch shots at the 30-yard brick
until you land one on it. Youll 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.
For more clubhead MPH and more yards, turn to your hips
If theres an absolute truth in golf, its 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 theres 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.
Every round requires at least one money-shot situation to win a few skins or to stay competitive when the chips are down
It doesnt matter how great or poor youre 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.
Improve your scoring by refreshing yourself with the must-know components of the iron swing
We 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 whats a 300-yard drive if you cant
hit the green on your second shot? Worthless!
Old-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 werent 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.
Look at the end of your swing to find and fix hidden flaws
Basically, 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 whats going on in your motion.
Don't fear flaws, use them to correct any type of ballflight
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.
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.
Fueled by the legend?and memory?of Moe Norman, the single-axis swing continues to intrigue with its simplicity
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
whos familiar with Moe Norman knows that his golf swing was a bit
unconventional. Compared to todays popular techniques, Normans 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 Normans 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.
4 different shots with four different clubs from greenside sand
Bunkers are the only place on the golf course where youre not always
required to hit it perfectly. Its 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 golfs 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. Theres no
reason you cant be at least half that good.
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.