Fix Your Game

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8 Fault: You Leave It In The Bunker
The more you try to help the ball out of the bunker, the more difficult those greenside shots become. Golfers tend to open up both their stances and clubfaces too much at setup. This creates too much loft. Then they flip the clubhead as they try to help the ball get up and out of the bunker. This results in the ball staying in the beach instead.

Fix: Square The Clubface
Take your normal stance, aiming at the target and slightly open the clubface so its scoring lines point at your front ankle. Set up to a spot in the sand roughly two inches behind the ball and simply make your standard pitch-shot swing. Focus on hitting the sand first. Don’t try to help the ball out; instead focus on hitting the sand with your hands ahead of the clubhead and throw the sand forward. The ball will go up and out on the green with the sand.

Hint: If you have a 10-yard bunker shot, make a 30-yard pitch-shot swing. The sand cushions the shot so it only travels about a third as far as your normal pitch-shot swing.

9 Fault: You Miss Short Putts
Correctly aiming your putter’s face is the most important component to making short putts, yet believe it or not, from six feet out, 80 percent of amateurs can’t do it. If you suffer from poor aim, you aren’t going to make most of those short ones.

Fix: Rehearse Behind The Ball
Pick a specific target line, then line up the name on your golf ball at your intermediate target (a depression, discoloration, etc.). Now set up two feet directly behind the ball and make your practice strokes while seeing the line. When you set up to the ball, never lose sight of the target line you want to start the ball on. Just make sure your putter matches the ball line/target line, and trust your stroke. Hold your finish, then look up to see the ball going into the cup.

If you were aiming wrong before, you had to manipulate your stroke. Once you improve your aim, your stroke will eventually change to match the target.

10 Fault: You Can’t Get Long Putts Close
When faced with a long putt, most players focus too much on their mechanics or try to get the ball rolling on the perfect line. But research shows us that most three-putts come from poor distance control in the lag putt.

After you’ve established your target line, focus more on speed instead of line.

Fix: Look At The Target
Once you’ve determined how much break your putt has and you’ve identified a target, it’s time to focus on your distance control. The best way to do this is to look at long putts from a side view to get a better feel for distance. When taking in the slopes of the green, your brain will remember exactly how far you should hit your putt.

Next, stand two feet behind the ball and make a couple practice strokes while looking at the target. With your eyes on the target, feel the putter swing back so the two become one. Now step up to the ball and repeat this same feeling.

On downhill or faster greens, look at a target short of the hole; on uphill or slow greens, you may need to focus on a target past the hole. The key is to get your eyes and putterhead working together in your practice swings.

PGA professional and Senior Instruction Editor Glenn Deck is regarded as one of the country’s top-100 teachers. He’s director of instruction at The Pelican Hill Golf Academy at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, California. pelicanhill.com.



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