Learn Like A Pro, Play Like A Pro!

Apply lasting improvements to your golf game

At impact, there isn't much you can change, but there are some things you can do to help get yourself into a better impact position. A person's hand position at impact, how high or low they are, will directly correlate to their ability to hit the center of the clubface. The higher the hands, the more off-center their impact point. The closer the hands return to the original plane of the shaft, the more centered your contact will be on the clubface. Notice in the "Yes!" photo how my hands are relatively the same at impact as they were at address. That's what you want!

If you start your round expecting to never hit a bad shot, I have news for you, you're going to be very disappointed. Bad shots and unlucky breaks are going to happen, sometimes more often than you expect. Be ready for them when they come, allow yourself to vent, but move on and forget about them. You have more golf left to play.

I don't wish for Tour Players to make mistakes, but I'm sure paying attention to when they hit a poor shot. Last December, Zach Johnson did the unimaginable; he shanked an iron into the water on the final hole of the Tiger Woods World Challenge. It was his second shot on the par-4, hitting the ball well right and into the water in front of the green. Now, the average player would panic and only think about not doing that shot again.

Johnson, on the other hand, refocused on what he wanted and hit a fantastic approach shot that skipped about a foot past the hole and rolled back in. The ability to bounce back from poor shots is a skill and requires golfers to focus on what they want their next shot to do, not be distracted by what could go wrong.

Tour players limit as much movement as they can when hitting shots around the greens. Last I checked, I've never seen a player sway, slide or drift away from the ball, yet so often I see students of mine make slow, mini-golf swings instead of firm, crisp chip swings.

Set up with a totally different stance—feet open, heels close together—and make a swing more with the rotation of your core than with a sway or slide of the legs, body and arms. The hands should be fairly docile, the wrists should stay quiet. Any excess motion will make it difficult to hit consistent shots. And when it comes to chipping, controlling your ballflight and distance is the most important variable. You must know what swing length will produce what type of shot, and if you slide, sway or move too far off the golf ball, you'll lose all sense of consistency, and controlling your distance will be darn near impossible.


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