My Favorite Tips And Drills

Quick tips and easy drills to finish the year with your best golf

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When hitting chip shots around the green, the worst thing you can do is have a grip that’s too tense and rigid. Instead, try this: Grip the club with the butt end of the grip in the palm of your upper (left) hand. Make a normal grip with your lower hand, and let the club swing in a natural, pendulum-like motion. By gripping in the palm, you’ll get a better sense of activating the wrists in the shot, which despite what you may have learned, isn’t a bad thing when it comes to chipping. The key is to use your wrists properly, and to not forget to rotate the body through the shot. In the lower photos of the above sequence, you can see that although my wrists remained supple, my left arm and the shaft are in perfect alignment with one another through impact and into the finish.



I couldn’t have done this without some body rotation and smooth acceleration through the hit.

Most mis-hit putts are missed because the putter is lifted up too soon, and the putterhead strikes the ball on the top half of the ball. To stop this once and for all, take a coin (nickels work best) and practice sliding it across the green, carpet or even on a hard floor. By doing this, you’re forcing yourself to keep the putterhead level with the golf ball, but at the same time, you’re just missing the ground as you make your stroke. Give it a try, and I’ll bet you miss the coin on your first and maybe your second try. But in no time, you’ll be draining more short and long putts.

Want another coin tip? This time, place a coin (I’m using a dime this time because it’s the smallest) on the flange of your putter. Then, go ahead and rehearse a series of putting strokes without dropping the coin. Because it’s there, you’re going to be much more inclined to swing in a smoother, more controlled and more level fashion.

Once you get really good at practice strokes using this technique, try hitting a few actual putts, as well. In addition, this will help you smoothen the transition your putter makes from backswing to forwardswing and keep those jabby, yippy strokes at bay.

The last great drill using a coin is to practice a few putts with the ball positioned directly on top of a coin (again, a dime is good here, but so is a small ball marker). Why, you ask? The goal here is to keep the head and eyes fixated over one spot. By doing that, you’re more likely to swing the putter in the intended direction. If your head moves, it’s likely your path will too. So stick with this drill, and hit a few five-foot putts with the ball on top of your coin, and make sure you see the coin after you make contact with the ball. Keep that head steady and see the coin, and I know you’ll soon see better results and make more putts!

Zachary Allen, PGA, teaches at DeBell Golf Club in Burbank, Calif. Visit for more info.

Photo location courtesy of Valencia Country Club in Valencia, California.


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