It stands to reason that if you want to learn how to do something the right way, you should learn from the best. For this reason, we’ve gathered some shotmaking tips from current PGA Tour players. Pay close attention to the techniques they describe, and practice them regularly, just like they do. Soon enough, you’ll find that these Tour-proven tips will pay dividends in terms of better shots and lower scores. In addition, we offer a swing sequence of Padraig Harrington, arguably the best player in the world at the moment. Check out Padraig’s swing and strive to copy both its simplicity and consistency. You’ll be glad you did.
Players like Charles Howell III, Rory Sabbatini, Jonathan Byrd, even the budding superstar Anthony Kim, all have something in common. Besides obviously being PGA Tour players, they’re all relatively small guys in both size and stature who manage to hit the ball with tremendous power. How do they do it? Each of these players, as well as a handful of other professionals, understands that true power and control come from swinging the golf club with a powerful core.
To execute a wedge shot that hits, takes a hop and stops (or spins back), the first thing you need is the right kind of ball (see the sidebar) and a high-lofted wedge with sharp grooves. Next, you need a good lie from the fairway so the ball compresses against the clubface and the grooves “bite” into it and get it spinning fast.
Simply put, when you address the golf ball—and because the ball is both on the ground and in front of you—you’ll have to lean forward to reach it. To do this effectively, adjust the upper-body lean by hinging at the hip socket, not in the back or by excessively squatting.
I was hitting balls one day with my friend and fellow teaching professional, Ron Gring, when he described a way of looking at all the key shots in golf as “the nine panes of glass.” This obviously refers to the image you see above, with a fade, straight shot and draw at low, medium and high trajectories fitting into the nine slots.
Sergio’s left shoulder points down toward the ground and behind the ball late into the downswing. This serves two purposes: First, the steeper shoulder angle keeps the left arm close to the body and enables him to create his famous “lag.” Second, the closed position of the shoulders prevents the club from coming over the top.
By now, you’ve probably seen footage of Tiger Woods snapping his 4-iron against a tree in the 2007 Masters. If you haven’t, it happened on the 11th hole when he found his ball at the base of a tree. Tiger had three choices: hit it backward or backhanded (two choices that would have probably led to a bogey) or advance it down the fairway. Of course, Tiger chose the latter, but to pull it off, he had to sacrifice his 4-iron.
The best players in the world are as proficient as they are for very good reasons. Not only do they possess an incredibly high level of talent and athletic ability, but they also have sound fundamentals and outstanding overall technique. If you’re going to learn from anyone, these are the guys you want to study.
Swing with a tempo like the pros and you'll learn to make solid contact every time
The main difference between good iron play and poor iron play is quality of contact. Everyone that plays golf knows the difference. We all can hear the difference and we certainly can feel the difference. And while we all know that striking the ball with a descending blow is a must, most of us just can’t get it done consistently.
Six ways to improve your game without ever swinging the club
Golf, at its core, is a game that can be learned and practiced without ever swinging a club. By learning what we call the fundamentals (mind-set, grip, posture, ball position and aim/alignment), you’ll train your body and mind so they’re in all the right positions before you swing the club.
Check out these top 50 tips from one of our best pros.
A good backswing creates torque and is achieved by rotating the body away from the ground using the feet as an anchor. Except for unusually flexible players, the knees, hips, core, back and shoulders should all be used to create torque. Once you get the feel of creating leverage against the ground, your power will increase significantly.
Keep Your Hands Low - Limiting the height of the followthrough will effectively reduce the height of your shots. The lower the hands, the lower the ballflight. Moving the ball back in your stance or choosing a stronger club and trying to swing easy are other ways to accomplish the same thing, but they’re less reliable and more difficult to execute.
In the last issue of Golf Tips, I showed you how to use the edge of a wall to help improve your chipping. This month, I’m going to show you how a simple household item, such as a doorjamb, can help you hit the ball farther.
At 46 years of age, you’d think Tour veteran Kenny Perry would be struggling to keep up with today’s young guns. After all, the closer players get to the Champions Tour, the shorter they’re supposed to hit it. Not Perry. As of this year’s PLAYERS Championship, the Kentuckian is ranked 21st in Driving Distance, placing him six spots (and 1.1 yards) ahead of Tiger Woods.
One of the most common swing flaws occurs when golfers take the club too far inside the target line on the backswing. Usually, this move is caused by a backswing that’s controlled by the hips and the dipping of the shoulders away from the ball. And, as you may guess, this move leads to a handful of bad shots, including pushes, topped shots, slices and duck hooks.
Tour rookie Anthony Kim, or AK as he’s also known, has a lot in common with another well-known (#1 in the world) Tour player from southern California. A former Junior World champ and big-time junior golfer, AK earned both Freshman of the Year and All-American honors at The University of Oklahoma.
Without question, two of the most important factors that affect the golf swing are balance and tempo. If you don’t have balance, then you won’t have consistency. And if you lack a consistent tempo, you can kiss control goodbye.
On September 4, 2004, the golf world lost a true, if not mysterious, legend. His name was Moe Norman, a shy, introverted man mostly known for his unorthodox swing. Standing wide at address with his arms stretched away from his body, his club some 12 inches behind the ball, Norman’s swing was unconventional. It defied all modern teaching. Yet this reticent man held more than 40 course records, recorded 17 holes-in-one and won 24 tournaments.
Golf is simple. Check that—golf should be simple. After all, the swing is basically a takeaway and a downswing. Like when you throw a baseball—you rear back then let it go. Then why do millions of golfers have such difficulty making consistent, solid contact? In my opinion, it’s because the golf swing requires coordination of not only all moving parts, but synchronization of the two halves of your body, the left and right.
Sometimes it just doesn’t matter if you have great posture, a perfect spine angle and even a steady head position. As long as you’re standing too far away from the ball, you’re going to have a devil of a time hitting consistent golf shots. In fact, most students I’ve taught tend to stand too far away from the ball for reasons that make sense, such as a fear of shanking the ball off the hosel or hitting a fat shot.
Golf is a game of circles, right? The ball is round, the cup is round,the golf swing is somewhat round. So what’s all this business about having a straight spine angle? How does that have anything to do with making successful contact?
I often long for the days when Slammin’ Sammy Snead and Gene Sarazan played the game, a couple of great sticks with personalities just as bright as their games. Well, fortunately for golf fans, there’s a new kid on the block and he’s brought a unique backstory and stellar game (albeit with a modern flair). His name is Will MacKenzie, or “Willie Mac,” as the 2006 Reno-Tahoe victor is sometimes called.