Thursday, February 14, 2008
Top 50 Tips
Check out these top 50 tips from one of our best pros.
42. Pivot Pitching
Eliminate chunks and skulls by using your body and not your hands to move the club. Try keeping your arms glued to your body in the backswing and downswing.
43. Handle Leads Hands
The body should continue to move the arms through impact and into the finish. Don’t allow the clubhead to pass the handle of the club until well past impact.
44. Speed Controls Distance
The seemingly obvious fact that the sand (not the club) moves the ball out of the bunker is often misunderstood. To control the distance your bunker shots travel, you have to be able to manage the speed of the sand, which isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. The length of the swing is irrelevant—it’s the speed of the clubhead that really matters. Practice pitching sand out of a bunker until you can consistently control how far it goes, and only then add a golf ball to the equation.
45. Level Legs
The lack of traction in bunkers forces the legs to function differently than they do on full shots—they must maintain their flex during the entire swing instead of posting up through impact. This will keep you nice and level through the shot.
Although they might look somewhat similar, the mechanics of hitting a bunker shot are different than those used to play a chip shot from grass. In the sand, it’s actually advantageous to allow the clubhead to pass your hands past impact. This move encourages a higher, softer shot by increasing the clubhead speed and amount of spin that can be created. Due to the unstable nature of sand, think of these shots as more “handsy” than most others in golf.
47. Lean Left
It’s critical to start and keep your weight toward your front foot during the entire motion of a bunker shot. This encourages the club to sustain its speed through impact, which in turn creates the wave of sand necessary to carry the ball in the air.
48. Narrow Your Focus
Consistently making short putts is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. To help maintain concentration, find a blade of grass directly in front of the middle of the hole as you prepare to strike the putt. Don’t look at the hole itself or the back of it, but simply try to roll the ball over the spot on the front of the hole. Using the front of the hole makes the target closer and makes your focus that much more specific.
49. Putting With Symmetry
Despite a great setup position and solid stroke, deceleration causes a lot of putts to miss the target. Making the length and the speed of the stroke the same back and through is a fundamental fix for deceleration and also a great way to develop your speed control. Try this drill: Place a tee equidistant from the ball on the backstroke and followthrough. Practice putting, keeping the putterhead at the tee on both ends of the stroke. Increase or decrease the speed to hit the ball different distances.
50. Eyes And Arms
On the putting green, the eyes and the forearms should be parallel to the target line at address. This will encourage the putter to track on the proper path without manipulation during the stroke. If the eyes and/or the forearms are misaligned, it’s impossible to make a putt without compensating during the stroke. Notice how poor my alignment is at far left—this setup is common and bad.
Brady Riggs, PGA, is a Golf Tips Senior Instruction Editor and one of the most sought-after teachers in southern California. He’s located at Woodley Lakes, G.C.
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