The Ten Best Swing Tips

That You've Never Tried!

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When practicing short
chip shots, I like to change things up and get my mind off the target and develop a better feel for where the ball lands and how much roll I should expect. To do this, I like to take four tees and make a square on the green. The goal is to hit a series of chip shots and try to hit every chip so it lands in that square. Once I can do that pretty consistently, I ratch it up a notch and try to get the ball to start landing in various quadrants of that square, I sometimes shrink the square and, if I get really motivated, I start hitting chip shots at each of the four tees. This type of practice helps me dial in my focus and gets me to think more about where I want the ball to land, not where the ball will end up. Once I have a good feel for where I think my chips will land, hitting shots around the green becomes a lot easier. It's almost as though I switch from chipping mode to putting mode, even though I'm still off the green. If I can control where the ball lands, I can better control my distance and direction.


When it comes to bunker play, too many people feel as though they have to try to scoop the ball up out of the sand. Or, they feel they need to stab down into the sand to dig the ball out. In actuality, the best motion is a sweeping one where the arms and body work in unison and sweep through a layer of sand to lift the ball in the air.

To clarify, I like to think of hitting bunker shots as you would throw a heavy training ball, or in my case, a small melon. To throw this with two hands so it travels both far enough and high enough, I have to turn my arms and body, get low and release the melon up and out of my hands. The motion better resembles a sweeping stroke, as opposed to a steep motion that promotes hitting and digging into the sand. There's no up and down motion here, just a simple sweep through about an inch of sand.

Hitting good bunker shots is the same motion as throwing a heavy ball! So try this yourself. Grab a heavy ball or even a melon like this. Practice heaving it up and out toward the target. Then do the same motion with a club and ball.


Rakes are great for cleaning up bunkers, but they're even better for tidying up your short shots. If you're struggling with flubbing your chips or hitting them thin, try this. Grab a rake and place a golf ball above a foot or so in front of the teeth (as you see here). Now practice hitting some shots without touching the rake. This will steepen your chips almost immediately and help you get that much-needed descending blow into the ball.

Also, consider the handle of the rake. As you do this, the rake handle makes a great alignment tool. Align the rake at your target and practice hitting shots along the rake's handle. You'll hit straighter shots in no time.


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