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Shotmaking

Chip from the sand, control trajectory and enhance your shotmaking ability. Uncover the secret of golf shot making with advice from the pros.



Understanding Sand

How the club, balls and sand should interact.

Understanding SandThe greenside bunker shot is one of the most intimidating shots for the amateur player, while at the same time being one of the easier shots for touring pros. Why? The reason is simply because professionals understand how to manage sand properly and actually use the sand to their advantage. As for amateurs? For some reason, most amateurs make matters more confusing than they ought to be.

Tips From The Tour With Brady Riggs

Learn from the best players in the world

Tips From The Tour With Brady Riggs

All of us who love the game of golf have, at least once in our lives, dreamed of playing at the highest level against the pros. Of course, it’s a dream that very few get to actually live out, but it’s also a dream that drives us all to try and improve. In reality, golf is one of the few sports that actually allows amateur participants to use the same tools and play on the same tracks as the world’s best, and as a result, we all probably feel more kinship with the elite than enthusiasts in other disciplines.  Even neophyte players have brushes with greatness when they strike one solid iron shot or hole a long putt, an experience that tends to get them hooked on the game for good.

 

Hybrid Chips

Hybrid Chips

Okay, so you’ve missed the green by a few feet and are left with a fluffy, unpredictable lie. Situations like this aren’t uncommon here at Poipu Bay in Kauai (and probably your home course too), but with a quick pointer on greenside chipping, I think I can help you get up and down more often than not from this tricky position. How? With the most versatile and forgiving club in your bag.

Chip From The Sand

Chip From The SandPart of being a skillful player is “reading” the situation, choosing the right shot and then being able to execute that particular play. Taking into account all your options is important, but most golfers never consider the versatility the game allows. For example, when faced with a bunker shot, most golfers think “blast.” But in some situations, thinking “chip” may produce the better result.

No Backswing, No Problem

No Backswing, No ProblemBad lies are one thing, but there’s nothing worse than a situation where your backswing is completely restricted. The feeling of helplessness can be pretty disheartening. For most golfers, the only play is to chip back into the fairway—a momentum-breaker that’s not going to help you if your goal is to shoot low numbers. But take a closer look—you may be able to knock it near or even on the green if you know this savvy technique.

Control Trajectory

Control TrajectoryA key element to becoming a better player is learning to create different ballflight trajectories on command. It’s this aspect of your play that will allow you to effectively tackle a variety of situations ranging from lob pitches to knockdowns to recovery shots. Here are six “factors of flight” to help you learn to throw it high or keep it low.

Curve On Command

Curve On CommandIf you want to take your scores even lower, you’ve got to be able to control the spin on your golf ball, and that means being able to curve it when you want to. This skill is called “working” the ball, and it takes practice. But most low-handicappers don’t rehearse this part of their game correctly—they’ll hit 20 draws in a row, then hit a bunch of fades. This practice sequence doesn’t realistically represent what you’ll face on the course. In golf, you only get one chance, not 20. That’s why I recommend the Diamond Drill. The Diamond teaches you how to work the ball “on demand” using the geometry of the setup.

Drive Off The Deck

Drive Off The DeckGrowing up in Oklahoma, my golfing buddies and I had more than our fair share of wind to deal with on the course. As a PGA professional on the island of Maui, I still rely on different techniques to cheat the breeze and set up more scoring opportunities.

Lesson In Links

Control your trajectory for better scoring

Lesson In LinksAny golfer worth his salt dreams of trying his hand on a true links golf course. Turnberry, Kingsbarns, Royal Dornoch, even Carnoustie—they all present challenges that inland courses, protected from the elements, simply can’t muster. The soft fairways that prevent errant drives from running into the rough don’t exist. Spongy, well-watered greens that receive approaches of all kinds just aren’t there. It’s a whole different style of play that favors putting over pitching and low, authoritative punch shots over high, spinning floaters. Above all, links golf demands imagination.

The Dead Shot

The Dead ShotWhen playing golf, there are some days that no matter what you try, you can’t get your upper and lower body to work in sync. On these days, you’ll find that the hips trail too far behind the shoulders, and the shoulders trail too far behind the arms and hands. The Dead Shot is an effective drill I use with my students to promote balance, timing and synchronization from the takeaway through the finish.

Putt It Out

Putt It OutSometimes the best way to get out of a bunker is to not hit the ball at all. Try putting it instead. Like all shots from the bunker, you must first assess the situation and determine if the putter is the right choice.

High Hopes

High HopesYou’ll discover the need to hit over an obstacle—tree, fence, even a scoreboard—during the course of an everyday round. And while amateurs fear the shot, pros know that only a few setup adjustments can fuel success.

Conquer Obstacles

Take the high route over what?s between you and your target

Conquer ObstaclesMany golfers have difficulty in hitting a high-trajectory shot when they have to. A reason for this inability is a ball position that’s too far back in the stance. This makes varying the trajectory of your shots nearly impossible.

Conquer Hardpan

Conquer HardpanRegardless of where you play, you’ll eventually face a tough pitch off hardpan. This is a dicey situation, as ultra-tight lies such as hardpan make it easy for the clubhead to bounce off the turf and into the top half of the golf ball, skulling it over the green. The key for pitches off hardpan is to make sure the clubhead does anything but bounce off the turf. Knowing how to accomplish this will save you strokes not only in this situation, but in dozens of others that involve tight lies.

Dial In The Distance

Dial In The DistanceTo get the clubhead traveling a little faster (a necessary requirement for hitting longer shots), you need to create a longer backswing with an increase in the amount of arm swing and body turn. Not only must the swing be a little longer, but you need to pick up the pace of your swing to increase clubhead speed as well. The pace of the forwardswing should be slightly faster than normal.

Hill Rides

Uphill and downhill lies are a challenge as they demand balance and control of the clubface throughout the swing

Hill RidesSet up with your spine perpendicular to the slope and shoulders parallel to the ground so you can swing up the slope on the backswing and down the slope on the forwardswing. The arrangement of your body will favor the creation of an upright swing and make it more difficult to square the face through the hitting area—that’s why a shot from a downhill lie tends to curve a little to the right. To help shallow the plane and encourage a swing that’s a little more around your body, drop your right foot back to close your stance slightly and match up the ball position to your stance by putting it about two inches back of normal.

Under 100

Five lessons that will lower your handicap in '07

Under 100

Golf isn’t a game of who hits it the best, it’s a game of who misses it the least. Even the best players in the world routinely mis-hit shots. In fact, the average Tour player hits only about 12 greens per round! How do they miss one out of every three greens and still manage to routinely shoot under par? Two reasons: steely determination and a red-hot short game.

Shotshaping Formulas

How to make the shots you need to play your best

Shotshaping FormulasIt's a “how-to” world these days. Everywhere you look, you'll find someone, somewhere or something dedicated to what I like to call, “HTH” (How-To Hysteria). “How to bake a cake, how to wire a motorcycle, how to build an arboretum, how to fix a car—we as a culture have become so fascinated by the “how-to” genre that dozens of magazines, Websites and even television channels have been developed to help you help yourself. Luckily, Golf Tips is no exception, as the authors in every instructional story provide you with the scoop on how to become a better player.

Tips From The Tour

Study the best in the world and improve your game

Tips From The TourIt goes without saying that the players who compete on the PGA Tour are the best in the world. Not only do they have impressive natural talent, but every guy out there spends a tremendous amount of time and effort working on his technique, strategy and fitness. For those of us not fortunate enough to be able to spend all day, every day improving our all-around game, this opportunity seems like a dream come true. For the players on Tour, however, it's a job that they take seriously, and one that's both extremely competitive and tough.

Money Shots

Every round requires at least one money-shot situation to win a few skins or to stay competitive when the chips are down

Money ShotsIt doesn’t matter how great or poor you’re playing, any given round requires at least one spectacular shot to win a skin, save a much-needed stroke or, in some cases, avert a disaster. We like to call these “money shots,” as opposed to “miracle shots,” because we believe that with practice, these types of shots will be your go-to plays when the game is on the line. Better yet, learning a few money shots will not only help you lower scores, but your overall game is likely to improve, thanks to a newfound confidence in knowing you can face anything that comes your way.

An Easier Way?

Fueled by the legend?and memory?of Moe Norman, the single-axis swing continues to intrigue with its simplicity

An Easier Way?Moe Norman was considered by many to be the best ballstriker of all time. Even Ben Hogan was once quoted as saying that “Moe was the only guy that I would walk across the street to watch hit balls.” But anyone who’s familiar with Moe Norman knows that his golf swing was a bit unconventional. Compared to today’s popular techniques, Norman’s golf swing adhered to a single axis, not the two planes normally associated with the modern dynamic. Taking away and returning the club on a single plane fueled Norman’s consistency and correctness at impact by “de-complexing” the swing. Is a single-axis motion the best way to swing a golf club? The debate has raged for decades. At the very least, it effectively simplifies and helps improve the most important part of the swing—impact. A comparison of the single-axis technique and the modern swing shows how.

25 Shots

A tee-to-green guide to great score-saving plays

25 Shots

Shotmaking is a broad term and one that’s typically reserved for highly skilled players. Yet all golfers, even those who have a tough time breaking 90, should consider themselves shotmakers. Face it, the game of golf constantly demands a degree of creativity, and unless you play on a perfectly flat course with no rough, no hazards and no undulations on the greens, you have to be ready with a variety of plays—just to get through a single round.

Drop Down, Choke Down

Drop Down, Choke Down

In the late 1970s, the greatest player in the world came to the realization that he had to change his swing in order to better control his golf ball in the wind. That golfer, Jack Nicklaus, spent the better part of a year relearning the golf swing in heavy Florida winds. A few years later, Nick Faldo retooled his leggy, high-ball hitting motion by inserting mechanisms that helped him lower his trajectory in order to produce a more penetrating ballflight. The move led him to six majors.

 
 
 
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