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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.



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.

What Makes A Golf Swing Great

A good golf teacher can spot a great swing a mile away. Such recognition is based on years of experience.

What Makes A Golf Swing GreatAs an instructor with over 50 years of teaching experience, I’ve seen my fair share of golf swings—both good and bad. Most of the “bad” swings I see are marred by basically the same series of mistakes. Similarly, good motions are defined by several, rock-solid commonalities that, if you know what to look for, stand out like a sore thumb on a tiny hand.

Become A Shotmaking Artist

From tee to green, all the plays every golfer needs

Become A Shotmaking ArtistThe one constant in the game of golf is that each round is different. Weather conditions, course conditions, course layout and even a golfer’s physical and mental state on a given day create a unique set of challenges. That means that to play well you have to learn to adapt. Golfers who maximize their scoring potential know how to do things like shape the ball around the corner of a dogleg, handle uneven lies on a hilly course, and hit the ball back in play from under low-hanging branches.

5 Driving, 5 Wedge Play and 5 Putting Mistakes

Fix common errors in three key areas and watch your scores plummet

5 Driving, 5 Wedge Play and 5 Putting MistakesMistakes—we’re all going to make them, especially on the golf course. Luckily, this isn’t a game that demands perfection. Even on Tour, low scores can be had without being perfect on every swing. The key is to limit the mistakes that can cause the most damage and jump on scoring opportunities whenever they arise.

Sweet Spot: Ernie Els

Sweet Spot: Ernie ElsTo say that Ernie Els is one of the greatest golfers of our generation is about as gutsy as laying up from 150 yards. Already a three-time major winner (’94 and ’97 U.S. Opens, ’02 British Open), Els has notched 42 professional victories worldwide (12 on the PGA Tour) in just over a decade. More impressive, Els has 11 second-place finishes to his credit, including four runner-up calls in the majors. Often dubbed “The Big Easy,” Els is certainly big (6’3”, 220 pounds) and his swing is ridiculously effortless. It’s a study of contrasts, as he generates power not by his obvious size, but by employing the proper sequence of downswing moves. Here’s how he does it.

Correct Calls

Distance control starts with selecting the right club

Correct CallsYou’re in the middle of the fairway, 150 yards from the flagstick. “Perfect 7-iron,” you say to yourself, after which you promptly sail the ball over the pin—and over the green. What happened? Likely, you only gave yourself a fraction of the data you needed to select the right club for the shot at hand.

The Chicken Swing

The Chicken SwingMost teachers will instruct you to fold your left arm into your left side during your followthrough so your hands and arms can release the clubhead down the target line. That’s certainly good advice, but at times, especially in pressure-packed situations where you absolutely have to hit the ball onto the green with an iron or drive it into the center of the fairway off the tee, not folding your left arm into your side can pay huge dividends.

Drop 5 Strokes

Add to your arsenal of short-game shots and hit to tap-in range every time

Drop 5 StrokesInstead of taking advantage of clear scoring opportunities from less than full-wedge distances, most recreational golfers unnecessarily struggle, often needing additional strokes to get the ball into the hole following a poor approach. Not only does this situation work to balloon your scores, it robs you of the momentum you might have gained had you made par or birdie.  Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Score From Anywhere

Shotmaking tips from the seaside links of Scotland to help you save strokes wherever you play

Score From AnywhereRegardless of how good your golf swing is or how crisply you strike the ball,  you won’t post good scores if you don’t know how to think your way around a golf course. Obviously, solid technique helps, as does driving the ball long and straight. But throughout the course of a round, there are a variety of situations in which fundamentally solid golf skills simply won’t get the job done. Instead, you must be able to rely on good decision-making to put yourself in position to shoot the lowest score possible without risking double and triple bogeys.

 
 
 
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