Practice Like A Pro

PGA tour pro Kevin Streelman shows you how to play like one of the world's best players

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Look in front of the ball. I hit a lot of golf balls, both in practice and competition. Admittedly, it’s easy for me to fall into bad habits without actually noticing them until after the damage is done. Usually, those habits are basic fundamentals that my coach and I can iron out in a couple practice sessions, but if we don’t, they can grow into bigger swing problems. In the case of how I set up over the ball, where I fixate my eyes makes a big difference in how I swing through the ball. If I focus on the back of the ball, I’m more likely to hang back and hit the ball more on an ascending plane. If I look to either side of the ball, I’ll likely hit either a draw or fade. But if I look in front of the ball (the side toward the target), I’m more inclined to make a level and solid stroke into the golf ball. I also find that I decelerate less, and I make a better extension because I swing more through to the finish.

Try this technique the next time you hit balls or play. Focus ahead of the ball, and see if it impacts your swing as much as it does mine.

One of my favorite drills involves a 2x4. Although many of my peers swear by a handful of training aids, I happen to favor a simpler approach toward helping me become a better player. In this case, a simple 2x4 does the trick. I like to stand on the 2x4 with it positioned in the center of both of my feet. As I make a few swings, the 2x4 not only forces me to swing with more balance and better tempo, but also prevents me from having too little or too much lean into the ball at impact. That kind of practice does wonders for my ballstriking and helps me find the sweet spot much more often.

To try for yourself, grab a 2x4 at your local hardware store and position it as I have under my feet. As you swing, make sure you hit down and through into the ball, and allow your back foot to come off the board as you reach your finish position. Your balance will be tested, as will your rhythm and spine angle, but after a few practice sessions, you’ll start seeing some serious improvements in how solid you hit your shots.

If you do swing off balance, whether it’s due to bad rhythm or bad form, you’ll fall off the 2x4 (as I did in the photo to the left). Stick with it, and in no time, you’ll be glad you invested a couple bucks at the hardware store.


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