8 Tricks To Become A Better Player
Quick and easy tips to play better golf right now
Labels: Faults And Fixes, Ballstriking, Scoring, Driving, Putting, Game Improvement, Full Swing, Drills, Shotmaking
Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s always better to miss it on the pro side of the hole”? How about, “Never up, never in”? In case you haven’t heard these sayings, what they mean is quite simple. Better players know that, no matter how well you judge the speed and break of a putt, if you consistently miss on the low side of the hole, you’re never giving yourself a real chance. (The low side, by the way, refers to the side of the hole that’s actually lower than the hole.) Since golf balls don’t roll upwards naturally, unless you hit the putt from below the hole up the hill, the ball has no chance to go in.
On the other hand, if you tend to miss more often on the upper side (the pro side) of the hole, once in a while, the ball may actually find the hole. The key is speed. Having the right speed, even if you aim a little high and for a little too much break, the ball actually may slow down more and start to break into the hole even though you were a little off with your aim. Better players understand this (whether they’re aware of it or not) and generally miss to the higher side of the hole rather than the lower side. They also cite speed as more important than direction, for this very reason.
That said, next time you practice, find a breaking putt to the right, and then one that breaks to the left. Practice on both holes until your misses start trending toward the pro side of the hole. Of course, the goal is to make more than you miss, but with the right kind of misses, you may find yourself making a few more putts, as well!
Another one of the higher-handicapper’s biggest fears on the golf course is the sand shot. Better players know that with the right fundamentals, hitting good bunker shots isn’t as hard as it looks. There are a few fundamentals you ought to follow to get the job done, such as hitting down and behind the ball and letting the sand lift the ball. But here, I want to focus on one thing, and that happens to be the finish. So many of my students seem to believe that it’s necessary to dig the wedge into the sand as you would an ax into a piece of firewood, all in order to excavate the ball. They make a steep backswing and “THUD!” The wedge stays stuck in the sand in most cases, and so does the golf ball.
Instead, try to make a full finish. Swing all the way through to a balanced and comfortable finish position. If you think of a full finish before you swing, you’ll be less inclined to drive the club deep into the sand and, in the end, make a shallower sand divot and get the ball out of the sand. Also, thinking of a full finish before you swing helps you to relax and avoid flipping the hands over and prevents the ball from getting up and out of the sand. So, think of that full finish before your sand shot. I’ll bet your sand game improves in a hurry.
I think chipping is too often overlooked. Hey, maybe it’s not the most glamourous shot to hit, but that doesn’t make it any less important. A great chip can help you make or break par faster than any putt.
To become a better chipper, concentrate on stacking your impact position. This means that, at the moment of truth, the left arm, the shaft and your weight should all be stacked over your left leg. This helps you better control the shot and ensure you hit it crisp and solid. If you aren’t stacked, your chipping will be inconsistent, and it’ll be hard to judge distances and how much the ball will fly and roll. But if you stack it, all you need to do is judge how far you want the ball to go and lengthen or shorten your backswing so it fits the shot.
This tip, like the others in this story, are quick and simple ways to turn your game around and become a better player. Practice them and you’ll see the better you get, the simpler your swing and swing thoughts should become. And remember, have fun out there!
Barry Goldstein teaches at the famed Inverrary CC in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and is director of golf at the Maine Golf and Tennis Academy. Contact him at email@example.com.
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