50 Best Playing Tips
Easy keys for making the most of every swing during every round
Are you one of those golfers who absolutely pures it on the practice range with every club in the bag, but eventually goes into the tank during the course of play? It’s an unfortunate scenario experienced by a vast majority of golfers, most often caused by too little time dedicated to practice or too long a time period between rounds. For most golfers, the onset of trouble starts on the very first tee, where high anxiety invariably sends the tee shot deep into the woods. For others, the tanking occurs gradually as the round unfolds—a loose swing here, a twitched putt there and poor shot selection in between—until, around the 14th hole, you say to yourself, “I guess it’s not my day.” The worst of it is, you’re right—it isn’t your day. However, there are methods to protect your game from suffering a complete collapse on the course. To play your best golf, you need an arsenal of skills and strategies to insulate your game when the heat is on. This 17-page feature presents a catalogue of specific golf advice, ranging from mental thoughts and images to easy-to-accomplish swing changes that guarantee better performance during your round. Among the top 50 are quick and easy tips to harness more speed from your swing (Power section), reduce grossly off-line shots (Accuracy), create better scoring opportunities (Strategy), get up and down every time (Short Game), keep round-wrecking scores to a minimum (Safe vs. Sane) and, most important, prevent the wheels from coming completely off during the course of play (Damage Control). I call this collection of advice the “Top 50”—you’ll call them lifesavers. Use them wisely and enjoy great results even when your “A” game turns into a “C” or worse.
1. Switch On The Power
Here’s a simple thought to help turn on your power switch: Your weight shift and the clubhead should travel in the same direction. During the backswing, both the weight and the clubhead move away from the target; during the downswing, the direction switches—your weight and your clubhead move toward the target.
2. Own A Release
A horse and rider arrive at a seven-foot wall at top speed when, suddenly, the horse stops, catapulting the rider over the jump. The image that’s important for your golf swing is the “passing along” of energy because this is how you transmit power to the golf ball.
The wall of your golf swing is your front leg. The rider is your clubhead and his separation from the horse is the release of your clubhead through the hitting zone. The key to all of this is that the release is “passive”—it’s simply the result of your arms and hands abruptly slowing down and passing their energy down the shaft and into the ball. In other words, a good golf swing doesn’t require manipulative hand action. Correctly “passing” energy and creating power should occur without effort. Remember, you don’t “do” a release, you “have” one.