Sunday, February 1, 2004
50 Best Playing Tips
Easy keys for making the most of every swing during every round
44. Ruin Yours Or His?
Playing golf with someone who doesn’t know etiquette can ruin your game. Usually, breaches of etiquette aren’t done on purpose, but there are golfers who do it by plan, so if you’ve got a little something on the line, keep an eye out for gamesmanship. If you don’t like this kind of stuff, you have two options: Say nothing and ruin your game, or look him or her right in the eye and say, “Have you seen the USGA’s video on etiquette?” See if the games continue after that.
45. 14th Hole Tips
If you opt to get more aggressive for the final stretch, understand that you’re liable to miss a green you might normally hit, and that the price of aggression is tough recoveries. You have to know how to read the lie and execute the required shot. Here’s an easy way to tackle such situations: If your lie is tight with little grass underneath, think “hands up”; if your lie is buried in the grass, think “hands low.”
A note on putting: The type of putt you hit depends on the conditions. Remember, you’ve been out there three-plus hours. The grass has grown and the greens have slowed (unless the wind and sun has dried them out). Once you figure out the speed of the greens for the final stretch, make a point to jam the up-hillers and die the down-hillers.
A final note: If you’re growing tired as you hit the final third, you should have put in your gym time. All things equal, the strongest machine wins.
46. Are You Listening To The Wrong CD?
The putts that lip out and the bad bounces that send your ball from fairway to rough can mount and convince your brain that, no matter how well you play, it isn’t good enough. At this point, a full-blown case of cumulative disreward (CD) can kick in and prevent you from trying any harder. How do you beat CD? The answer is never quit. In the words of the greatest Soprano on CD, when you get a bad break, “Fuhgetaboutit!” Grind on and reap the rewards.
47. Final Hole Tip
Ben Hogan once commented that the downswing was no place to give yourself a lesson, and if there’s one time when you need to abide by this, it’s the last tee shot of the day. Scientific studies show that once the downswing starts, you can’t stop it—the brain simply doesn’t work that fast. If you try to do something during the downswing, you’ll likely do it at the wrong time and ruin your swing. So stay calm on the 18th tee, take a relaxing breath and stay committed to your plan.
48. Don’t Blank Out On Your Putts
An exhaustive read of the putt works well for some, but gathering too much information is as bad as amassing too little. If you’re blanking out and hitting the ball before you’re ready, close your nondominant eye after you’ve made your read. This will reduce the amount of sensory input and allow you to stroke the putt free from information clutter.
49. Law Of The Parallels
When you start to spray the ball, take a practice swing that highlights the Law of the Parallels. Whenever your clubshaft is parallel to the ground, it should be parallel to the target line. Parallel positions: at the end of the takeaway, top of the swing, 3/4 down, and 1/4 into the followthrough.
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