No Backswing, No Problem

Bad lies are one thing, but there’s nothing worse than a situation where your backswing is completely restricted. The feeling of helplessness can be pretty disheartening. For most golfers, the only play is to chip back into the fairway–a momentum-breaker that’s not going to help you if your goal is to shoot low numbers. But take a closer look–you may be able to knock it near or even on the green if you know this savvy technique.

Control Trajectory

A key element to becoming a better player is learning to create different ballflight trajectories on command. It’s this aspect of your play that will allow you to effectively tackle a variety of situations ranging from lob pitches to knockdowns to recovery shots. Here are six factors of flight to help you learn to throw it high or keep it low.

Curve On Command

If you want to take your scores even lower, you’ve got to be able to control the spin on your golf ball, and that means being able to curve it when you want to. This skill is called working the ball, and it takes practice. But most low-handicappers don’t rehearse this part of their game correctly–they’ll hit 20 draws in a row, then hit a bunch of fades. This practice sequence doesn’t realistically represent what you’ll face on the course. In golf, you only get one chance, not 20. That’s why I recommend the Diamond Drill. The Diamond teaches you how to work the ball on demand using the geometry of the setup.

Drive Off The Deck

Growing up in Oklahoma, my golfing buddies and I had more than our fair share of wind to deal with on the course. As a PGA professional on the island of Maui, I still rely on different techniques to cheat the breeze and set up more scoring opportunities.

The Dead Shot

When playing golf, there are some days that no matter what you try, you can’t get your upper and lower body to work in sync. On these days, you’ll find that the hips trail too far behind the shoulders, and the shoulders trail too far behind the arms and hands. The Dead Shot is an effective drill I use with my students to promote balance, timing and synchronization from the takeaway through the finish.

Putt It Out

Sometimes the best way to get out of a bunker is to not hit the ball at all. Try putting it instead. Like all shots from the bunker, you must first assess the situation and determine if the putter is the right choice.

High Hopes

You’ll discover the need to hit over an obstacle–tree, fence, even a scoreboard–during the course of an everyday round. And while amateurs fear the shot, pros know that only a few setup adjustments can fuel success.

Conquer Obstacles

Take the high route over what?s between you and your target

Many golfers have difficulty in hitting a high-trajectory shot when they have to. A reason for this inability is a ball position that’s too far back in the stance. This makes varying the trajectory of your shots nearly impossible.

Conquer Hardpan

Regardless 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

To 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.

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