Posts Tagged ‘tips’

Hitting Out of the Water

Hitting Out of the Water

This is useful when the ball is almost completely under water.  When done right you can save yourself a stroke.

You need a steep, powerful swing to pull this off.

You will need to have part of the ball above water for it to work.  At least half of it should be dry.  A fully submerged ball may be too difficult to get out of the water for this to work.

Focus on your feet.  Keep your shoes on.  Stable footing is key to this shot.  A wide stance will help you get the right balance.  Use a pitching or sand wedge.  You don’t want too much loft here.

Hit the ball like you were hitting out of the sand trap.  You want to try to get under it some to pop it up out of the water.  Down and hard is the way to go.

You should be out and safe.  Now go grab a towel!



4 Ways to Read Greens


Tip #1: Pace Off Your Putt – If you don’t know how far away you are from the hole, it’s going to be very difficult to judge the speed of your putt.  Many amateur golfers who get to the green, squat behind the ball, take five seconds to look at who knows what and smack the ball ten feet past the hole only to miss the next one and walk away with a three jack. Next time you get to the green, mark your ball and pace off your putt. Count your paces and multiply the number by three to calculate how many feet you are from the cup. Over time, you’ll develop a consistent feel for the length of stroke needed depending on the length of the putt.

Tip #2: Take A Lap – Once you’ve paced off your putt and arrived at the cup, take a few steps back keeping in line with your ball and have a look at the break. Imagine pouring your water bottle into the cup until it overflows. What direction (left or right) is the water going to spill out in? To the left? Great! Now you know what the break is doing within the last pace or two before the cup – this is physics, not rocket science. Finally, walk to the low side of the putt (whichever direction the water flowed out) halfway between your ball and the cup and crouch down to get an idea of how severe or steep the slope is. This part is all about feel, which comes naturally with time and practice.

Tip #3: Return To Your Ball – It seems like the first two steps would take a while, but you shouldn’t take more than 30-60 seconds to pace off your put, view from behind the cup and visualize the water, and feel the slope from the low side of the hole. To keep up with the pace of play, try to do this while you’re waiting your turn. If you’re furthest from the hole, it’s okay to take some time as everyone else is reading their putts. Now take a couple paces back from your ball and, with all the information you just gathered, get a feel for the break of your putt. Can you identify the apex (highest point) of the break? By now you should be confident in your read, but if not, take a quick walk back to the midway point between you and the cup. Stand over your line to get a better idea of the break while taking a couple strokes to get a feel for your speed. You should be confident and comfortable before hitting any putt.

Tip #4: Go Through Your Pre-stroke Routine – If you don’t have a putting routine you absolutely love, try this: Stand next to your ball, lined up in the general direction of where you want your ball to start its line and take two practice strokes that replicate what you want your real stroke to feel like. Address your ball. Take one look down your line and all the way to the cup, seeing the ball go in. Take a second look down your line to the apex of the break and then down to the hole. Stroke your putt. This is the simplest routine I know.



The Backwards Flop Shot

A lot of you were recently amazed by Phil’s impressive backwards bunker shot.  Here’s how it is done:

The backwards shot is aiming in the opposite direction of your target and flipping the ball backward over your head and in the right direction.  The most common situation in which the backwards shot will help you is when your ball ends up on a severe down-slope on the outskirts of a green-side bunker.  In order for this shot to be effective your ball has to be lying with the green facing away from the slope.  You will need to use the club with the most loft that you have in your bag.  This works best with something 64 degrees or greater.  Open the face of your club head to increase your angle and get the ball to go over your head.  The trick to the shot is the flip action at impact. Unlike with every other chip or pitch you will hit on the course, for the backwards shot, you have to let the club head lead ahead of your hands. Take a big swing and make sure your wrists are hinged at the top. On the downswing, get the club under the ball by flipping your wrists and keep the momentum of your wrists’ flip going even after impact. You should see the club head follow the arc of the ball over your head and behind you.


5 Tips to Hitting Straight Consistently

  1. Arrive early. Got to the range and hit a few balls with the clubs you use most of the time.  Don’t forget the putter!  Many golfers spend all their shots on the range perfecting their drives and completely over look the putter.  This can cause issues with their short game.  Start out on the range with your lesser loft clubs and work your way up to the driver.
  2. Align your shot and body. Be sure that you have put your feet in line with the target and that you have addressed the ball with enough distance to strike it without reaching out too far.  Over compensating for distance (reaching or pulling) will cause your shot to go off line.
  3. While addressing the ball your knees should be bent and your stance should be strong. If someone should try to push you, you should not fall over if standing correctly.  Don’t bend over too much or you will lose your balance.
  4. Keep your eye on the ball! Don’t make the mistake of looking up to see where your ball is going.  You can’t hit it if you can’t see it!
  5. Take it slow on your back swing. Raise the club slowly back.  Rotate your hips as you swing.  You should end up with your belly button pointing towards the target once you have followed through all the way.



Hitting Out of the Bunker Far from Far Away from the Green

Hitting the ball in an early trap from far away from the green can be frustrating.  Now that you are in the trap from the start you need to get out and back on the fairway safely and quickly.  You may also need to hit the ball a little further than you normally would out of a trap.

Hitting with a low number/low loft iron is ideal in this situation.  It is not uncommon for some golfers to use a 5 wood or fairway wood in the sand when the lie is right.  You will want to hit the ball as clean as possible.  If you hit too fat you will sacrifice most of your power and lose your distance.  If you hit too skinny and blade the ball you may end up going a little too far.   Try swinging a normal swing with your iron as if you were on the fairway.  As long as you pick it clean and clear the edge of the trap you will notice the ball go a lot further which will save you some strokes and keep you in the game.  Hitting out of early bunkers ineffectively is a great way to add strokes to your card and put you in the hole.

If you hit into some soft sand and your ball sinks into the sand you will have no choice, but to hit it a little fat to get it out of the sand.  Just be sure you are hitting with a full swing and follow all the way through to prevent too much loss of power.

Hitting in the sand early in the game does not have to be the end of your round.  There is always a way out and a chance for you to recover!



The Fear of Hitting Over Water

Hitting over the water is intimidating to most golfers.  The anxiety of the shot is what makes this difficult.  Physically speaking, the distance is the same as an over land shot.  It’s all in your head!

Start by choosing the right club.  Pick one that you know you can easily make the distance with.  Try to stay away from clubs that will require you to use maximum effort or have a very small sweet spot.

Make sure you are picking a safe target to shoot at.  If the water is only on 1 side you may want to play it safe and try to land the ball towards the dryer side of the course.  Especially if you have a natural hook or fade.

Do your best to stay calm during your shot.  Golf is a game of centimeters.  The slightest variance in your swing could cause your ball to go in the drink.  Try to pretend you are hitting over the fairway and there is no water there.  Remember, it’s all in your head.  The distance is no different than if you were to be hitting over the grass.

Stay calm, put it on the green and get it in the hole!



Fairway Woods Tips

The 3 and 5 wood clubs are often clutch clubs to use on long approaches, par 4’s or long par 3’s.  Some players would even prefer to use a 3 wood instead of their driver off the tee box.  Swinging the woods is different than swinging irons where the bottom of the arch of your swing ends up just in front of the ball and the driver where the bottom of the arch of your swing ends up just before the ball.  When swinging the woods the bottom of the arch of your swing is just at the ball.  Where you normally would take some turf on your iron shots, you should not move much dirt with a wood shot.  It is meant to be a cleaner shot at the side of the ball.  Before taking your shot, take a practice shot or 2.  You should be slightly scraping the grass with each swing.  This should help you zero in on the sweet spot or preferred point of impact on the ball.  Beware that these shots typically do not have much loft and end up landing with a lot of forward role.

You should address the ball with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent as if you were riding a small horse.  Adjust the width of your stance to match the bottom of the arch of your swing with the length of your arms.  Keep the ball in the middle to slightly forward in your stance (towards the left foot slightly if you are right handed).

While swinging remain balanced evenly on both feet and stay planted.  Try not to move your feet as you swing as this will dis-align your shot.  Remember to strike the ball smoothly and clean and not to dig in to the dirt or hit fat as this will sacrifice your power and the little loft you get with the woods.  Remember to follow all the way through with your swing.  You can choke up on the club some if you have issues with control.  Try a bucket or 2 on the range to zero in on your sweet spot before hitting the course.  Practice makes prefect!

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Hitting Long Iron Shots

Besides the driver, this is the one of the most difficult clubs to hit with.  The hybrid is a good alternative and a little easier to hit, but learning how to hit a long iron is essential to every golfer’s game.  Hitting the iron gives you a more precise shot.  The long irons come in particularly handy when it comes to long par 3’s or short par 4’s.

The average golfer usually hits the 5 iron somewhere between 150 – 175 yards.  Researching the course you are going to play and seeing how many long par 3’s or short 4’s are on it before you play will help you better prepare for those shots and that game.  If you don’t usually use a long iron spend some time on the range with one to better understand your range with this club.  Don’t spend all your time on the range driving and making short chips.  If you have trouble hitting a good long iron you should spend most of your bucket on that shot until you are comfortable with it.  Practice makes perfect!

You should start your bucket of range balls with shorter punch shots to acclimate yourself with the feel and sound of the ball coming off the center or sweet spot of the club face.  Try swinging from about 90 degrees back with your back swing and following through the front and stopping at about the same height.  Start out small and work your way up to a slightly larger swing.  The smaller amount of distance between the club and the ball, the less room for error there will be.  When your back swing is short it helps you to use the rotation of your body more to hit the ball as far as you need to.  Taking big shots with huge back swings creates a greater opportunity for you to not make square and solid club face contact with the ball.  Slow it down, take it easy and let the club do the work!  Hitting a few good shots with that 5 iron will help you relieve some of the stress you may be experiencing while trying to hit that long iron on the course.

Be sure not to have the ball too far back in your stance.  Although, this is a long club it is not as long as the driver and it is a totally different type of shot.  You need to be able to hit down effectively and compress it in order to get the loft and spin to carry the ball the distance.  The easiest thing to do is have the ball at the center of your feet or slightly forward by a couple of inches.  Your knees should be slightly bent and your feet about shoulder width apart.  Your stance should be strong enough so that if anyone would try to push you over from the front you would not fall.

Keep your eye on the ball and don’t move your head.  This will keep your swing shorter and keep you centered on the ball so you can make good contact.

Remembering these tips and practicing regularly will keep you on the green and in the fairway when it comes time to break out that long iron.


Green-Side Bunker Shots

Hitting out of the bunker by the green can be tough.  Practice shots are typically not allowed in the sand, so you better make it count on the 1st shot.  This shot requires you to have an open stance and club face as well as aiming 2 inches behind the ball.  These are a lot of mechanics to keep in mind.  Especially, when under the pressure of trying to get out of the bunker successfully in a close game.  Keeping a clear mind during this shot is very important.  If you don’t want to overthink it and miss your shots, just try to stay calm and remember you need to hit the ball from a comfortable stance and get the club face under the ball.

The real trick here is to get the center of gravity of the club face under the center of gravity of the ball.  Once you achieve this, the displacement of the sand will help shoot the ball upward creating enough loft to clear most bunkers and get you on the green.  There are other mechanics involved in getting the ball to back spin and stop or hit and roll, but if you get under the ball well enough with a comfortable swing you should be out of the trap in 1.


How to Hit Out of the Green-Side Rough

When you are stuck in the green-side rough and have no green to work with this should get you on:

This shot can be difficult because you need speed to get the club through the long grass without too much distance as the pin is close.  This will require a certain set and short, but strong swing.

The closer the pin is, the more loft you must create in order to get the ball to drop and stop rather than hit and roll.  This is tough to do in the rough as most golfers achieve this loft by opening the club face.  When you do this in the rough you tend to get under the ball too far with the club face.

When you are in the fescue-ish long thick grass you should take a few practice swings in similar type grass.  This will help you get an understanding of how much the grass will grab the club.

You will have to strike downward towards the ball in order to create the loft you are going to need.  You will also have to grip the club tighter.  If you don’t, when the grass grips the club it will effect the position of the face which will cause you more or less loft than desired.

Narrowing your stance is also helpful as when you move your feet closer together you naturally steepen the arc of your swing.  This will help you make cleaner contact through the thick grass.

You will need an aggressive strike with loft preserved.  You will have to pop the ball out to achieve this.  To do this stop the club as soon after impact as possible.  You will have to hit and hold the shot which should stop the face from rotating and deliver a high launch.

Make a sharp wrist cock on the way back in your back swing.  The shaft should point at the sky before your lead arm reaches parallel.


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