Shave a Few Stroke From Your Game Using These 7 Tips
Golfing season is in full swing (no pun intended) and if you are just getting into golf you are finding it is much harder than it looks. That little white ball has a tendency to go soaring in every direction except where you want it to go. This year I have made it my goal to focus on my technique and there are a few things I have learned already. Some of these may sound overly simple but they work. It is pretty easy to forget about the basics when you are out on the course.
The number one thing that many people struggle with is swinging too hard at the ball. It is easy to see the pros get that full speed swing to maximize the flex on the shaft and get more distance. Until you perfect your swing and have full control, this will create inconsistent shots. Get out to the range and practice with slower swings. You will find that better contact with the ball allows you to get greater distance. As you improve, you can speed up your through swing for more distance. To maintain better control, keep your backswing slow until you reach the apex. Then swing forward full and you will still get the flex from the shaft for better distance.
Keep Your Head Down
When you follow through on your swing, it is common to lift your head to try and watch your ball. This often causes you to pull your club, across your body. This leads to topping your ball or shanking your shot. Keep your head down until you finish your follow through, and then look up and find your ball. This will help you maintain straighter and more consistent shots.
Positioning of Your Ball
The positioning of your ball is crucial to the flight of it when you make contact. For most people, you will want to keep the ball towards your front foot when driving. The longer shaft and larger club head tends to open up more with the extra flex. Plus, the ball is elevated on the tee. This allows you to make contact as the shaft is straightening out, allow for more power and a more direct shot. With your irons, getting a bit more centered with the ball in your stance tends to lead to better contact. Of course, as you get better, you can adjust the positioning to adjust your shot height, spin, and other more advanced metrics.
Know Your Lie
The lie of the ball, and the condition of the course are very important to planning your shot. For example, if you go out early in the morning and the grass still has moisture on it, the greens will be much slower than later in the day when it drys up. Shooting out of the rough, wheres theres more grass, means more interference between the club face and the ball. This often takes some distance off of your shot and makes it more difficult to hit straight. Know your capabilities and try to play to your strengths. Struggle getting the ball in the air? Trying punching it under that tree instead of hitting over it. Or maybe you should play to the edge of the green around the sand trap instead of trying to land it over it a risk goin in.
If you can putt the ball well, you should be able to play a decent round. Putting is one of the hardest aspects in golf, from reading the green to hitting it straight. This take a lot of practice. The biggest tip is to know your power on your swings. How far you pull the putter back should determine how far the ball goes. Keep a consistent follow through to get the ball rolling straight. If you pull back too far and compensate by not following through it will be inconsistent. You will tend to chop the ball, causing it to hop, which will mess up your line and get less distance as the forward roll is not as strong. Keep your stroke smooth and easy.
Chipping is something that can be very difficult if you make it so. Many players see how the pros pop it up in the air and drop it down with little roll. It is easy to want to shoot like this, but much harder to actually make the shot. The pros do this because the greens they play on are so fast that the need the backspin to stop the ball from rolling too far past the hole. Most people are not playing on courses that difficult. Getting under the ball enough to drop it straight down is quite difficult. Quite often an attempt leads to blading the ball and sending it low and straight, much further than desired. Unless you have to hit over a bunker, or a hill, there is a much easier option. Try giving it a soft hit and letting the roll carry it up to the hole. With slower greens this is usually an effective approach. I put the ball towards by back foot and close the face of the club with a choked up grip. This allows me to give it roll with out elevating the ball too much. Aim a little short and let the ball roll towards the pin.
Driving is a difficult part of the game, but leads to a very good round if you can get consistent accuracy and power. As mentioned above, when trying to get that perfect swing, you first need to slow down and get consistent in your motion. A few years ago I tried this for myself. For the first 9, I swung hard and fast. The result was balls all over the place, ranging from 160 yards to 250 yards. On the back 9, I pulled back real slow, and then powered through once I reached the apex. This time I was hitting 220 yards to 300 yards, almost perfectly straight, sometimes over driving the fairways. The difference was unreal. 57 on the front, 42 on the back. I used this trick with my irons as well.
If you are stuggling wth hitting the ball straight, there are a few techniques you can use. First, try locking the index finger of your top hand with the pinky finger of your bottome hand. This will help reduce wiggle in your wrists that cause you to open up the club and shank it. If you are still struggling, try rolling your wrists over a little bit on your follow through. This closes the club on your swing. Another option is to slightly turn the club in your hand before swinging. I slightly open my driver so when I roll my wrists, it doesn’t close too much.
Keep In Mind
Next time you go out for a round, remember these tips. Write them down and take them with you. Put them in your phone. Leave them in your golf bag. Whatevet it is you need to do to remember them. When you start getting frustrated and want to throw your clubs, read over these tips. Often you will find that there is a component that you are forgetting. Put it back into your routine and keep practicing. You will get better and better each time.