Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stop Slicing Forever in 15 minutes

The slice is golf’s most major problem with over 80 percent of players suffering from this fault that leads to a loss of distance and direction. And yet it can usually be corrected in less than 15 minutes. Most players don’t understand what causes them to slice the ball. Ask most and they reply, “I’m swinging across the ball” or “I’m swinging outside-in”. This can contribute to a slice but it isn’t the basic cause.

Regardless of what you’ve read or been told by your golfing buddies the basic cause of a slice is a clubface that is open to the swing line at impact. The ball slices because the clubface is open or pointing right of the direction that the club is traveling. This problem stems from a faulty grip so the first thing we must do is find a grip that allows you to square the clubface to your swing line at impact. For most this means positioning the grip handle more in the fingers and rotating your hands to the right or clockwise The last thing most players want to do is change their grip, but please realize this is an essential step in squaring the clubface to the swing path at impact.

Next is to aim the clubface to the target and to square your shoulders to the target line. At first you may feel your shoulders are closed – aimed right of the target. This is extremely important however because squaring your shoulders makes room for your arms to swing up and then down on the inside.

In your takeaway feel that the clubface is closing so that it continues facing the ball during the first few feet. This is imperative because most all chronic slicers, because of their open set up were forced to roll the club face open with their hands and wrists to get the club away on the right path.

Having your shoulders square now allows your arms to swing up on the inside in the backswing. From here the arms can now swing down on the inside so that the right shoulder will trail the arms instead of leading them.

Most slicers also have their head positioned too far to the left at address or even in front to the ball. If this is the case with you make sure your head is positioned behind the ball at address so that you are looking at the back of ball – the part of the ball that you want to hit.

By mastering the proper grip, set up and arm swing your slice will be a thing of the past. You will be delighted with the feeling of solidly struck shots and a straight ball flight. For many of you this may be the first time you have experienced applying the club head solidly into the back of the golf ball.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Why golf is the greatest game

Golf is truly unique because it offers a challenge found in no other game. The golf course is your opponent presenting you with new situations to challenge you each time you play.

Golf provides solace and relief from the stress and tensions of everyday life. It can provide great satisfaction and recognition from our peers. One of golf’s greatest gifts is the friendships it creates among strangers.

Golf’s environment is fresh air, green grass, trees, lakes and beautiful landscapes. Golf is a great source of exercise that you can play at your own pace. Play nine holes or thirty six holes. You can play for the fun of it or decide to compete in tournaments. Golf is a great family activity providing a lifetime of enjoyment for each generation.

Golf is a great builder of character. It requires discipline, self control and the ability to deal with success and failure. It demands integrity because unlike other sports there are no referees or umpires. You call your own penalties under an honor system. There is no better game for young people. They learn to respect the game’s values of sportsmanship, etiquette and honesty.

Golf gives you the opportunity to watch the best players in the world compete and then have the opportunity to test your skills on the same course. Golf teases us with brief success but refuses to let us ever master it. Golf’s allurement is the never ending desire to learn more and play better.

Whether you are a scratch player or a beginner, male or female, young or old golf is a game that tests your skills, provides serenity and demands poise under pressure.

What makes golf the greatest game of all is not only the enjoyment it provides us over a lifetime, but also what it teaches us about ourselves and others.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How and what to practice

Unlike professionals who make their living playing golf most weekend players live busy lives which doesn’t allow for as much practice time as they would like. This fact makes it all that more important that your practice time emphasize quality rather than quantity. Effective practice should include three elements:

1. Be goal oriented
2. Be organized
3. Create a realistic environment

Goal Oriented - Limit yourself to one pre-swing thought and one swing thought. If you are working on swing technique use a 6 or 7 iron rather than a driver and choose a target that is 20 yards closer than where you would normally hit it. This creates a slower tempo allowing your mind and body more time to absorb the command they are unfamiliar with. Stay focused on the specific technique or thought until you begin to feel and sense it.

Be organized - Effective practice helps you to develop the skills you’ll need on the golf course. Hitting 150 balls with only your long clubs may be fun, but it isn’t sensible considering your short game constitutes over half your score. Create a schedule to work on different areas of your game. Spend the first half of your allotted time on the long game and swing technique. Devote the second half to your short game including pitching, chipping, putting and bunker play.

Create a realistic environment - When hitting full shots visualize you are on the golf course. Always choose a target and make note to the distance to each target. Go through your set up process on every shot so that you’re using the same routine in practice as on the course. Work on specialty shots that you may encounter on the course such as low punch shots, slices or hooks around an imaginary tree, uneven lies, etc. The key is to create a practice environment as realistic as possible making for an easier transition to the golf course.

When you do have the opportunity to practice make the most of it. By having specific goals in mind, organizing your practice regiment and creating a realistic environment you’re using your time more effectively resulting in better performance on the course and lower scores.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tee Shots - Lack of Distance

Obviously length off the tee combined with reasonable control gives players a huge advantage over their shorter hitting competitors. Longer drives allow you to hit shorter irons into the greens giving you opportunities for more birdies and lower scores. I often see amateurs fail to maximize on their distance potential not because of their strength or club head speed, but rather because of their set up with the driver.

In order to hit long, high flying tee shots a player must create a sweeping motion that strikes the ball while the club head is ascending or on the upswing. Unfortunately many players address their tee shots in the same manner as if they were hitting an iron. Their weight is even or favoring their left side, their hands are forward and the ball is positioned back in their stance. This set up creates a steep, downward angle of attack on the ball in the downswing resulting in a weak glancing blow and a loss of power. Topped or skied shots are often the result.

I recommend making these adjustments in your address to improve your impact and trajectory. Tee the ball higher and more forward so the ball is opposite the instep of your left foot. Widen your stance slightly and put 60% of your weight on your right side. Your head and hands will now be slightly behind the ball. Keep your grip relaxed so your arms feel soft and not rigid.

This new set up creates a wide arc and full shoulder turn so that your upper body is fully coiled behind the ball at the top of the swing. The increased coil allows for the natural transition back to your left side and the club to accelerate through the ball on a more sweeping ascending path.

Keep your head behind the ball through impact so that you feel you are sweeping the ball off the tee without removing the tee from the ground. Practice this new set up and you’ll soon be hitting shorter irons into the greens and enjoying more birdie opportunities.