Monthly Archives: April 2013
Golf Quick Fix for thin lies
Most amateur golfers walk away from their golf round analyzing what they could have done better to shoot a better score. It could be a few better chips, eliminate the three putts or just find more fairways off the tee. All of these would certainly lower most of our scores and this is solid analysis, but we often overlook that the average golfer struggles and loses strokes on those shots from thin or tight lies.
Whenever you have a thin lie, it’s truly difficult to hit your mid and even more so, your long irons high enough to get the golf ball to land softly without having to play the ball way up in your stance. The problem with that is, on a thin or tight lie the risk of hitting the ball fat goes up a great deal.
You can reduce your odds of hitting the ball fat by playing a knockdown shot. This is a shot with lower trajectory that purposely allows the ball release forward when it lands. Make a three-quarter golf swing while attempting to trap the ball against the ground. These shots are a lot more forgiving because you are swinging down and slightly less from the inside than normal (more so on your target line) with a much shallower swing path than you usually swing.
If somehow you don’t catch the golf ball first, the golf club is less likely to bounce off the ground way it would with a swing that isn’t quite as steep. Instead, your iron is more likely to skim along the playing surface, so it’s quite possible you may even turn an average swing into a very decent golf shot.
You will want to play your golf ball further back in your stance when you have a thin or tight lie. The shaft of your club needs to be angled forward, toward your intended target as you take your stance over the ball. You will want to club up and use a club that is a little longer than you would usually use. Gripping down an inch will help you maintain more control. The longer club will help compensate for any loss of distance from the three-quarter swing. Allow for the golf ball to travel in the air a shorter distance than normal but it should roll quite a bit more towards your target.
The most helpful element about playing a knockdown is that the shallow angle in your swing will allow you more margin for error, in particular on thin lies. You won’t need to strike the golf ball perfectly to execute a high quality shot since your club will stay down a little longer through the impact zone.
Bringing the club less inside during the the takeaway promotes more of a cut shot so allow for the ball to work from left to right.
Here is a great video to help you understand this better:
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Many golfers stress about proper swing plane, proper position at the top, the downswing, et cetera. However each of these components of the swing are predicated on the beginning of the back swing.
The means or direction by which the back swing is initiated can and will influence the rest of the golf swing all the way thru the impact position and quite often the follow through (or lack there of).
The important thing is to make full use of your larger muscles to begin the back swing, instead of pulling the club with your hands, inside the target line or basically just lifting your arms up.
The golf take away is perhaps the most integral components of your golf swing. In the majority of circumstances, the first two feet of your back swing determine the swing path the head of the club will trek thru impact.
The mistake that is most common among amateurs is beginning their take away from a closed set up position. This causes the club head to get “stuck” behind you, leaving you no other alternative but to cast the club (coming over the top). Now you’ll be cutting across the golf ball generating the least desirable ball flight…the pull fade.
On the flip side, positioning yourself with a closed golf stance to promote more of a draw on the ball is often times a “band aid”. An inside take away with a closed set up position is really fairly simple and can feel 100 % natural the first time someone tries it. It’s not very often you find a professional with a golf stance with his/her feet pointed more than a few yards to the right of the intended target (left for you south paws).
However somehow, somewhere along the line golfers still hear it or read it someplace that merely closing your set up position will help promote a draw of the golf ball. In some instances this “might” be true, but many times positioning with a closed position causes a pulling of the golf ball to ensure it flies in the direction of the particular target area.
The “pull” is an outside to inside swing path, this creates a slice or even a fade of the ball when he face of the club remains open at impact. To generate a draw the swing path of the golf club needs to begin from the inside to outside from the top thru the point of impact.
- Get shaft of the club parallel to the ground while still below your waist.
- Your club shaft should also run parallel to your target line.
Golfers initially may fear or not like the feel or the aesthetics of this positioning, however, you can not argue with the results. Try to embrace that proper mechanics in golf feels very different or even feels weird at first. This is reason playing golf is so challenging. We, as human beings get pleasure from instantaneous gratification and immediate outcomes.
If playing golf was easy… wouldn’t everyone be a tour pro?
As I said earlier, the important thing is to make full use of your larger muscles to begin the back swing.
Here is a great video to help you better understand what that means.
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Golf Lesson: Fix Your Slice
The golf slice is extremely difficult to command. It’s unattractive and the undisputed biggest destroyer of handicaps in golf. The slice is a by-product of mistakes that will perpetually keep your game at the level it is now. There is no miracle golf club that will get rid of your slice, but there is a means by which you can fix your golf swing and make your banana balls a thing of the past.
Golf Quick Fix: Simple as A -B- C
A) Quit coming over the top
B) Square your club face
C) Do both at the same time
How Do We Do That?
The vast majority of golfers strive for, or at least they should strive for an inside out golf swing. This is by far the most efficient and the most effective swing shape.
An inside to out golf swing tends to promote a more right to left ball flight by way of a subtle draw. The draw is the ball flight sought after by most golfers because it promotes more distance and control.
Two things you need to do. For starters, the player needs to make sufficient space on the back swing in order to swing the golf club back on the inside. Also, calm the shoulders to prevent them from opening up during the downswing.
In order to swing through on the inside, primarily it comes down to developing enough space to do so. If other parts of the body get in the way of the the forward swing, the golfer has no option but to swing outside or come over the top.
These essential steps at address and during the take away will help swing from the inside.
Tilt your the head to the right or towards your trail side at address. This allows the shoulders to turn properly.
How is your grip?
If the right or trail hand is positioned too weak it will make the right arm too straight and blocks a proper takeaway.
Position the right (trail) shoulder a bit lower than the left (lead) while addressing the ball. Since the right hand is lower than the left…the right shoulder needs to be lower than the left as well.
Begin the swing by turning the body. Turn the right or trail hip out of the way. It should feel as though you are starting your back swing by turning the right hip.
If the golf club is in the correct position at the top of the swing, all the golfer needs to do is be cognizant that the downswing remains on the inside. More often than not it is your shoulders that will influence the club to come outside during the forward swing. That’s when you end up trying to muscle the ball. This causes the right hip to chase after the shoulders. At this point it’s all going wrong and the right leg will most likely get pulled out.
Do your best to make your shoulders remain passive. Begin slowly from the top of the swing. Allow your hands to drop. Legendary ball striker, Moe Norman referred to this as the “vertical drop” Coming inside allows you to swing easier increasing your club head speed. You won’t embrace this until you see for yourself so take this golf lesson to the driving range and give it a whirl.
Here is an excellent video to help you understand:
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Golf Lessons: This years winner of The Masters, Adam Scott displays a technique in his picture perfect golf swing that is virtually flawless. His golf swing is often compared to Tiger Woods’ golf swing…many times, both swings look very comparable.
The comparisons begin with their physical fitness levels. Adam Scott and Tiger have both taken golf health and fitness to the next level. Neither Adam Scott nor Tiger Woods have any apparent physical restrictions that impacts their swings and their technique…which is very atypical. Most golfers, amateur and professional, have a certain amount of restriction whether it be their lack of strength or their overall lack of flexibility that finds its way into their swing.
Scott has fantastic posture as he keeps a perfect spine angle at address and during his swing. As a matter of fact, Tiger Woods’ swing is a bit less efficient than Scott’s, but he (Scott) for the most part does not have Tiger’s short game ability nor his mental resilience that has given him, (Tiger) the number of PGA wins and Major Tournament victories that Adam Scott will never get close to.
However, We admire and praise Scott for his strength of character with his golf game training, and we expect him to win more tournaments and possibly another Major as his career continues. With a virtually perfect golf swing, all he really needs is to continue putting and chipping around the greens like he did at the 2013 Masters Tournament in Augusta.
His driving distance and accuracy are close to the top of the stat sheets on the PGA tour every year, so there is not much room for enhancement in those areas. Scott says he will keep working with his golf training regimen which will invariably give him an advantage with respect to power and consistency through out any golf event and the rest of his career. His short game and mental toughness are two of the few areas Scott will need to stay focused on. But as we said, his posture, spine angle and golf swing are nearly perfect. Every golfer should try to replicate Adam Scott’s address and golf swing.
Golf Lesson: Take a look at this slow motion video of him:
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The Masters – The governing body of Augusta National has determined that the ball drop Tiger Woods took in round two on Friday afternoon warrants a two stroke penalty rather than a disqualification as per 33-7 of the USGA.
There was a ton of social media and sports news discussion late Friday night and going into the early morning hours on Saturday that Tiger might possibly be disqualified for improperly signing his score card based primarily on an inaccurate drop of the golf ball on the fifteenth hole after his approach shot ricocheted off the flag stick and into the water. Apparently, Tiger hit the ball too perfectly when he hit the flag stick. The penalty left Woods five strokes behind tournament leader Jason Day.
Fred Ridley, chairman of The Masters competition committee released the following statement:
- “In preparation for his fifth shot, the player dropped his ball in close proximity to where he had played his third shot in apparent conformance with Rule 26. After being prompted by a television viewer, the Rules Committee reviewed a video of the shot while Woods was playing the 18th hole. At that moment and based on that evidence, the Committee determined he had complied with the Rules.
- After he signed his scorecard, and in a television interview subsequent to the round, the player stated that he played further from the point than where he had played his third shot. Such action would constitute playing from the wrong place.
- The subsequent information provided by the player’s interview after he had completed play warranted further review and discussion with him this morning. After meeting with the player, it was determined that he had violated Rule 26, and he was assessed a two stroke penalty. The penalty of disqualification was waived by the Committee under Rule 33 as the Committee had previously reviewed the information and made its initial determination prior to the finish of the player’s round”.
Looking at the rule book, USGA Rule 33-7 reveals that a penalty of disqualification can be waived in exceptional situations. The penalty can be waived, altered or enforced if the Committee thinks such a penalty is warranted.
This is what seems to have unfolded in this case. Somebody viewing the tournament on t.v. evidently called it in to The Augusta National Rules Officials who at the time said Tiger was in conformance before he finished his round Friday afternoon.
Subsequent to that ruling, in a post round media interview, Tiger altered his own fate by disclosing that he actually took the drop two yards farther back than his original shot which gave him a more suitable yardage.
So of course the officials had to reopen the investigation. Due to the fact they had previously ruled he was correct taking his drop they didn’t feel it was appropriate to disqualify him from the tournament .
According to the rules Tiger could have taken a drop behind the point of entry in to the water hazard or from the spot he played the original shot, none closer to the hole.
Woods attempted to perform neither of the two rules interpretations. By misinterpreting the “none closer to the hole” rule Tiger knocked himself two strokes further off the lead by altering the distance of his next shot. Truth be told, if Tiger hit the ball a little less perfectly he could have been one stroke off the lead coming into “Moving Up Day”.
Tiger now sits at one under for the tournament, five strokes behind Jason Day who is at six under. Day is clinging to a one stroke lead over fan favorite Fred Couples. The fifty-three year old Couples seems to show no signs of father time catching up to him whenever he plays at The Masters. If Couples wins he will be the oldest player to ever win The Masters. It will be interesting to see if Woods, who already has three wins this year can mount a comeback starting today.
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Twelfth Hole, Augusta National
The Masters: Back in 1958, Herbert Warren Wind wrote an essay for Sports Illustrated regarding The Masters where he introduced the golf world to the phrase “Amen Corner”. Since then, the original spirit and intent of the expression has been obscured.
Attendees like to say that there is nothing else, anywhere in the world like “Amen Corner”. This has a lot to do with the phrase coined by Wind. He was both humbled and embarrassed by this distinction. He never though he was stating some thing underived concerning The Masters.
Wind attempted to dump the audience right in the thick of the experience and to stimulate the readers as best he could. He tried to take hold of his readers and keep them. He enjoyed his own use of wordplay, and this is where “Amen Corner” originated. The phrase comes from a jazz recording that Wind liked. He cited it in the his opening paragraph, and it was so inadvertent that he never even bothered to describe the musical meaning.
Wind never even mentioned the tournament winner – Arnold Palmer – until he was about 400 words deep into his essay. His classic writing skills led Augusta National to memorialize him by naming the press room in the club house after him.
“Amen Corner” never referred to some hallowed ground. It was originally a reference to the second shot on the 11th hole, the par-three 12th hole and the tee shot on the 13th. It was that angle of the golf course that forced the players to breathe a sigh of relief after surviving that part of the course.
Years later, people began to remember it incorrectly. Amen Corner later turned into all three of those holes in their entirety. It was easier this way, rather than describing the phrase so specifically. Unfortunately, this how history remembers things. Creations become simplified and changed. The intended nuance is disregarded.
In any event, “Amen Corner” is a huge part of the magic and pageantry that surrounds The Masters and the quest for the green jacket.
Enjoy the tournament.
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The 30 yard pitch shot can be one of the most difficult shots approaching the green. Often times this shot demands a forced carry over a hazard or very challenging pin placement.
A 30 yard pitch shot is also quite challenging since it is generally performed from a seldom practiced distance. Yet, in spite of the obstacles, from this distance you should be thinking about knocking the ball close and getting up and down. Understanding how to cope with this gap is essential for a successful shot.
Here are a couple of drills that will help you cultivate sharper distance control around the greens.
The Underhand Toss
This exercise will assist you in learning the proper feel and follow-thru of your stroke. As the phrase implies, you will not require a golf club to complete this exercise. Choose a a number of targets at a variety of distances. Face each target and make an underhand toss with a golf ball at each target.
The underhanded throw should be executed with your strong or trail hand in your golf swing. Feel the relaxing sensation in your arm and body whilst making the pitch. Secondly, notice the way your arm finishes higher and higher as the intended targets move further away from you. Right after a handful of tosses grab a wedge and replicate the gradual progression until you lock in to that 30 yard target.
Another Excellent Exercise: Hands Of The Clock
This is my own personal swing thought on the golf course. Think about matching the length of your swing to a specific yardage, in this case, 30 yards. Understanding just how to follow thru is imperative to effectively hitting a 30 yard pitch shot. Many golfers generate a substantial back swing and slow down thru impact with a tight and restricted follow thru. To cultivate the most effective finish, you must fixate on a reduced back swing and a more lengthy follow thru.
Golf Quick Fix: Consider that your swing is comparable to the hands on a clock. For instance, if you swing your arms to a 9 o’clock back swing position and follow thru to the 3 o’clock positioning…evaluate just how far the golf ball travels. Swing with a consistent tempo and follow-thru and adjust your swing as needed from three and nine o’clock to lock in that 30 yard pitch shot. For me those swing lengths work perfectly with my pitching wedge. But use the golf club that makes the 30 yard pitch shot one of your “go to” shots.
As a golfer, you need to embrace the concept that the only option you have to improve upon your pitch shots is through practice. You have heard it before, “repetition reinforces retention”. This has never been more true than with the short game in golf. Practice is the truest Quick Fix Golf lesson. That being said, set some targets at various distances and rehearse your pitch shots. Determine your “go to” distance or distances. A simple and easy approach is to establish some short range targets and work your way further down range. Cultivate the feel by taking repeated golf swings that you will be able to bring to the golf course.
Good luck and hit’em straight from Golf Quick Fix.
For years the thought of landing in a sand trap filled with wet packed down sand was one of my greatest fears on the golf course. There was no need for it. There are now times that I find the wet sand is a little more manageable for me, depending on the height of the trap. Now that I understand how simple the technique is, it is no longer a great concern of mine.
I am not trying to downplay landing in the bunker. There is a good reason they call the sand bunker a hazard. You can come across a wide variety of of lies in the sand trap. Each of them can require a somewhat unique strategy.
Some golf courses have a light and fluffy sand in there bunkers however the course a mile away might have sand traps loaded with a very heavy and course type of sand. Some bunkers have heaps of sand while the others will only have a thinner covering. All that being said if the bunkers are wet due to rain or in the path of a rotating sprinkler, you are working with another factor all together.
The powers that be in golf do not permit you to tryout the texture of a sand trap with a golf club, so you will have to depend on your feet to deliver any feedback regarding the depth of the sand, the texture and the consistency.
Your sand wedge typically has a particular amount of bounce. The bounce is found on the sole of the golf club head. The bounce provides the ” lift ” required to burst the golf ball out of the bunker under regular or dry conditions. In cases when the sand is flattened by dampness, the bounce that assisted you to hit the golf ball out of the dried out sand can lead you to blade or skull the golf ball…hitting it thin from wet sand.
If you are in green side bunker, you should consider using a lob wedge. A lob wedge has more loft but does not have as much bounce. If you do not have a lob wedge, try a few practice shots with your pitching wedge, it also has less bounce.
The approach from wet sand is not quite the same as from dry sand. Utilizing this approach, the golf ball will come out a little hotter and fly a bit further than a typical sand shot.
Open your stance, however not as much as with a standard sand shot. Open the face of the club, but not as much as in typical conditions. Keep most of your body weight on your lead foot. Shorten your back swing. You will not want to strike as far behind the golf ball as you would if the sand was dry. Swing the wedge a tiny bit harder than normal. It is vital that you follow through or the ball may stay in the trap. When executed correctly you will hear a ” thump ” when the sole of the club hits the sand. Listen for the ” thump ” when you rehearse this shot.
Your short sticks are your scoring clubs. And this is one of the shots you need to have in your bag. If you don’t have one, think about getting a lob wedge.
Good luck and hit’em straight from Golf Quick Fix.
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