When it fits your eye: let the shot hppen   Leave a comment

levelWhen you come to a hole that bends in the direction that your drives naturally curve, you think, Finally, a hole made for me.

Well, you have to be careful, because the situation is tempting you to hit the hero shot. If you’re a fade player, you look at a dogleg-right hole and want to just rip it. The problem is, if you aim straight and over-fade your drive into the inside corner of the dogleg, that’s where the worst trouble is. You’ve just turned your dream hole into a nightmare.

To play a hole that matches your shot shape, aim at the outside corner of the dogleg and give your tee shot room to work back toward the middle. If you’re a fade player on that dogleg-right, here’s the procedure: First, aim the clubface at the left edge of the fairway (left); then, set your body lines—feet, hips, shoulders—parallel to the line the face is on (right). Now you can make your normal swing—no steering!—and your preferred shot shape will move the ball into perfect position

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Posted 14 November, 2017 by E. Marino in Harmon, Tips

Uphill drives: set up a high launch   Leave a comment

uphillThis one’s a classic. You see the fairway rising in front of you and think you have to help the ball up. So what do you do? You play the ball way forward in your stance or hang back and flip your hands upward at impact. These moves are not reliable and often lead to topped drives or hitting the ground behind the ball—the dreaded drop-kick.

It’s true, you want to create more carry on uphill shots, but you have to do it the right way. Take your normal address (left), then move your back foot four or five inches to your right, widening your stance (right). This will angle your upper body a little more away from the target.

You’ll make a good turn and be able to shift forward coming down and still be behind the ball so you can hit up on it slightly. That upswing hit creates a high launch.

Remember, the tee box of an uphill hole is as level as any other; no need to adjust your swing. Just set up behind the ball a touch, and you’ll get more carry.

Posted 14 November, 2017 by E. Marino in Harmon, Tips

Short holes: swing to a distance   Leave a comment

Butch HarmonYou step up on short par 4s and your instinct is to get as close to the green as possible, so you whale away with your driver. That’s OK for good players, but golfers less skilled with wedges need to look at the shot they’re leaving themselves. If you’re playing a 300-yard hole and you drive it 240, the remaining 60-yard shot can be one of the toughest. Add in a small green or deep front bunker—common features on short par 4s—and you can make a big number fast.

The trick on these holes is to drive the ball to your favorite wedge yardage. For some players, it’s a full wedge, like 110 yards, or a three-quarter shot of 80 or 90 yards. Then you look at the length of the hole (300) and subtract your favorite distance (110) to figure out what you want from your tee shot. In this case, covering 190 yards might mean hitting a hybrid or long iron. Then just commit to covering that yardage, not swinging like you have a driver in your hands. You’ll make more birdies that way than trying to pitch it close from an awkward distance nearer the green.

Posted 14 November, 2017 by E. Marino in Harmon, Tips

Hit the gas to improve pitching accuracy   Leave a comment

Think miles per hour from inside 100 yards

LeadbetterNeed for speed: Swing speed — not swing length — is the best way to control pitching distance.

The most common way golfers are told to regulate distance on pitch shots is to vary the length of the backswing. But I’ve always found it extremely difficult to get players to know exactly how far back they take the club. How would they know? It’s not like a bell goes off when they get to the correct spot.

Instead of worrying about varying backswing lengths, focus on one length — halfway back, with the left arm parallel with the ground. From there, key on the acceleration factor through impact. For example, if you want to hit a 90-yard shot, think about making a 90-mph swing. If you want to hit it 70 yards, make it 70 mph and so on. Obviously, these speeds are not accurate, but it’s a great mental concept for improving distance control on your pitch shots.

Posted 14 November, 2017 by E. Marino in Leadbetter, Tips

Uneven lies and how to beat them   Leave a comment

A large percentage of shots during a round of golf will not be from a perfect, level lie like you practice on the range.  Understanding what may or may not happen from these uneven lies and making the necessary set-up adjustments are extremely important to executing the shot and minimizing the BIG mistakes.

When executing any of the uneven lies, use these three steps to help.

  • Take several practice swings to get a feel for the slope
  • Swing at 75% tempo
  • Use a three-quarter length swing

UNEVEN LIES: BALL ABOVE FEET

1SET-UP ADJUSTMENTS
  • Choke down on the club
  • Aim right of the target
  • Weight towards the toes
  • Create a more upright posture
  • Use less club to reduce the hook

SWING

The more lofted club you use for this shot, the further the face will point to the left. Using a lower lofted club will point closer to the target at address and reduce the amount of hook on the shot. This lie shifts the ball closer and higher to you than normal, which will steepen the swing plane, causing you to hit too much ground. At impact, feel the club just brushing the top of the grass. The slope, and a flatter swing plane, will create a right-to-left flight.

UNEVEN LIES: BALL BELOW FEET

2SET-UP ADJUSTMENTS
  • Grip up on the club
  • Aim left of the target
  • Weight toward the heels
  • Increase knee flex
  • Use more loft to reduce any slice

SWING

This is by far the hardest of the four uneven lies. Why? In this situation, your swing needs to be more upright than normal WITHOUT changing your posture or knee flex during the backswing.

Opposite of the other lie, the ball is now further away, making is easier for you to thin or top the shot. Keep your chest down and keep your knee flex throughout the swing, including the finish. Use a club with more loft to help increase backswing on the ball which will reduce the amount of slice. Play for a left-to-right shape and stay down.

Posted 14 November, 2017 by E. Marino in Golf Tips Mag, Tips

Approach shots   Leave a comment

When it comes to hitting greens down the stretch, nothing is more important than distance control. Think about it. Even a shot that’s 20 yards off line might still be on the green if you hit it pin high. That’s why you should really focus on solid contact when hitting your irons in the clutch.

approach-shotsYou can get a simple tip that will cure a common negative tendency with your irons. When you get into your address position, focus on the front of the golf ball—the sliver closest to your target. Then, when you swing, stay focused on hitting that part of the ball. This will help delay the release of the club, so you make ball-first contact with a delofted clubface. That gets the iron to continue moving downward even after the ball is struck. You’ll compress it.

A sure sign you’re hitting your iron shots powerfully is the look and feel of the clubshaft at impact. It should be leaning toward your target. Note how the left eye really looks like it’s fixated on that front edge of the golf ball. That also will help get your mind off the weight of the moment.

Posted 30 October, 2017 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Tips

Short game   Leave a comment

Clutch short-game players are the envy of us all. One of the most obvious things you’ll notice when they hit these shots is they swing with no fear of nuking one 30 yards over the green. They keep the clubhead moving long after the ball has spun off the face by using good body rotation—way more than the average golfer dares to turn, especially when it’s a big shot.

short-gameThe key to hitting a good pitch or chip is to minimize the role of the hands. Instead, use a more reliable method of turning your body toward the target to propel the club along the ground before and after impact. In other words, keep your chest turning through. I like the visual of pretending there is a long club with its grip attached to your chest. Your mission is to hit the shot by turning your body. If you don’t turn your chest, the club doesn’t move.

If you do turn, the butt end of the club should be pointing at your stomach at the finish.

Another thing that will help you hit short-game shots is how you set your hands. At address, lean the shaft slightly away from the target, so your left wrist feels slightly cupped and your right wrist flat. Maintain those wrist positions as you turn your chest toward the target, and you’ll pull off the shot every time.

Posted 30 October, 2017 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Tips