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A key to good golf: Swing in rhythm   Leave a comment

Improve your tempo from tee to green

Whether it’s a drive off the first, a crucial putt at the last, or some other stroke in between, rhythm is an important ingredient to make a shot great—it’s like the salt on french fries. Without it, the fries are OK. With it, your mouth waters before the first bite.

Ever notice how a drive made with less effort produces a tee shot far better than if you take a rip at the ball? That’s because you improved the rhythm of your swing. And though it might be a good idea to take your time when you hit driver, other shots require different rhythm. Take the greenside bunker shot you see hitting here. This shot requires a little more energy. The buzzword you  are thinking about when you hit bunker shots is brisk. That gets you to swing through the sand a little amped up, so the club doesn’t decelerate and leave the ball in the bunker. That’s what you mean about swinging with good rhythm. If you want to improve your game from tee to green, scroll down for some other buzzwords to help improve your tempo on various shots.

DRIVER
BUZZWORD: PATIENCE

Driver tempoGrab a golf ball and toss it up, paying attention to the change of direction when it starts to fall back down. Notice how it seems to hover in mid-air for a moment before dropping. If you emulate this feeling of hovering when you change direction from backswing to downswing, you’ll add good flow to your tee shots. Now for your buzzword. Before you take the driver back, think of the word patience. There’s no rush to complete the backswing or to start swinging down. Look how the left heel has come off the ground like an old-school golfer’s swing. You can use this as a cue to know when to change direction. Let it come off the ground as you swing back, and replant that heel before you start down. It will make your swing feel more in sync.

IRONS
BUZZWORD: SMOOTH

Iron tempoWhether it’s nerves, adrenaline or the instinct to lift the club, a lot of golfers jerk their irons up and away from the ball as they start the backswing. This causes a lot of issues that have to be corrected on the way back down if you want to hit it solid and straight. Mostly, it’s a rhythm killer. Like the patient transition at the top of a driver swing, you want to start your irons back with no appreciable effort. The buzzword here is smooth. The club should quietly trace the turf for a foot or two before you hinge it upward. A great drill to help you get the feel of this smooth takeaway is to address a ball with another ball behind your iron on the target line. Start the swing by rolling the second ball away. You can even use this image when you play—especially under pressure.

WEDGES
BUZZWORD: LIGHT

Wedge tempoShots inside 100 yards are often called finesse shots and require a different kind of rhythm.

A lot of it is determined before you take the club back. Like a shortstop getting ready to field a grounder or a point guard shooting free throws, you should feel nimble when you address these short-game shots. Soften your grip pressure, waggle the club a little, gently shift your weight back and forth between your feet. When you’re ready to hit the shot, set the wedge behind the ball and immediately start the motion. No need to let all that rhythm you just prepped for transform into a rigid, disjointed swing. The buzzword for these shots is light. It reminds to get all the tension out of thebody and make a fluid swing. If you stay light, your touch around the greens will improve.

PUTTER
BUZZWORD: EVEN

Putting tempoAlthough the follow-through in a good putting stroke is twice as fast as the backstroke, most amateurs are all over the place with their putting speed. That’s why theb uzzword for putting is even. Thinking of creating an even-paced stroke back and through will help you make the proper accelerating movement into the ball and control the path. Download a metronome app for your phone. Set its beat interval to the pace of what feels like a good stroke. Then practice to that rhythm. Sometimes think one, two on the backswing, and then boom, boom with the club striking the ball on the second boom. You’ll find the metronome implants great rhythm in your stroke. You’ll probably still hear the beat in your head when you play.

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Posted 18 October, 2017 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Tips

Try this 3-level system for laserlike wedges   Leave a comment

To hit the ball half the distance that you normally would, rotate your body about a quarter of the way back and bring your hands up to your hips. Only allow your wrists to hinge halfway. From this backswing position, you should be able to hit the ball 50 percent of your normal full-swing distance for that particular wedge. The ball should also come out on a much lower trajectory, which is good for attacking back pin locations. Remember to rotate your torso through the shot and swing to a full finish.

SWING 1: HIP LEVEL (50% OF YOUR NORMAL FULL-SWING DISTANCE)

 Power Hitter  To hit the ball half the distance that you normally would, rotate your body about a quarter of the way back and bring your hands up to your hips. Only allow your wrists to hinge halfway. From this backswing position, you should be able to hit the ball 50 percent of your normal full-swing distance for that particular wedge. The ball should also come out on a much lower trajectory, which is good for attacking back pin locations. Remember to rotate your torso through the shot and swing to a full finish.

SWING 2: CHEST LEVEL (75% OF YOUR NORMAL FULL-SWING DISTANCE)

 Power Hitter  To carry the ball 75 percent of your full distance, rotate your body about three-quarters of the way back and bring your arms and hands to chest height. Hinge your wrists fully so that your leading arm and the clubshaft form the letter "L." From this mid-length swing position, you’ll generate a little more clubhead speed and power and carry the ball on a medium trajectory, ideal for center pin locations.

SWING 3: SHOULDER LEVEL (100% OF YOUR NORMAL FULL-SWING DISTANCE)

 Power Hitter  To get the maximum distance (i.e., 100 percent) out of your wedges while maintaining a high level of accuracy, make a full body turn and swing your hands up to shoulder height—but no farther. Again, make sure to hinge your wrists fully and swing to a full finish. You can expect a higher-trajectory ball flight and greater stopping power, which makes it much easier to attack those difficult front and tucked pin locations.

Posted 14 October, 2017 by E. Marino in Golf.com

Swinging past parallel could be just what your game needs   Leave a comment

PASTYou want more distance. You need more speed. Here’s how the math works: for every mile-per-hour you add to your driver swing, you can tack on three extra yards off the tee. You can gain 10 mph simply by swinging past parallel. That’s 30 extra yards!

Getting past parallel isn’t about extending your arms back higher or farther, or forcing a shoulder turn your body isn’t capable of making. Your key: Become "softer" at the top of your backswing. Allow your wrists to hinge fully and your elbows to bend a bit more than normal

It should feel like the clubhead is "dipping" a few inches at the top. That little dip means your driver has to travel just that much farther to get back to the ball, giving you extra time to build speed. The idea is to reach max velocity when the clubhead meets ball. Now go hit it like you mean it!

Posted 14 October, 2017 by E. Marino in Golf.com

How to get more out of your long bunker shots   Leave a comment

If you’re the kind of golfer who makes freenside bunker shots look easy, but back up 15 to 20 yards and find it almost impossible to get the ball to the hole, it’s time to understand technique.

Why? Because your greenside maneuver doesn’t generate the necessary clubhead speed to get the ball close from 30 or 40 yards. You need more speed for longer blasts, and the way to get it is to make the following two swing adjustments.

STEP 1: SWING BIG

 LOW HANDICAPPER  Make a full turn as though you were trying to hit a full 7-iron—you should turn until your left shoulder is under your chin and your back is facing the target. Most amateurs don’t make a big enough backswing on these shots and instead try to muscle the ball out of the sand. That’s how you take too much sand and come up way short of the hole. Make a big turn both back and through—pretend you have 140 yards to the pin, rather than 40.

STEP 2: EXTEND THE RIGHT ELBOW

 LOW HANDICAPPER  Unlike a short or mid-range greenside bunker shot, you want the clubhead to turn over and release, which will give you more distance. To encourage a full release, straighten your right arm through the hitting area. Extending the right elbow will allow the clubhead to accelerate faster through the sand, hitting the ball the required distance.

Posted 14 October, 2017 by E. Marino in Golf.com

Release the club for great golf   Leave a comment

In the immortal words of the great cabaret singer Engelbert Humperdinck, “Please Release Me Let Me Go. The release, as it is commonly called, is simply the ability to square the club face at the moment of truth — that is, impact.

GolftipsThere are two releases in the golf motion. One is the release of the body. Some call that “turning,” the winding of the pelvic region or the lower body (more to come below). The second release, which seems to be taboo to talk about in today’s modern instruction world  is the release of the hands.

The pivoting of the lower body is at the mercy of a player’s ability to use his/her feet and legs in an athletic manner to create both a rotational force as well as a weight transfer from right side to left side. Learning how to use force against the ground is vital. Have you ever seen a great athlete in any sport with bad footwork? Gretzky in hockey, Jordan in basketball, Jeter at short-stop, an Olympic gymnast, or any world class golfer? That footwork, which progressively leads to great leg work and ultimately an ability to rotate their hips, lends to force being created with which to strike the ball.

The release of the hands is probably a bit more controversial in today’s teaching and coaching arena. Not many like to discuss the hands and arms as primary sources of speed or direction. That said, what do you shave with, eat with, steer a car with, brush your teeth with, write with, type with, etc.?

Your hands! They are well-trained, get lots of reps in daily life and are pretty damn well-educated. Have you ever heard of hand-eye coordination?

Next point: the vast majority of right-handed golfers are in fact-right handed. It’s always been said through time that you wanted to get your trail hand (right hand for right-handed player, left hand for left-handed) out of the golf shot. The trail hand in the case of a right-handed/right hand golfer is The “smart hand,” the left hand is in this case the “dumb hand” (lack of reps, un-educated). That’s why the dumb hand is generally taught to be placed on the club in a somewhat stronger setting while the smart hand is placed on the club in a more neutral setting. The dumb hand needs help. i.e., a head start in the release process; the smart hand does not.

All you right-handed/right-hand golfers, try the following: Take some face-on video swinging a short iron with your left hand only, then take film swinging the same club right hand only. Watch each video in slow motion. With which hand the club face releases more actively and/or sooner? If you can’t seem to release the club and spend your days in the right rough, to go to your local practice facility, tee up the ball at the same height you would on a par 3, take out an 8-iron or other short iron and spend the entire session hitting balls right hand only. It may be difficult at first.

In the photos above and right, He is using a tennis racket to show face release and “letting go” to promote a lack of tension in the arm swing. Notice the racket face is fully released. Imagine hitting a forehand top spin shot.

Master your footwork, learn how to pivot your lower body, and understand and promote the use of your smart hand and you’ll be off to the races. Gain yards, hit more fairways and greens.

Posted 13 September, 2017 by E. Marino in Golf Tips Mag, Tips

How to pitch it closer and attack every pin   Leave a comment

You play well, but you want to shave those last few strokes off your handicap. Pitching it closer is a guaranteed way to save shots every single round.

HOW TO PITCH IT CLOSE TO ANY PIN

Pin position is everything when it comes to planning and executing an effective pitch shot. Here’s how to attack a short pin, which requires the ball to quickly sit down, and a long pin, which will demand plenty of roll.

SHORT PIN: USE LOFT TO MAKE THE BALL SIT
LOW HANDICAPPER
If there’s little room between you and the pin, take your most lofted wedge, play the ball forward in your stance, and open the face a few degrees.

You’re 20 yards off the green, with a pin cut near the green’s front edge. To stop the ball quickly, use your most lofted wedge and play the ball forward in your stance, to increase the club’s effective loft.

A heads-up: The clubface will want to close and point left of your target, so open the face a few degrees and check that you’re properly aimed.

Posted 9 September, 2017 by E. Marino in Golf.com, Pitch, Tips

For consistent ballstriking, use an magazine   Leave a comment

PLLongDo you struggle to hit good irons consistently, round after round?

You may suffer from a poor setup. To fix this, take an issue of magazine and lay it on the ground, with the front and back covers face up. Assume your address using a mid-iron and position the ball opposite the magazine’s spine, with the instep of each foot opposite the outer edges. Align your hands with the spine so that the shaft leans slightly toward the target.

Bend from the hips enough so that your eyes are over the magazine’s top edge. Your arms should hang naturally from your shoulders, placing the butt of the club over the bottom edge of the issue. Master these setup positions and you can expect to hit a lot more greens.

For consistent ballstriking, use a magazine as your setup guide. Align the ball with the spine, and get the instep of each foot even with the magazine’s outer edges.

Bend from the hips until your eyes are even with the top edge of the magazine, and let your arms hang down.

Posted 9 September, 2017 by E. Marino in Golf.com, Tips