Archive for the ‘GolfDigest’ Category

Why "Keeping your head down" is killing your swing   Leave a comment

The head rotates in a tour-pro follow-through

correct-head-positionIt’s probably a familiar scene in your foursome. Somebody (maybe even you) tops a shot and immediately offers a boilerplate analysis of why it happened: "I lifted my head."

Well, maybe, but that isn’t why most shots are topped. In fact, a lot of times it’s the opposite problem.  Thye amateur is trying to keep your head down is probably doing more harm than good. If you want to learn a skill that will keep you from topping it—and get you closer to hitting the same kinds of consistently good shots the professionals do—develop a tour-pro follow-through that involves a rotation of the head. Here’s how.

Pose like you see here (above, left)— legs straightened, shoulders and hips facing the target, head rotated in that direction, too, and the grip extended as far away from the body as possible—that’s key.

You’ll notice this is a significantly different look to the follow-through we see from many amateurs—especially if you’re trying to keep your head down through impact (above, right). When you’re scrunched up like that, you don’t have room to extend your arms, and that lack of extension puts you in poor position to make solid contact.

Keep rehearsing the tour-pro follow-through you see me demonstrating. Once you’ve burned the feel of it into your memory, hit some soft, slow shots while getting into that same position after impact. The closer you come to copying it, the easier it will be for your swing to bottom out in a predictable place every time.

Then you’ll no longer worry about having to make an excuse for your bad shot before the ball stops rolling.


Posted 1 March, 2018 by E. Marino in GolfDigest

Stop ripping your knockdowns into branches   Leave a comment

low-runner-hybrid-shotWe’ve all been there: off the fairway, wanting to get the ball back in play. Problem is, there’s a tree directly between you and your great escape. The tree is too tall to go over and too thick to curve a shot around it. You’re only option is to hit a low runner under the branches. How do you do it?

Take a lower-lofted club and make an easier, less-than-full swing. This is guaranteed to lower the trajectory of the ball—that’s the easy part. The tricky part is knowing what club is going to keep the ball under the branches, but get it airborne enough to reach safety in the short grass.

The only way to truly know that is practice. You’re going to have to work on this shot, and if you can, do it from the rough as well as cleaner lies. Keep in mind that rough normally lowers the trajectory of the ball because it reduces backspin. Practicing this shot with your long and middle irons and your hybrids. Hit a few balls with each club to a 100-yard target.

Imprint in your mind how far the ball carried and how high it flew with each club to get it to stop near the 100-yard target. Then go through the same exercise with 75- and 125-yard targets.

Posted 27 February, 2018 by E. Marino in GolfDigest

Try old drill for consistent rolls   Leave a comment

Putting-drillSometimes your stroke can get out of whack, and you start mis-hitting the ball.

Create a gate with two tees just wider than your putterhead and hit putts without the club touching either tee.

If you loop the putterhead to the outside during the stroke, you’ll bump the outside tee. If you swing it to the inside, you’ll bump the inside tee.

Go through clean, and you’re hitting the ball in the center of the face. Just like any other shot in golf, if you catch it in the center, with the face square, you’re going to get a good result. That’s what you see the best putters do.

Posted 13 January, 2018 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Harmon, Putter, Tiger Woods

Two skills for great putting   Leave a comment

One for long putts, one inside five feet

Putting-stanceBeing a great putter doesn’t mean you’re rolling in bombs all day. Sure, that would be nice, but quality putting is about distance control from long range and precise aim on the short ones.

From inside five feet, the biggest problem I see is a careless routine. It drives me crazy when golfers step up to a putt and plop their feet into place before thinking about where to aim the putter.

Essentially, their feet have already dictated their aim. A better routine is to aim the putterface very carefully down your intended start line, then take a comfortable stance and go. If you do that—let your aim drive your setup, not the other way around—you’ll make a ton more of these short putts.

For long putts, the first thing to check is grip pressure. Too often amateurs strangle the club, especially when they think they have to hit the putt harder for the ball to reach the hole. The problem is, the tighter your grip, the worse your chances of having any feel for distance. You need a light hold, so you can feel the weight of the putterhead as it swings, and keep that same pressure throughout the stroke.

More distance comes from a longer stroke, not a burst of speed at impact.

Posted 13 January, 2018 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Putter

Drill: Timing your release   Leave a comment

Timing-drillWithout a club, start in a setup position with your arms extended and hands together, palms facing each other.

Swing your right arm to the top and then back down as if you were simulating a downswing.

When your right hand reaches the left hand, slap it over so that the left palm faces up.

That’s the feeling of a proper release through impact.

Posted 13 January, 2018 by E. Marino in GolfDigest

Put your right knee into it   Leave a comment

Weight-shiftShifting your weight toward the target allows you to apply your body mass to the strike.

A good drill to get that weight moving forward is to make practice swings focusing on the movement of the right knee.

It should move outward toward the ball and forward toward the target as you start the downswing.

Knee action was a hallmark to his powerful swing.

Posted 13 January, 2018 by E. Marino in GolfDigest

When big effort leads to small drives   Leave a comment

More-powerYou’re playing with a couple of really big bombers, and you’re trying to keep up. After they blow it way by you on a couple of holes, you start swinging harder to pick up extra yards. But the harder you go after it, the shorter your tee shots go. What gives?

Average golfers don’t play enough to control a super-fast swing. They’re trying so hard to smash the ball, they have the club moving its fastest in the wrong place—at the start of the downswing instead of the bottom of the arc. They also often lose their balance swinging harder, and that makes centerface contact a challenge. If you want more distance, don’t try to kill it. Swing with a smoother tempo and concentrate on hitting the ball in the sweet spot. Here’s how:

First, make practice swings varying the amount of effort. Swing at 50 percent of your fastest, then 60 percent, then 70 percent and so on. You’ll start noticing that the "swoosh" sound the club makes comes later and later in the swing. You certainly don’t want to hear it before the clubhead reaches the ball.

The proper grip also will help you pick up yardage. Be sure to hold the handle so you feel the connection of the top-hand thumb (left thumb for right-handers) to the lifeline of the lower hand. You also want to feel pressure in the last three fingers of the top hand and the middle two fingers of the bottom hand. Holding the club in this manner gives you control, while allowing your wrists to remain flexible, so they can release the club like a whip through the ball.

If you can do that, you won’t have to stare at the back of your playing partners’ heads all day.

Posted 13 January, 2018 by E. Marino in GolfDigest