Archive for the ‘GolfDigest’ Category

Fat-proof pitching: Stop duffing the short shots   Leave a comment

There’s something about shots from 30 to 60 yards that give a lot of golfers fits. The biggest problem is making a backswing that’s too long, and then, in fear of hitting the shot too far, slowing the club down as it approaches the ball. The typical result is contact with the ground behind the ball—the dreaded fat shot. If this is your issue, here are four ways to make your pitching swing foolproof—or fat-proof, if you prefer.


Posted 22 August, 2017 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Leadbetter, Tips

Stop blading shots   Leave a comment

Put your game on your shoulders

correct-shoulder-tiltPure shots feel way different than mis-hits, obviously, but what exactly is the cause of all those bladed shots and weak grounders?

It’s probably your shoulders.

Shoulder tilt is the inclination in relationship to the ground. Looking at the illustrations above, if you drew a line across the top of your shoulders, it’s the relative angle you’d get. On the left, your shoulders are tilted more toward the ground. On the right, they’re nearly parallel to the ground.

Whether you start with decent shoulder tilt and lose it during the swing or never establish it, you make it really hard to keep the bottom of your swing within a consistent range. And when you can’t put the bottom of your swing consistently in the same place, you’ll struggle to routinely center the clubface on the back of the ball and launch the shot at an ideal trajectory.

To improve your tilt, you first need a frame of reference to establish the correct feel. Get in your stance and hold a club across your chest with the butt end facing your target. Now mimic a backswing.

When fully turned, the grip should be angled toward the ground, not level with it. That’s good tilt.

Posted 22 August, 2017 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Tips

Pitching to a short-sided pin   Leave a comment

Zip through the grass with an open face

short-sided-shotWhen the pin is close to the edge of the green you’re playing from and you’ve got a little cushion of grass, try to put some zip on the ball to make it stop quickly once it lands. By holding off the rotation of my right arm, You can add some real speed to your swing. The added loft from the open clubface and the extra spin it puts on the ball makes it easier to get it close to the hole.

You still need your hands involved with a feel shot like this, but you want them synced with the rotation of your body as you turn toward the target.

If you keep those tattoos skyward, you’ll make better contact and have a real chance at getting up and down.

Posted 22 August, 2017 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Tips

Trigger Your Touch   Leave a comment

How to control distance with two fingers

Initiate movement using your right thumb and forefinger.

magazine-2010-04-maar01-smith-220To create the feel you need to chip it close, use the thumb and forefinger of your right hand to initiate the movement. Those fingers are crucial to controlling wrist hinge, which is the key to hitting accurate distances.

As you start back, squeeze the grip with a trigger-finger action (right), letting your right wrist hinge and the club move slightly inward and upward. Once you’ve done that, simply maintain that hinge as you pivot your body toward the target through impact. Your goal is to keep the shaft leaning forward and to make ball-first contact.

The most common amateur mistake, is gripping the club in the right palm, which makes it harder to hinge the club correctly and control distance.

Posted 12 August, 2017 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Putter, Tips

Drive it lower in crosswinds   Leave a comment

What to do when wind is zipping across the fairway

There are only two scenarios where it makes good sense to hit your driver lower than normal. The first is when you know the ball is going to run a long way once it hits the fairway. The second is when the wind is really blowing across the fairway, and it’s going to greatly affect your normal shot shape. For example, strong gusts from the left could wreak havoc on someone who slices. That golfer needs to flight the ball lower just to keep it in play.

To hit your driver lower, make these adjustments: (1) Tee the ball a half inch lower than you usually do, and grip down on the handle about an inch. (2) Make a slightly shorter backswing. (3) Strike the ball with a level blow, meaning the clubhead should be moving low, just above the ground through impact.

A good swing thought is to quiet your wrists as you swing back and through. The ball will come out lower and be less susceptible to the breeze.

1.) Grip: Hold it lower on the handle.


2.) Backswing: Stay compact.


3.) Impact: Strike the ball with a level blow.


Posted 12 August, 2017 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Tips, Tom Watson

Hit It High & Soft Like The Best Sand Player   Leave a comment


If you’re like a lot of the amateurs, you take too much sand on greenside bunker shots. People say you need to hit the sand first, but most golfers overdo it—and end up leaving the ball in the bunker.

The philosophy is that you don’t need to chunk it out with a lot of sand. You can control the shot better if you take less sand. You’ve probably done this by accident and hit a great shot that popped out with spin and checked up by the hole. The big chunk tends to roll out too much, so it’s hard to control.

To try this technique, there are a few things you need to do in your setup. Take a wider stance than usual, and dig in your feet a bit for stability, with your weight about 50/50. To find that balanced body position, close your eyes and shift your weight a little left and right until you feel neutral.

Play the ball just forward of center in your stance, and open the clubface by rotating it to the right. Then drop your hands back a touch, away from the target. When you move your hands back, the open face, which was pointed to the right, is square to the target again.

Go ahead and make a big arm swing, but maintain the angles in your wrists that you set at address. Make sure you turn your lower body, too. Your goal is to hold the clubface open during the backswing, so keep those wrist angles intact.

imageComing down, don’t think about hitting two inches behind it—that’s too much sand and too unpredictable. Instead, focus on letting the bounce on the bottom of the club slide through the sand. You want the clubhead to bottom out directly under the ball, not behind it.

Finally, keep the swing going through the sand. A lot of people forget to follow through, and they just dump the ball in front of them. Swing to a nice, full finish. When you do it right, it doesn’t feel like the sand is grabbing your clubhead. It feels crisp and clean. Give it a try.

Posted 13 January, 2017 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Tips

Anti-fundamental   Leave a comment


Golfers mistakenly believe that hitting sharply down on the ball with a lot of forward shaft lean, as in the photo at left below, helps to ensure they catch the ball first and get clean contact. In fact, the exact opposite is most likely to happen. When you de-loft the club that much you remove any bounce from the bottom of the sole and use too much of the leading edge. That effectively turns the club into a small shovel and greatly reduces your margin for error.

Anti-Fundamentals: Ball Back and Lean Forward

If you’re going to lean left you’d be far better off moving the ball closer to the middle, or slightly forward, in your stance and using a more neutral (standing straight up-and-down) shaft lean, as in the right photo above. It makes the club much more functional because you’re utilizing the bounce properly.


Anti-Fundamentals: Open Stance and Swing Left

you are not really sure where this one came from but it’s probably the most prevalent — the idea that if you’re going to hit a chip or pitch you should open your stance and swing the club left through impact, as in the photos above. If you swing the club left of your target line then you have to open the face to get the ball to actually fly toward the target. That discrepancy between the path and face makes it much more challenging to gauge starting direction and puts wicked sidespin on the ball. Neither of which makes it any less challenging to get it close with a wedge!

Stand Square and Swing Along Target Line

Instead of aiming and swinging left, just set your body up square to your intended target and swing naturally along your foot line like you would with any other club, as in the photos above. If you need to open the face on your wedge to add some loft go ahead and do so. Because of the significant loft on your sand wedge or lob wedge, a face angle change will not affect the direction the ball flies like it would with an iron or wood.


Imagine a carpenter showing up at your house to do repair work and the only tool he brought with him was a screwdriver. That’s exactly what happens when you try to use only one wedge — a 60-degree, for instance — to hit all different shots around the green.

Anti-Fundamentals: Different Wedges For Different Shots

Statistics tell  that whether you shoot 68 or 108, over 70 percent of your shots will be hit with less than a full swing. Just like the carpenter needs a multitude of different tools to suit the task at hand, so do you when faced with an endless possibility of short game shots during a round. Instead of carrying only wedge to hit every shot, consider making room in your bag for three or four wedges, as in the photo above; your 5-wood won’t mind taking a break this season.


This is an old one. “A chip is just a putt with a lofted club,” or “keep your arms straight so you don’t flip the club” are comments you hear every day as you walk around the practice green. Here’s the thing: a chip shot is NOT the same as a putting stroke, and you’ve never seen any other athletic endeavor using a stick and ball that is performed with “stiff” arms, as in the photos below.

Anti-Fundamentals: Chipping With Stiff Arms

If you were to hand you a ball and ask you to stand in a golf posture and lob it underhanded onto the green, you most certainly would not do so with stiff arms. Your trail arm would gently fold on the backswing and the wrists would hinge the club up slightly, and the same would happen on the other side of the swing in the follow-through, as in the photos below. The motion comes from the softness and lack of tension in the arms as the swing begins. It provides you with the same feel for distance control as if you were simply tossing the ball.

Chip With Soft Arms


This has the potential to be one of the most damaging anti-fundamentals of them all. Because we don’t actually strike the ball (we should hit the sand 1-2 inches behind the ball), being a good bunker player requires total control over where the club enters the sand and depends heavily on being able to regulate the amount of sand between the clubface and ball. Both are extremely difficult it you’re taking a large, deep divot of sand…which is exactly what will happen if you have too much weight on your forward foot and you swing down steeply into the bunker, as in the photo below.

Anti-Fundamentals: Bunker Wrong and Right

You’ll find it much easier to play shots out of the bunker if you make a longer, shallower divot that minimizes the amount of sand you take (see inset photo above). In order to do so you must make a swing with a flatter bottom that barely “skims” the sand as it hits the ball. This is accomplished with a set-up that has the ball forward and the weight 50/50 and NOT favoring the lead leg. The photo above shows this proper set-up. From that position you simply make a normal swing like any other shot out of the fairway and the loft and bounce on the club will do the work for you.

Posted 13 January, 2017 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Notes