Archive for the ‘GolfDigest’ Category

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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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