Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

How to handle tee shots with trouble down the right side   Leave a comment

donnigerIf you’re standing on a tee box with trouble to the right, you’re probably nervous. Many golfers hit a slice with their driver, so seeing a bunch of trees or a hazard off on the right side can easily produce a moment of panic.

If the hole demands driver, start by teeing your ball up on the right side of the tee box. This will open up your vision of the left side of the fairway, where you want your ball to go. Tee the ball a little lower than usual. When you set your club down, set it down a little shut. That means, if a square clubface sits at 12 o’clock, a shut clubface will be at 11 o’clock. After the clubface is closed, take your grip.

Aim to the left side of the fairway, and take your normal swing. Because you closed the face, you’ll see the ball flight behave differently than normal. Your shot will be a little pull, or a pull-slice. Either way, it’s going to end up in the fairway and not in whatever nightmare is lurking on the right.

If at all possible, opt for a club other than your driver. Try your 5-wood or hybrid. There’s more loft on those clubs, so they’re more forgiving.


Posted 7 July, 2018 by E. Marino in Tips

Pick up driver speed: Think pull instead of push   Leave a comment

When it comes to power, there’s an epidemic of misapplied force that is ruining thousands of swings every day. It’s a basic piece of instruction you’ve probably heard a lot—usually as a seemingly innocent part of correcting a wristy, flippy motion in a swing. But the problem with that advice is, it ruins your ability to produce good swing speed.

Mike JacobsTry this exercise: Hold your driver in front of you with your right arm only and, from a standstill, push the handle as quickly as you can toward the target. When you do that, what happens to the head? It stays behind. Do this during a swing, and you’re essentially trying to force the club to swing backward, and it will take a dramatic adjustment by your hands, arms or body to force the head into a decent striking position.

Instead of obsessing about getting your hands forward at impact, concentrate on pulling the handle instead of pushing it. As you swing through impact, feel like you’re pulling up toward the middle of your chest. That will make the club rotate and pick up the exponential speed at the head end—the signature of the biggest hitters.

Posted 25 June, 2018 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Tips

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

The head rotates in a tour-pro follow-through

Well, maybe, but that isn’t why most shots are topped. In fact, a lot of times it’s the opposite problem.

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.

GolfTEC-correct-head-positionPose like you see here 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 you see from many amateurs—especially if you’re trying to keep your head down through impact. 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.

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 24 June, 2018 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Tips

Want to shape shots like the pros? Here’s how to do it on command   Leave a comment

Tour players don’t like to discuss how they shape shots. They simply shape them, whether it’s by "thinking" fade or, maybe, "feeling" a draw. Their mechanics are that refined. But they had to start somewhere, and for intrepid shotmakers there’s no better place to begin than the setup. By altering your ball position, body tilt and alignment, you can hit the ball through nine different shotmaking windows: fades, draws and straight balls on a low, mid and high trajectory. That’s plenty of options.

This part’s easy. Set up with your feet and body closed to your target line to invite a draw. Do the opposite for a fade. And if you want to hit the ball straight, set your lines parallel to the target. Now, check the grid at right to see how it all matches up.

For high shots, tilt your torso away from the target, so that your left shoulder sits above your right (and even with your left hip). Just as it does when you play the ball forward in your stance, tilting away from the target shallows out your path and adds loft. The opposite is true if you lean your torso toward the target. Setting your right shoulder above your left at address decreases loft and launches the ball on a lower trajectory.


Positioning the ball back in your stance tends to produce less-lofted shots, since you’ve forced the club to come into impact on a steeper angle of attack. As you move the ball forward in your stance, your swing gets shallower and the face tends to remain open. The result? Higher-than-normal shots that stop on a dime (Ball position also effects direction)

Your clubhead travels on an arc around your body through the hitting zone. The farther back you put the ball in your stance, the earlier you’ll strike it on this arc, giving you more of an inside-out, draw delivery. As you move the ball toward the target, the swing path straightens out until it transforms into a outside-in fade delivery.


Posted 5 June, 2018 by E. Marino in, Tips

Hit darts your fairway woods   Leave a comment

You’ve made high-lofted fairway woods and hybrids your primary tools for approach shots, and why not: They’re easier to hit longer and higher — from all kinds of lies — than low and midirons are. But this advantage is for naught if you end up buried in the long grass to the side of the green. For lower scores, you also need to hit your fairway woods and hybrids straight — and with longer shafts and more flexible faces, control is not a lofted wood’s No. 1 quality. A few adjustments in your thought process will keep you on the straight and narrow.


Distance on approach shots only matters to the extent that you need to be able to reach your target. So there’s no need to overextend yourself. Choose the club that you can swing at 80 percent effort and still reach the green. Keeping the swing smooth and contained not only gives you more control, it increases your chances of making pure, solid contact.

There’s no need to force the issue with a fairway wood or hybrid—swing at 80 percent and let the club’s length and loft do the work for you.


Don’t be general when it comes to choosing your target. Pick a specific spot or area on the green as the destination for your approach. Being precise about your target not only encourages you to be more mindful of your alignment, but it creates a more vivid picture of a successful shot in your mind, which will carry over when it’s time to actually execute the shot.


You can emphasize accuracy in your next practice session by laying down two clubs parallel to each other on either side of the ball, about six inches apart. The idea is to create a channel—as you might on the putting green— that points down the target line and defines the ideal path for the clubhead. The channel serves two purposes: It gives you a reference for alignment, and it encourages you to focus on swinging the club straight down the target line through impact. Align the channel at a specific target, such as a distance marker, to get a feel for playing for accuracy.

Posted 22 May, 2018 by E. Marino in, Tips

Skill around the green   Leave a comment

Corey-Lundberg-solid-impact-chip-shotsThe best short-game players always find a way to figure out the right play and get the ball close. You walk away thinking they have some magical gift. But the ability to pull off those little shots is rooted in one simple skill: making solid contact. That’s the first fundamental of the short game, and whether those players know it or not, learning to strike the ball consistently set them on the fast track to success.

Most golfers get caught up in all the details of the shot—the carry, the roll, trouble over the green—and they forget that hitting the ball solid is the first requirement.

For a basic chip, which works for most greenside situations, good contact comes mostly from getting into a proper setup. Take a narrow stance, with the ball in the middle and your spine vertical—not tilted away from the hole. Set more weight on your front foot, and then lean the handle just ahead of your pants zipper. Also, open the clubface a touch. These positions will pre-set a swing where you catch the ball first, then brush the grass.

The swing flows naturally from the setup. It’s an arc back and through with a slight descent into the ball. With the face open, the club will slide through impact. Remember, it’s about ball-first contact.

Posted 18 May, 2018 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Tips

Get the most out of your hybrid   Leave a comment

How to use it from the rough

Icorrect-hybrid-grip-gd-schoolst used to be that if you wanted to hit a fairly long shot into a green from the rough, you’d need a prayer and a 3-iron. Now you just need to know how to hit hybrid. There margin for error is much greater. Nowadays, while our 3-irons are collecting dust, we’ve got hybrids to do this job more reliably—provided you make a few adjustments from your normal swing. The first adjustment is the way you hold the club. You’ve got to make sure the face doesn’t twist open or closed as it passes through the grass. That’s why you should grip it firmly with the last three fingers of your glove hand.

The second adjustment you need to make is to play the ball in the center of your stance. The tendency is to address it farther forward because a lot of people look at their hybrids and think ‘fairway wood.’ While you’re right to play your fairway wood forward, it’s not the right move for your hybrid. Playing the ball forward means you’re coming into the ball with a more shallow angle of attack. When hitting a hybrid, you need a steeper angle of attack to minimize contact with the grass around the ball, and a middle ball position helps.

When you swing back, don’t sway away from the target. Instead, focus on turning around a fixed axis. This thought also promotes the steeper attack angle you need to hit your hybrid well. Finally, as you swing down, focus on accelerating through the rough while maintaining that firm grip pressure in the last three fingers of your glove hand. No matter what club you hit out of the rough, you need clubhead speed to get the ball up and out.

Do that, and the club will come down on the ball square to your target. You’ll turn a potential double bogey into a scoring opportunity.

Thank you, Mr. Hybrid.

Posted 18 May, 2018 by E. Marino in GolfDigest, Tips