Practice with Your Wedge and Improve Your Full Golf Swing

PRACTICE WITH YOUR WEDGE AND IMPROVE YOUR FULL GOLF SWING

You want to improve your golf game right? You’re not alone. Most golfers want to improve their games.

he question is how do you do improve your golf game without spending hours each day at the range and $1000’s on golf lessons? The answer is: break the game down to what’s really important and work on that aspect. Let me ask you another question. What do you think you need to do to become a better golfer? 

The first thing most players would say is “I need to be more consistent”. You’ve said this before and the truth is it’s the most vague and meaningless thing a golfer could say. Of course we all want to be more consistent. Tiger Woods wants to be more consistent. But what does that really mean? Have you ever gone to the range to practice your consistency? Sounds kind of funny right? Other golfers may say “drive the ball better”, “make more putts”, or “hit more solid iron shots”. They are getting closer but to really improve we have to break it down even further. And by breaking it down further, I mean getting to the aspects that really affect your shots and your scores.

The Two Most Important Things to Your Game

The two most important aspects of your game are the Clubface and the Bottom of the Swing.  The more square you can get your clubface and the more often you can get the bottom of your swing to be in the same place, the better your shots will be. Those are the facts of golf. Now, the question is, how do we more efficiently improve our clubface angle and the bottom of our swing? By practicing pitch shots. 

That’s right, hitting 30, 40, 50, and 60 yard pitch shots using the correct technique is a great way to improve your overall golf game. The reason is with the shorter swing required for a pitch shot you learn to correctly control your hands and body and thus learn how to control the clubface and bottom of the swing. It’s also easier to implement changes making smaller swings. This then translates to better results for your full shots.

This should be Your Next Practice Session

The next time you go to the range, forget your normal routine. Take a sand wedge, some tees, and an extra club or alignment stick. Every shot you hit in this practice session will be a 30, 40, 50, or 60 yard pitch shot. Here’s how to do it: 

1. Pick a very specific target. Whether it’s a net on the range, a yardage sign or a spot of dead grass, you need a target to aim at each time. 

2. Place the extra club or alignment stick on the ground and have it point just left of your target (right hander). This ensures that you actually aim at your target each time. 

3. Tee the ball up about a half inch off the ground (yes, you are going to hit pitch shots off of a tee). The ball should be positioned so as the club or alignment stick is between your feet and the ball. Now your practice station is set and you are ready to hit. Start at 30 yards and gradually work your way up to 50 and 60. With this practice station you will receive immediate feedback on the bottom of the swing and the clubface. Teeing the ball up demonstrates solid contact. The goal is to make contact with the golf ball and then the ground. • If you make contact with the golf ball, then the clubhead lightly contacts the ground, you have made solid contact. • If you “pick” the ball off the tee without hitting the ground, the bottom of your swing is too far back and you need to focus on swinging down and making ground contact. • If your club digs into the ground you need to shallow your swing and focus on having the clubhead “thump” the ground instead of digging. 

The goal of the target and alignment stick are to show the clubface angle at impact. 

• If the ball goes at the target, your clubface is square. 

• If the ball goes left of the target, your clubface is closed. 

• If the ball goes right of the target, your clubface is open. 

Based on how your golf ball flies you may need to make a grip adjustment or focus on your hand action through the shot. If your hands “flip” through impact, the ball will tend to go left. If you “hold” your hands too much the ball will tend to go right.

Two Things to Remember When Practicing Pitch Shots

1. Make your backswing and follow through similar sizes. A big backswing and a short follow through equal’s deceleration. A short backswing and a big follow through equals over acceleration. Both make it difficult to hit solid shots. 

2. Let your body rotate through the shot. A lot of golfers like to hit pitch shots only using their hands. This turns into “flipping” hands and poor contact. Let your upper body rotate through the shot and have your chest face the target in the follow through. The next time you head to the range, ditch your normal plan. Take a sand wedge, alignment stick, and some tees. Use this drill to practice your pitch shots and you will see better, pitch shots, iron shots and drives the next time you play.

Clay

Clay

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Ensure You Make More Putts with These 3 Putting Drills

MAKE MORE PUTTS WITH THESE THREE PUTTING DRILLS

So you want to become a better putter? We all do! The problem is most golfers don’t really know how to improve their putting.

Most golfers go the practice green and hit putt after putt without a plan, thought, or target and expect to get better. If this sounds familiar here are 3 great drills that will make a huge difference in your results on the greens. The difference in good putting and bad putting can be as simple as turning bad practice into good practice. Use these 3 drills to avoid wasting you practice time.

Drill #1:
Chalk Line Drill 3 Footers

The #1 key to making short putts is aim. If you can aim your putter face at the target you’ll have a really good chance of rolling the ball there. Otherwise you’ll have to manipulate the stroke to get the ball back online. The problem with aim is that most golfers don’t think about it and they never practice it (the most important aspect of short putting and people don’t practice it, go figure). To stand out from the crowd and never miss another 3 footer, use this drill that involves a simple chalk line. 

Pick up a chalk line from the hardware store (it only costs about $5). Find a flat, straight 3 foot putt and snap the line to create a line from the middle of the cup. Now place a ball on the line and use it to practice your aim. You’ll get immediate feedback on where your putter face is aimed (you may be shocked) and will also get immediate feedback on the roll of your golf ball as the ball must roll down the line to go in. The chalk line drill is the best drill you can do improve your putting so do it over and over to sharpen your aim.

Drill #2:
String Drill for 8 Footers

As we move from 3 foot putts to 8 foot putts aim is still important but now we must add in speed and the ability to see the line. The key to making 8 foot putts is to get the ball started on a good line and give it a chance to go in. They won’t all go in as PGA Tour players only make about 50% but if you give it a chance, you’ll make your fair share. To do the string drill take some string and wrap it around 2 pencils or stakes leaving about 10 feet of string. 

Next, put one pencil in the green behind the hole and the other 10 feet away on the other side of the hole. You now have the string suspended above the line of the putt. Roll putts down the string using it as a guide for the line. This drill is great because it gives you immediate feedback on your aim and the line of the putt. It also provides feedback on the path of your putter. When you hit putts the ball should roll down the string and into the hole.

Drill #3:
Look at the Hole Drill for Lag Putts

Now we’re onto lag putts and the key to successful lag putting is rolling the ball the correct speed. Anyone who’s ever hit a 50 foot putt knows that this is easier said than done. The size and speed of the putting stroke are what controls how far the ball rolls on the green. Unfortunately too many golfers get caught up in making their stroke the exact perfect size on lag putts. This leads to over thinking and not having enough feel for the putt. Think to when you throw a baseball or football. You don’t think about how hard to throw it, you just feel it. 

This drill gets you into the mindset of feeling the putt. Setup to 30, 40, or 50 foot putt like normal then look at the hole like you normally would. Instead of looking back at the ball hit the putt with your eyes focused on the putt. It sounds strange but is really effective. You’ll find yourself not worrying about how big the stroke is and your thoughts will be on feeling the ball roll the correct distance. This method is very effective and you’ll be surprised at how good you become and hitting putts without looking.


So stop wasting your practice time and start becoming a better putter. Use these 3 drills the next time you practice and you’ll be on your way to better results on the greens.

Clay

Clay

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Is Your Golf Brain Overwhelmed? Get Back to Basics with the Setup

THREE REASONS YOU HIT BEHIND THE BALL

As golfers we are always in search of the newest, shiniest, and best new stuff.

This goes for golf clubs, golf courses, and unfortunately for many golfers, swing thoughts. We’re just starting to see what technology can do for the golf swing. There are many new gadgets that provide great data about what is really happening in the swing. This data is useful in the hands of qualified instructors, as it provides a better look at how to diagnose the golf swing. Unfortunately for many golfers this kind of information can be overwhelming and difficult to understand on their own. This often leads to players coming away in worse shape than when they started. If this sounds familiar and your brain is overwhelmed with swing thoughts, step back and look at the basics. Most swing issues usually start from a faulty setup, so improving it is one of the quickest ways to find success. Here are a few simple things to look at with your setup:

Tip #1:
Grip

The grip is at the top of the list when it comes to what matters in the golf swing. It determines what happens with the clubface, which determines where the golf ball starts and how it curves. If your grip is weak you’re setting the clubface in an open position and will have to use a lot of hand action to square the clubface at impact. This could result in slicing or inconsistent hooks. If your grip is too strong you’re setting the clubface in a closed position. This could result in hooks and pulls. A good rule of thumb is to set your grip in a neutral position. 

To do this get the crease formed between the thumb and index finger of your left hand to point to your right shoulder. Do the same with the crease in your right hand. If both of these point to your right shoulder you grip will relatively neutral and it will be easier to get the clubface square.

Tip #2:
Ball Position

Ball position plays a big role in the golf swing as it affects the angle that the club approaches the ball. This in turn affects how solidly we hit the ball and at what trajectory it flies on. If the golf ball is too far back in the stance, the swing will tend to be steep. With a steep swing it becomes easy to hit behind the ball and the trajectory will be lower. If the golf ball is positioned too far forward the swing will tend to be shallow. This could lead to hitting the ball thin, or behind, and the trajectory may be too high. 

A good rule of thumb for ball position is to break it into three clubs, the wedge, seven iron, and driver. For the wedge the ball should positioned even with the middle of your body. Use the belt buckle or zipper as a guide for this. Ball position for the driver should be even with the left armpit. This allows you to hit up on the ball. Ball position for the seven iron should be in between the two. Use the center of the logo on your shirt as a guide for the seven iron. The ball position for the rest of your clubs should be based on small variations of the three. This gives you the best opportunity to make solid contact.

Tip #3:
Aim

The reason aim is important should be rather self-explanatory. If you want to hit the ball at particular target, the best way to do it is to aim at that target. You can hit good shots aiming away from the target, but some swing manipulation will be required. In fact, a lot of swing faults start because a player is aiming left or right without realizing it. Subconsciously the golf swing will try to move the ball back to the target. 

A good way to practice aim is to use an alignment stick or a club. Place the stick on the ground and have it aim slightly left of the target. Now place the golf ball on the side of the stick so that the stick is between your feet and the ball. Having the stick point slightly left of the target accounts for the fact that it’s not on the same line as the golf ball. After practicing with an alignment stick, you will train your eyes to what is square and will find it much easier to aim properly on the golf course.

Tip #2:
Alignment

Alignment and aim go hand in hand but are not quite the same. Alignment refers to how your body is aligned in reference to where you are aimed. This means where your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders are pointed at address. If your body is set open to the target line you may struggle with a slice. If your body is set closed to the target line your swing path may be too much in to out. These are things that can make a big difference in how your swing performs on the golf course. 

A good rule of thumb is to setup square to the target. Use a club or alignment stick to check your feet and have a friend or playing partner look at your shoulder alignment. The more consistently you can setup square, the easier it will be to hit solid shots. If you’re overwhelmed with swing thoughts, take a step back and focus on the basics. Your swing and your brain will thank you.

Clay

Clay

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If You Want to Improve Your Golf Game Create a Plan

IF YOU WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR GOLF GAME, CREATE A PLAN

So you want to play better golf. We all do but despite the practice and hard work it doesn’t seem to work that easy. What gives?

The problem most golfers have is they don’t know how to improve. This has nothing to do with the mechanics of the golf swing. It has to with having a plan for improvement and sticking with it. Here are 4 things you can do to setup a plan that will make improving possible:

Tip #1:
Set Specific, Attainable Goals

Most golfers say “I want to go from a 15 handicap to a 10 handicap”. This sounds like a clear goal but it’s actually very vague and doesn’t really help you understand what to improve. A specific, attainable goal would be that you currently average 7 tee shots a round in the trees and you want to reduce that to 4 a round. That gives you the clear goal to improve your accuracy with the driver. Your goal could be to go from missing 8 putts a round inside 6 feet to only missing 4. This tells you to spend time improving your short putts. I can tell from experience that anyone who wants to become “more consistent” or “take a few strokes” off their game, rarely improves. Improving a specific skill is the quickest way to improvement.

Tip #2:
Practice With a Purpose

Once you have your goals you need to setup a practice program to reach those goals. The golfer who grabs 3 balls and aimlessly hits putts around the practice green for 30 minutes does not improve his putting. He thinks it will improve, but he’s not fooling anyone. The golfer who wants to improve his short putting and sets up a practice station with a string or chalk line, goes through 1 or 2 specific drills, and focuses on aim and speed, improves his putting. Have a purpose to your practice session and your time spent will be time well spent.

Tip #3:
Look at Improvement Incrementally

As much as you want to go from hitting 8 tees shots in the trees to splitting the fairway each time, it’s not going happen in a week or 2. Finding consistent improvement with your golf game takes time and it’s not a linear process. You may a have a round where you hit it great and the next round you hit it terrible. This is normal and part of the improvement process. Look at improvement over the course of 3-4 weeks. Have the stats gone from 8 balls in the trees to 6. If so, this is an incremental improvement and a step in the right direction.

Tip #2:
Stick to Your Method

How many times have you worked on your golf game, put in some good, efficient practice time, started to see improvement, and then after 1-2 bad rounds, and bailed on the whole thing to try something different? It happens to the best of us, but players who really improve don’t blow up the process after a few bad shots. Take a lesson, find a method and stick with it. You have a much better chance to find success by sticking with your method. Improving your golf game can often be an elusive challenge but it doesn’t have to be. Use these guidelines and you’ll have a much better chance for success.

Clay

Clay

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Spin Your Wedges Back on the Green

It’s always cool to hit a wedge shot and see it check up on the green. There’s just something about seeing that ball react that peaks our interest. Maybe it comes from watching professional golf and seeing the pro’s do it on a regular basis. It makes us feel like them! The problem for most golfers is the spin only comes on occasion. Most of the time you watch the ball hit the green and release past the hole or over the green. If you could consistently hit wedge shots with spin they would be much easier to control. While there is no “secret tip” or trick that will make you automatically spin your wedges, there are some you can do to increase spin. Let’s look at 3 things that will help you back it up on the greens:
Correct Equipment
Equipment is always important and this case is no different. You must have a high spin golf ball and fresh grooves to put spin on wedge shots. The pro’s you see on TV are using these and if you’re not, it’s just not going to work. From the standpoint of the golf ball you need something that is designed to spin a lot. This generally means the top end ball from a manufacturer. Something like a Titleist ProV1 or a Bridgestone B330 will work well. Using a range ball or a rock hard distance ball is the quickest way to reduce your spin. And while it does hurt to pay $50 for a dozen golf balls, it is useful in this case. From the standpoint of your wedge, you need something with new grooves that have a milled or rough clubface. Spin is a result of the friction that is created between the golf ball and the clubface. If your wedge is old and the grooves are worn that friction just won’t be there. This is also true if the grooves are full of dirt or grass. At the very least clean your grooves, but if you really want to spin the ball, get a new wedge with a milled face.
Solid Contact
After equipment, making solid contact is the next aspect of spinning your wedges. In this case solid contact actually means 2 things. One it means hitting the golf ball on the center of the clubface. Two it means having a clean lie where the club can contact the ball without hitting grass first. The pros you see on TV spin the ball because they make solid contact. More specifically they make solid contact lower on the face. This produces the most spin possible. If you are hitting wedge shots that don’t spin, there is a good chance you are making contact higher on the face. This usually comes from scooping or trying to get the club under the ball. While there is no direct correlation to hitting down and creating spin, there is a correlation to hitting down and making solid contact. That’s what we are looking for. If you don’t already do it, focus on hitting down, leaning the shaft towards the target at impact, and taking a divot with your wedges. It will make you hit it more solid, which in turn will put more spin on the ball. As far as the lie goes, you must have a clean lie to spin the ball. This means no grass sitting between the clubface and the ball. Any grass or debris (besides sand) that gets between the face and ball will drastically reduce spin. It basically means that if you’re in the rough, don’t expect the ball to back up on the green.
Clubhead Speed

Simple physics say that the harder you hit a golf ball the more opportunity it has to spin. This is one of the reasons why golfers like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson put a lot of spin on their wedge shots. If you imagine a robot that could hit a sand wedge 200 yards, that shot would spin a significant amount. What this means for you is that you need to hit these wedge shots with acceleration. Acceleration keeps the speed up and helps you make solid contact. If you find yourself making a big backswing with a short follow through, you’re probably decelerating into the ball. This will make it difficult to spin the ball. Keep up the speed and you will keep up the spin. Spinning wedges is cool! Follow these guidelines and you will do it on a more consistent basis.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at [email protected]/.

Improve Your Full Golf Swing by Practicing Pitch Shots

A common question among golfers looking to improve is “how should I practice”. It’s a great question that most players get wrong. The typical golfer goes to the range and hits shot after shot without great results. It’s not very efficient or effective. We all know that spending more time on the short game is a great way to take strokes off. But what if you could improve your full golf swing while practicing your short game. There is a way! Working on and improving your pitch shots (40-60 yard pitch shots) will make you a better ball striker. Here’s how and why it works:
The Pitch Shot is a Smaller Version of Your Full Swing
When you think about the swing for a pitch shot it’s not that much different than your full swing. The swing starts at the setup, the clubhead moves up and in, the clubhead travels down and strikes the ball, and then the clubhead then finishes up and in again. The only difference is that the swing is smaller. Being that it’s the same motion, improving the pitch swing will lead to an improved full swing. It’s also effective because the pitch shot swing encompasses the important areas of the golf swing; hip height on the backswing to hip height on the follow through.
It’s Easier to Make Changes with Smaller Swings
If you have ever tried implementing a swing change you know how difficult it can be get the proper feeling. Whether you’re working on less wrist hinge in the backswing, leading more with the hands at impact, or finishing more left in the follow through it’s not easy to grab a 5 iron and just start hitting. This is where the pitch shot makes it easier. Let’s say you want to lead more with the hands at impact. Start with a short pitch shot and get the feel. After several shots you’ll have a better idea of where you should be. Next move up to a bigger (50 yard) pitch and try to maintain the feeling. Then move up to an even bigger (70-80 yard) pitch shot and continue developing the feel. Finally you’ll get to the full swing and it will be easier to maintain because you started small and worked your way up. It’s a more efficient way to introduce swing changes.
Pitching Teaches You to Control the Motion of Your Hands

The way your hands work in the golf swing and the way your hands work in relation to your body play a big role in your ball striking success. If your hands are scoopy or flippy through impact it’s going to be difficult to consistently hit good shots. The same is true if you have a lot of wrist and hand action on the backswing. Hitting good pitch shots requires your hands to lead the clubhead through impact and for your hands and body to move together. If your hands move faster than the body you’ll see flippy and mishit shots. If your body moves too fast your hands will get left behind. As stated earlier it is much easier to get a feel with shorter swings. Practice your pitch shots and feel the hands and body moving at the same speed. Once you get this down it will be easier to translate to your full swing. You will also start to feel your hands leading the clubhead through impact which will result in more consistent shots. So the next time you go to the range skip the full swings and grab a wedge. Hit 50-60 yards pitch shots and start getting a better feel for your golf swing. Better results on the course are just around the corner.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at [email protected]/.

Make Solid Contact from Fairway Bunkers

HOW TO MAKE SOLID CONTACT FROM FAIRWAY BUNKERS

Everyone has those shots where they know it’s just not going to well. For many golfers the fairway bunker shot fits this description.

The fairway bunker provides the ultimate test of your ball striking skills. There is no forgiveness. Hit slightly behind the ball and it goes nowhere. Hit it thin and the ball could go anywhere. Despite all the bad things that can happen, the shot is doable as we see from professionals on TV each weekend. You just need to make a few adjustments to your setup and swing. Use these four tips and you’ll find it easier to make solid contact from fairway bunkers:

Tip #1:
Grip Down

One of the keys to making solid contact is controlling your golf swing. The longer the club the tougher it is to control (it’s easier to control a wedge than a driver). By gripping down an inch or so it becomes much easier to control. This added control will help you make solid contact.

Tip #2:
Center the Ball in the Stance

When hitting a normal iron shot you should position the ball slightly ahead of the center of your stance depending on the club. However, in the fairway bunker there is much more of a premium on hitting the ball first. Centering the golf ball in your stance ensures that you make contact with the ball while the club is coming down. This helps to provide that extra bit of solidness you need to hit a good shot from the sand.

Tip #3:
Make a Smaller Swing

Again, the fairway bunker shot is all about making precise contact with the ball. The bigger the golf swing you make the more clubhead speed you create but you lose consistency. Instead of stepping in the bunker and making your 100% swing, think of the shot like a knockdown or ¾ shot. Make a backswing that is slightly shorter than normal and a follow through that is slightly shorter than normal. The smaller swing will reduce your clubhead speed but it will make it easier to make solid contact and hit a good shot.

Tip #4:
Take One More Club

Hitting fairway bunker shots more solid will be a big improvement but you still need to hit the shot the correct distance. The adjustments we’ve made to help make solid contact will reduce clubhead speed. To counteract this more club is needed. Another reason to use one extra club is that sand is less forgiving than grass. If you hit fractions of an inch behind the ball from the sand you will lose much more distance than from grass. Reduce your fear of the fairway bunker shot. Use these tips and you’ll find it much easier to make solid contact and have good results from the sand.

Clay

Clay

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3 Ways to Better Bunker Shots on the Golf Course

THREE WAYS TO HIT BETTER BUNKER SHOTS ON THE GOLF COURSE

It looks so easy right? You see a pro playing golf on TV and he hops in the sand, takes an effortless swing, and hits his bunker shot 2 feet from the hole.

You think to yourself “I should be able to do that”. You then proceed to step in the sand, take a violent lash at the ball, and watch it stay in the bunker or even worse, fly across the green at 100 mph right past your friends head. So what gives? Why aren’t you hitting those nice sand shots right by the hole? The answer is you need a slight adjustment in the way you approach the shot. Bunker shots can intimidating but they don’t have to be. Here are 3 simple tips you can use to hit better shots from the sand:

Tip #1:
Check Your Ball Position

Most of us know that when hitting a greenside bunker shot you hit the sand first, which in turn moves the ball out of the bunker. The distance you hit behind the ball is debatable but anywhere from 2-5 inches depending on the player and type of sand will work. 

In order to achieve this, the ball must be correctly positioned in relation to your body. The proper ball position for a bunker shot is even with the left (forward) arm pit. This allows the club head to enter the sand just before the bottom of the swing. This will result in the club hitting slightly behind the ball and solid bunker shots. If the golf ball is positioned too far back in the stance the club will tend to dig into the sand. If the golf ball is positioned too far forward the will be coming up and it will be easy to hit behind the ball of catch it very thin. Put down an alignment stick or club to make sure your ball is positioned even with the left arm pit.

Tip #2:
Don’t Make the Sand the Target

The biggest phobia in the sand for most golfers is the fear of sculling the shot and seeing it fly across the green. Because of this fear, golfers make hitting the sand their only goal. This usually results in the club digging into the sand and inconsistent shots. When hitting a bunker shot the target is the where you’re trying to hit the ball, not the sand. Take practice swings and feel the golf club swinging through the sand and through to the target. You’ll find when doing this the golf club thumps the sand instead of digging. This swinging through the shot and the thump are what produce solid bunker shots.

Tip #3:
Make a Big Enough Swing

For the most part the bunker shot is the only shot where the golf club doesn’t make contact with the ball. The club hits the sand and the sand in turn moves the ball out of the bunker. Because of this the energy transferred to the golf ball is reduced. Simply said, a bunker shot will not go as far as a regular shot because of the sand. To account for this you have to make a bigger swing in the sand. This should be common sense but many golfers make small swings and expect good results with their bunker shots. 

Watch any professional golfer on TV and you’ll see them take a much larger than normal swing for even a short bunker shot. Take some practice swings in the sand and feel the bigger golf swing and feel the club finishing through the swing. This extra speed you create with a bigger swing will easily move the ball out of the bunker and onto the green. 

So to recap, if you want to hit better bunker shots check your ball position, don’t make the sand the target, and make a bigger swing. Do these things and you will have more success in the sand.

Clay

Clay

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Learn to Keep Your golf Ball Out of the Wind

HOW TO KEEP YOUR GOLF BALL OUT OF THE WIND

One of the great things about golf is that we have no control over the environment and it’s never the same.

Other sports are played pretty much on the same field or court from place to place. The wind is one of these factors we have to pay attention to every time we play golf. Depending on where you live and play it may be subtle or it may be intense. Whatever the case you have to know how the wind affects your shots and how to compensate for it. Here’s a look at three different situations, what they do to your golf ball, and how to best navigate each situation:

Situation #1:
Into the Wind

This is the situation you mostly think of when talking about playing in the wind. You’re sitting at the 150 marker, and the breeze is directly in your face. What should you do? The main thing to remember in this situation is that the higher you hit the shot, the more the wind will affect it. This seems obvious but many players don’t factor it in. The other thing to remember here is that the harder you hit a shot, the higher it will typically go. 

When hitting into the wind, take the following approach. Take 1-2 more clubs than normal, position the ball in the middle of your stance, make a ¾ sized backswing, and make a ¾ sized follow through. Taking more club will ensure a lower ball flight, the ball centered in the stance will do the same, and the smaller swing will ensure the swing stays under control. One thing to avoid when hitting into the wind is taking your normal club and swinging harder. This becomes difficult to control.

Tip #2:
Downhill

Hitting downwind is the easiest of the situations but can have its issues as well. It’s great to stand up on the tee box and hit a drive downwind as it usually produces your longest drives. However, it becomes difficult when trying to hit and iron shot into a green and judge the distance correctly. 

When hitting downwind you need to remember that the wind still affects the flight of the ball. This is why it is still better to play a lower shot when hitting downwind. It will much easier to control your distance. Use the same technique to hit the ball lower as you would playing into the wind. The only change will be your club selection. Instead of taking 1-2 more clubs you can usually get away with using your normal club for that situation with a smaller swing as the wind will add a little distance.

Tip #3:
Crosswind

Hitting golf shots with crosswinds can be the toughest of all the situations. If you’re a left to right player and you have a left to right wind, you could see a lot of movement on your shot. The same is true in a right to left situation. The big thing to take into account for crosswinds is what kind of shot you normally play and what the situation is in the landing area. 

If you always slice the golf ball with the driver and you step up to the tee and there is water right and a left to right wind, you have an issue. Instead of taking your normal swing and watching the shot land in the water, aim well further to the left, or even better club down to a three wood or hybrid which will curve less. The same is true from the fairway. If you’re fighting a hook and you’ve got 160 with a deep bunker left, club down from a seven to six iron and aim a little further right. Taking less club will produce a lower shot which will be less affected by the wind. 

The wind can be frustrating but it is manageable. Use these tips and you’ll find it much easier to determine where your golf ball ends up.

Clay

Clay

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Play Better Golf by Hitting Better Chip Shots

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You hit a great drive down the middle of the fairway and nice approach shot just off the edge of the green. You then proceed to mishit the chip and leave yourself a 10 footer for par that you miss. Meanwhile your buddy hits it in the trees off the tee, scrapes his second shot out, and then gets up and down from 40 yards for par beating you on the hole. Makes you want to pull your hair out right? The good news is that it doesn’t have to be like this. With a few simple adjustments you can start hitting more solid chip shots that end up closer to the hole and give you a better chance to save par. Here are 3 easy ways to improve your chip shots:
Forward at Setup
To hit a chip shot solid you need to hit the golf ball, then the ground. In order to achieve this you must strike the ball at or before the bottom of the swing. Getting your weight and golf club leaning slightly forward at the setup are excellent ways to improve contact. At the setup feel 60% of your weight on the forward foot. It will feel as though back shoulder is higher than your front shoulder. This sets your swing into a steeper position allowing for a solid hit. Now the key is to keep the weight there during the swing. Next get the shaft leaning slightly toward the target. A good reference point is to have the grip of the club even with the middle of your forward thigh. This along with leaning forward add just enough steepness to allow for a solid hit on the golf ball.
Balance and Tempo
If you watch a good chipper you’ll see that their backswing and follow through are similar sizes. You see a lot of golfers who struggle with chipping making big backswings with little follow through or the opposite, making a small backswing and over accelerating into the ball. A balanced chip shot swing leads to good tempo and makes it easier to deliver the clubface solidly on the back of the ball. It also reduces the desire to “hit” the ball when chipping. Good chippers make a smooth balanced swing and let the ball get in the way. Make some practice strokes with your chipping club and feel the club moving back and forth in nice balanced and smooth motion. Do this without a ball until you get the feeling then add the golf ball. The goal with the ball is the maintain that same balance and tempo. This will lead to solid shots and better distance control.
Better Cub Selection

Many golfers struggle to pick the correct club for chip shots. They use too much loft which makes it tougher to make solid contact, brings backspin into play, and makes judging the roll difficult. Or they use too little loft which makes it difficult to land the ball on the green and easy to hit the shot too hard. The goal of a chip shot should be to land the ball just on the green and let it roll to the hole. Rolling a ball provides better distance control than carrying it in the air. The ball should be landed on the green though as it provides the best surface and most consistent bounce. Focus your club selection on the PW, 9, and 8 irons (keep the sand and lob wedges in the bag for shots that require more loft to land the shot on the edge of the green). Using a combination of these 3 clubs for chipping will provide a good balance of height and roll. It will also reduce your choices simplifying the club selection process. So stop throwing away shots around the green. Use the 3 chipping tips the next time you practice or play and you’ll see more up and downs and less frustration with your chip shots.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at [email protected]/.