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Random Golf Tips

Short Putts Never Go In!!
In 22 years of playing golf, I've seen thousands of putts.  But I have never seen a short putt go in the hole.  The best advice I can ever give you about putting is..."Aim at the back of the cup."  Each and every one of you can describe several ways you've seen a long putt go in.  I once saw a putt hit the back of the cup and jump in the air, only to come down and hit the lip before falling in.  But I dare you, tell me of one time that a short putt went in the hole.....go ahead, I'm waiting.......You wanna make more putts, stop leaving them short.

Swing Keys
Golfers stand over there ball with far too many thoughts in their heads.  A few years ago I talked with a golf pro who instructed me to write down 3-4 preshot thoughts and review them before playing.  Then when I address my ball I go through those 3-4 items only before hitting.  I call them Swing Thoughts.  Quite often, if I'm striking the ball poorly, I will take a look at those swing keys and make sure, on my next swing, I am following my own advice.  Here is an example of my Swing Thoughts.

  • Keep left arm straight.
  • Keep right shoulder square
  • Focus on my target
  • Keep head back/downThese usually work for me. 

Find out what works for you and stick to it.  Hope this helps.

Videos and Pictures
Everyone knows how your golf swing looks, but you!!  Since most of us don't take lessons or have a "Golf Teacher/Coach" it is up to us to fix the problems in our swing.  I've found two things they may help you in trying to perfect the imperfect. One is taking pictures and videos of your swing.  Next time you are on the course have one of your buddies record your swing from the side, and then again from behind.  Then before going to the range, look at your videos/pics and make the necessary adjustments.  
The second is a golf app.  (Golf Swing Analyzer) Take a short video of your golf swing using this app, and simply wait on a golf pro to analyze your swing and offer solutions.  I haven't tried it yet, but the idea seems good.

Drive For Show, but _____
I've shaved about three strokes off my game so far this summer simply by putting better.  I've gone from 33-35 puts per round, to 29-32 putts per round with an average 7 one-putts...How???  I practice it.  I've spent more time putting than on the range and its paying off.  One drill that I use that has really worked wonders for me is practicing from 4 to 8 feet.  I don't practice putts that break, only straight putts.  Every putt is a straight put anyway, it's the slope of the green that'll make it break.  Last week I was on the practice green at Coyote Run, and I made 40 4-foot putts in a row.  (See if you can top that) To measure them, I keep a tape measure in my bag and mark off 4,5,6,7, and 8 footers. 

What I've noticed during my round is that I rarely leave my putts short.  Anything inside of 15 feet either goes in our rolls one or two feet pass the hole.  I know it's not glamorous making putts, you'd have much more acknowledgement if you can bomb that drive 300 yards off the tee, but as the saying goes, "You drive for Show, but you putt for Dough."

Poor Face Angle
According to Dave Pelz, poor face angle gives you almost no chance of success.  Golfers spend a lot of time practicing stroke path because it seems to make sense - Move your putter in the direction you want your putter to roll.  This is wrong, however.  Research data shows that where the face angle of your putter is aimed at impact determines where the ball travels.  Study the two factors of a solidly struck putt and you'll discover that face angles determines 83% of the starting line while putter path direction determines 17%.  In other words, a square face angle is five times more important to starting putts on line than putter path.  The greatest cause of having a poor face angle is due to the fact that we bend our wrist during putts.  So the next time your putting remember to keep those wrist quiet.

The Line We Draw
Most of us draw a putting line or something similar on our golf balls.  On those three-footers, I've stopped using that line.  Why??  Because the putt is close enough for me to make without it.  In addition, there are times that I don't have the ball-line, lined up with the hole.  Then I stand over the ball getting ready to putt it, and notice it's not lined up correctly, which requires me to make adjustments. Once I stand over a putt, I'm not looking to second guess myself.  

If this happens to you, and I'm sure it does, you may want to try this next time you putt.

Cut That Backswing (April 2013)

As this golf season gets underway, it marks my 19th year playing golf.  I've taken only three lessons during that time.  Most of my game is self taught.  Here is a golf tip that helps me.  Cut that backswing: Most high handicappers have way too much backswing, especially with irons.  I was practicing the other day with a guy who has never broken 100.  He was hitting his sand wedge.  I took out my phone and videotaped him as he hit a shot.  I showed him how far back he was taking his club, and his next five shots all went straighter and further. 

Chip and Pitch it Close
Chipping and pitching is by far the best part of my game.  When I see others, especially high handicappers playing shots from within 50 yards, I see two primary faults: (1), Too much backswing, and (2), too much lower body movement.
If you are taking a full backswing to hit such a short shot, you naturally decelerate on the way down, causing you to chunk your shot.  To fix this, take a shorter backswing which will allow you to have a more natural follow-through and will promote better ball-striking.
Bending your knees then raising up in an effort to lift your ball in the air is only gonna cause you to skull or duff your shot.  KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN, and concentrate on making solid contact.  The loft of your club will lift the ball into the air.  You should see the divot after hitting your shot.  If you are not seeing the divot, then you are lifting up far too soon. 
Work on these two aspects of your short game and you will see improvement.

Chipping??  Don't Use a Lob Wedge!
I see far too many high-handicappers using the wrong club(s) around the green.  If you are on the fringe or too far away to putt, you don't really need to get your ball in the air. A 60 degree, lob-wedge, or high lofted club is NOT necessary.  Use a 8 or 9-iron, or at most a pitching wedge.  

Too many times you take that high lofted club, take way too much swing and end up skulling or duffing your shot.  If you use the clubs I suggested, you will get your ball rolling quickly and on your intended target line.  Your stroke will be shorter and your ball-striking, around the green, will improve.

So the next time you are close to the green take my advice and watch your score get lower.

Flatten Left Wrist
This marks my 20th year playing golf.  I am so grateful to Fitzroy Thompson for introducing the game of golf to me.  I can't even remember what I'd be doing on a beautiful Saturday or Sunday mid afternoon before golf.  In those 20 years, I've probably taken three lessons.  I basically teach myself.  There is one video however, that has made a huge difference in my game.  After watching this video, I went to the park with my shag-bag and hit shot after shot and since then I've gained 10-30 extra yards off the tee and rarely slice or fade the ball with a driver or with irons.  Here is the video.  Good Luck!! Click (Keep Left Wrist Flat)

Just Like Bowling

Whether I'm putting, chipping, pitching, hitting an iron, or driver.  I always pick a predetermined spot to aim my shot.  This spot is much closer to me than the actual place I am looking to hit my ball.  I call it the bowling method because similar to the small arrows in a bowling lane, I pick a divot or blade of grass that is inline with my intended target and aim for that.  Try this, you may find that it helps you to hit more accurate shots and better align your short game. 

When Thing Are Going Bad
We've all been there before, we are about a third of the way through yet another horrible round of golf.  Tee shots are fading to the right, approaches are chunked and we are three putting every green. 
Sometimes just changing your pre-shot routine can help change your round.  If you normally take two practice swings before your shot, then only take one, or none at all.  Play a few holes like you are on the driving range. 
There are only a few things that you can control in golf, and your thinking is one of them.  Get rid of the negative thoughts and put positive ones in your head before each shot.  Perhaps you can turn those double and triple bogeys into pars and birdies.

Finish Your Swing

A ton of us amateurs fail to finish our swings, or have finishes that resemble us awkwardly standing after hitting our shots.  Basically you should look like a golf trophy after your swing.  Tiger Woods says, "At the finish your hips should have turned so that they are at least perpendicular to the target line. Your shoulders should also be perpendicular to the target line. Your elbows should be bent, wrists recocked, belt buckle facing the target and weight over your left foot.  Click (Fix and Finish) to view the correct finishing position.