Category Archives: Tips

Tips and advice to help you “Enjoy Your Game”

Walk To The Beat Of Your Own Swing

The difference between a good round and a bad round can be found in an often over looked area of the golf swing. You hear Pros talk about rythm, tempo and timing but how do you practice that?

On those days when you are striking the ball just right, take a mental note of the speed to the start of your back swing, the transition to your downswing through impact and into your follow through. You will find that it is fairly consistent throughout your round.

Here are 3 ways you can find that sweet rythm and keep it for the rest of the day.

Don’t Rush: It starts when you get out of bed. Give yourself plenty of time to do everything you need to do before your round. Shower, breakfast, travel to the course, check in, warm up, practice. Do everything from brushing your teeth to driving the speed limit at a comfortable pace for you.

Warm Up: When you arrive at the practice tee, take time to stretch. Start with a few easy swings with a mid to short iron and be aware of the speed of your whole swing from beginning to end, gradually speeding it up or slowing it down until you feel like your swinging at about 90% of your real swing. When you are ready to hit shots, start with your wedges hitting 3/4 shots working your way up slowly to full shots. Then you can move on to mid irons then long irons, fairway woods and finishing off with your driver. This will prevent you from snatching the club away in the takeaway and swinging out of your shoes which could happen if you start off with your driver.

Walking: This one should be easy but can get away from you if you don’t apply yourself, especially if you are riding in a cart. Walk at the same comfortable pace throughout your round keeping your pre shot routine consistent.

Your ball striking will be more crisp, your distance control more accurate and your misses will be smaller.

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How Did Golf Become So Complicated?

Did you ever wonder what golf was like in it’s infancy? There were no swing coaches, short game gurus, sports psychologists, personal trainers or high tech equipment. It was simple, hit the ball and get it in the hole.

Many of us are guilty of paralysis by analysis. Too many thoughts, too mechanical. In an effort to get better, we get worse. We even try very hard to clear our mind and keep things simple. There is swing speed, ball speed, club head speed, spin rate, launch angle, spine angle, swing plane, flying elbows, ball position, supination, pronation and the x factor to name a few.  I could go on and on!

The golf swing happens too fast for the mind to have any thoughts. A golfer should rely on feel when addressing the ball and keep his or her thoughts to a minimum. One or two thoughts before you swing is all you need. Aligning to your target and a key thought to start your swing is enough to keep you focused. Practicing a pre shot routine until it becomes second nature will go a long way to keeping your thoughts to a minimum. Leave most of your thinking to practicing on the range and trust your feel when on the golf course.

When practicing on the range, work on one swing component at a time until it is working consistently then move on to another part of your swing. This will help you to build your swing methodically, keep your focus and prevent you from jumping from one swing thought to another.

Practice Your Short Game: Lower Your Score

The quickest way to lower your score is to practice and improve your short game. The short game consists of four areas: pitching, chipping, putting, and sand play. The short game makes up about 43% of an average game of golf. The weaker your short game, the higher percentage. With the proper fundamentals, you will make solid contact on the ball more consistently. You will have better feedback from your shots to help you control the distance of each shot and your touch will start to improve with each practice session.

Distance control is very important in the short game. For example, with a chip or a putt of 30 to 50 feet, the direction of the shot may only waiver from the target a few feet to the left or right. Good distance control coupled with good direction will put you a few feet from the hole, giving you a better chance of making the putt. On the other hand, if your distance control is poor and your shot ends up well short or past the hole, your accuracy will not help.

A three foot putt counts as one stroke as does a 300 – yard drive. You can recover from a bad shot from a wood or iron by having a strong short game. However, you can’t recover from a missed short putt.

You should spend as much time around the green practicing your short game as you do on the range practicing your full swing. Observe how the ball reacts on and around the green, experiment, and use your imagination to achieve the desired results. Regular practice will go a long way toward mastering the many different shots in the short game.

Four Ideas to Get the Most Out of Your Practice Time

Golf is one of those games in which you alone are responsible for your score. You can only blame yourself when you play a bad shot. On the other hand, you deserve all the credit when you play a good shot. The more you get from your practice time, the more you will be rewarded in your game.

Because you are not always able to take a lesson from your Professional before each round, your practice time is crucial for reinforcing what you have learned during your lessons.

Here are some ideas on how to get the most out of your practice time.

1. Develop a plan. For example: “Today I will work on my set-up.” Spending hours on the range hitting balls without a specific plan will do more harm than good for your swing. If you do not have a plan, you will only reinforce bad habits during your practice.

2. Set a timeframe to hit a specific amount of golf balls. Having a set amount of time and golf balls will make every shot valuable which in turn will help you to concentrate.

3. Make your practice fun and interesting. Try shaping your shots opposite to your natural ball flight. If your natural shot is a fade, try hitting a draw, and vice-versa. This will also give you a better understanding of your swing.

4. Set yourself up for success.

a. If you are struggling with your swing, practice with the shorter clubs; leave the longer clubs in the bag. The shorter clubs are easier to swing which will build your confidence and improve your tempo.

b. Give yourself a good lie. A good lie will provide proper feedback from your shots and will help you to develop a good swing. When you do have a bad lie during a game, it will be easier to make adjustments.

These practice ideas are great for building the confidence needed to get out of a slump and set you up for success on the course.

About the author: James M. Wicketts is a Canadian PGA Class ‘A’ Professional. James is a graduate of the Canadian PGA National Teaching Certification Program and was the low qualifier in the 1997 Canadian PGA Playing Ability Test.

Enjoy Your Game!