So, how do you become a better player? What is it that you need to know to improve your game and lower your scores? We know that not every player has the luxury of going for a lesson or visiting an instructor on a periodic basis.
These 5 tips are designed for players of all skill levels, and, with the average score in America being over 100, we know there are plenty of players in search of lessons to improve their game.
Eric Johnson, who formerly worked with former European Ryder Cup member Per Ulrik Johansson, said the first thing a player has to do to get better is to figure out where his game is weakest.
Keep simple statistics of your own — fairways hit, greens in regulation, short game up and downs, and total putts. From this, you can determine your weaknesses. The best solution that I have found for keeping statistics is shotbyshot.com, which helps you electronically track your rounds and gives you a handicap for each part of your game. This can provide a much more in-depth look at your statistics and give you an idea of what you need to work on.
One of the biggest reasons for hitting bad shots is poor alignment, Sean Parees said.
Parees said the best way to avoid that is to develop a pre-shot routine that will accomplish two things: Proper alignment and proper ball position.
Here’s what to do:
Get behind the ball with your feet together and set your clubface down so it is facing an intermediate target. Then, as you look at your real target, take a small step with your left foot and slightly larger step with your right foot. This will ensure the ball is in the proper position in the left half of your stance, between the left heel and the center.
To practice this, take two clubs and, placing them on the ground, use one to represent the target line, and the other to represent your body alignment. Place a third club perpendicular to your body alignment to represent your ball position. This will help you aim correctly.
Too many players try to generate speed and power by swinging their arms and wrists, not rotating their torso.
“While the arms do swing up and down and the wrists hinge and set, these motions are secondary to torso rotation,” Parees said. “That is what creates the majority of speed in the swing.”
Here’s what to do:
Parees: To make a correct backswing, establish your spine angle/address posture and rotate your core by turning your torso away from your target. To do so, attempt to position your left shoulder as close to being over your right leg than your left. And maintain the same spine angle/address posture throughout the backswing.
As you start the downswing, pretty much do the reverse of what you did on the backswing. Rotate your torso toward your target until your right shoulder is closer to being over your left leg than your right. Again, maintain the same spine angle/posture throughout the forward swing.”
To practice this, set up in your normal address position and place a club across your shoulders, holding it in place with your hands. Rotate your core away from your target until the club points at the ball on the ground. Now rotate your core toward your target until the other end of the club points at the same spot on the ground. This will allow you to feel the proper rotation of your core while maintaining the same spine angle.
This is an area that is largely ignored and can really pay off in much lower scores. Especially because most average players usually miss the green in regulation.
Jim Cichra said you should learn how to hit two types of chip shots — how to stop the ball and how to make the ball run.
Here’s what to do, he said:
Set up with your weight on your front side (the left side for right-handers), with a narrow, slightly open stance. Your hands should be slightly forward of the ball with the ball in the center of your stance.
Make an even swing with the distance on your backswing closely matching the distance on your follow-through, and make sure you maintain an even tempo. Your length of the swing will then determine the distance of the shot. And learn two clubs at first to gauge the reaction of the ball when you use them. A sand wedge and a 7-iron is a good start.
Use the sand wedge when you need to stop the ball. Use the 7-iron when a running shot is called for. Always aim for a spot on the green where you need to land your ball to get it close. Therefore, you will need to know the reaction of the ball when it hits, whether it bites or runs.
Also, consider whether the green is hard or soft, fast or slow, uphill or downhill. All of these factors will determine where you should land your ball.
A lot of players go to the driving range and hit balls, but not many go with a plan and not many really pay attention to what they are doing.
Here’s what to do:
First, warm-up for 10 to 15 minutes, beginning with stretching exercises, and then start hitting balls with a wedge, using a smooth, slow swing. Work your way up to longer clubs until you finally get to the driver. Do not hit every club in the bag and do not fall in love with one club.
Second, spend 10 to 15 working on a specific position or movement you need to improve. This is how you ingrain that movement in your swing. Begin with a short-iron and hit four balls doing a drill that will improve this area. Then hit four more balls with the same club taking a full swing. Repeat this eight-ball step by using a hybrid, fairway metal, then the driver.
Third, spend 10 minutes simulating different shots on the golf course by changing clubs every two swings and changing your target every swing. Don’t just hit at the same spot all the time
Finally, work on your short game for 20 to 30 minutes. Pitch shots to various targets from 15 yards to just short of your maximum wedge distance; chip shots from 1 to 50 feet; hit short and long bunker shots; practice putting by using a circle drill in which you place six to eight balls in a circle around the cup, between, 3 and 5 feet away. Work your way around the circle, trying to make as many possible without any three-putts.
With a more focused plan when you practice, your game is bound to improve.
Make an appointment to get custom fitted for your club at Kelly’s Golf so you can get out there and improve your golf game this summer!
2616 Lawndale Dr Suite C,
Greensboro, NC 27408
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