Golf Tips

Sensible Tips for Driving

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I would imagine that if you asked 10 golfers what club they love/hate the most, the majority answer would be the driver. Numerous players have a hard time using their driver effectively, and many will opt to use another club instead (which is good advice, by the way).

Here are a few tips that might help you conquer the driver.

The most basic (commone sense) and fundamental (important) tip is to try out as many drivers as you can before selecting one. You want your driver to feel good in your hands and you want it to feel good during your swing. If you are not confident with your driver you are bound to lack the confidence needed to make a good shot.

After selecting what you feel is the best driver for you, you should follow a setup routine before making your shot. Keep in mind that tee height is important. The tee should be adjusted to about the top line on the clubface. Now, this is not a hard and fast rule. You should experiement to find your optimum height, but make sure you do not tee too low.

Nearly every golfer will want to play the ball of his or her left heel. This, too, is important as it aids in getting the proper clubface contact with the ball.

Check your alignment to the target. Often a player will make a horrid shot and blame it on his swing when it was due to poor alignment to the target.

Keep about 60% of your body weight on your right foot, and have your feet about shoulder width apart. This will greatly aid your balance throughout the entire swing.

As for the rest of the drive mechanics, well, that is up to you. Every player will have a different backswing, a different momentum, tempo, delivery, impact and follow through. Anyone who tells you there is one hard and fast rule or technique for driving is not telling you the truth. The factors that make this such an open-ended shot include things like a player’s age, flexibility, muscle tone and experience.

Some pros will tell you to use your legs for power, some will tell you to forget the legs, it is all about upper body strength. The differing amount of information that is available for driving technique is simply staggering.

So, rather than share with you something that probably will not work for you, my suggestion is that you try different techniques (on the driving range) until you match your physical abilities with a technique that works for you. In other words, customize your drive to fit your needs. It is good to pay attention to basic swing mechanics and follow those as best you can, but you and only you, can put together the perfect “package” that works for you, and the only way to do that is to get out there and practice and pay attention to what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.

Driving does not have to be a horror. In fact, it is one of the best feelings in the world to make a great drive with your driver. You will see what I mean as soon as you get your particular mechanics into a whole package.

Golf Tips

How to make a perfect golf swing ( Try Simple )

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Over the years I have seen one problem that seems to affect many golfers. And it does not matter where they are or who they are or how long they have been playing.

That one thing is a tendency to complicate things when it comes to the golf swing.

I think it is the over analysis causes paralysis thing. It is about overthinking. People are trying to think of, and do, too many things at once.

And it is no wonder. There are any number of guidelines being spilled out to golfers these days. Do this, do not do that, keep this in, make sure that part is out. Good heavens.

The truth is a golf swing should be based on simplicity. The secret of both teaching and learning the golf swing is good communication. You already know that there are hundreds of books and articles and how-to pieces out there on how to make a good golf swing, but from my experience the more you try to put into a golf swing, the less you end up with.

Learning from the written word is important and can be very helpful to most golfers. Watching someone who is good swing the club is also helpful. But when it comes down to your swing, the best advice is to keep it simple and do what works for you, realizing that you may have to make simple adjustments in order to get it perfect.

Much of a perfect golf swing is dependent on feel. It is not all mechanical.

If you have a particular problem, say a hook, then go back and narrow down all the reasons why you are hooking the ball and work on those areas of your swing. You do not have to start from scratch in most cases. Find that one little simple problem area and dedicate some time to fixing that and your golf swing will improve.

Hope this helps.

Golf Tips

Golf Tip: The Long Bunker Shot

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Here is a golf tip that many players may find handy. It has to do with hitting a long bunker shot.

Most of us are fairly good at hitting short bunker shots. No surprise there as most bunkers seem to be situated near the green. But there are some courses, and the trend seems to be increasing these days, with either fairway bunkers or bunkers that are far enough away from the green that you cannot call them close bunkers and yet they are not precisely what we think of as fairway bunkers either.

If you find yourself in one of these long bunker shot situations, consider this:

The problem that most players have when they are in a long bunker shot is not knowing if they should pitch the shot or blast it with some gusto. The answer to that depends on the type of sand you are standing on.

If you are say 50 yards or so from the green and the sand is soft and nice, you can try to pitch it by using a 60 degree wedge and hitting a perfect 9 o’clock shot, or you could take your sand wedge and try to hit a very hard blast shot and just pray that the ball will get to the green.

For me, I would rather attempt a blast shot because the sand is soft. If I went with a pitch, I might hit the ball too fat. But I would consider doing one other thing as well.

Instead of sand wedge, I would use my 9-iron. By using my 9-iron, I do not have to hit the ball as hard as I would with my wedge. I can swing a little easier and the ball should still make it to the green.

I use my 9-iron a lot in cases like this because I am used to playing with that club. When I was a kid, just starting in golf, I did not own a sand wedge! So, I had to use my 9-iron. With some practice, this is not a difficult shot.

Take your regular bunker stance with your 9-iron in hand. On the backswing, you want to go back as far as you would if you were trying to pitch 40 yards or so. When you are coming back, you want to hit about an inch behind the ball and make sure you complete a full swing. Follow through all the way.

Remember, you do not have to swing or hit as hard with this club, so take it easy with it. You will like the results.

Golf Tips

Golf Tip: Why we love Wie

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If you were lucky enough to see any (or all) of the first round of the John Deere tournament this week, you were. perhaps like me, most impressed with Michelle Wie’s calmness and grace under fire.

Wie is arguably one of the best female golfers in the universe. She is tough and she is good. Those are two facts about her that anyone who knows about her would probably argee on. And both of those qualities came out in her during this first round.

Without giving you the blow-by-blow account, it would be fair to say that she did not have a happy time on the tees. More than once she found herself so far out of bounds and so far into the thick trees that surround the fairways and greens that she had to drop.

I think it was on the 3rd tee that she was literally plauged by insects to the point she had to walk away from her ball three times. When she finally took her shot off the tee, into the woods it went.

To say the least, she had a rough day on the links.

And, yet, and this is the important part, she still managed to turn in a fairly decent score. It wasn’t a great score, and certainly could have been better had she avoided some of those drops, but it was still a decent score for the day considering what she had been through.

I believe the reason for that score was because she did not allow one bad shot to lead to another bad shot. Yes, she made some mistakes, but those were scattered out through the round. When she did mishit the ball, she did not follow that up by making another mishit is the point. She was able to regain her composure quickly and then play her next shot. Usually, those next shots were pretty darn good.

The morale of the story is this. Everyone has an off day, even the best pros. It is what you do after you make a mistake that can save the round.

Hope this helps.

Golf Tips

Golf tip: The 2 inch Sand Drill

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There are many golf tips associated with playing out of the sand. Indeed, many players have trouble when it comes to getting out of the bunker. Here is a quick and easy tip to help you with those bunker shots.

By the way, just because this tip is quick and easy does not mean it does not work. Some of the best golf tips I have ever read were of the quick and easy type.

Of all the many things you have to consider and do when playing out of the sand, one of the most important is where your club will impact the sand. For most shots, you want that club head to hit the sand about two inches behind the ball.

Now, this sounds simple and it is simple, but it is also the kind of thing that most normal players never practice. Honestly, when was the last time you devoted any practice time to honing your skill at hitting 2 inches behind a ball?

Here is the drill, and it works.

Go into your practice bunker with your sand wedge or whatever club you use for sand play and using the club head itself draw a straight line about eight feet long. Just make a straight line in the sand with the clubhead.

Now, using your clubhead, make a small mark in the sand about 2 inches in front of the line that you just drew. Make several of them, about two feet apart. These marks will represent golf balls.

Once you have these in place, go back to the beginning of the line and set up exactly as you would for a real shot. Imagine the small mark you made as being the golf ball. Now take a swing, but aim at that long line that you drew. That is the 2 inch mark.

When you are consistently hitting that long line, you know you are impacting the sand where you should be.

If you practice this drill, you will get very good at knowing where two inches is behind your ball, and knowing that will improve your sand play a lot.

Golf Equipment

Golf Equipment Reviews and Tips

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Golf Tips

Traveling with your clubs

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Summer is upon us and many golfers will be heading off on vacations. Here are some tips on how to best protect your golf clubs while traveling.

As you already know, golf clubs can be very expensive, but aside from the cost, most of us play better when we are using our own clubs, rather than some that we rent or borrow while on vacation.

When traveling with your golf clubs on airlines, trains, or even buses and cars for that matter, you will want to protect them from damage. This is not always easy to do, especially if others will be handling your clubs in your absence.

But there are a few things you can do to help the cause.

One way to protect your clubs is by packing them in a golf travel bag or case. There are plenty of options and many price ranges, so you should be able to find a travel case that fits your budget and needs. You can shop online for these if you wish.

There are two types of golf travel cases: soft shell and hard shell.

If you plan to travel by air, the hard shell golf case is recommended. Many airlines will cover damages if your clubs are packed inside a hard case. However, you should probably call and confirm this before assuming it to be true.

These hard shell cases can take a lot of abuse and still protect your clubs. Most are made of heavy molded plastic that helps protect your clubs against drops, throws, or the more common general banging that takes place while being loaded into a plane. They cost more than the soft shell choices, however the investment is offset by the level of protection provided to your clubs.

If you want a hard case that will carry your golf bag inside as well as your clubs, then make sure you look for that feature while shopping. Not all of them will do that.

Soft shell travel cases can be a good option provided you pack your clubs well. The level of protection is not as great as the hard shell types, but by packing your clubs carefully and with a few precautions, you can do well with this choice if you plan on traveling by car and handling your own luggage. An added bonus is that most soft shell bags do fit your golf bag inside nicely.

In order to get the most protection for your golf clubs when using a soft shell case, be sure to pack your clubs inside carefully. Keep your clubs in your golf bag, cover the club heads with the golf bag cover (if your bag has one) or you can individually wrap each club head with some towels or clothing.

The added amount of time that it takes to protect your clubs before traveling is well worth the effort. Just ask anyone who has arrived at his destination only to find his beloved clubs ruined!

Golf Tips

Composure

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I watched a lot of golf this past weekend as many of you did, too, I suppose. It was a great weekend for golf, lots of surprises and lots of action from some of the very best players in the world. While I enjoyed this little respite, I was somewhat surprised at how many bad shots these same players made during their outings. I was equally surprised at how composed many of them remained during their play of these bad shots.

Anyone with any compasion must feel for the pro who hits one bad shot, followed by another, followed by yet another. We’ve all been through that horror sequence where it seems we’d be better off to simply throw our clubs into the next water hazard and take up another sport. Yet, there is something heartening to see a pro keep his cool and make what he feels is his next best play, and to have to do that over and over again, even when his next best play lands him in a bunker or in the water or in the trees.

So how do these pros keep calm in a situation like that?

I think it has to do with their knowing how to compose themselves quickly and without a lot of drama. I would surmise that much of that comes from sheer experience. If you have been in a bunker 100 times before, number 101 doesn’t seem so terrible. If you have played 10,000 rounds of golf, you already know there will be days when it seems as if everything you do is off-center. And, lastly, I think it has something to do with listening to that inner voice (which we all have) that warns us that playing the next shot in anger is only going to make things worse. An angry shot rarely, if ever, is a good shot.

Having a bad day at the golf course is a lot like playing poker when you get one bad beat after another. It’s almost as if some higher authority has ordained that you are going to get slapped around today, like it or not.

Well, there may be some truth to that, but there is also truth in that much of what happens to us, we cause ourselves.

The next time you are having a horrid day on the links, step back, take a breath and try to release the memory of that last bad shot. Just let it go. Concentrate on the next shot and only on the next shot. And if your next shot stinks, let that one go as well, and concentrate on the next one. No one plays perfect golf everyday…not even the best pros in the world. Take a lesson from that.

Golf Tips

Golf Questions–Email

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I received a few questions from a buddy of mine in St. Louis, and I thought I might share them with you. He asked some good questions and, hopefully, my answers helped him out. Perhaps, they can help you out as well.

One question he asked was: Why is it harder to hit a long iron than it is to hit a short iron?

Pretty good question. The answer has to do with the two “Ls”. Length and loft. Any club (and it doesn’t matter what it is iron or wood) that has a long shaft and less loft will be harder to hit solidly than another club with less shaft length and more loft. The something of an old saying in the custom golf club world that goes: “The longer the length and the lower the loft, the harder the club will be to hit for any golfer”.

Using a long iron effectively is hard for most golfers, and the only way to get better at using them is to practice relentlessly. The big reason long iron shots go afoul so often is the player is not keeping the club face square at impact. With a long iron (that has very little loft to it) that squareness at impact is crucial to making a good shot.

His second question was: What exactly are component clubs?

Component clubs are custom made clubs that include the three “components” of all golf clubs. Those are: the shaft, the grip, and the clubhead. When you buy a club at the pro shop or off the rack somewhere, the club has these three components already, but, of course, the components were selected by the club manufacturer and not by you. You can, if you can afford it, have a club maker select each individual component from any number of component suppliers to custom make the exact club you want. In other words, you could select a shaft from one company, a grip from another company, and a clubhead from yet another company. Once you have all the components, a club fitter will put them together for you and you will, truly, have a custom club.

His third question was: How to find good golf clubs around London?

I’m not the person who can answer this question, because i don’t leave in London, but i made a little digging and found this page: http://toppages.co.uk/city/london/c-golf-clubs . The good thing here is the you can see streetview image of each golf club.

Hope this helps.

Golf Tips

Slicing off the tee

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What do you do when your tee shots (using your driver) slice time after time after time? You have checked your swing and that seems to be in order, you are doing your pre-game warm up, so you muscles are warm and that is not the problem. So what in the world is going on, you ask?

Well, it might not be you. It could be your driver is out of whack. This could have been caused by just being used for a long time (driver’s do wear out) or it could be that as you have improved in your skill level, the driver you have no longer fits your style.

But buying a new driver can be expensive. We all know how prices for these clubs have skyrocketed over the last few decades. So, if money is an issue, try these tips first.

Try putting some lead tape on the heel. This added weight helps close the clubface during your swing. Normally, but you will have to adjust this to fit your particular needs, a 4 oz strip of lead tape is a good starting amount. You may need to add a bit more, but do not overdo it. If you are putting a lot of tape on the heel, then it may be time to buy a new driver or at least a new clubhead (a heavier one).

The second tip that might help is to try a more flexible shaft. Again, this helps to close the clubface during the swing. Talk to your local clubfitter to see if this is an option for the driver that you own. In many cases, it is, and it is far less expensive than a new driver.

Another tip for salvaging that old driver is to shorten the shaft. A shorter shaft (on any club) will give you more control. Again, talk to your clubfitter and see if taking a little off the shaft might not solve your problem.

As mentioned in our component discussion, it is possible to buy a new clubhead. Try an offset head if you are constantly slicing the ball. Designed specifically to fight slices–check out the Cleveland Sport OS, Cobra SZ 400 Offset and Tour Edge Bazooka OS. Many non-offset drivers use draw-biased weighting and/or closed faces for the same purpose. This one tip might be all you need to cure that dreaded slice once and for all.

And last, check your grip. A thinner grip on your driver can help you rotate your hands more effectively during your swing. But careful…if you have to strangle the club with this thinner grip, you are defeating the purpose. Get the right thickness.