Archive for the ‘Golf Tips’ Category

Why Most Golfers Hit Poor Chip Shots

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

One of golf’s most important shots is the chip shot. This shot saves a golfer many strokes over the course of the game if executed properly. The last thing a golfer wants to do is hit a poor chip shot and miss an up and down opportunity to save their score on a hole. When most golfers hit a poor chip shot they hit a “blade”, which is a shot that takes off across the green and often leaves them further away than where they began. In order to avoid the blade shot and hit a proper chip there are two areas that need to be addressed. They are ball position and body position.

Ball position: When a shot is bladed the club makes contact with the ball above the middle of the ball. Most times the club is striking the ball on the upswing, rather than the down swing. To correct this, we must move the ball back in the stance to at least the middle or even slightly towards the back foot. This will allow the club to make contact on the bottom of the ball and help the ball to jump into the air.

Body Position: Most golfers tend to get quite anxious over the ball and are in a hurry to see where the shot is going. In most cases when a bladed shot is hit, the golfer is looking for the ball too early and has not finished the swing. The old saying that you have “lifted your head” can be thought of, but what is happening is that when the golfer looks up too soon for the ball, the whole upper body rises and comes out of the chip shot, along with the position of the hands. This all causes the club to rise and strike the top half of the ball. To correct this error, make a practice swing or two as a rehearsal and ensure that you are hitting down into the grass. Focus on watching the ball disappear. Don’t worry, you won’t lose it as you are only trying to get the ball a short distance onto the green!

If you think about the golf swing, it is moving in a circular motion around your body. It is always traveling up or down. The position that the ball is in on the ground, or the “impact position”, is the lowest part of your swing. If at any time in the swing the ball position is incorrect, or if the body is moving up, down or side to side, the plane of that circle has changed and it will affect the timing and impact of the ball.

Remember that on a chip shot the ball does not always have to be lofted high into the air. If there is a lot of green between you and the flag, the ball is usually better off low and rolling. It may be more beneficial to use a 7 or an 8 iron to bump the ball onto the green and let it roll to the hole. A golfer must judge the lie and obstacles that need to be overcome. A bump and run style shot works best when you are able to hit the ball one-third in the air and let it roll two-thirds on the ground. A pitch shot will fly two-thirds in the air and roll about one-third on the ground.

By working on these areas and knowing what style of shot you need to hit, it will result in fewer bladed shots and more success in getting closer to the flag on your chip shots.

Jay Barrett
Head Professional
Devon Golf and CC
Devon, AB, Canada
(780) 987-3569

Stance & Alignment is Key to Golf Swing

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Many golfers possess better swings than they think and are capable of hitting better shots than they give themselves credit for. Unfortunately, though this may be true, there are lots of golfers who struggle to hit the ball at their target and play slices and hooks.

Many times when I see a golfer with a bad slice or hook the fix is much simpler than they think. There may be a swing fault to correct, but often the swing fault has developed from the player having poor alignment. Visualize for a minute a right handed player who has a bad slice. Where would they generally be aiming to avoid the big banana ball? They aim left. All this does for the player is cause them to address the ball with an open stance. Their shoulders, feet and club are all pointed left to compensate for the shot, which only produces a bigger slice. The further left they feel they have to aim to put the ball in play, the more open they stand and the more they slice the ball. This occurs because an open stance tends to produce an “outside to in” swing path which is cutting across the face of the golf ball and producing that dreaded slice spin.

The same holds true for a golfer who plays a hook. Quite often you can look at their stance and see that they tend to aim to the right of their target in order to play the hook. By aiming right, the golfers feet, shoulders and club are all in a closed position which usually tends to produce an “inside to out” swing path that imparts hook spin on the ball.

When you head to the practice range don’t be afraid to put a couple of golf clubs on the ground to aid with your alignment. Place one club parallel to your target a few inches back of where the ball is and the other parallel along the line of your feet. Think of this as setting up the railroad tracks and swing down the line of the tracks. It sounds simple and it is.

When on the golf course, a great tip to help with alignment is to pick an intermediate target between you and your desired location about two or three feet ahead of the ball. It could be a divot, a broken tee, a discoloration in the grass, anything that is on the same line that you want to hit your shot. Then make sure to line your clubface up to this spot and then step into your stance. This will help you to become more consistent with your alignment while training your eyes to know when you are actually standing square to your target.

If your are a constant hooker or slicer of the golf ball, check your alignment first. Proper alignment is critical to a good golf swing and is often overlooked as the main culprit behind a wide range of swing faults. A golfers stance and alignment must be sound in order to develop a good golf swing. Aim straight and hit straight!

Golfers often think that there is so much wrong with their swing and that they are in need of a complete overhaul to play good golf when actually most swing faults have simple explanations and are small fixes.

Jay Barrett
Head Professional
Devon Golf and CC
(780) 987-3569
Devon, Alberta
Canada

Lower Scores With Proper Practice

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Most golfers want to know how to lower their scores by knowing the secret to success or the ultimate golf tip. Truth be told there is not one specific key or element that will make any one player better except practice! The key here is that when most players practice, they do not have a good practice routine. By this, I mean that they are not practicing with a goal or a purpose. They are just randomly hitting balls with nothing in mind and no idea of how to become a better player through proper practice. We have all seen the person who walks to the range with two big buckets of balls and beats them until their hands are blistered and sore all the while thinking that they are becoming a better golfer.

First, golfers must realize that there are two types of practice. Blocked practice and random practice. Blocked practice is when a golfer is working on a specific key element of their game. It could be the takeaway on their swing, their weight transfer or their balance. Random practice is when a golfer puts themselves into a game type situation and is beginning to practice like they play on the course.

Blocked practice is useful for a golfer who is looking to change a specific part of their swing whether it be in the full swing, their putting stroke, or something else. When preforming blocked practice a golfer will hit 5 to 10 balls with the same club all while working with the same swing thoughts and goals. They may change clubs after hitting the desired amount of balls before moving onto the next club, but continuing with the same swing thoughts. The golfer is trying to make a key swing change.

Random practice involves the golfer putting themselves into a game situation and imagining that they are actually on the golf course. If they are standing on the driving range the golfer my imagine playing a certain hole on the course and playing each shot to until they have reached the green. If practicing the short game the golfer is hitting chip and pitch shots and then playing the ball until it is holed out just as they would on the golf course. This helps to feel as it a player is actually in “game” mode and helps to feel more accustomed to pressure situations.

When practicing a golfer must also be sure to develop a routine and be consistent just as if they were on the course and in a game. Players must be sure to play practice shots just as if they were making a stroke on the course. This includes going through the regular practice routine of assessing the lie and the obstacles ahead and the type of shot the player wants to hit. Next, it is important to assess the line of the shot and make sure to properly align to the desired target. The golfer then should take any desired practice swings, set up to the ball and pull the trigger on the real shot. The pre-shot routine is very important for consistency sake to help the golfer focus on the goal at hand and to help steady the nerves. The pre-shot routine is often overlooked by golfers when they practice and as a result when they are on the golf course they have not put themselves in these on course situations and have not thought of how to properly execute a golf shot. If a golfer has put themselves through the situations on the practice range they have been in these situations before and know how to hit the desired shot. Their level of confidence is greatly elevated as they have worked on the skills and visualization of hitting this similar shot! It is not true that practice makes perfect, unless it is proper practice!

Jay Barrett
Head Professional
Devon Golf and CC
Devon, Alberta, Canada
(780) 987-3569

Learning a Great Golf Swing is Simply Physics

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

What happens when a golf-loving researcher injures a shoulder and can’t play for three months? Rod White, a metrologist (measurement scientist), used the spare time off the course to undertake an analysis that revealed the foundation of an effective golf swing. As it turns out, it’s all in the wrists.

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