How can you play better golf with LESS practice? The short answer is that practice can only help. If you are a Weekend Warriors and want to lower your scores, you better find a way to build consistency into your swing WITHOUT a lot of practice. Let’s face it, if your income is not based on being a scratch golfer like Rory McIlroy, you will never find the time to hone your perfect swing for every club. So what’s the best solution to improve your game?
I received a great article from Augusta Golf about the merits of practice. Ben Hogan was famous for practice. It’s the only way to become a master of any sport. Swing technique, strength, flexibility and mental fortitude all contribute to your successful game. He was right so if you want to lower your scores with limited practice , break the 4 areas of focus into a logical plan.
Simple techniques like keeping your head down as you impact your ball. The Star really caught Rory in the perfect picture of perfection.
Technique: Let’s face it, if you have a lousy swing and your technique is bad, you will never be able to consistently hit a golf ball with any of your clubs. You need to take golf lessons from a professional instructor. PGA instructors will set your game up in the right direction and can easily point out the problems with your swing. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to figure out how to improve your swing. Just understand your flaws and work on correcting your swing.
Ben Hogan’s clubs did not have the technology that exist in any 10 year old clubs that you may be using today so don’t expect that a new set of clubs will solve all of your problems. I recently saw a blog about “air swings” where you practice your swing without hitting a ball. It’s a good start but you really need to hit a ball at the driving range to focus on your swing path at the point of impact and see the result.
Strength and Flexibility:
Don’t ignore this important step in developing your full swing and stamina. If you don’t have the strength and flexibility of a teenager you need to put some effort into getting in reasonable shape or your will never be a good golfer. Golf is a sport that demands a lot from your body so choose exercises to build your upper body and core. You can’t expect perfection from your swing if you can’t develop a consistent rhythm and swing speed.
Tiger Woods is the perfect example of a person who was committed and focused to win at golf until his marriage scandal happened. He lost his “Mental Fortitude”. None of us will ever approach the skill and drive that Tiger once had but we can improve our game at the same time that we build our confidence in creating a more consistent game. Positive Mental Attitude goes a long way to create consistent hits. Rory McIlroy bounced back and it just paid off with $15 Million and most likely 10 times that in endorsement.
Reading Blogs like GOLFSTR Swing Tips will help you keep your mental focus on golf so that you can find the right formula for your game. Consistency, more power and confidence will lower your score. Practice with GOLFSTR+ for 6 swing solutions. Buy one today at www.golfstr.com
If you don’t shift your weight back in your backswing and then forward during your transition, you are robbing yourself of power and performance. If you get it right, you can generate more hip and shoulder rotation (for power) and the correct angle of impact (for performance and consistency). In other words, weight shift creates the ideal swing for your driver, woods, hybrids and irons. A recent Rotary Swing Blog reminded us why this is so critical.
BACK SWING: If you don’t allow your weight to shift slightly to your trailing leg during your backswing, it will limit your hip rotation. Don’t depend on only using your spine rotation for power or you will eventually ruin your back. By shifting your weight to your trailing leg it is much easier to rotate your hip AND spine.
Keep more weight on your trailing leg during your backswing and shift the weight to your leading leg as you blast off with your downswing through impact.
As you near the transition at the top of your swing, allow your wrists to cock and create a 90 degree lag angle. You need that extra time in your backswing to allow for all 4 components to connect in SEQUENTIAL UNISON. You may want to count “1, 2” to slow down your backswing like Ernie Els:
1/ your weight shifts to your trailing leg as your straight arm starts your backswing.
2/ allowing your hips to rotate
3/ as your spine continues your coiling rotation
4/ and your wrists cock. [Without wrist lag, you will lose at least 30% of your distance.]
DOWN SWING: Your power only comes from the acceleration of your club head as you uncoil and finally release your wrist lag at the bottom of your swing through impact. You may want to count “3” as you complete your downswing in this sequence:
1/ During your transition (at the top), your arm direction changes as your weight shifts from your trailing leg to your leading leg.
2/ as your hips and then shoulders uncoil and then your arms start your downswing
3/ and your wrist lag releases at the bottom of your swing through impact with your ball.
Are You Falling Back and Topping Your Ball or Hitting it Fat?
For golfers who can’t complete their forward weight shift during the transition, you may want to
START AND END your swing with pressure on your leading leg. That will definitely help you power your irons down through your ball [FIRST] for a more consistent impact with the ball so that you avoid falling back DURING your downswing [HITTING FAT SHOTS]. Unfortunately holding pressure on your leading foot limits your ability to rotate your hip and spine in your backswing so it limits your power and distance. [But it better to make a clean hit and getting your ball in the air.]
Your swing should be completed with the cadence of an accelerating dance step using the rhythm of 1,2-3. Each of the steps melt together as you power your swing up your target line to a balanced pose. Practice with GOLFSTR+ to feel the power and consistency of your release. Buy one today at www.golfstr.com
I started my journey to lower my handicap by finding new ways to avoid slicing and adding control to my draw or fade. In short my goal was to hit more fairways and greens in regulation. Of course putting (which accounts for about 42% of our hits on every round) is a critical component for every round but if you can’t hit the green in regulation on the low side of the hole you can look forward to more bogies, doubles and triples.
Avoiding neck, core, back and leg injuries should be a logical building block for any swing improvement. I try to use TV as my trigger to get on the floor and start my strengthening and flexibility exercise plan. Yes, the TV goes on and I hit the floor. It’s simple. The internet provides ideas for more body building solutions than you can dream up. I have finally settled on: Get the gut down by strengthening the core, strengthen my arms and stretch anything that moves when I play golf.
Plan for a Consistent Swing
A/ Crazy Swing Ideas are a Waste of Time: I have tried leading wrist bent at the start of the takeaway, cocking the wrist at the start of the take-way (like Dustin Johnson) and the latest one is Square Face Golf using a strong grip with both hands. Some build in lag and some create a flat wrist at the top of your backswing but they all generate inconsistencies in your swing as you move from your irons to your driver.
B/ Michael Breed and many others highlight the importance the swing direction and face direction at the point of impact. They all point out that every pro has a different swing but they all manage the launch and the draw or fade using impact direction and face direction.
BINGO: You need the right motion to release through impact and to reach a balanced finish.
Solution for a Consistent Swing
1. Minimize the motion in your backswing and follow-through for a consistent wrist release through the ball and up your target line.
Patrick Reed may win the FedEx Cup. His swing is so clean as he transfers his weight from his trailing foot to his leading foot. Check the straight leading arm.
2. Use the setup of most professional golfers to generate a consistent swing. The basic grip, stance and ball position are so critical for every club in your bag. Don’t invent or try out radial new moves as they just create inconsistencies in your swings.
3. Take your time in your backswing to allow time for your wrist lag as you shift forward during your transition. Count “1,2” in your backswing to help you slow down and then “3” in your downswing to a balanced finish.
4. Choose a comfortable swing plan to allow for your swing from the inside as you rotate your hips to power your shot up your target line.
5. Use your trailing foot to manage the direction of your hit. Move your foot back from your target line to generate a power draw. A slight close of the face of you club may be needed to add draw. [for fade: trailing foot forward and face open]
Minimize your swing thoughts for more consistent hits. Know how your trailing foot and club face will affect your ball. To block your mind count 1, 2 in your backswing and 3 as you swing from the inside and up your target line to a balanced finish. Practice with GOLFSTR+ to learn to keep your leading arm straight in your backswing and down to the point of impact. Buy one today at www.golfstr.com
You can’t afford to lose control of your game after a poor shot. The best solution is to reference a mini check list to keep your mind in a calm state for your next perfect shot. In the Wimbledon finals the camera zoomed in on Sarina Williams reading her notes (hidden by her towel) as she recovered between games. Zack Johnson reviews his list of wisdom notes to keep his mind sharp. Now would be a good time to write-up a set of reference notes for future reference to help you REFOCUS YOUR MIND.
Many of the pros have a coach or a caddie who they depend on for tips to focus on during a round of golf. I read that Payne Stewart’s father often gave him notes before he started important rounds in a tournament. You most likely don’t have a coach or mentor so why not approach this opportunity like a business plan.
Objective: Set your goal to break 100 or 90 or 80. Make it achievable.
Brooks Koepka Takeaway and WIDE Backswing must be a great thought process.
Strategy: What do you need to do to lower your score by 5 to 10 strokes?
– Layup in a perfect location on long approach shots to the green.
– Avoid taking a 7 by getting bad shots back into play on the fairway.
– Learn to draw or fade to make sure that you land in the fairway.
– Avoid a slice by setting up with a strong grip (but not a tight grip) and swing with a flat wrist and lag from the top to a full finish.
Brooks Koepka is the Number 1 Golfer to emulate. Straight Leading Arm swinging from inside to impact and a balance finish.
– Take your time in your backswing to create lag as you shift your weight forward
– Narrow your stance for wedge shots and widen your stance for Tee Shots.
– Check your ball position for each club, choke down on your clubs for distance control or looping down in your backswing to avoid over the top slice swings.
– Minimize the length of your putt by reading the green before you make any approach shot to the green. Land above the hole and roll down to the hole.
– Sand is your friend. Do whatever you have to do to avoid 2 shots in the sand.
– 2 putts is your goal on every green. Firm through the hole with less break gives you the best chance to sink more putts.
– Minimize the same routine for setup on every hit or putt. Don’t forget to take a deep breath before you execute.
Choose 1 to 3 of these points or make up your own points to ensure that you lower your score. Write them on paper and check them before you play or while you are waiting on the tee. Track your performance by marking a tick for fairways hit in the top left corner of the box for each hole, a tick in the top right for Greens in Regulation and number of putts in the lower right corner. Track your record and you will improve your scores.
Rule #1: Eliminate mishits by not over-swinging and make sure you finish your follow-through. Choose the club that will help you feel like you are laying up to an easy spot on every shot. Practice with GOLFSTR+ for consistent shots with a straight leading arm and a flat wrist lag as you shift your weight forward at the top of your swing. Don’t rush it. Buy one today at www.golfstr.com