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Treat Your Woods & Hybrids like Irons

When I read GOLF LAW #7, I realized that something was terribly wrong: “All 3-woods are demon-possessed.  Your Mother-in-Law does not come close.”  Fortunately only half of this law applied to me as I had a wonderful Mother-in-Law. The 3-wood was my problem.

I realize that this Golf Law was written in jest, but I also now realize why I don’t carry a 3-wood in my bag.  The same situation must be happening to a pretty high percentage of golfers who are mishitting a lot of shots with their 3-wood.  As it turns out, we may be missing a high percentage of our fairway woods and hybrids because we are trying to just “nip the ball off the ground” with very little room for error.  I saw this tip on a Revolution Golf Blog in Me & My Golf Series called TOTAL GAME.

Because the loft on our woods and hybrids are limited, we tend to hang back in our swing to create more lift the way we do with our driver.  That just makes you top the ball or hit it thin.  For more consistent hits with these clubs you should swing them down through impact, similar to the way you use your irons.  Hit the ball first and then take a thin divot.

Impact your ball with you weight forward when using woods and hybrids. The same way you impact with your irons.

Recommended Setup and Swing

-Setup with a narrower stance than you do with your driver.
-Line up your ball back from your leading heel to bottom-out after your ball.
Don’t tilt your body (the way you setup to hit with your driver) to hit up on the ball.
Keep 55% of your pressure on your leading foot to get your weight shift forward.
Swing down through impact with your ball before you take a light divot.
Let your leading ear pass the line-up with your ball as you impact the ball and finish your swing balanced on your leading foot.

Practice with your woods and hybrids using your GOLFSTR+ to keep you leading arm straight and down through impact before you take any divot.  Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

PS:  GOLF LAW #10
Golf should be given up at least twice per month.

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Put Your Game in Training: MARK-UP Your Scorecard

Do you wonder why some days are easy to score low and most days are a struggle?  You will be amazed to see how Fairways and Greens In Regulation affect your score. Put your game in Training Mode.

You will only improve your scores if you play well on all 18 holes. That’s why you need to focus on each hole as if it is a new game. Keep track of your progress using dots on your score card. At the end of each round you can see why you got birdie, par, bogie or double on each hole. A mishit, sand trap, tree or shot in the rough will obviously add 1 or 2 strokes to each hole. You need a plan to get out of your rut but first you need to record and measure where you are making your mistakes.

In the square where you mark your score, track your performance in the 4 corners:
-Upper Left: mark a dot if your drive stays in the fairway or on the green for par 3’s.
-Upper Right: mark a dot for Green Hit in Regulation.
-Lower Right: mark the number of putts.
-Lower Left: use a code to enter any mistakes on that hole: M for Mishit, T for Tree, S for Sand, W for Water and R for Rough. (CHW for Club House Window etc.)

Don’t take it out on your golf clubs. Only YOU can fix your game. Over swinging is the normal cause of your mishits. Calm down and enjoy those layups where your want them to land.

At the end of your round it’s easy to see where your extra shots are coming from. Next you have to do something about those problem holes:

A. In most cases you may find out that your mishits are happening with your driver or you are over-hitting from the rough. [Take Corrective Action: Bench your Driver and use your woods, learn to draw into the fairway or relax your tempo.]

B. Hitting into trees or missing a green is your mistake because you are hitting out of a poor approach position. Target your shots at a distance you can comfortably hit with the right club. Hitting over a green into the water is a stupid mistake.

C. What’s causing your mishits? Are you standing too far from the ball or are you bending your leading arm and shortening the distance to reach the ball. Fix it by practicing with GOLFSTR+ as a reminder to keep your leading arm straight.

D. Ok, you get the idea? Sort out where your big misses are coming from and get to work on taking those out of your game or just test out your game on the forward tees. Distance may be your biggest problem.

Of course you should be practicing with GOLFSTR+ for your 6 swing fixes. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

PS:   GOLF LAW #9 -The last three holes of a round will automatically adjust your score to what it really should be.

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Control Your GAME and Lower Your Handicap

Do you feel like it’s as easy to lower your handicap as it is to reduce your hat size?   That’s one of the golf truisms that we all keep in the back of our mind. You have played with others who are older and weaker than you are and they have much lower handicaps. They have mastered the ability to play within themselves (within their capabilities) to keep every shot in play. They eliminating poor shots. That has to be your inspiration to improve your game and lower your scores.

Distance is important but keeping your ball in play gives you a better chance to cut your scores. Why not commit to a plan that could drop your scores on every hole? I learned this little trick when I realized that I was wasting strokes when I try too hard. That’s right!  When you swing too hard and try for a miracle shot, you lose strokes on every hole. Back-off on you power and watch your handicap drop. Set you plan to hit more consistent shots and stick with it.

Control your tempo to finish every swing in balance. Let your club do the work !

1/ Plan for reachable targets to avoid mishits and shots off the toe of your club.  Either take some power out of your swing or change to a club that you know you can consistently control. The easy solution is to keep your driver in your bag when you start your round. Build confidence in your hits with better rhythm using your 3 or 5 wood. Take control of your swing with clubs that you know you can hit consistently.

2/ Keep your shots in the fairway. You have to avoid the mishits so don’t try to kill every shot. Learn to use a good tempo and let your club do the work.  Stay Calm and Relaxed.  You can’t play this game any other way.

3/ Avoid sand traps and water hazards. When you get tense, your swing will tighten into your body and you will hit more slices and shots off the toe of your club. Plan for safe relaxed hits.

4/ Learn to layup and hit the green on your next shot. Why waste 2 more shots in the sand trap when you can hit a perfect layout to the open side of the green and then chip to the hole for 1 or 2 putts.

5/ Spend a lot more time practicing your pitching and chipping than you spend trying to master your driver.  The pros only hit fairways 70% of the time with their drivers. Why should you expect to do better? Balance your practice time where you can pick up the most strokes chipping and putting.

Golf is a wonderful game when you keep your ball in play. Practice with your GOLFSTR+ for 6 critical swing fixes. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

PS: GOLF LAW #8:
Golf balls from the same “sleeve” tend to follow one another, particularly out of bounds or into the water.

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5 Useless Moves That IMPROVE Every Shot

All of the motions in your golf swing are completed to move your club through the ball in the right direction with accelerating power during the moment of impact. If impact is so important, why do we bother with all of the strange things that we do before and after impact? Most of the moves that your bodies make during your swing seem to be USELESS MOVES. Fortunately the right initiation and finishing moves create the perfect result.

1/ Starting your downswing with your hip turn to square (to the ball) during your transition: You need to rotate your hips to face your target so that your leading wrist has room to whip your club through the ball with a SQUARE FACE. [If your hip does not lead your swing, you will always fade or flair or slice your shot away from your body.]

Tiger completes every one of the 5 Userless Moves in his swing to perfection. You should too.

2/ Keeping your eye on the ball through impact: Lifting your head early will lift your leading shoulder and tend to make you hit a thin or topped ball. [Keeping your eye over and FOCUSED on your ball will help your brain manage the distance to the ball and AVOID shots off the toe of your club.]

3/ Keeping your left arm straight at the point of impact: That allows you to control the distance from your shoulder to the ball. [A bent leading arm in your backswing is OK if you can make the right corrections to impact with a straight arm but it’s much easier to keep your leading arm straight throughout your swing.]

4/ Following through after the point of impact: It’s critical for power and direction. Try hitting a ball when you are swinging into the trunk of a tree and have to stop short of destroy your club and your wrist. It absolutely destroys your shot so don’t try it. [The direction of your shot is destroyed if you don’t continue your follow-through directly up your target line.]

5/ Finishing your swing pointing your trailing toe to the ground: That finish for any shot from pitching to driving helps you to complete your shoulder rotation and to square your club face to your ball. [Your down swing starts with your hip; then your shoulder; then your arms and finally your lagging wrist release to a balanced finish on your leading foot with your trailing toe pointing at the ground. If you are not in balance at the finish your swing is out of control and you should take some lessons.]

Start you swing down with your hip turn, keep you leading arm straight & eye on the ball through impact and finish with a full follow-through and trailing toe pointing to the ground. These USELESS MOVES make all the difference. Practice with GOLFSTR+ for all 6 of your swing fixes. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

PS: GOLF LAW #6
A golfer hitting into your group will always be bigger than anyone in your group. Likewise, a group you accidentally hit into will consist of a football player, a professional wrestler, a convicted murderer and an IRS agent — or some similar combination.  {Don’t do it!}

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Your Smash Factor Can Make You Happy

Every golfer would like to hit longer drives directly down the center of the fairway. New equipment may help but if you are not increasing your Smash Factor, you are not getting the most out of your existing clubs. The maximum PGA Smash Factor is 1.5. That means that a golf club can only be designed to give you 50% more ball speed off the face of your driver than your club head impact speed.

Golf Digest reported Gene Parente’s (Golf Laboratories) test results using his swing robot which is nicknamed Iron Byron. “The average male amateur’s swing speed is 93.4 miles per hour, according to research by TrackMan, for an average distance of 214 yards. Using TrackMan’s “optimal” distance, the average golfer’s potential is 255 yards at that same swing speed. How? By hitting the ball more solidly, or what’s known as upping your “smash factor.”

The balls that you use and the gloves, copper bracelets, socks, shoes and lead lined underwear that you are wearing may make you feel better or more confident but the driver design is limited to give you a maximum of 50% more ball speed. There are only 3 ways to increase the distance with your driver.

Iron Byron gives us the perfect test result for the perfect swing up the target line.

1/ Increasing your swing speed will give you up to 2.5 yards of driving distance for every mile per hours of swing speed. Your lagging wrist release gives you that extra speed.

2/ Impact directly at the perfect launch angle. If you impact is down on your ball and generating a clockwise rotation at 3500 rpm, your ball will be trying to climb and taking energy out of your potential distance. If you hit your ball on an upward launch angle creating a 2500 rpm of clockwise spin, you will optimize the cutting action through the air. Topping the ball makes it drive for the ground.

3/ Impact on the center of the face of your club to generate the optimized trampoline effect will power your ball to the maximum distance. Off center hits will direct your ball away from your target and steal distance from your drive. [Spray Dr Sholl’s Foot Powder on the face of your club to check your point of impact. Above the centerline seems to perform better than below. That may not be too important as I have saw Tiger hit his driver “off the deck” with amazing low shot which was further that he can hit with his 3 wood. [I don’t have all of the answers as I am just reporting what I see and hear from the announcers.]

Achieving the perfect Smash Factor is your goal. Practice with your GOLFSTR+ to improve every swing in your game with 6 swing fixes. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com.

PS: GOLF LAW #5
The higher a golfer’s handicap, the more qualified he deems himself as an instructor.

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SLICERS – Get Under It !

If you are one of those golfers who swings from OVER the top creating a boomerang slice, get UNDER IT. You can make 2 simple changes to get rid of that slice by getting under your ball. A wide take away and a flat leading wrist will make all the difference. Great golfers don’t have to kill the ball, they just release their wrists and their ball flies up the center of the fairway. You can do it too but you will have to focus on 2 SIMPLE points during each shot.

I recently saw a promotion video, “Reverse Slice Sequence” by Eric Cogorno which highlights the common theme by most PGA trainers. Don’t CUP your leading  wrist (with your hand bent up) in your backswing as your brain will naturally try to close the club face by swinging over the top and slicing across the face of the ball.

It’s not easy to change old habits but many pros have discovered the best solution to break the bad habits causing your slice. Make a wide takeaway keeping your leading wrist flat, loop down at the top to swing from the inside and up your target line. Yes, get under the ball not over it.

Step 1: BACKSWING WITH A HIGH PLANE ANGLE – During your take-away (rotating your shoulders and hips), swing your club straight back along your target line and point the blade of your club directly up at the sky while keeping your leading wrist flat. Continue your straight leading arm backswing and cocking your trailing elbow to point the grip end of your club down along your extended target line.

This is an exaggerated view of looping your club to swing down from the inside with a flat leading wrist and up your target line.

Step 2: DOWNSWING ON A FLATTER (lower) PLANE-  Keeping your leading wrist flat and cocked to create a 90 degree lag angle with your club to your leading arm.  Loop your club down on a lower plane to swing from the inside and up your target line.   Your flat wrist at the top and down through impact on a lower plane angle is the key to the elimination of your slice.

Increased distance will come from the proper release sequence in your downswing. Start with your hips, then your shoulders and finally releasing your wrist lag as you whip your hands through impact (from the inside and up your target line).

Your flat wrist is the critical factor during your back swing and downswing. One of the 6 swing fixes provided with GOLFSTR+ is to LOCK YOUR LEADING WRIST FLAT during your backswing.

This fix is only designed to let you feel your flat wrist during your backswing. Ideally, you should do this many times in slow motion (the way Ben Hogan perfected his swing). You can feel your wrist flat against the flat plastic plate. Then remove GOLFSTR+ and make your full swing with a flat wrist from the inside and up your target line. Your slice will be gone forever. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

PS:  GOLF LAW #4Golf balls never bounce off of trees back into play. If one does, the tree is breaking a law of the universe and should be cut down.

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Why Do You Stub Your Pitch Shots?

Chipping and pitching are probably the most frustrating shots in Golf. Many of us, including myself, get tight when we prepare for an easy chip shot in short grass. We swing with a tight body and create fat, thin or misdirected shots. Chipping is really a putting motion. Pitching uses more body and wrist rotation to pitch your ball over a hazard. They really are 2 different swings with different lofted clubs.

Split your Short Shots into Either of these Options:

A. Chips with a putting stroke using irons up to your 9 iron or a hybrid.
B. Pitches with a longer swing and more body and wrist release to power your ball over a hazard using wedges which are more lofted than a 9 iron.

Hitting it FAT? Stop swinging so hard. Accelerate through the ball and finish your swing.

We all know how to use a putting stroke with a chipping iron. Pitching is where our problem happens. When you practice pitching, you may have a few mishits but when you pick up the rhythm of the swing, you can make endless perfect pitches. So why is it that everything changes on the golf course? You seem to duplicate your swing perfectly in your practice swing but when the moment of truth arrives, your hands take over and the fat and thin yips begin.

Rewind That Video:

1/ Setup with a strong grip, an open stance and 20% more weight on your leading foot. These changes will help you complete your swing (even though it is a short shot).

Pitch with a full shoulder follow-through and your eye on the ball.

2/ At the top of your limited backswing, wait for the weight of your club to start the acceleration down though your ball. DON’T RUSH IT!  Pros pitch with an EFFORTLESS SWING.
3/ Remember that your practice pitch swings were easy because you let your trailing shoulder rotate through impact. Finish your swing AS YOU KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL.
4/ Let your trailing wrist lag as your hips and arms pull your swing down to LIFT your ball using the angle of your club face. [In Deeper Rough: Pitch with a higher lofted club, ball back further in your stance and more backswing to power through the grass.]

For pitching, practice lagging your trailing wrist by wearing your GOLFSTR+ on your trailing arm letting the angle of the plastic limit the lagging angle of your wrist. That will help you build confidence as you finish the rotation of your trailing shoulder through your pitch. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

PS:  GOLF LAW #3: Brand new golf balls are water-magnetic. Though this cannot be proven in the lab, it is a known fact that the more expensive the golf ball, the greater its attraction to water.
COROLLARIES: (a) Never wash your ball before you hit it over water. (b) Very clean and new balls tend to be attracted to water. c. Old golf balls rarely find water.

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Clarity for Consistent Golf

There are always a few (or more) holes in every round where our games can go off the rails.   Hitting our maximum handicap number on any hole is a crisis for me and should be for your too.  I hate to hit my max.   So I’m always looking for a way to create consistency on every hole. I was glad to be reminded of a great solution by Todd Kolb, PGA Professional on the USGolfTV blog. He recommended that Clarity of Mind is the best solution for Consistency.

One bad shot can often be corrected by one or two good shots to salvage a par or bogie. A lapse in clarity for each shot can destroy your next shot. Just understanding that you lost your focus to create that bad shot is a good starting point to get your mind back on track for your next good shot.

Simplify your swing by clearing your mind to focus on the flight direction of your ball during your back and down swing.  “See the flight in your minds eye.”

Understand What Caused your last Poor Shot
Clay Ballard at Top Speed Golf, provided the following check list to sort out where your last swing went wrong when you try to generate more power for more distance:
1/ Setup with at 10 degree body tilt to your trailing side and hold it through impact.
2/ Hip AND shoulder backswing rotation are critical for distance.
3/ Load your wrist lag as you bend your trailing elbow to finish your backswing.
4/ Start your downswing with your hips as you swing from the inside.
5/ Let your driver drop down to swing from the inside slot.

Each of these points need to be built into your swing. Focus on making them all happen in your practice swing and THEN CLEAR YOUR MIND.

Stare at your target and then VISUALIZE hitting that target line (in your minds eye) AS YOU RETURN YOUR EYES TO LOCK ON OUR BALL (until after impact).

You may want to count “1,2” during your backswing (as you cock your trailing elbow for lag) and “3” in your downswing (to block all other thoughts) as you visualize swinging to hit your target line..

Clarity of your mind during your swing to see the perfect flight of your ball is all that you need to think about. Putting needs the same confident clarity that you have chosen the right line and swing-power to pass the hole by a foot. Practice with your GOLFSTR+ for 6 swing fixes. Buy one today at www.golfstr.com

PS:  Golf LAW #2:
Your best round of golf will be followed almost immediately by your worst round ever.   The probability of the latter increases with the number of people you tell about the former.

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Putt Smart to Sink More Putts !

Putting is a target sport. If you can’t control the direction of your putter straight up your target line, you will never be a great putter. All racquet and club (golf, baseball, cricket) sports have one critical point in every swing. It’s the point of impact where the direction of your swing controls your success. Unfortunately the arc in the swing of your putting stroke is limiting your success.

I just watched a YouTube Strategy Video for Pickle Ball. Control of the direction of your shot directly up the LINE of your launch angle and target line are the keys for success. Putting is even easier as you only have to swing your club up the direction of your chosen target line (without worrying about a launch angle).

Kevin Na set a putting record by sinking 558 feet of putts during the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. A straight-line swing was critical for his success.

Rotation of your putter around your body is the killer for every putting swing.
Even Dave Stockton, the world renowned putting instructor, advises that you can setup your feet and hands in any way that your body feels comfortable as long as it helps you:
1/ Bottom-out your swing before impact to allow your putter face to swing up on the ball (forcing the ball to roll over instead of skidding across the surface).
2/ Swing directly up your chosen target line by rocking your shoulders and allowing your arms to swing freely up your target line through the point of impact.

Problem Habit for Justin Rose
For the last few years I noticed that Justin Rose made a habit of tucking the shirt sleeve on his trailing arm under his arm pit for short chips and putts. He chose to do this to force his trailing arm to lock tight to his body and force a shoulder rotation in his backswing. Unfortunately the tight trailing arm creates an arc in his putting swing. I saw him miss a critical, 4 foot, 18th hole, tournament losing putt last year where he pulled his putt to the left. A tight trailing arm to your body for short chips may  help your hips and shoulders rotate back and through the ball but FOR PUTTING it’s a BIG MISTAKE!

Grain of the Green DOES Affect Your Putts
The grain of the grass (the direction that the grass leans) does have a small effect on the break of your putt as it slows down near the hole. Look for the rough edge of grass around one side of any hole. The rough edge (where there is a fringe of grass falling into the hole) is the down-grain side. The softer you stroke your putt the more the grain will affect the break. On a 3 or 4 foot putts you should putt more to the clean cut side of the hole as your ball will want to fall to the down grain or rough side of the hole. OF COURSE THE SLOPE OF THE GREEN IS OVER 90% MORE IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER THAN THE GRAIN DIRECTION.

Practice putting with a locked leading wrist using your GOLFSTR+. Rock your shoulders and free arms to swing straight up your target line. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

PS GOLF LAW #1:
No matter how bad your last shot was, you should have Inner Peace knowing that a worse one is yet to come. This law does not expire on the 18th hole, since it has the supernatural tendency to extend over the course of a tournament, a summer and, eventually, a lifetime.

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Game Changer for Your Irons

Too many golfers fall back when they swing their driver and then they duplicate the same problem with their irons. All driver and fairway club swings are meant to end in a balanced pose on your leading foot. Unfortunately the ball forward setup for your driver tends to make you fall back if you rush your arms through the swing. Using the same swing for your irons, is deadly. If you are falling back or out of balance for your drivers and your irons, you need to change your swing.

Tiger gets it right by finishing in balance on his leading foot.

Because you setup to drive by lining up your ball with your leading heel, it should be easy to finish your driver swing in balance and posing on your front foot. During every swing, you are trying to make a weight shift from your trailing foot to your front foot.  If you swing with your arms without any weight shift (at the top), you will fall back at the finish of your swing.

DON’T hang back on your trailing foot especially when you are using your irons.

When you are swinging any iron your swing should be made so that your weight is shifting to your leading foot and your club is swinging down at the ball to take turf after the impact with the ball. Unfortunately irons are shorter and lighter than a driver, so we tend to swing faster (with our arms), before our weight is transferred to our leading foot,

Trick to Correct Your Iron Swing
Our friends learned this trick from their club pro and passed it on to my wife when they saw her falling back on her trailing foot as she completed her swing.

Place a bottle cap or a golf tee flat on the grass about 2 or 3 inches on your target line before your ball. Your goal is to allow your body to transfer your weight forward (during your transition at the top of your swing) to ensure that you are swinging to impact the ball without hitting the cap or tee before your ball. Hitting the ball and then the turf will only happen if you transfer your weight to your leading foot and end your swing in a balanced pose on your leading foot.

If you practice with a bottle cap or tee behind your ball, you will learn to slow down your backswing to allow a little more time to transfer your weight forward during your swing. Of course you need to keep your eye on the ball through impact.

Practicing this down-stroke swing with your irons will save a lot of shots for every round by giving you a more consistent and longer hit. For your higher lofted clubs and wedges, you will also see that your ball checks-up faster on the green or even backs up with back-spin. Learn all of your iron shots using your GOLFSTR+ for 6 swing fixes. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

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