Golf can be such a frustrating game because very minor errors can add a stroke to every hole you play. Mishitting a fairway shot or burning the edge of a hole with a short putt are so easy to do if you don’t pay attention to the small changes required in your stance or grip. Changing wind and contour of the ground always impact your shots but you need to appraise and adjust for every condition. That’s why you can always improve your game. Check out these tips.
Tee Height: If you normally use your 5 wood to hit off the deck on the fairway, don’t tee it up to use it like a driver on the tee. Don’t tee up with the ball off the heel of your leading foot for a 3 or 5 wood (instead of your driver). I learned this the hard way. After hitting 3 duck hooks on 3 successive holes I finally learned that my brain was not adapting.
Adjusting for Up or Down Slope in Your Stance: Always adjust to swing with the plane of the slope. Adjust your feet and shoulders to swing up on an up slope and down on a down slope. Use a lower lofted club for an up slope (to compensate for the distance that you will lose with your higher trajectory shot) and a higher loft club for a down slope.
Adjusting for a Side Slope: It’s pretty easy to adjust for a ball above your feet as you need to compensate for the amount of distance and direction that you will pull your shot. It’s much harder to adjust your swing for a ball on an angle below your feet. The heel of your club may contact the ground before it reaches the ball. A sever slope below your feet will force you to take your medicine and chip out of that location before you consider taking a full swing.
Sinking Short Side Hill Putts: I recall seeing Ernie Els take a 9 while attempting about 6 putts to sink a side hill putt. A firm putt which breaks downhill is risky (DON’T DO IT). Plan for a putt above the hole that dies downhill into the hole. If you miss, at least you will have a short putt. [Short putts on a FLAT surface should all be firm and in the hole as weak putts may move away from the hole with any imperfections near the hole.]
Planning for a Downhill Putt: Speed and break are both critical. Hopefully you can learn from the putting speed and break attempted by another player in your foursome. I can’t help you with the speed but if you can’t see a break you should use your putter as a plumb-bob. Stand below the hole, directly in-line with the hole and your ball. Hang your putter in front of you so that the putter shaft lines up with the center of the hole. If the upper end of your shaft (below your grip) lines up on one side of the ball, that is the high side of the green where your ball will break from.
NOTE: Because every putter has a different head weight, you need to calibrate your putter by lining it up with a door frame in your house before you use it on the course for plumb-bobbing. Our blog next week will provide more details on when and how you should plumb-bob.
There are so many rules that you can apply to golf to improve your game. Learning the proper swing with GOLFSTR+ with 6 swing fixes is a good starting point. Solving problems on the course is a life long journey. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com
Golf Truism #48: A ball you can see in the rough from 50 yards away is not yours.