Here are some top tipson how to improve your game from our resident PGA Profesional
Balance and posture
Balance is a key fundamental in all athletic sports, especially in golf. Imagine trying to hit a ball standing on an ice rink or on roller skates!!!! Your posture (the shape you stand to the ball) has a huge effect on your balance. To help get into the best posture for hitting consistent powerful shots try this exercise:
Hold the club at waist height and parallel to the ground with your back straight and look forward.
Tip from the hips, keeping the legs straight and looking forward until the club reaches the ground.
Gently soften the knees and relax to lower your head to see the ball.
"Stand to attention, stand at ease, bend from the hips and relax your knees!"
Check you are in the correct position by gently rocking from heels to toes. You should be mid way between the two without having to change your body shape.
You may feel a little like a goalkeeper in football – Ready for action.
If in any doubt get your posture checked by your local PGA Professional at your local Community Links facility.
Driving and power
Most people think that hitting the ball a long way as you see some of the best players in the world doing is about speed and how fast you can swing the club. To some degree this is true but there are some small points most players forget.
- Power without accuracy ="a" high score.
- Position from the tee is more useful than distance.
- Speed without a solid strike is weak. (If you were serving a tennis ball and hitting it as hard as you can, you often miss the centre of the racquet (the sweet spot) and the ball flies slower than one with control hit from the centre of the racquet.) The same applies in golf. Swing with control and concentrate on hitting the ball in the middle of the clubface.
- Try putting a little chalk on the clubface before hitting a shot and check where you hit the ball on the face. The nearer the middle the better the power
One old saying say’s: “Drive for show, putt for dough”.
My advice is “Drive for position, putt for your score” is more accurate.
If you drive your ball into trouble, even great putting may not save you!
Why not get your driving checked by your local PGA Professional at your local Starter Centre.
As you can see from the players on tour there are many putting styles, grips, long putters, belly putters, short putters etc, etc. How well you putt has the largest effect on your score, for example if a tournament professional scores 70 for 18 holes he probably has around 30 putts.
You should practice your putting at least 30% of your practice time, but most importantly practice as you play:
- Use 1 ball.
- Always hole out.
- Keep a good routine.
* Look at the hole, not the ball or putter when you make practise strokes.
* Focus on a small part of the hole on short putts.
* Aim and fire - keep technical thoughts to a minimum when putting.
- Play against a friend or your best putting score for 9 holes to keep it competitive.
A great drill for holing more putts is to practice with a club shaft laid on the ground around 5 centimetres in front of the hole. Practice 3 to 5 meter putts. You will need to learn to strike the putt solidly and at a pace to get the ball to hop over the shaft. So many players “dribble” the ball toward the hole and see it bounce off line because of small imperfections in the green. This helps you roll the ball at the right speed. Once you have got the idea remove the shaft in front but imagine the shaft is still there!
Why not get your putting checked by your local PGA Professional at your local Community Links facility.
Are you always stuck in the sand? Do you fear the beach?
Try these 2 simple keys:
- Aim to hit the sand around a balls width behind the ball you are playing.
- Swing your hands to at least shoulder height in the forward swing.
Once you have done this you can try the more experienced method:
- Aim your body 5 paces left of the hole (right handed golfer).
- Open the clubface so the front leading edge continues to look at the target, the back of the club nearer the sand.
- Splash the sand around a ball to a club head width behind the ball.
- Follow through as high as your shoulders.
- Splash the sand as far as you want the ball to travel to control the distance.
If you are still having trouble get some help from your local PGA Professional at your local Community Links facility.
Keep in mind:
- Don't always reach for the driver from the tee. Position is more important than distance.
- If you hit the centre of the green with your approach shot you will always have a holeable putt. You don't need to fire at pin positions tucked behind bunkers etc.
- Choose shots that you feel you could achieve 7 times out of 10. If less than this choose another club or strategy.
- If you plan smart you can - swing freely.
- If you plan aggressively you may - swing nervously.
- Use your handicap on the hardest holes on the course. If you play off a 28 handicap remember you get a stroke on each hole and 2 strokes on 10 of the holes. At the start of your round, have a look at the Stroke Index on the card and make a note where you will get your shots.
Make your practice count
Most players hit ball after ball on the driving range and feel that the harder they practice the better they will get. But if you practice your faults you will get worse!
Try these points for better practice:
- Always choose a target.
- Vary the target and vary the club you use, try playing an imaginary golf course. Drive - Iron - Pitch.
- Don't forget your short game. Over 60% of the shots you hit are hit from 50 yards or closer to the flag. Work on those chips and pitches.
- Never hit more than 10 drivers in a row on the range. If practising your driving hit a few wedges at half speed in between the woods. This helps maintain your rhythm.
- Have FUN. Play games against a friend - nearest to the flag, straight driver (how may drives out of 5 hit an imaginary fairway etc).
- Keep a note of how far you hit each club with an average shot on the range; this will be useful to you when you play.
You can also find more tips, skills, rules and golf features at the BBC Sports Academy website: