While we're away from the Links...for another while   11/04/2020

While we are enduring this enforced absence from the links here's a few thoughts for improving your game or possibly driving you demented..

       

Preparation then posture before striking the ball

Before you even think about hitting the ball from the tee, there are a whole host of things to get right to give you the best chance of getting the ball where you want it to go. Your grip, width of stance, distance between club and body, the bend in your knees and overall body posture all play a role. Too much or too little of any of them and you’ll spend more time in the rough stuff than you want.

So you need a routine so that these come automatically to you and you can concentrate on the task at hand. A routine that is, that doesn't take all day.

Cannot over emphasise the importance of warming up by having at least a few practice swings and stretching exercises before you start your round.

The first shot of your round might dictate your frame of mind for the whole day.


POSITION OF THE BALL IN YOUR STANCE

At what stage in your swing the ball is hit is as important as the swing itself. A perfect swing with the ball too far forward will result in less of the club making meaningful contact, too far back and you won’t get the required loft. As a rule, the ball should be nearer the inside of your front foot when using a driver, and more central when using your irons, 9 iron and wedge practically in the centre for a normally flighted pitch.

KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN

The temptation to follow your ball down the fairway almost before you’ve hit it is strong, but keeping your eyes down on the ball until your follow-through is complete is vital. Move your head too early, and all the hard work on your posture and swing up to that point will most likely be wasted. 


Keep Your Hands Low

Limiting the height of the follow-through will effectively reduce the height of your shots. The lower the hands, the lower the ball flight. Moving the ball back in your stance or choosing a stronger club and trying to swing easy are other ways to accomplish the same thing, but they're less reliable and more difficult to execute. Instead, keep your hands low in the finish and the trajectory of your shots will be lower.

Use Your Body For Power

Every good golfer knows that power comes from the body, not the arms. To learn to power the club with your body instead of your arms and hands, put the club behind the ball at address, with your body in a dead-stop position. Without taking a backswing, try to drag the ball into the air. If you're a player who uses his or her hands to control the club, you'll probably struggle at first. However, you'll quickly find that once you start moving the club with your body, you'll begin to get the ball in the air more consistently.

MASTER THE ART OF PITCHING

Getting to within striking distance of the green is only worth so much if you then spend the next 4 shots either criss-crossing the green with too much power, or flopping short with too little. The art and swing of chipping is very different to that of driving from the tee or with an iron from the fairway. Two big differences are that your club should never go above parallel with the ground on the backswing, and your hands should always stay ahead of the ball and club.


DEVELOP A ROUTINE FOR PUTTING

“Drive for show, putting for dough” is one of the oft-repeated maxims of golf, and its true! Getting close to the hole, nerves and a whole raft of other factors can reduce even the greatest players to jelly. One way to minimise this is to create a putting routine that works for you. Be it a breathing pattern, practice swing or visualising the shot, find a routine that works and use it every time. Try and stroke the ball on the way up imparting some top spin and getting a ‘good roll’ on your putts. Of the four ways to miss a putt, left, right, too hard or short, the majority of putts that miss fall into the latter category. 100% of putts that are short are going to miss !  Remember, when it comes to putting, there’s no substitute for practice, practice and more practice!

Prepare FOR THE WORST: MASTER BUNKER SHOTS

A few simple tips will increase accuracy out of the sand. Firstly, do not, ever hit the ball first or try to 'scoop it up'. For a right hander aim a little left of the pin, and try to hit the sand a couple of inches short of the ball with an open clubface and a downward motion to avoid overshooting the target and probably ending up with another bunker shot! Secondly, keep your weight on your front foot throughout the swing and keep your left arm straight. Thirdly, do not decelerate and you will watch the sand – and your ball – gracefully float out of that bunker!

KEEP A TRACK OF YOUR WEAKNESSES

Whether you play every day, every weekend or just every so often, if you want to see an improvement over time you’ll need to keep a track of your round-by-round performance to work out what needs the most work. How many fairways did you hit from the tee, how many greens-in-regulation did you get, or how many times did you take 2, 3 or more putts once you got onto the green? All important statistics, and worth noting down – as well as your overall score – to get better over time.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE FOLLOW-THROUGH

A great golf swing, whatever the shot, doesn’t stop once you’ve hit the ball. A good follow through, with your right shoulder below the left means you’ve hit the ball well, in the direction you wanted. A right shoulder that’s not lower than the left usually indicates an element of your swing isn’t working, meaning a less than perfect connection between club and ball. A good way to achieve a follow through, particularly with your Driver and longer irons is to imagine hitting the ball as if it was little ahead of the base of your swing. That way if you do decelerate at least it won’t be until after you’ve hit the ball. The idea is to get the maximum clubhead speed you can achieve at the point of impact.

IMAGINE A SET OF TRAIN TRACKS...

This analogy works for the pros, so why can’t it work for you. The best clubs and the smoothest swing will all count for nothing if your body orientation in relation to the ball is wrong. For almost every shot, remember this one golden rule. Imagine your feet are on one train track, and the ball on the other. Angle your body, and therefore these “train tracks” towards where you want to hit the ball, and keep your feet parallel to the line of the ball. Not facing towards or away, or expect to get out the gardening equipment to dig your ball out from the rough!

If you follow all of the above then your game will be in good shape (or not!) when hopefully we return to the fairways soon         

And by then just to add to the confusion our first hole will be a Par 5 !! 







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