LESSON 5: Hazards :
Also a very special Feature: 5 Key to distance By :
Eric Jones the Long Distance World Champion. ( That the End of this lesson)
We are going to teach the beginners how to play: When the ball ends up in a hazard.
First we are going to save the high handicap players 10 shots off their next round.
We now have thousands of new members, 80% are beginners. So there will be 20% of you saying, hey! I already know that. Soon the lessons will be more advanced, and then you guys and girls still playing 100+ will start to say OK that’s a cool tip.
However if you have been playing for some time and your game is not improving, then that is a sure sign you have developed bad habits. We recommend you take your game back to basics. Note all the elements of your game that are costing you shots. You main objective is to achieve a consistent swing. That means first you take a video of your current swing. (You will be amazed) We all think that we are swinging like top players. Until you actually see your self in action.
No worries all is not lost, you are going the correct your mind set. Then you are going to go back over the first four lessons. Check every thing related to your set up, stance, grip, and posture. Go through your pre-shot routine until it is second nature. Once you are certain that all the fundamentals are in place. Then discipline your self to meaning full practice. That does not mean blasting balls in all direction down the range.
You take five shots with each club starting with your wedges, record the total distance for the five balls, the divide by five that’s will give you the average distance you hit with each club. Note that distance, for example 150 yards with your seven iron, you can later put marker tape on your clubs to remind you. Now you know if you are 150 yards from the green, that with a seven iron you WILL land the ball next to the flag. This builds confidence, in any sport if you play with complete confidence you will on your game in the zone.
Golden Rule: During your pre-shot routine you learn to visualize the shot, in your mind you can see the target area; you see the flight path of the ball (trajectory) NO negative thoughts. Stand over the shot with confidence and be positive. Now all you need to do is trust your swing and your club selection, focus on balance, tempo, and rhythm. Golfers with a strong mental game realize that the present is all that they can control. (Forget your bad shot)
The trick to being in the present is to allow yourself to learn from the feedback each shot provides without your ego being involved in the outcome. By being honest about your present mechanical, strategic, physical and mental limitations, you will increase your awareness of what you can do to improve your present abilities. Then, it becomes a question of how strong your desire is to make the necessary changes or adjustments to improve. Only the lucky few are born with natural feel, balance, you and I need to work hard on timing, rhythm, tempo, balance, eyes stay focused on the ball from the start of your back swing until after the ball has gone,
KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN DO NOT LOOK UP UNTIL YOUR BALL IN WELL ON THE WAY TO THE TARGET
Learn to play in the present without dwelling the bad shots.
Realize the power of just being in the moment with the
full intention and expectation to play a good shot, once a good player
Has gone through his pre-shot routine, they address the ball and concentrate.
For just 10 seconds, one they start the back swing they switch to natural swing the one they use every time for that shot, they play on instinct and trust their subconscious or and muscle memories to make it happen for them.
Learning to play in the present on instinct requires time and effort. That is why experience is such a priceless commodity. Because when all else fails, the truth emerges from one’s experiences if you are honest with yourself. By training your mind to play in the present, you can shorten the time required
to experience the power of being free to play on instinct and in the zone. Unfortunately, many golfers never learn to stop dwelling on their past and future outcomes.
Review your course management and attention to detail, know where every hazard is. Check the wind direction and speed, if you have a strong wind behind. Do not change your swing just select an 8 iron in place of your 7 iron. And if you are playing into a strong wind, then you select one club more E.G. your 6 iron.
Your swing remains the same train you mind and muscles to have a natural consistent swing and you will be a great player.
Ok back to those still learning to play. Last week we took you tee to fairway — fairway to green. For sure that did not happen; even good golfers can not do that over 18 holes we all end up in hazards. First let’s learn about those hazards that you can do nothing about.
Water, if you are in the lake that ball has gone for good. If you go directly from the tee, and you are sure it is in the water and unplayable then that is a penalty shot, you are now playing your third shot from the tee.
However you can play what is referred to a provisional ball from the tee, if you are lucky and your first ball did not go in the water the great you are in play with no penalty shot. If it did go in the water then you play your second ball, counting a penalty shot.
The same rule applies if your ball goes out off bounds. These rules only apply when playing off the tee. We will cover the rules relating shots that are taken from the course and end up in water or out of bounds in our next lesson.
Bunkers, you can have fairway bunkers which are still a long way from the green, normally they are placed to catch the average club player who plays between 220 yards and 240 years off the tee. And you have green side bunkers. Set to guard the greens.
Green side bunker shots:
Remember when in the bunker the rules of golf say you must NOT ground your club e.g. DO NOT TOUCH THE SAND WITH YOUR CLUB BEFORE YOU PLAY THE SHOT
Do not fear a bunker shot with practice they are comparatively easy – more predicable than heavy rough. Look over the edge of bunker –study the contours of the green, select the spot where the ball must land, to roll into the hole. Keep this image in your mind.
Set up with open stance, aligned your feet left of the target, wiggle feet till well set down in the sand. (You do this or two reasons first it tells you how soft the sand is, second gives a firm base for your swing) With a bunker shot it is mainly upper body and arms, not much leg movement. Open the clubface; Ball forward in your stance. Stance open to the target, swing the club along your bodyline so the club head approaches the ball on an out to in swing path. Aim the club face to impact in the sand 2″ behind the ball do
Not quit on the shot play right through with confidence. The ball will float out
on a cushion of sand. Ball on the sloping edge to the bunker (You need to play with one foot in the sand, and one foot on the grass slope.) Take one extra club, wider stance, lower centre of gravity, easy swing.
Bunker shot with ball in the sand close to the edge of the bunker forcing you to stand on the grass. Take extra club, a much wider stance, and keep your body on even playing field; aim a little too the left, easy swing. Do not quit on the shot.
In the fairway bunker:
Check line to target – pick intermediate spot to play over, ensure you can clear the lip, if not play safe, a normal bunker shot with lofted club (SAND WEDGE) back on to the fairway. This is also the best choice if the ball has landed hard and is half buried in the sand If you are sure you can clear the edge of bunker and want to play attacking golf. Set feet in the sand, ball back in the stance; pick the ball off the sand using one club more than the same distance off the fairway.
However ensure you have sufficient loft to clear the lip. Also if you are still a long way from the green you can try playing with a fairway wood, brush the ball off the top of he sand with a sweeping swing. Take the club straight back and straight through maintain balance timing tempo, DO not be temped to swing hard, 1—–2 let the club do the work.
You can learn by watching the great bunker players on TV watch how they check the exact spot on the green they what to land the ball, and how confident they are about playing the shot, they never quit on the shot they always play into the sand 2 inches behind the ball and play right through the shot.
When the ball is above or below your feet:
When playing on a side slope with the ball above your feet. Take a wide stance good solid balance. Grip down the shaft; stand closer to the ball. Take one or two practice swings to check balance, timing, rhythm, keep your swing pattern consistent, 1-2 nice and easy. Maintain your balance throughout the swing.
Important that you check the line to your target, a ball above you feet will always turn left- (Imagine aircraft banking to the left) the flight of your ball will be the same. Aim to the right of the flag / target to compensate. Do not rush the shot, take the club back smooth and low in line with the target, and make sure your shoulders turn square DO NOT LEAN TO THE SIDE, keep your head still eyes on the ball left arm in control – pull down with the left turning the upper body, accelerate to the ball but with timing and rhythm, club face square at impact hit right through the ball, do not look up until the ball has gone.
When the ball is below your feet same set up, but the ball will always turn right, so aim left of your target. Most high handicap players make the mistake of bending over to compensate for the ball being lower, DO NOT do that, you must maintain your normal posture back straight, just bend your knees more.
If you are on a practice round and not holding other players up, take two balls and play shots from difficult positions, then when you are in competition you will know the shot to play and have confidence.
Remember that difficult shots can be avoided by good course management always select your target and if you need to lie up then that’s what you do. You avoid a bunker or water so why put you ball on a sloping bank.
Hope that you are learning – still not many questions which is surprising because it is not easy to learn golf from a book. Please do NOT hesitate to contact us with your questions.
There are many ways to improve or learn to play, you can print the lesson off and take to the range. you can even make reference to each lesson on your phone providing it receives internet.
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