We start with a little bit of fun, strange as it may seem most are true.
The laws of golf
LAW 1: No matter how bad your last shot was, the worst 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.
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.
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.
LAW 4: Golf balls never bounce off trees back into play. If one does, the tree is breaking a law of the universe and should be cut down.
LAW 5: No matter what causes a golfer to muff a shot, all his playing partners must solemnly chant “You looked up,” or invoke the wrath of the universe.
LAW 6: The higher a golfer’s handicap, the more qualified he deems himself as an instructor.
LAW 7: Every par-three hole in the world has a secret desire to humiliate golfers, and the shorter the hole, the greater its desire.
LAW 8: Topping a 3-iron is the most painful torture known to man.
LAW 9: Palm trees eat golf balls.
LAW 10: Sand is alive. If it isn’t, how do you explain the way it works against you?
LAW 11: Golf carts always run out of juice at the farthest point from the clubhouse.
LAW 12: 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.
LAW 13: All 3-woods are demon-possessed.
LAW 14: Golf balls from the same “sleeve” tend to follow one another, particularly out of bounds or into the water (See Law three).
LAW 15: A severe slice is a thing of awesome power and beauty.
LAW 16: “Nice lag” can usually be translated to “lousy putt.” Similarly, “tough break” can usually be translated “way to miss an easy one, sucker.”
LAW 17: The person you would most hate to lose to will always be the one who beats you.
LAW 18: The last three holes of a round will automatically adjust your score to what it really should be.
LAW 19: Golf should be given up at least twice per month.
LAW 20: All vows taken on a golf course shall be valid only until the sunset.
Now back to the real lesson:
Problems that are encountered even by the pro golfers
Shank: When the club head’s hosel meets the ball at impact and sends it to the right, it could land anywhere.
This is one of the problems in golf at even pro golfers fear.
So when you stand over your shot dismiss any negative thoughts, have only positive thoughts.
Take a practice swing, nice and easy, a relaxed natural swing with balance, tempo, and rhythm.
The good news is that nothing really moves the ball in any direction until someone swings a club at it. And that’s a physical, not a mental action. The Shank happens when the swing-plane extends too far from the body, causing a misalignment at impact.
To check this at address just take your right hand off the club and let it hang loose. If it remains in line with where it was on the club then you are the correct distance from the ball; if it hangs closer to your body then you are standing too far back from the ball.
Here are some possible cures.
Do not stand too close to the ball.
Do not let your weight come forward toward the ball during the swing. Settle back in your stance and keep your weight more on your heels.
On the downswing, do not “cast out” with the hands and shoulders from the top. Let your legs and body start the downswing, and pull the club down with your left arm in control.
DO NOT LOOK UP. Keep your head still.
Spin: advanced chipping – control the speed of your ball on the green
In the chipping stroke, too many people try to sweep, or brush, the ball forward, much like they would in putting. With this type of stroke, we are not able to achieve any degree of backspin. Therefore, you are not able to consistently control how much the ball will, or will not, roll.
In order to increase the amount of backspin on your chip shots, you must learn how to contact the back of the golf ball IMMEDIATELY prior to brushing the ground. This will give you the feeling that you are attempting to hit the shot with a much lower trajectory than you normally do.
There is no rule or law that says a chip shot must fly high. However, most player attempt to get the ball to fly higher on this shot in order to slow down the amount of roll. In order to slow the roll on the ball, you simply need to learn the feel of applying backspin.
Think of a ping pong ball and how you would apply backspin on it. Then do the same thing with club face. Your hands will need to remain slightly ahead of the ball throughout the entire stroke in order to achieve success.
Try to feel as though you are knocking the ball slightly downward, rather than trying to lift it. You will soon see why it’s so easy to chip it close enough for a one-putt, most of the time.
Everything in the swing depends on fundamentals. Get the basics right at address. This week we are featuring your complete guide to building (or re-building) a better game. Whether you are new to golf or have played for years, you will score your best with a solid foundation.
Distance: long and straight, you need to make impact with your club-head approaching the ball on a level to slightly upward path. Trust the loft of the club to help launch the ball on the on the correct flight path and with the optimum amount of backspin.
Your club needs to return to point of impact in line with your target and level with the ground. That’s the angle of approach you must have with your driver off the tee. If you swing down with your driver too steeply, you make contact with a descending blow. That’s the angle of attack you want to get the ball airborne with an iron; NOT with your driver! A downward swing will send the ball sky high and you will get no distance, and if you hit the ball too much on the upswing, chances are you will top the shot. Stay level through the swing.
Your upper body MUST turn level, the law of leverage will come into play if you lean your upper body back – or towards the target. Your upper body pivots on a firm base, your posture remains the same; the alignment of your body the same. NO LEANING, NO LOOKING UP.
OK we now understand the driver is taken back in line with the target, low to the ground and must return on that same path in line and level with the ground prior to impact. Next we create width on the back swing: Your backswing is the key element to a consistent and powerful downswing. For that you need to create and maintain the proper width.
As you swing to the top of your backswing, keep your arms in front of your turning body. The upper right arm and forearm should form a 90-degree angle, with the right elbow pointing toward the ground. Many golfers collapse the right arm on the way back; this will narrow your swing and leads to a casting motion on the way down, which causes a loss of club head speed and consistency through impact.
If you can video your swing, with a shaft placed in the ground at the same angle as your club shaft is at address, practice swinging on that plane line, the objective being to develop a nice smooth swing with the club neither too far behind your body nor too vertical. As you reach the top of your back swing, the video should confirm that your club-shaft has travelled parallel to the shaft in the ground, as you swing down your club should stay in front of your turning body; through impact the hips should be slightly more open than your shoulders.
The afore-mentioned needs practice, once you are confident you have perfected the two key objectives, you combine it with all of the following key objectives and you WILL have a smooth controlled swing that creates power and distance and be on target.
While stood over your shot always be positive, visualize the shot be confident, NO negative thoughts. ONLY Positive thoughts NO tension, once you have gone through your pre-shot routine and are at address ready to play the shot take one last look at the target; waggle the club to shake the tension out of your arms, switch to a nice easy relaxed mode and make your natural swing. Hit through the ball, not AT it, ensure full release.
Your divots should be in front of where the ball was – if they are behind then you are hitting the ground too early. When you take a practice swing mark the spot where you intend to place or address the ball in your stance, take the practice swing and see where the divot is. It should be just ahead of where the ball was placed. If you are hitting behind the ball you can move it back in your stance.
You have a handicap for a reason – that is to make all players standing on the tee even, each has a chance of winning on the day if they play to their handicap or better. So if you are playing with players who have much lower handicaps than yours, DO NOT try to match their game, play your game. Continue to play to your strengths, use course management, lay up, play the percentage shot, don’t take crazy risks.
Your aim is vitally important. If you can’t send the ball in the right direction you will never get it in any of the holes. The clubface is the only thing that propels the ball, so line up the clubface with the target first, then take your stance with your shoulders parallel to the target line.
Always aim away from potential problems. Tee the ball on the side where the problem is. This will help to keep the ball in play and avoid penalties.
Bad wrist action equals a bad shot in 90 percent of cases. Keep the left wrist flat in relation to the back of the left forearm and the back of the left hand, and don’t swing the club back farther than the shoulder turn.
Read the green properly. A ball will generally roll away from a hill and towards a water source. So, keep this in mind and adjust as necessary.
The grain of the green is important too as it effects the roll. Shiny grass shows the grain is running away from you, and dull grass highlights the grain running towards you. Putts with the grain go faster and further. Those against the grain go slower and less far.
Your shoulders should follow your swing. They should be passive and not lead. Remember that your shoulder movement will determine the direction that your club, and therefore the ball, will travel.
Place the golf ball on the ground and take your stance in such a way that the shadow of your head covers the ball. Make your swing keeping your eyes on the shadow. If the shadow moves off the ball you have lost the proper swing centre. If you keep the shadow on the ball, even though it moves a little, you have maintained the correct swing position.
When I watch inexperienced golfers players hit the ball I find that they are usually misaligned to their target. Typically, they aim way too far out to the right. The reason they aim to the right is because the inexperienced player has the tendency to hit the ball with their arms which causes the ball to pull to the left. This means that they are compensating for a flaw in their swing by just aiming their body out to the right instead of fixing the actual flaw.
What this boils down to, is that the inexperienced players’ bad swings make the ball go on target and their perfect swings make the ball end up in the trees, or bunker on the right of the target. So, they are seeing their good shots as bad shots and bad shots as good shots. If this is the case, the inexperienced player will never want to fix their swing flaws. If they don’t fix their flaws they will never reach their golfing potential. This is why I call alignment the most important lesson in golf.
Check Your Alignment:
In order to find out if you are a player that has swing flaws, you must check your alignment. To do this, all you have to do is pick out a target and do your normal set up. Once you feel like you are ready, lay a club down at your heels or toes. Then, step back about 10 paces behind the ball to see where you are actually aimed. If the club you placed at your toes or heels is parallel left of your actual target, you have properly aligned yourself. If the club on the ground points to the right of your target you are misaligned.
If you find that you are misaligned, you must learn to square up your stance. To do this, simply find a target in the distance that you want to hit the ball to. Take out 2 golf clubs that you rarely hit (3 irons and 4 irons). Take the first club and lay it down directly at the target (you will have to step back a few paces to check this). Place the second club parallel to the first club on the ground. Now, take away the first club that is pointing at the target. You should have one club on the ground that is parallel to the left of your target.
Once you have the club on the ground parallel to your target line you have a guide to help you align your feet, knees, hips and shoulders squarely. If you aim your body squarely to the club on the ground and you hit the ball to the left of your target you have just found out that you are pulling the golf ball which means you are trying to hit the ball too hard with only your arms. If you hit the ball to the right of the target from this square alignment you are sliding your body too much laterally through impact which is causing the ball to fly to the right.
Learning that you are misaligned can be quite shocking at first but don’t think of it as a bad thing, think of it as a good thing. It’s a good thing because you now know that you have a swing flaw and you can get on the road to fixing it so that you can play even better golf in the future.
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