photo credit: star5112 In Ben Hogan’s book, FIVE LESSONS, he states that the tips of the thumb and forefinger of the bottom hand, should never touch each other when gripping the club. Yet, others teach that the two fingertips should come together.
There are also esoteric grips. Bobby Jones, one of the greatest golfers ever, used the overlap with the tip of his right forefinger not touching the handle at all. The back of the first joint of his forefinger pressed against the handle.
Even the most subtle changes in the grip can cause changes in shot direction: hooks, slices, draws or fades. If you have a good swing but inconsistent shot patterns, look for the grip to be the primary cause. Get it checked out by an experienced instructor.
photo credit: uzi978 Along the way, everyone goes through a period known as a slump. Its a horrible feeling when no matter what you do isn’t right. Don’t feel like you are alone because every golfer goes through these periods. Usually, you are in a slump if you play at least 6 rounds that are not within your handicap. What follows are ways to cope with being in a slum:
A) Ignore it altogether. B) Quit playing for a while. C) Analyze it. D) Practice more. E) Pactice less, or not at all. F) Work on only the short game. G) See a golf instructor.
Slumps can sometimes be very tough to break, however, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t hang up your clubs just because you are going through one of these periods, there nothing new in golf.
photo credit: I woz ere (1) Strike the ball with all of your weight behind the impact. Tee the ball to align with your forward heel and make sure the club bottoms out at the point of contact. (2) Angle your front foot towards the target. Doing so, promotes a full finish and also helps prevent muscle injuries. (3) The arms and chest should move as one. Synchronizing the two creates more torque on the backswing for more power. (4) Pull the club down with your body. As the downswing begins, the club moves forward. Allow the rotation of your body to bring the club forward, don’t try to control the swing with your arms or hands. (5) Maintain good balance in order to hit it on the “screws” for greater length.
photo credit: Zunami Hitting your drive on the “sweet spot” is an unmistakable feeling of solid contact, it is without effort. Not even the Tour Pros can hit the sweet spot continually. Hitting the sweet spot depends on the clubface’s angle of approach. The ideal swing path is from the inside.
For perfect contact, transfer your weight to your left side on the downswing, this naturally brings the club down from inside the target line. The weight shift to the left side occurs by pushing off of the inside of the right foot (right handers).
If the weight shift is done correctly, your hands will be in front of the ball at impact which is where they should be. This too, encourages an inside the line swing.
photo credit: il Quoquo One of the biggest differences between low and high handicappers, is the ability to concentrate intensely. If you intend to lower your handicap, other than plenty of good old fashioned practice, you must learn how to concentrate. This means that you have to be completely immune from all distractions.
There are so many ways to be distracted during play, one of the biggest is conversation. Nothing is more distracting than unnecessary conversation. If you notice, most amateurs spend most of their time kibitzing about irrelevant topics. Don’t get me wrong, you should not be a prude but to play good golf, you have to have strong concentration skills. Try playing alone for a change, you will notice a big difference in your scores.
photo credit: tiarescott In many cases, when trying to carry a hazard, players will force their swing. Forced swings can only mean one thing, trouble ahead. Why not just hit a lay-up shot? The problem is that lay-up shots are not as glamorous as ”sticking” the pin from 175 yds. We all have a “can do” spirit in us that can and will, get us in trouble.
Instead of “going for it” and chancing a double bogey, pick a safe spot on the fairway that will give you the best avenue of approach, and hit a nice safe lay-up. If you are good around the green you will make par, therefore, eliminating the possibility of a double bogey. Change your attitude to improve your scores.
photo credit: paul sara Too many amateur golfers just don’t think about their next shot. A good golfer is like a good chess player or good pool player, they are always thinking ahead. Success is always spawned with a plan. If you don’t have a plan for each shot, success will be fleeting.
Usually, bad swing mechanics are the result of not thinking about how and where you want the ball to go. Planning each shot gives you purpose and purpose breeds success. When the purpose of a swing is more than just to get the ball airborne, the shot is always better.
Good shot planning involves strategy which is the intellectual part of the game. The intellectual side makes the important calculations. The artistic side makes a picture of it all which enhances your instincts.
photo credit: foxypar4 The tee boxes you play from have more of an impact on your game than you realize. Many Machismo players use the Championship tee boxes even though they are 15 or 20 handicappers. With the addition of as many as 60 extra yards per hole, playing from the Black tees can be quite painful, if you know what I mean.
If you want to have some real fun during your next round, try playing from the front tees, yes, I mean the ladies tees! You will find that by doing so, your drives will seem longer, you will reach a lot more greens in regulation, you will have more birdie putts and your excitement level will increase dramatically. If your group can “force” itself to tee up from the ladies tees you will have one of the most enjoyable and fun-filled rounds of your life.
photo credit: eMaringolo One of the best ways to reduce your handicap is to improve your pitch and chip shots. Let’s face it, the average amateur tends to miss a lot of greens in regulation. If you improve your short game missing a green almost becomes a moot point. Granted, you may not get many birdies but you will sure save a lot of pars.
PGA Tour Players stay in competition because they are constantly making great saves with their pitch and chip shots, missing a green in regulation is no big deal. Think of how effortless a 40 yard (or closer) pitch shot is? It certainly isn’t nearly as difficult as a 190 yard 4 iron shot. You really shouldn’t need a reason to spend a lot of time with the short shots.
photo credit: danperry.comIdeally, when you calculate your handicap you have to record your last 20 rounds of golf (5 rounds are permissable). If your handicap goes down to 0 you will be considered a scratch golfer which means you will shoot par on a regular basis. If you have a 15 handicap you are considered a bogey golfer and if you are below 0 you have a “plus” handicap. A professional golfer has no actual handicap rating.
There are several variables when calculating your handicap: your scores from your most recent rounds, the golf course rating and the golf course slope rating. These numbers determine your “handicap differential.” Since we all have different skill levels it pays to know your own handicap especially in competitive golf.