GOLF (from

Longer shots.
5 Key Steps to Improving your Swing
1. Check your grip
This has been said a thousand times, but it remains paramount for the whole swing motion. You should hold the club grip firmly but gently.
2. Be Fluid
The swing movement is a circular rotation in a smooth, rhythmic way, with the highest speed to be achieved when hitting the ball. There is nothing worse than trying to recall and apply all the tips you know. Once you are on the golf course or at the driving range, the only thing you should remember is that the swing is a symmetric movement around the spine angle in a continuous fluid motion.
Before swinging, relax your arm and your shoulders….. IF you feel tense, just wait for a second and do some swing practice drills to get some fluidity in your swing movement.
Finding the perfect swing is not based on fundemantals you most often read and hear about, but rather finding the one swing you are most comfortable with.
3. Don't move your head !
Once you get the right grip and a fluid motion, you've done half of the job. The other half is about hitting the ball right and - to ensure this - THE key tip is to keep your head looking at the ball position on the ground even after impact. Looking at beginners golf, this is easily the Most Common mistake they commit.
Remember: do NOT move your head till the ball is on air!
4. Remember the swing plane
The swing in movement is, like mentioned before, a symmetric rotation of the body around the spine angle.
Also, you have to get the right plane. If too steep (too vertical), you will hit the ground before the ball or - if you hit the ball properly - you will loose distance as you gain "altitude". If you hit it too horizontal, the risk is that you produce a hook shot. However, the majority of beginner golfers have a swing too vertical, hence, you'll probably need to learn how to go more "horizontal".
5. Target the bottom
The last, very common mistake, is that people target the ball while you have to target the bottom of the ball. Remember: the lower you target, the higher the ball will fly and the more consistent will be the shot.
Here are two words that every golfer who has grass stains on his shoes has heard and dread. Slice and Hook.
The top players, those who have mastered the game, actually use these types of shots to get around things that may be in their way. When this happens, those words become fade and draw and they can be a powerful weapon in golfer's arsenal of shots. But for the rest of us, they're just mistakes we make.
The slice, where the ball curves severely from left-to-right through the air, is a very destructive shot. The slice is such a common mistake that entire books have been written on the subject. It is also so common that nearly every golf has experienced it.
So what causes a slice?
It is caused by a combination of an out-to-in swing path and an open clubface. The degree to which you slice the ball is totally dictated by these two factors. The most common cause of an out-to-in swing path is an open address position.
Now there are some players who think they can solve this problem by aiming their bodies well to the left of the target. Wrong.
When trying to hit the ball straight you should always set up correctly with your shoulders, hips, and feet square to the target line. If you're not sure if you're square or not, hold a club up to your chest, make sure it's squared up to to the line of your shoulders. Then look down at the shaft, sight along the shaft and see where it's pointing. The very end of the shaft (the grip) should be pointing to your target.
It's important to start out square and stright because once the club gets outside the ball-to-target line in the downswing you're more than likely heading for trouble and there is very little you can then do to to stop the slice.
To prevent this from happening try this simple mental tip.
When you address the ball, imagine there is another ball positioned three to four inches ahead of the real ball. As you start the golf club down, aim to strike the actual ball but also try to keep the club travelling along the path to the imaginary one. This mental picture will help you to keep your downswing on an in-to-out path and prevent that golf slice.
Correct Pitching technique
1. With long pitching shots you want to be squared.
2. Flex both knees: while the weight should be 60% over the left foot, just ensure that both your knees are flexed. And pivot on the left knee when impacting the ball.
Tip: Your legs are dead. They should move only within the momentum of the swing.
3. Position the ball a bit forward: when using the short irons, for a short pitching shot, the ball should be closer to your left foot. On the contrary, when performing a chipping shot, the ball should be nearer to your right foot.
Tip: Sometimes it may help to open the clubface in order to give more loft to the shot, which will ease an upper trajectory of the ball. When opening the clubface, be sure that your feet are not squared.
4. Always keep your hands before the ball: THE fundamental step in order to ensure a correct impact is that the grip of the golf club (i.e. your hands) stays in front of the clubface (i.e. the ball) as you strike the shot, never behind. It is very simple to check if you're doing this shot right: just check your left wrist at the finish, if it is bent you did it wrong !
Tip: the position of your chest will determine the height, hence, the length of your pitching shot. If your chest is behind the ball, the ball will fly higher and stop earlier, if your chest is in front of the ball, it will fly lower but longer. Something to remember….
5. Get a symmetric and fluid "mini" swing: Your swing length as well as chest position will control the distance of the shot. However, these short shots must be executed with a mini swing symmetrical in length. When doing the downswing you should feel a fluid movement that will hit the ball "down and through".
What is the most common mistake in pitching? The break down of the left wrist, with as a consequence a scooping action in which the right hand tries to scoop the ball up.
What is the second most common mistake? Raising your head (or your shoulder) at impact. This will make you lose the "level" of the shot with the consequence that the bottom of the club will hit the ball earlier than the loft causing a "fat" shot !
Improve your Chipping.
1. Don't be too squared:
Similarly to the pitch shot, to perform an efficient chipping shot you have to position your feet left to the target. The only exception is for long chipping shots, for which you want to be squared.
2. Always keep the hands before the ball:
3. Position the ball a bit backward:
You have to position the ball nearer to your left foot. It is the exact contrary of the pitching positioning. See the sketch below:
THE fundamental step in order to ensure a correct impact is that the grip of the golf club (i.e. your hands) stays in front of the clubface (i.e. the ball) as you strike the shot, never behind. It is very easy to check if you are doing this shot right: just check your left wrist at the finish, if it is bent you did it wrong !
Tip: while in the pitch the legs are dead, in the chip it is the hands which should be dead (while the legs may slightly move in an accompanying movement).
Tip: Narrow your stance compared to a pitching shot or to a normal swing
4. Read it, Roll it, Hole it..:
Very much like putting, chipping requires a reading of the shot as - in a good chip - the ball flyes for 20% of the time and rolls for the remaining 80% (while in pitching, the ball should fly for 80% and roll only for 20%). Hence, reading the green (and the before-green) is a paramount. And remember the ball should land on the green without backspin and just roll - smoothly - towards the hole.
Tip: What is the most common mistake in chipping? Raising your head (or your shoulder) at impact. This will make you loose the "level" of the shot with the consequence that the bottom of the club will hit the ball earlier than the loft causing a "fat" shot !
5. Accelerate through the shot:
To provide the right roll, your chipping shot does not require a long backswing but rather a light - though evident - acceleration when hitting the ball.
Tip: After the impact, keep your eyes still focus on that point (don't look immediately to the shot trajectory as this will undermine the proper chipping movement).
How To Get out of Bunkers.
These steps will ensure that you have the right mechanics for getting out of bunkers. Once you've read these steps, practice them and get used to hitting out of bunkers, and they will become just as natural as a regular short game shot. These steps will give you the solid foundation that you need for bunker success.
Here are the steps: (note: These steps apply to a normal sand bunker. Not wet or hard sand)
1. Choke down on the golf club (Have your right index finger about an inch from the bottom of the grip). Choking down gives you the control with the club and also allows you to "feel" the shot rather than hitting it.
2. Narrow your stance a little and play the ball a few inches forward in your stance. This will also aid in controlling the shot, and it will contribute to higher ball flight.
3. Dig into the sand with your feet a little and get comfortable.
4. Keep your body completely still throughout (no twisting hips).
5. Start your swing with your arms and keep your swing vertical. The end of the grip butt should be pointed at the ball at the top of your backswing. (Don't bring the club straight back, remember steep is better here!)
6. Your left arm should be parallel to the ground and fully extended at the top of your swing.
7. Then start your downswing at the sand focusing to hit 1 inch behind the ball. Don't focus on hitting the ball, hit the sand an inch behind and the ball will get out every time!
8. Your arms and body follow the ball as it leaves the sand.
9. Remember steep angle into the sand is key here, however you don't have to swing too hard, we are not blasting the ball out we are advancing it.
Go into a bunker and take 3 clubs your pitching wedge, sand wedge, and a lob wedge(if you have one). Remember that you can get creative with shots.
Regardless, hit a few shots with each club and really notice the difference in how the ball comes out of the sand. Then choose the club that bests suits you. But remember on all these clubs swing steep and hit 1 inch behind the ball. You can even draw a line 1-2 inches behind the ball and aim for that line.
Five Key Steps to improve your Putting.
The hands play very little part in the putting stroke, and should not override the up and down movement of the shoulders.
Tip: choose the posture you are most comfortable with…Either with your feet closed or opened, with your body curved over the ball or much straighter. Again what makes you feel more at ease, but allows you to keep your head and centre of gravity stock still throughout the stroke.
2. Make your Shoulders and Arms do the Work:
Tip: Your hands (and wrists !) are dead. The clubshaft and the left forearm should form a straight, solid line.
3. Keep your head still:
Every good putter keeps the head absolutely still from start to finish. And the head, as well as the eyes, should be on the vertical of the ball before striking. If an "imaginary" tear falling from your eyes "wets" the ball, it means that your head is absolutely well positioned.
Tip: Sometimes you may have the temptation to look if the ball strike is heading towards the hole. Don't ! This attitude will cause an even minimal movement of your head that may cause putting failure or putting unconsistency. Learn to strike your putting shot without looking (at the shot) but just listening to the noise of the ball falling... into the hole.
4. Read the putting line:
The secret for good putting is that your mind is able to visualize the line between the hole and the ball. However, the most common mistake, when doing this, is to start analyzing the "potential" trajectory starting from the hole backwards to the ball stance: wrong….
You have to do exactly the opposite, you have to mentally visualize the ideal route of the ball from its position towards the hole (as at the end this is going to be the actual route of the ball….).
Tip: if golf is 30% physical and 70% mental, putting is probably 5% physical and 95% mental…...If you're missing some putting shots, just stop. Relax and breathe.
5. Think 'one-two' tempo:
A "paramount" to achieve a correct pace and rhythm in putting is to make the backstroke and forward stroke the identical same length. Also, always accelerate at the moment you impact the ball, this is a guarantee of straight shots.
Tip: Perform the same routine every time. It helps to build a mechanical consistency into putting (probably the only shot in golf that follows some repetitiveness….)
1. Keep a 'one-two' tempo.
2. Keep your head absolutely still.
3. Make your arms and shoulders do most of the work.
4. Adapt your grip.
5. Treat every putt as though it were straight.
To score well at golf you must be able to "one putt" four to five greens a round. The average player hits less than 30% of greens in regulation. These statistics mean a player who desires to score well must get up and down from off the green on a consistent basis.
A very common mistake is to start worrying about your future 2-3 shots while forgetting to concentrate on the shot you are about to hit. Even worse is when you start viewing all potential strokes you may (or may not) do mentally, calculating and predicting your result at the same time……Well, let me assure you that, in 99% of the cases, you will fail to hit your immediate shot either because you haven't really focused on it or because you will have become so tense. Remember, consider only one shot at a time.
Important areas to analyse and train are: how to keep your focus and concentration during a round of golf, how to keep your motivation when you only enjoy the game part of the time, how to avoid being influenced by other people's swings, how to transfer the self-assurance and confidence you feel on the practice tee to the golf course, how to reach emotional stability, tough-mindedness, what is tension management, etc.
The following traits are important to the game of golf:
- Focus and Concentration
- Abstract Thinking
- Emotional Stability
- Dominance and Competitiveness
- Tough-Mindedness
- Self-Assurance
- Self-Sufficiency
- Optimum Arousal and Managing Tension