Troy Reddell, a golf enthusiast from Australia, offers these tips for better play:
Play From The Proper Tees
It all begins at the tee. Playing from the wrong tees leads to discouragement and anger. Playing from the wrong tees does nothing to improve your game. Golf courses have multiple tees to accommodate players of different skill levels. Use them.
Consider: If you play from too far back, you are either going to swing harder with the driver, leading to shots off the fairway and balls lost. Or, you will hit the fairway, but consistently find yourself hitting long irons and woods into the green. That leads to missed greens, long putts and scores of bogey or higher.
Playing from the proper tees lets you use all the clubs in your bag, as good golf course designers intend. Practicing with all your clubs will lead to improved play.
There are a couple of ways to figure your correct tees. If you know your club distances, then subtract your average drive from several of the par four distances. Play from the tees where, after an average drive, you will have a mid iron or less into the green.
Honesty is the key here. Numerous studies have shown that the average golfer hits his drives 200 yards, but THINKS he hits it thirty yards further.
Another method is to take your five iron distance, multiply by 36 and then find the yardage that most nearly approximates the product. Again, it’s important to be honest about this.
Finally, if your honest average score is in the eighties or lower, you could play from the back tees. If your average score is in the nineties, play from the middle tees. If you struggle to break 100, play it forward.
Check Your Grip
There are numerous approaches to the golf grip: Vardon. Overlapping. Baseball. Strong. Weak. Choke. Loose. Tight. In the palm. In the finger. There really isn’t one “best” way.
Once you and your pro find the grip that fits your game, you should make a conscious and deliberate check numerous times during a round to ensure that all is well. Under pressure, and with fatigue, your golf grip will change throughout a round. Especially while waiting your turn, deliberately rebuild your grip several times to ensure that your hands return the proper place during play.
Another aspect to watch is grip pressure, says Troy Reddell. Advice on the proper amount of pressure varies, but wherever you begin, it is likely your grip will get tighter as the round progresses. If you start light, you will end up tight. If you start firm, you will later find yourself choking the life out of the club.
Tension is one of the primary enemies of the golf swing. If you play with more hand tension than you are used to, your performance will suffer.
Pick A Target and Visualize Your Shot
Simply swinging in the general direction of the hole will lead to inconsistent play. On every shot, good golfers instead pick a target and visualize the path of the ball to that target. This visualization helps the eyes, brain and body work in tandem, generating quality golf shots.
here is a (true) story in which Ben Hogan on an unfamiliar course asked a caddy what his target was. The caddy pointed out a small stand of trees in the far distance. “Yes, but which one?,” Hogan asked.
The smaller the target the better, Troy Reddell suggests. This forces you to concentrate on just the target area and helps to block out distractions.
Better golfers not only pick targets; they visualize how the ball will arrive at that spot. Once again, this helps the eyes, brain and body to work together. It eliminates the doubt which can creep into a swing and cause physical confusion.
Jack Nicklaus wrote:
“I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head. First I see the ball where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes, and I see the ball going there; its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there is a sort of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.”
Work On Alignment
A golfer cannot get the ball to the target unless the clubface, feet, hips, shoulders and head are properly aligned. Improper alignment creates dissonance as the eyes, brain and body work at odds to correct a faulty set up. This invariably results in poor swings.
Inconsistent play is often a sign that a player is aiming his body at the target. According to Troy Reddell, because the swing is made to one side of the body, a right handed player’s body should be aligned well to the left of the target.
The image used by most golf pros is that of a railroad track. The furthest from the player is the ball’s path to the hole, while the near rail is the line on which the player’s body aligns.
Here’s the method used by Jack Nicklaus: Standing behind the ball, pick a spot on the ground several inches to a foot in front of the ball on a line directly to the target. Concentrating on that spot, place your clubface behind the ball, perpendicular to the line from the ball to spot to target. Then, align your feet parallel to the ball-spot line. Square your shoulders and you’re ready.
Use this quick routine on every shot and you will experience better and more consistent play.
Troy Ian Reddell is a golf enthusiast who carries a six handicap and works hard to improve his game. He is active in charity golf events, including those of the Make A Wish Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.