Tempo can be defined as the elapsed time of your golf swing from the moment you begin your takeaway to the completion of your follow-through. Amateurs often struggle with finding the proper tempo because they think they need to swing much faster than they actually do to generate power and distance. But even some golf professionals find that they must slow down their tempo when they fall into the habit of rushing their swings.
The way you set up your stance can have a direct effect on your golf swing and shot. Amateur golfers too often set up in a position that makes a proper swing difficult to execute. Many of these amateur golfers can eliminate poor swings just by making an adjustment in the positioning of their feet. Positioning your feet correctly will promote the proper balance and hip turn throughout the swing. Both proper balance and hip turn are necessary for making a consistently good swing.
Professional golfers spend most of their lives working on their games. They take lessons from the best instructors and constantly monitor their swings during practice. Many amateur golfers have never had a golf lesson and don't spend much time trying to get better on the driving range. Understandably, there are some big differences between the swing of a professional golfer and an amateur.
Amateur golfers are often asked to teach the golf swing to friends, spouses or youngsters in the family. The basic fundamentals of golf are not difficult to explain to a beginner, but not everyone makes a good teacher. Some highly skilled golfers are "naturals" at the game but may not be able to articulate how they swing so effectively. Just as with any other kind of instruction, teaching golf requires advance preparation on the part of the teacher.
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Computers have influenced many types of instruction, and golf instruction is no exception. Instead of just using their eyes, or basic replays from video cameras, golf teachers can use computers to break down your swing in sophisticated ways. For example: sensors on your body can measure, and computer screens can demonstrate, how your weight is balanced at every point of your swing; software connected to video cameras can give you a look at your swing in slow and slower motion; launch monitors can determine which golf ball best fits your swing speed and trajectory.
Golfers strive to build a swing that delivers maximum distance, allows sufficient control over the ball -- accuracy -- and is dependable. You want develop a consistent swing, one that you can depend on to produce on-target shots even under competitive pressure. Golf will be more fun if you don't have a wide variance in your score from week to week.
There are many things that can go wrong with a swing, and you can spend a fortune on teaching aids designed to fix them. However, you can fix many swing problems with nothing more than an empty box. You can use one in a variety of ways, depending on what kind of box you have available.
It's an odd concept. You have to step up and address the ball with the intention of hitting it, then choose to swing the club and strike the ball. Surely all golf swings are conscious physical acts, not movements that happen without thoughts guiding them. Golf swings don't "just happen" when you least expect it. But lack of thought isn't what differentiates a conscious golf swing from an unconscious one. Rather, it's a difference in how you choose to focus your thoughts.
According to a 2004 "Golf Digest" article, a research project was conducted at Torrey Pines -- a championship course in California -- with a group of better-than-average amateurs. Their average score (from the white tees) was 94, which is 22 over par. With that type of gap between pros and good amateurs, it's no wonder that many weekend golfers look for easier ways to hit the ball. This quest has led many players to look into alternative golf methods – some of which have a good pedigree, while others don't. Before committing to such a swing, be sure you understand how the alternative methods differ from your current technique. You can sort through new swing options by looking for a few key characteristics.
Everybody looks for the "secret" that will make golf simple. They expect some special move or obscure grip that will suddenly get them swinging the club like a pro. There is no magic move, but there are some simple things you can do that will make your game improve almost instantly. Best of all, they don't require a lot of practice.
It's very easy to get confused by complicated swing instructions. And if you don't have several hours to spare each day for practice, you aren't likely to build your swing like a pro's. That doesn't mean, however, that you can't use a few shortcuts to get more out of your round.
Improving your swing speed could help you achieve greater distance with nearly every club in your golf bag – including the driver. Tour pros such as Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson hit the ball great distances because of their superior swing speeds, form and timing. As an amateur you’ll probably never hit the ball as far as those guys, but there are some techniques you can use to improve your current swing speed and perhaps out-drive your buddies.
Despite all the talk you hear about increasing power in a golf swing, it's increased club speed that really increases your distance. Specifically, you're after increased clubhead speed. You need to understand the difference because you can make the clubhead move faster even though your swing might appear to be slower.
While all players seek to avoid uncontrollable hook shots that curve to the left, most weekend players struggle to hit shots that draw even a little bit. The problem for many of them is as simple as misunderstanding why the golf ball behaves as it does. A hook – or more precisely, a draw – isn't that difficult to hit once you know the basic keys.
A sliced golf shot is one that bends -- sometimes radically -- from left to right (for right-handed players), often with the ball ending up in the rough, trees or other trouble on the right side of the hole or fairway. A less severe left to right trajectory is referred to as a fade. Many good players deliberately hit a fade and have learned how to position it precisely where they want. A slice, on the other hand, is something golfers seek to correct.
One of the great debates in golf concerns swinging vs. hitting. Swinging focuses on the movement of the arms to create speed and is usually associated with the classic players of years past; it was difficult to play any other way when clubs had hickory shafts. Hitting focuses on using the whole body to create angles and appeals to modern players, many of whom are young and strong and perhaps eager to prove they're athletes. Teacher Manuel de la Torre says that hitters try to create club movement while swingers merely respond to the club's movement. But both swinging and hitting are valid ways to play the game. The key is choosing which method is better for you.
Golf teachers often talk about "classic" swings and "modern" swings, and sometimes contrast them as "swinging" versus "hitting." It's true that classic swings often require less strength to gain the same results. The key to using less strength is relaxed body movement and smooth rhythm. Teachers such as Bob Toski, Jim Flick and Manuel de la Torre have taught these "swinging" techniques for a long time, and you can easily learn to use them in your own swing.
Fairway woods such as the 3-wood are among the most powerful clubs in golf after the driver. It's possible for a skilled amateur player to hit a golf ball more than 200 yards from the fairway with the 3-wood -- rivaling distances available on a tee with a driver. The key to sweeping the ball with all fairway woods is striking the ball while the head of the club is still relatively parallel to the ground. Golf instructor Butch Harmon, who has taught pros such as Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, maintains that some amateurs make the mistake of trying to help the ball into the air while swinging fairway woods. Harmon maintains that a good strike with a fairway wood actually begins with a descending blow. The ball sweeps off the fairway as you continue your follow-through.
Practicing your golf swing in the winter requires determination and some creativity -- if you live in a cold climate. Freezing temperatures and snow drifts make it hard to get outside to work on your chipping, putting and long shots. Despite that you should resist the urge to put your clubs away until spring. There are lots of drills and techniques you can work on to improve your swing even when it's cold outside.
It's amazing how much weekend players struggle to make the pivot turns in their golf swings. Give them a plastic flying disk, a baseball bat, or even an ax and they will probably make the proper move naturally. Use a few simple checks during your swing to be sure you're pivoting properly as you turn back and through.
Give an average player a 9-iron and he'll usually hit a decent shot. Give him a wood of any kind and he's just as likely to mishit it. Hitting a wood – whether whether it's a driver or a fairway wood – is often more of a mental problem for amateurs than a physical one. If you can play a 9-iron, you can make a solid strike with a wood. All you need to do is make some slight physical adjustments and a mental one as well.
Golfers many times have a love-hate relationship with the irons in their golf bags. They love the short to mid irons, from wedges up to a 6-iron, because these clubs are easier to hit and give you the confidence needed to make a solid strike. Conversely, longer irons – typically 3- through 5-irons – frustrate many amateur players because they aren't able to get consistent shotmaking results with them.
Golfers seek to increase swing power for the practical reason that hitting the ball farther can help lower your score. Instead of having a difficult 3-iron shot to a green, you could have a shorter and more manageable 8-iron shot. Power also has a psychological benefit in golf. If you consistently hit the ball past your opponent, he may begin to swing harder in an effort to keep up – and therefore lose accuracy on his shots.
A repeatable golf swing is one the golfer is able to execute with precision over and over, whether on the practice range by himself or at a crucial stage of a match with his buddies. In golf, "repeatable" is another word for "reliable." You can step up to the ball each time with confidence that you can hit the ball close to the intended target.
There's an old saying in golf that "practice makes permanent." Short-game guru Dave Pelz, who has taught major champion Phil Mickelson, uses the quote in his books and lessons. Although Pelz specializes in the short game, his advice about practice applies to the driving range as well. You can play better on the golf course by practicing on the range with focus and meaning. Good practice habits on the range should lead to better drives, pitches and chips during tournaments or fun rounds with your friends. But as Pelz suggests, poor practice habits on the driving range can lead to poor play on the course. That is why you should always emphasize quality over quantity during practice on the range.
Visiting a driving range can help you improve your golf game without the expense of playing a full round of golf. At a driving range, it's possible to hit several dozen or even more than 100 balls in a relatively short period of time without any pressure. Depending on where you live, you might be able to visit an outdoor driving range all year, or you can take advantage of an indoor range during the winter.
The average driving distance among golfers in the PGA varies from event to event and from year to year, but typically stays within a few yards of the same number. Players such as J.B. Holmes, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson are perennially among the longest hitters on tour.
Wrist set is a vital part of your backswing. You develop clubhead speed in part because your wrists uncock during the downswing, and you certainly can't uncock them if you don't set them first. Although it's a simple action, many players struggle with it. You need to recognize that your wrists are already partially set merely by addressing the ball. At address, the club shaft is automatically set at an angle between 45 and 60 degrees to your forearms. You create the rest of the angle during your backswing. There are two types of wrist set. The classic method is called a "late set" or "late cock," where the wrists don't set fully until your hands reach the top of your backswing. The modern method is the "early set" or "early cock," where the wrists finish their set just above waist high in the backswing. Both can work equally well, but most players find they prefer one or the other.
Swing plane is a popular topic among golf pros, instructional magazines and casual players alike. Some teachers advocate a single-plane swing that delivers the clubhead along an identical path to your takeaway versus the more traditional two-plane approach where your backswing is slightly more upright than the downswing and follow-through. Many golfers will dissect Ben Hogan's "Five Lessons; The Modern Fundamentals of Golf" and argue each point, but they often lack a true understanding of what a swing plane is and how it determines the swing path.
It can be hard for some golfers to turn a trip to the driving range into something more than just an opportunity to smack a bucket full of balls into an open field. Turning your driving range time into quality practice time takes dedication and focus, but in the end, it can help you improve your game and lower your score on the course.
Keeping the ball straight is the secret to playing productive golf. Big hitters may get a lot of praise around the tee and a golfer who sinks a 35-foot putt gets all the high fives, but a golfer who can hit the ball straight has the best chance of enjoying his round and finishing with a low score. Keeping the ball straight is all about being fundamentally sound.
To be successful in a game as difficult as golf, you need to practice. Very few people can head out for a round and post a good score without working on their games beforehand. Practicing at a driving range is a perfect way to get better, but there are some things to remember. You need to follow the rules and be courteous of the facility and others joining you on the range.
For golfers, there's nothing more frustrating than not being able to hit the ball straight. Slicing or hooking the ball can cost you strokes. There are a variety of things that go into hitting the ball straight, the most important of which is making sure the club face is straight at impact. The following drill is designed to cure your hook--or slice.
Your driver may not be the most important club in your bag when it comes to the final number on your scorecard, but it does set the tone for your round psychologically. Take your driver out of the bag and launch a shot high and deep down the fairway and you will feel great about the prospects for your round and your foursome will think they are playing with a formidable golfer. Hitting a high and majestic shot will give your confidence to play a great round.
While it is the usually the slowest part of your swing, the backswing is integral to making a good shot in that it sets up everything that follows in the downswing, the strike of the ball and the follow-through. If you are out of alignment or off plane during your backswing, you are unlikely to make a shot and will certainly struggle throughout your round.
Compressing the golf ball is when the club head drives through the ball on impact, trapping it between the club face and the ground. The resulting divot will appear ahead of the golf ball. By compressing the golf ball, it will travel more accurately over a greater distance, and it will have a greater amount of backspin due to the impact of the club face's grooves on the ball.
Golfers need to keep in mind that hitting the ball is only part of the story of an effective swing in golf. Start with a pre-shot routine as you address the ball, and bring the club back with a full shoulder turn to execute a correct backswing. You will then be in the ideal position to start the downswing and hit through the ball for a golf shot that achieves both accuracy and distance.
Among the most desirable shots to many golfers is a quality drive. However, achieving a quality drive is no easy feat. Often times, the result of a poor drive is a low, line drive type of shot that doesn't travel an optimum distance. There are numerous causes for this type of low drive off the tee box.
There are a variety of golf shots on the course that can be used to shape the ball from hole to hole. Among the most useful of these to hit is the high, arching shot. By using a few swing and grip techniques, you can hit your irons with a higher trajectory. A higher ball flight can allow you to clear trees and water, add length to your drive or land more softly on greens.
One of the hardest things to master in the game of golf is hitting the ball straight. Think about it this way: You swing a club face that has grooves on it. Most amateur golfers swing that club head at a speed of around 80 miles an hour. In order to hit the ball straight, the club face needs to impact the ball at square every time. Failure to hit the ball with a square club face results in side spin on the ball, which in turns causes you to hit either a fade, a slice or a hook.
To achieve distance and accuracy when you are driving the golf ball, begin with the proper equipment. Technology in golf clubs changes all the time, and the club that you have in your bag might not have the latest design to achieve your goals. Once you are satisfied your driver is satisfactory, check your swing and assess your ability to draw and fade the ball off the tee.
Bringing the club back from its address position behind the golf ball into its fully cocked position, ready to deliver a powerful strike down on the golf ball, is a process that can easily be performed incorrectly. By correcting the flaws in your backswing, you can have consistently better strokes.
Hitting a golf ball straight is not easy. In fact, a "USA Today" article once listed hitting a long, straight tee shot as one of the most difficult tasks in sports. The most frustrating thing for most golfers is to see their shots slice or hook. The secret to hitting a straight shot lies in the mechanics of your swing. You might need to sacrifice a little power for accuracy while you focus on consistently hitting the ball straight.
Because your driver face has the fewest degrees of loft, your drive off the tee can often be the flattest shot in your bag. But you can add more loft to your tee shots using a number of positioning, body movement and swing techniques. Adding loft will allow you to carry your shot with the wind, clear higher obstacles and land the ball more softly on quick fairways.