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Tagged "Full Swing"


3 Reasons You Hit Behind the Golf Ball

 

 

Fat, chunked, chili dipped; call it what you will. As the old saying “thin to win” proclaims, there’s not much worse than hitting behind the golf ball.

The good news is that you’re not alone. We’ve all done it. Even the best players in the world lay the sod over it from time to time. The important thing is to do it less often.

A great way to start the process is by understanding why you hit behind the ball and what you can do to correct it. Here are 3 reasons and fixes for why you hit it fat:

Reason #1- Center of the Swing Moves

Staying centered during the swing big issue for a lot of golfers. If your weight moves laterally (away from the target) on the backswing, the center of your swing moves. The problem with this is that the golf ball does not move with you. Unless you can get the center swing moving forward to meet back up with the golf ball, you’re going to hit it fat.

A good way to stay centered is to get more weight on your front foot at address. The centrifugal force of the golf swing naturally tries to pull your weight away from the target. Setting a little more weight forward counteracts this natural tendency.

Start with pitch shots and wedge shots and feel the weight on the front foot. You’ll most likely notice how this helps you hit down on the ball. After getting the hang of it with the shorter shots, try it with a bigger swing. If it feels strange go back to the shorter swings and gradually work your way up.

Reason #2- Hands Flip Before the Ball

The “flip” or early release is a killer in the golf swing. Not only can it cause you to hit behind the ball, it is also robs you of power and distance. The release point is where the swing hits it top speed and if it happens before the ball, the club will be slowing down when it gets to the ball. No good!

In order to eliminate the flip you need to get your hands leading at impact. The first step to fixing this is to work on reason #1 and get your weight forward at impact. It’s not easy to lead with the hands if you’re weight is on your back foot.

Once you’ve fixed the weight issue, a great way to prevent your hands from flipping is to practice wedge shots. Take a sand or pitching wedge and make some ½ to ¾ practice swings. The goal is to feel the clubhead working down and hitting the ground where the ball would be; in front of the center of your stance.

After you get the feel for leading with the hands and hitting the ground, add a golf ball and hit some shots. Keep the same feeling as with the practice swings. The goal is to feel the club working down, hitting the ball, and then the ground. That’s solid contact!

After you get the hang of the ½ and ¾ swings move up to full swings. The goal is to keep the same feeling as the swing gets larger. The golf club should work down, hit the ball, and then the ground.

Reason #3- Backswing Over Rotation

A common problem is to whip the club inside on the takeaway and over rotate the hips. When this happens the backswing becomes flat and inside and it’s very easy to hit behind the ball.

To avoid this, feel as though the hands, arms, and club move away as one piece during the takeaway. If your takeaway starts with the hands pulling inside or the hips turning the golf club will wind up behind your body. This can lead to the dreaded fat shot.

Here is a great drill to help with your takeaway. Use a 7 iron and grip the club midway down the shaft. Stick the butt of club in your belly button and take your golf posture. The club should be running between your arms and touching your belly button. Now start your backswing and keep the butt of the club attached to your stomach. Do 10 practice takeaways using this drill. What you’ll notice is that everything moves away as one piece. This ensures a solid on plane takeaway.

After doing the drill, hit 4-5 golf balls and try to keep the feeling of the one piece takeaway. Alternate between practice swings and real shots until you get the hang of it. Getting rid of those fat shots will probably take a few strokes off your game and will make you feel a lot better about it.

Use these 3 simple thoughts to improve your game the next time you play.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder of Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com.

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Spin Your Wedges Back on the Green

  It’s always cool to hit a wedge shot and see it check up on the green. There’s just something about seeing that ball react that peaks our interest. Maybe it comes from watching professional golf and seeing the pro’s do it on a regular basis. It makes us feel like them! The problem for most golfers is the spin only comes on occasion. Most of the time you watch the ball hit the green and release past the hole or over the green. If you could consistently hit wedge shots with spin they would be much easier to control. While there is no “secret tip” or trick that will make you automatically spin your wedges, there are some you can do to increase spin. Let’s look at 3 things that will help you back it up on the greens:

Correct Equipment

  Equipment is always important and this case is no different. You must have a high spin golf ball and fresh grooves to put spin on wedge shots. The pro’s you see on TV are using these and if you’re not, it’s just not going to work. From the standpoint of the golf ball you need something that is designed to spin a lot. This generally means the top end ball from a manufacturer. Something like a Titleist ProV1 or a Bridgestone B330 will work well. Using a range ball or a rock hard distance ball is the quickest way to reduce your spin. And while it does hurt to pay $50 for a dozen golf balls, it is useful in this case. From the standpoint of your wedge, you need something with new grooves that have a milled or rough clubface. Spin is a result of the friction that is created between the golf ball and the clubface. If your wedge is old and the grooves are worn that friction just won’t be there. This is also true if the grooves are full of dirt or grass. At the very least clean your grooves, but if you really want to spin the ball, get a new wedge with a milled face.

Solid Contact

  After equipment, making solid contact is the next aspect of spinning your wedges. In this case solid contact actually means 2 things. One it means hitting the golf ball on the center of the clubface. Two it means having a clean lie where the club can contact the ball without hitting grass first. The pros you see on TV spin the ball because they make solid contact. More specifically they make solid contact lower on the face. This produces the most spin possible. If you are hitting wedge shots that don’t spin, there is a good chance you are making contact higher on the face. This usually comes from scooping or trying to get the club under the ball. While there is no direct correlation to hitting down and creating spin, there is a correlation to hitting down and making solid contact. That’s what we are looking for. If you don’t already do it, focus on hitting down, leaning the shaft towards the target at impact, and taking a divot with your wedges. It will make you hit it more solid, which in turn will put more spin on the ball. As far as the lie goes, you must have a clean lie to spin the ball. This means no grass sitting between the clubface and the ball. Any grass or debris (besides sand) that gets between the face and ball will drastically reduce spin. It basically means that if you’re in the rough, don’t expect the ball to back up on the green.

Clubhead Speed

  Simple physics say that the harder you hit a golf ball the more opportunity it has to spin. This is one of the reasons why golfers like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson put a lot of spin on their wedge shots. If you imagine a robot that could hit a sand wedge 200 yards, that shot would spin a significant amount. What this means for you is that you need to hit these wedge shots with acceleration. Acceleration keeps the speed up and helps you make solid contact. If you find yourself making a big backswing with a short follow through, you’re probably decelerating into the ball. This will make it difficult to spin the ball. Keep up the speed and you will keep up the spin. Spinning wedges is cool! Follow these guidelines and you will do it on a more consistent basis.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com.

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Practice with Your Wedge and Improve Your Full Golf Swing

  You want to improve your golf game right? You’re not alone. Most golfers want to improve their games. The question is how do you do improve your golf game without spending hours each day at the range and $1000’s on golf lessons? The answer is: break the game down to what’s really important and work on that aspect. Let me ask you another question. What do you think you need to do to become a better golfer? The first thing most players would say is “I need to be more consistent”. You’ve said this before and the truth is it’s the most vague and meaningless thing a golfer could say. Of course we all want to be more consistent. Tiger Woods wants to be more consistent. But what does that really mean? Have you ever gone to the range to practice your consistency? Sounds kind of funny right? Other golfers may say “drive the ball better”, “make more putts”, or “hit more solid iron shots”. They are getting closer but to really improve we have to break it down even further. And by breaking it down further, I mean getting to the aspects that really affect your shots and your scores.

The Two Most Important Things to Your Game

  1. The Clubface 2. The Bottom of the Swing The more square you can get your clubface and the more often you can get the bottom of your swing to be in the same place, the better shots you will hit. Those are the facts of golf. Now the question is how do we more efficiently improve our clubface angle and the bottom of our swing. By Practicing Pitch Shots That’s right, hitting 30, 40, 50, and 60 yard pitch shots using the correct technique is a great way to improve your overall golf game. The reason is with the shorter swing required for a pitch shot you learn to correctly control your hands and body and thus learn how to control the clubface and bottom of the swing. It’s also easier to implement changes making smaller swings. This then translates to better results for your full shots.

This should be Your Next Practice Session

  The next time you go to the range, forget your normal routine. Take a sand wedge, some tees, and an extra club or alignment stick. Every shot you hit in this practice session will be a 30, 40, 50, or 60 yard pitch shot. Here’s how to do it: 1. Pick a very specific target. Whether it’s a net on the range, a yardage sign or a spot of dead grass, you need a target to aim at each time. 2. Place the extra club or alignment stick on the ground and have it point just left of your target (right hander). This ensures that you actually aim at your target each time. 3. Tee the ball up about a half inch off the ground (yes, you are going to hit pitch shots off of a tee). The ball should be positioned so as the club or alignment stick is between your feet and the ball. Now your practice station is set and you are ready to hit. Start at 30 yards and gradually work your way up to 50 and 60. With this practice station you will receive immediate feedback on the bottom of the swing and the clubface. Teeing the ball up demonstrates solid contact. The goal is to make contact with the golf ball and then the ground. • If you make contact with the golf ball, then the clubhead lightly contacts the ground, you have made solid contact. • If you “pick” the ball off the tee without hitting the ground, the bottom of your swing is too far back and you need to focus on swinging down and making ground contact. • If your club digs into the ground you need to shallow your swing and focus on having the clubhead “thump” the ground instead of digging. The goal of the target and alignment stick are to show the clubface angle at impact. • If the ball goes at the target, your clubface is square. • If the ball goes left of the target, your clubface is closed. • If the ball goes right of the target, your clubface is open. Based on how your golf ball flies you may need to make a grip adjustment or focus on your hand action through the shot. If your hands “flip” through impact, the ball will tend to go left. If you “hold” your hands too much the ball will tend to go right.

Two Things to Remember When Practicing Pitch Shots

  1. Make your backswing and follow through similar sizes. A big backswing and a short follow through equal’s deceleration. A short backswing and a big follow through equals over acceleration. Both make it difficult to hit solid shots. 2. Let your body rotate through the shot. A lot of golfers like to hit pitch shots only using their hands. This turns into “flipping” hands and poor contact. Let your upper body rotate through the shot and have your chest face the target in the follow through. The next time you head to the range, ditch your normal plan. Take a sand wedge, alignment stick, and some tees. Use this drill to practice your pitch shots and you will see better, pitch shots, iron shots and drives the next time you play.  

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com.

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Learn to Keep Your Golf Ball Out of the Wind

  One of the great things about golf is that we have no control over the environment and it’s never the same. Other sports are played pretty much on the same field or court from place to place. The wind is one of these factors we have to pay attention to every time we play golf. Depending on where you live and play it may be subtle or it may be intense. Whatever the case you have to know how the wind affects your shots and how to compensate for it. Here’s a look at three different situations, what they do to your golf ball, and how to best navigate each situation:

Into the Wind

  This is the situation you mostly think of when talking about playing in the wind. You’re sitting at the 150 marker, and the breeze is directly in your face. What should you do? The main thing to remember in this situation is that the higher you hit the shot, the more the wind will affect it. This seems obvious but many players don’t factor it in. The other thing to remember here is that the harder you hit a shot, the higher it will typically go. Use this method when hitting into the wind. Take 1-2 more clubs than normal, position the ball in the middle of your stance, make a ¾ sized backswing, and make a ¾ sized follow through. Taking more club will ensure a lower ball flight, the ball centered in the stance will do the same, and the smaller swing will ensure the swing stays under control. One thing to avoid when hitting into the wind is taking your normal club and swinging harder. This becomes difficult to control.

Downwind

  Hitting downwind is the easiest of the situations but can have its issues as well. It’s great to stand up on the tee box and hit a drive downwind as it usually produces you're longest drives. However, it becomes difficult when trying to hit and iron shot into a green and judge the distance correctly. When hitting downwind you need to remember that the wind still affects the flight of the ball. This is why it is still better to play a lower shot when hitting downwind. It will much easier to control your distance. Use the same technique to hit the ball lower as you would playing into the wind. The only change will be your club selection. Instead of taking 1-2 more clubs you can usually get away with using your normal club for that situation with a smaller swing as the wind will add a little distance.

Crosswind

  Hitting golf shots with crosswinds can be the toughest of all the situations. If you’re a left to right player and you have a left to right wind, you could see a lot of movement on your shot. The same is true in a right to left situation. The big thing to take into account for crosswinds is what kind of shot you normally play and what the situation is in the landing area. If you always slice the golf ball with the driver and you step up to the tee and there is water right and a left to right wind, you have an issue. Instead of taking your normal swing and watching the shot land in the water, aim well further to the left, or even better club down to a three wood or hybrid which will curve less. The same is true from the fairway. If you’re fighting a hook and you’ve got 160 with a deep bunker left, club down from a seven to six iron and aim a little further right. Taking less club will produce a lower shot which will be less affected by the wind. The wind can be frustrating but it is manageable. Use these tips and you’ll find it much easier to determine where your golf ball ends up.  

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com.

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Is Your Golf Brain Overwhelmed? Get Back to Basics with the Setup

  As golfers we are always in search of the newest, shiniest, and best new stuff. This goes for golf clubs, golf courses, and unfortunately for many golfers, swing thoughts. We’re just starting to see what technology can do for the golf swing. There are many new gadgets that provide great data about what is really happening in the swing. This data is useful in the hands of qualified instructors, as it provides a better look at how to diagnose the golf swing. Unfortunately for many golfers this kind of information can be overwhelming and difficult to understand on their own. This often leads to players coming away in worse shape than when they started. If this sounds familiar and your brain is overwhelmed with swing thoughts, step back and look at the basics. Most swing issues usually start from a faulty setup, so improving it is one of the quickest ways to find success. Here are a few simple things to look at with your setup:

Grip

  The grip is at the top of the list when it comes to what matters in the golf swing. It determines what happens with the clubface, which determines where the golf ball starts and how it curves. If your grip is weak you’re setting the clubface in an open position and will have to use a lot of hand action to square the clubface at impact. This could result in slicing or inconsistent hooks. If your grip is too strong you’re setting the clubface in a closed position. This could result in hooks and pulls. A good rule of thumb is to set your grip in a neutral position. To do this get the crease formed between the thumb and index finger of your left hand to point to your right shoulder. Do the same with the crease in your right hand. If both of these point to your right shoulder you grip will relatively neutral and it will be easier to get the clubface square.

Ball Position

  Ball position plays a big role in the golf swing as it affects the angle that the club approaches the ball. This in turn affects how solidly we hit the ball and at what trajectory it flies on. If the golf ball is too far back in the stance, the swing will tend to be steep. With a steep swing it becomes easy to hit behind the ball and the trajectory will be lower. If the golf ball is positioned too far forward the swing will tend to be shallow. This could lead to hitting the ball thin, or behind, and the trajectory may be too high. A good rule of thumb for ball position is to break it into three clubs, the wedge, seven iron, and driver. For the wedge the ball should positioned even with the middle of your body. Use the belt buckle or zipper as a guide for this. Ball position for the driver should be even with the left armpit. This allows you to hit up on the ball. Ball position for the seven iron should be in between the two. Use the center of the logo on your shirt as a guide for the seven iron. The ball position for the rest of your clubs should be based on small variations of the three. This gives you the best opportunity to make solid contact.

Aim

  The reason aim is important should be rather self-explanatory. If you want to hit the ball at particular target, the best way to do it is to aim at that target. You can hit good shots aiming away from the target, but some swing manipulation will be required. In fact, a lot of swing faults start because a player is aiming left or right without realizing it. Subconsciously the golf swing will try to move the ball back to the target. A good way to practice aim is to use an alignment stick or a club. Place the stick on the ground and have it aim slightly left of the target. Now place the golf ball on the side of the stick so that the stick is between your feet and the ball. Having the stick point slightly left of the target accounts for the fact that it’s not on the same line as the golf ball. After practicing with an alignment stick, you will train your eyes to what is square and will find it much easier to aim properly on the golf course.

Alignment

  Alignment and aim go hand in hand but are not quite the same. Alignment refers to how your body is aligned in reference to where you are aimed. This means where your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders are pointed at address. If your body is set open to the target line you may struggle with a slice. If your body is set closed to the target line your swing path may be too much in to out. These are things that can make a big difference in how your swing performs on the golf course. A good rule of thumb is to setup square to the target. Use a club or alignment stick to check your feet and have a friend or playing partner look at your shoulder alignment. The more consistently you can setup square the easier it will be to hit solid shots. If you're overwhelmed with swing thoughts, take a step back and focus on the basics. Your swing and your brain will thank you.  

Clay Hood is PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com

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