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An Easier Way to Play the Flop Shot

  You watch plenty of golf on TV. I’m sure you’ve seen and been amazed by players like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods hitting those full swing, open face, super high flop shots. They look awesome and the results are usually amazing for those guys. Now let’s think about your golf game. You’ve short sided yourself, there isn’t much green to work with, and you’ve got a bunker between you and the hole. So you think you’ll try a flop shot like the pros on TV hit. There’s one problem; you don’t have the same amount of talent as they do. You probably see very mixed results. One time you chunk the shot in the bunker. The next you catch it a little thin and hit it over the green. You may see a few decent shots but not on the consistent basis to have confidence in what you’re doing. The good news is that there is a better way to hit this shot. A more consistent, easier way that doesn’t require as much timing or hand action. Here is how to hit the flop shot with better results:

A More Conservative Setup

  The typical setup for a flop shot would consist of a wide stance, a very open stance, a very open clubface, the ball well forward, and a sitting or squatting motion with the body. A better way, a more conservative way to setup is as follows: • Stance slightly wider than shoulder width • Stance slightly open to the target • Weight evenly distributed over the feet • Club slightly open to the target • Ball positioned even with the left armpit This is a setup that will make it easier to hit solid shots and control your distance.

Don’t Make a Huge Swing

  The reason you see tour players make a huge swing with flop shots is that the harder you hit a ball, the higher it can potentially go. The other side of this coin is that the harder you hit a ball, the higher the chances of a mishit become. A better way to go is to make only as much swing as you need to move the ball the correct distance. There’s no magic answer to how big of a swing produces a certain distance shot, but you definitely don’t need a huge swing around the greens. Experiment with some medium sized swings and get a feel for how far the shot travels using your new setup. You’ll see that with a more reasonable swing, the chances of good contact become much higher.

There’s No Need to Flip the Wrists

  You may see a pro flipping their wrists past the ball when hitting the flop shot. This works for them because they have really good timing and it helps to add loft to the club by sliding it under the ball. This should be a big no-no for you because it raises the difficulty level to a 10. If you’re trying to flip your wrists and slide the club under the ball you are going to see a lot of mis-hits. It’s also going to be really difficult to judge how far the ball travels. A better way is to have the feeling of the hands slightly leading the clubhead at impact and the bottom of your wedge thumping the ground. By leading with your hands you will ensure that the clubface stays open through impact. It’s this open clubface that produces the height on the shot. Feeling the bottom of the wedge thump the ground helps with solid contact. It’s solid contact that makes it much easier to control how far the ball travels. To recap, if you want a simpler way to hit the flop shot use a more conservative setup, make a smaller swing, and let the hands lead the clubhead through impact. The will produce the results you are looking for on a much 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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3 Ways to Better Bunker Shots on the Golf Course

It looks so easy right? You see a pro playing golf on TV and he hops in the sand, takes an effortless swing, and hits his bunker shot 2 feet from the hole. You think to yourself “I should be able to do that”. You then proceed to step in the sand, take a violent lash at the ball, and watch it stay in the bunker or even worse, fly across the green at 100 mph right past your friends head. So what gives? Why aren’t you hitting those nice sand shots right by the hole? The answer is you need a slight adjustment in the way you approach the shot. Bunker shots can intimidating but they don’t have to be. Here are 3 simple tips you can use to hit better shots from the sand:

Check Your Ball Position

  Most of us know that when hitting a greenside bunker shot you hit the sand first, which in turn moves the ball out of the bunker. The distance you hit behind the ball is debatable but anywhere from 2-5 inches depending on the player and type of sand will work. In order to achieve this, the ball must be correctly positioned in relation to your body. The proper ball position for a bunker shot is even with the left (forward) arm pit. This allows the club head to enter the sand just before the bottom of the swing. This will result in the club hitting slightly behind the ball and solid bunker shots. If the golf ball is positioned too far back in the stance the club will tend to dig into the sand. If the golf ball is positioned too far forward the will be coming up and it will be easy to hit behind the ball of catch it very thin. Put down an alignment stick or club to make sure your ball is positioned even with the left arm pit.

Don’t Make the Sand the Target

  The biggest phobia in the sand for most golfers is the fear of sculling the shot and seeing it fly across the green. Because of this fear, golfers make hitting the sand their only goal. This usually results in the club digging into the sand and inconsistent shots. When hitting a bunker shot the target is the where you’re trying to hit the ball, not the sand. Take practice swings and feel the golf club swinging through the sand and through to the target. You’ll find when doing this the golf club thumps the sand instead of digging. This swinging through the shot and the thump are what produce solid bunker shots.

Make a Big Enough Swing

  For the most part the bunker shot is the only shot where the golf club doesn’t make contact with the ball. The club hits the sand and the sand in turn moves the ball out of the bunker. Because of this the energy transferred to the golf ball is reduced. Simply said, a bunker shot will not go as far as a regular shot because of the sand. To account for this you have to make a bigger swing in the sand. This should be common sense but many golfers make small swings and expect good results with their bunker shots. Watch any professional golfer on TV and you’ll see them take a much larger than normal swing for even a short bunker shot. Take some practice swings in the sand and feel the bigger golf swing and feel the club finishing through the swing. This extra speed you create with a bigger swing will easily move the ball out of the bunker and onto the green. So to recap, if you want to hit better bunker shots check your ball position, don’t make the sand the target, and make a bigger swing. Do these things and you will have more success in the sand.     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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Add Yards to Your Tee Shot- 3 Easy Ways

  If you asked 10 golfers what they would love to add to their game, 8 would say “add a few yards to my drive”. The other 2 (the smart ones) would ask for a better short game. These 2 guys would probably beat you, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s fun to hit the ball a long way and everyone wants to do it. There’s a good reason players like Bubba Watson and John Daly are super popular. And with the way the professional game is headed we now see many more bombers than control players. Now you probably won’t be able to crack the 300 yard mark but you can add a few yards to drive. Here are 3 things that are easy to work on and will make a difference in what club you have left into the green:

Check Your Ball Position

  Ball position is huge from a distance standpoint. It affects how solid you hit the ball and also affects how the ball launches off the driver. Both of these are important in producing maximum distance. A golf ball positioned too far back in the stance it will tend to launch too low and it will be easier to hit the ball high on the clubface. A ball positioned too far forward will it easier to hit the ball low on the clubface. The optimal ball position for a driver should be the even with the outside of your left (front) shoulder. The left armpit area is the bottom of the swing and positioning the ball slightly in front of that ensures contact is made as driver starts to work up. You want to make contact slightly on the upswing with the driver. This provides the best opportunity to make solid contact and launch the ball in the air. To check your ball position use a golf club or an alignment stick and place it on the ground perpendicular to your target. Position it inside of your left foot and you’ll get a good visual of where the golf ball sits in relation to your shoulder.

Flare Your Back Foot

  A good way to add swing speed is to create more body rotation on the backswing. The more you rotate the longer the swing arc becomes and more speed is created. Unfortunately most golfers lack flexibility which is a big key to rotating. A good way to make up for this is by flaring or pointing your feet out. When you flare the feet it allows for more movement in the hips. With more range of motion in the hips you will be able to turn more on the backswing. Setup with your normal stance and give your right (back) foot about a 10 degree turn away from the target. This may close your stance slightly which is OK. Now take some practice swings and focus on rotating the shoulders behind the ball. You will find with the flared foot that your hips have more room to turn and thus your shoulders will have more room to turn.

Slow Down the Backswing

  Players who create power gradually build that power during the swing and then have the maximum power delivered at the golf ball. You see good examples of this with players like Gary Woodland and Bubba Watson with their slower takeaways and rips through the ball. A lot of amateur golfers think in order to swing faster they need to swing quicker. This is not usually the case and can lead to problems such as poor timing and a disconnected golf swing. If you really want to hit it further, slow down the backswing. Feel the hands, arms, and club move away at a more deliberate pace. This will allow the power to build gradually throughout the swing and will lead to better tempo and connection. When you do this you will feel the golf club working up to the top of the swing and will feel the maximum velocity as the club approaches the ball. If a few extra yards would help your golf game, try these tips the next time you make it to the range. You’ll see an increase in clubhead speed and an increase in distance.  

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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