Sunday, December 22, 2013

Who Else Wants to Automatically Make Short Putts?

Obviously, you do! Or else you wouldn't be reading this right now, right?

I've go to tell ya, this is one area that alludes me a lot of times out on the golf course. I miss the short putts when I should automatically make them.

It always seems to happen when I make a good drive off the tee, followed by a great 2nd or 3rd shot down near the green (or on the green sometimes), and then a nice chip or long lag putt to around the cup.

I line up for the short putt, to end the hole with a pretty decent score, but then I miss the putt. Sometimes twice!!

Are you feeling me?!? Ugh!!!

Well, here is a simple drill that I've been trying recently and it has made a huge improvement in my making short putts. It's not 100% foolproof, but when it comes to golf what is! Here's the drill:

  • Go to the practice green
  • Find a hole that is relatively flat
  • Take your putter and line up about 1 foot away from the hole
  • Without using a ball, make a few practice strokes
  • Your goal is to make sure that your putter-head goes directly over the hole (not to the right or to the left)
  • Keep does this practice drill until you can automatically make your putter-head pass over the hole perfectly every time
  • Once it feels natural to you, drop a ball down and see what your results are

I've made it a habit to arrive early to whatever golf course I'm playing and head over to the putting green. I practice numerous long lag putts first.

When I feel pretty confident with my lag putting, I pick up my ball and perform this simple drill. I keep doing it until putting the ball in the cup feels good.

My confidence feels boosted and I'm ready to go knock in those short putts. Now if only I could get the ball off the tee as consistently!

The Secret of Hitting Longer Drives Off the Tee

When you have been around golf for any amount of time you end up hearing certain phrases that are supposed to be tried and true golf tips.

For example, you may have heard the phrase, 'tee it high and let it fly'. Have you heard it!

Like I said, if you've been around for awhile, this has been spouted out regularly. I've done it religiously since I heard it.

But you know what? For some reason it never really worked for me.

I have a big headed driver with a great shaft and you would think that teeing the ball up high and hitting it on a slightly upward swing that I'd kill the ball down the fairway. Not!!

Yep, I'd concentrate on making sure that my ball was sitting about half way above my driver head, I'd play the ball forward in my stance and then I'd let it rip. But I'd never get any good distance.

Not to mention that my ball would go high and to the right or left. Man, this game can be frustrating!

But then I was told that this was only for professionals and amateurs that had really fast swing speeds. And that instead I should line up the middle of my driver heads sweet spot with the middle of my golf ball.

Well, when I tried this, the first few times I ended up topping the ball horribly. So, needless to say, at first I wasn't convinced.

But I kept trying it and after moving the ball back a little in my stance I ending up hitting the ball pure. Boy did it go!

Not only did my ball fly straighter (bonus) but it travels a lot farther down the fairway. It seems to stay in the air longer and it rolls more as well on dry ground.

Give this tip a try and see what you think!

Here is a Method That is Helping Amateurs to Score Lower

How many of you are like me when it comes to trying to hit your chip shots, you grab one of your wedges and you try to get the ball close by feel. No matter how far off the green, you always grab the same club.

Do you do this? I've been guilty of quickly pulling my sand wedge and my lob wedge out of my bag and head off to chip my ball.

The problem is I'm never consistent with getting my chip near the hole. I either hit the ball too high and it stops short, de-accelerate and hit the ball low with no roll, or I top it and it goes sailing over the green.

Don't get me wrong, I also make some pretty good shots as well. But like I said I'm just consistent enough.

I was given this tip years ago but I never really applied it on the golf course until recently. I noticed one of my playing partners taking 3 different clubs with him when he was chipping.

I asked him later at the 19th hole which clubs he liked to use when chipping and what he told me reminded me of the tip I had received years prior. Here is what he does:

  • If his golf ball is just a few yards off the green he uses his 5 iron to chip
  • If his ball is more like 5 to 8 yards from the green he uses his 7 iron
  • If his ball is 10 to 15 yards away from the green then he uses his 9 iron

This reminder was basically what I had been told before. Your goal is to play the shot exactly the same each time but use a different club to get the distance you need.

So my ball position stays the same, my swing stays the same, and the results usually are more consistent.

I started incorporating this in my game again and even though it isn't as exciting as hitting a nice high lob shot to right next to the pin like Phil Michelson, I have been able to get the ball onto the green quicker and rolling better to the hole.

It can't hurt to try this tip, so go out and give it a shot during your next round!

Little Known Ways to Hitting a Hybrid

The biggest game improvement club that I have put into my golf bag has been my hybrid. I was skeptical about using a club like this a few years ago but now I absolutely love it.

The best thing about this club is when you learn to hit it correctly, it plays exactly the same pretty much each and every time. It is my favorite club.

A lot of golfers that buy a hybrid assume you must hit it like a fairway wood off the ground. I did the same thing.

When I first took it out on the golf course I would play the club forward in my stance and try to sweep it off the ground. I would end up topping it.

But then I decided to try and hit it more like an iron. I moved the ball into the middle of my stance and concentrated on hitting down on the ball.

Wow! The ball rocketed off the club face and it landed soft onto the green. Boy, I was impressed.

Ever since then this is the way I play my hybrid from about 170 yards out and it shines like no other. 

But the other method I had to get used to was hitting it off a tee. I again had a wood mentality. I played the ball high off the tee, forward in my stance, and it seemed like all I ever seemed to do was pop-fly the ball.

For a while I would only use the hybrid off the fairway and not on the tee box. But it really frustrated me because I was really accurate with this club.

So I set out to figure out the hybrid method of hitting it off a tee was. Do you want to know what I found?

Well, the answer ended up being obvious. I learned to tee the ball up slightly and play the ball just like I do off the fairway. That's it!

The only reason I use a tee from off the tee box is for confidence, but my ball position and my hitting down on the ball is exactly the same as from the fairway. 

These methods for hitting a hybrid has worked tremendously for me and the game has gotten funner as a result. See what you come up with if you are struggling with this golf club.

Get Rid of Poor Performance Once and For All

When I was trying to break 100 in golf I would sleep and breathe golf. I would read about it, I was constantly talking to others about the game, I created this blog, and I would constantly practice out on the course and mentally.

I remembered that I would put in 100% effort and because of that I reached my goal of breaking 100 on a consistent basis. Yes, my effort gave me great results.

But did I continue with that effort? To be honest, NO!

I just figured that since I broke 100 that I had now figured enough of the game out to just keep making great results. But this faulty thinking resulted in my game becoming stagnate.

Not that I started shooting in the 100's again, but my score never seemed to improve. In fact, my performance became poor and I lost interest in it.

Sad to say, I have let this mentality, for whatever reason, to continue with me for a few years now. And as a result it has resulted in zero improvements and disappointment.

But now, after some close examination, I have once again found that spark to play good again and hopefully make some improvement.

My poor performance over these last few years has not been because the game has changed but because I have changed. I had become lazy physically and mentally.

So now to get rid of my poor performance once and for all I have decided to get back to the formula that I used in the beginning. Do you want to know what it is:

  • Set a goal
  • Start to live, breathe, and sleep golf
  • Read about it, talk about it, and practice
  • Visualize different scenarios on the course and how you would play them

This is what I did when I started out and this is what I am currently doing again. Those few key things were what made me improve. 100% effort resulted in significant results.

My 0% effort, over the last few years, has resulted in zero results. So can you see the contrast?

So I am getting back to 100% effort!

My goal is to now break 90 regularly. 

I have started to let golf back into my life by letting it consume me.

I've pulled out my old golf magazines, I watch golf on TV, I've asked to go and play with my buddies regularly again, I'm writing about it again on this blog, and I'm practicing any chance I get.

In fact, as I'm sitting here writing this post, I've been thinking about some of my best golf shots and trying to visualize them.

I realize that in order to move to the next level, I will need to focus even more than before. But I still have to get in the groove of doing the basics. So that is where I am at now.

How about you? Are you ready to get rid of poor performance once and for all?

The winning formula is 100% effort! Give it a shot!!!

Here's a Quick Way to Make the Game of Golf Fresh Again

Since it's been a while since I've taken golf seriously, I've been trying to think of a quick way to inspire myself and to make golf fresh again.

After some thought, I was drawn back to when I worked for a golf store and we would recommend to golfers to get their clubs re-gripped every season. Believe it or not, the majority of golfers ignored this advice.

I guess that makes me a part of the majority because I personally quite this advice and I haven't re-gripped my clubs in years! Why?

Not sure really. Laziness I guess. When you get comfortable with something you tend to stick with what you think is working at the moment, but in reality it isn't working.

 So to get my butt back into gear and onto my goal of breaking 90, I have set up a new years resolution to get all my clubs re-gripped. Not only that, I am going to go get my grips fitted to me and my swing.

I've done this in the past and it is amazing how good it makes my clubs feel. They actually feel like new again and this is what I want.

Try this quick way yourself and make the get the game of golf fresh in your life again!!

Now You Can Know Your Yardage and Pick the Right Club

If you have access to an iPhone or an Android phone you can use apps that show you your on course yardages. I have unlimited data use on my Android phone and I take full advantage of it by using the app called FreeCaddie.

This free app, available on Play Store, has been a blessing. I cannot believe how accurate it is.

Both me and my playing partner use it. He has an iphone and me an Android. And when we compare our yardages they are almost always a match.

We played with another guy a few weeks back that was using a different GPS based golf app and it was amazing how far off his was compared to ours. I'm not sure what the name of his was though, sorry.

But anyway, we all stood on the 150 yard marker and compared all of our phones and ours said 151 yards to the center of the green and his said 163!

This explained why all of his golf shots were flying long. This obviously made him pretty upset.

By the end of the round, though, he had downloaded the FreeCaddie app was starting to play a lot better. Not saying our app is the best, but it sure works great for us amateurs.

It's not a super technical or detailed golf GPS app. For example, it doesn't show how many yards to the first fairway bunker, or how far the greenside bunker is in the back. But it does show you what the front, middle, and rear yardages to the green are. That's pretty much it.

But that's all I need, I love using the FreeCaddie Golf GPS and you should give it a try yourself, unless you already have one that you like. If you do, then awesome!!!

Practice Like the Professionals

In one of my previous posts I mentioned practicing golf. When I say practice I don't mean just going to the range and hitting ball after ball.

That's not going to do it!

What I mean is: practice golf with a purpose. Here it is put simply:

  • If you are a beginner, practice the basics
  • If you are a little more experienced then practice the basics and some more specific things
  • If your extremely experienced, then practice the basics, fine-tune the specifics, and turn them into a habit

Some things that I consider basic are:

  • Find a fairway wood (which might be your driver or not) that you can hit consistently off the tee
  • Find a mid-iron (4-6 iron) that you can hit off the turf
  • Find a short iron (7-9 iron) that you can hit with ease
  • Find a wedge (PW, SW, LW) that you are comfortable with
  • Getting the feel of your putter by doing long, medium and short putts

Yes, as a beginner, choose only 1 wood to hit, 1 mid iron, 1 short iron, and 1 wedge. Practice hitting these clubs until you can do it with ease.

Some things that I consider more specific to practice as you gain experience are:

  • Increase your fairway accuracy with your fairway wood off the tee
  • Learn your yardages for your mid irons, short irons, and your wedges
  • From 100 yards and in, learn to fine-tune your accuracy
  • Learn to chip consistently
  • Get your long lag putts within a 3 foot circle

By this point you should be a little more familiar with your other clubs in your bag. By adding them in gradually to your practice you will be able to feel more comfortable putting them into play on the course.

If you are extremely experienced you should focus on the basics, some of the more specifics above, and fine-tuning them. For example:

  • Check your alignment on all shots to make sure you are lining up accuratately
  • Learn to adjust your hands up and down your golf grips to dial in better yardages
  • Learn to hit your golf ball high or low (in case of on-course trouble, like trees)
  • Learn to bump and run your golf shot, do the flop shot
  • Practice all facets of your putting especially putts within 10 feet

These of course are just examples, but they are a good place to start if you want to improve your golf game. You and I may never end up being good enough to be professionals, but we sure can put in the practice like they do.

If we do, it will pay off. Now let's get out and practice!

Buy a Golf Ball That is Suited For You

To be honest, that title is a little misleading on my part. I used to sell golf balls at a golf store and I have a little bit knowledge about them, but I don't know enough to pick one that is suited for your game.

There is so much technology out there today when it comes to golf equipment that it can be a little overwhelming. But the nice thing about golf balls is you can find a lot of information you need right on the box.

You certainly can't find that on a set of irons, a driver, or even a putter. But a box of golf balls will tell you a lot and who they are primarily made for.

What I have found is when you are first starting out, it doesn't matter what ball you play. Within a few holes you are probably going to lose it anyways.

Am I right?

A beginner has so much on his mind that how a golf ball feels or performs is rather insignificant for now. Even some minor experienced players can't tell the difference.

I played golf with an older gentlemen years ago who never bought a brand new golf ball, ever! He preferred used golf balls that he found out on the course, and that was sold in the clubhouse for $.50 each, and he shot regularly in the 80's.

That's no joke!

I have found that for me it comes down to price. If I'm playing poorly I only buy cheap golf balls. I go to Wal-Mart and buy the cheapest Wilsons.

If I'm beginning to play better, then I upgrade to a little better ball, and so on. I also have set a goal for myself: when I can finally shoot a round in the 80's I will treat myself to a new box of Pro V1's!

However, I've played with some golfers that judge you by the name brand of your equipment. Maybe you have too.

If that it is true in your case and it bothers you what your playing partners think, then buy name brand golf balls that cost more. It's up to you, it doesn't bother me, though. Just saying.

Just know this, that the older gentlemen I referred to earlier, who only plays used balls, will probably be playing your name brand ball soon, because you will put in the woods, in the rough, or in the water sooner or later.

Trust me!! I've been there (he was playing a ball one day that had my initials that I had written on it)! Ouch!

What Everybody Ought to Know About Playing Par 3's

Here are a few simple tips that you can use when playing par 3's:

  • Always use a tee (give yourself a perfect ball position)
  • From the tee box place your tee on the same side as trouble (i.e. water on right, tee up on right side)
  • Play your natural shot (whether a fade or a draw)
  • Pick the right club to fly the distance to between the front and back of the green (notice I didn't say to the middle)
  • Concentrate on putting the ball on the green (forget about the pin position)

These tips have always been my thoughts when playing a par 3. It is really rare that I make a birdie so all I concentrate on is getting a 3 or a 4.

When I use a tee on a par 3, I find a broken tee on the tee box and push it into the ground so just the head is above the ground. The ball looks like it is just hovering above the ground.

This gives me extreme confidence!

By teeing up on the same side of trouble, you will most likely be playing away from danger. Of course, if the green is surrounded by water or bunkers then this doesn't apply. That's rare though, thank goodness!!

When I say play your natural shot, I mean just that! Whatever shot you brought to the course that day, play!

If you have practiced enough with your clubs and your know their average distances, figure out the distance to the front of the green and to the back of the green and pick the club that will get to in between that distance.

I use my FreeCaddie Golf GPS app and what I like to do, is check the distance to the back of the green and the distance to front of the green. And I pick a club that will easily land in between those 2 numbers.

For example, if the GPS says 136 to the front and 158 to the back, I pick a club that I can easily clear 136 yards but won't travel 158. Which for me is my 7 iron.

It doesn't matter to me that the card says the hole is 147. That puts pressure on me to try and reach that number. By having a large gap, it gives me room for error.

Once you have made up your mind with those first four tips, then you need to get everything else out of your head. Don't think about the pin, bunkers, water, etc. Focus only on the center of the green and let it rip.

Should everybody know these tips for playing par 3's? I think so! Give them a try and pass them on to your friends.