Archive for the ‘A+Featured Swing Tips’ Category

The Trigger Golf Grip!

Friday, May 13th, 2011

You know, I’ve had a ton of success with the trigger golf grip in the past and one of my previous swing teacher taught me this.  It’s also the same golf grip shared by Greg Norman and John Daly.

Although Greg Norman doesn’t mention it in his book, you can clearly tell in close-up photos that Greg Norman indeed used a trigger golf grip most of his career.

What’s a trigger golf grip?

Instead of placing your right thumb on the grip, you actually place your right hand a bit left of the grip so it wraps around the grip and touches your index finger.

Below are some photos explaining how to implement the trigger golf grip:

Above is a regular golf grip, where the right thumb is still on the golf grip.

Above shows a “trigger” golf grip where your thumb wraps around the golf club to touch your index finger.

 

From the side, you can see clearly my right thumb is touching my index finger.

Honestly, I’ve been using a conventional golf grip until today but I decided to go back to my old trigger golf grip and guess what happened.  I am hitting the golf ball way better and my right hand no longer is interfering.

Where can you use this golf grip?

You can use it for anything, I use it for even my pitch shots and chip shots because it take my right hand away completely from manipulating near impact.

If you have seen some high-speed photos of Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson, you probably know that their right hand (and Phil’s left hand) comes off the grip completely near impact.  Well, you don’t have to be Fred or Phil to do the same thing, you can just use this trigger golf grip.

If you don’t believe me, go grab a golf club right now and grip it with a conventional grip and see how much you can twist your golf club.

Then use the trigger golf grip and see how much you can twist your golf club, probably like 100 times less, exactly my point.

What this trigger golf grip will do?

The trigger golf grip will pretty much allow you to swing the golf club correctly through the impact with no manipulation with the right hand.

Why does conventional golf teach golfers to put the right thumb on the golf grip?

Even God doesn’t know the answer behind this but for 99% of golfers, using the trigger golf club will help them hit the golf ball better as it teaches them to swing the golf club without the right hand.

I told you about a week ago how to practice with the left arm.  Really, the left arm does your whole golf swing pretty much, the right arm/hands are just there for support and conventional grip is bad for that.

Try it, trigger grip can help fix hooks, slices, and add additional 20 yards to your golf swing.

Hey, if it works for me, Greg Norman, and John Daly, it must work!  And I am surprised not many golf teaching pros are teaching this more.

 

Are you Chunking Pitch/Chip Shots?

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

When I play with my hacker golfer friends (who shoot beyond 100 on average), one of the things that I do them over and over again during the course of round is “chunking” their pitch shots/chip shots.

So, how do you “not” chunk pitch/chip shots?

It’s pretty simple, most of my hacker friend who are chunking are trying the help the golf ball instead of hitting down on it.

If you have this trouble many times on the golf course, here’s some simple tips that can help you hit them good everytime:

1. When you setup to the golf ball, make sure your weight is a bit on the left (perhaps 60% on the left and 40% on the right will do for right-handed golfers). This will eliminate any chances of you thinning or chunking.

2. Also when you are setting up to the golf ball, make sure your hands are slightly ahead of the ball. If not, you are setup for chunking.

3. When you hit the pitch/chip shot, hit “down” on the golf ball and “through” until you have finished the shot. A lot of golfers “decelerate” on their downswing and this will cause chunking.

These three tips should help you stop chunking those pitch/chip shots and helping you save more strokes.

Even if you are not chunking, perhaps you can help out your friend who chunks. :)

Of course, there are advanced methods to pitching/chipping to but these tips are for those of you who have a chronic “chunking” problem.

How to Exercise Right to Increase Your Driving Distance!

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Every golfer in this world wants to hit their drives farther (not straighter but farther), and believe me, I’ve been doing exercises to improve my driving distance for the last 20+ years.

So, what are the best exercises to increase your driving distance?

I wish I had my own workout room and take a bunch of photos (which I will in the near future) but for now, let me just tell you which areas of your body you need to strengthen to increase your driving distance.

1. Forearms & Wrists – You want to strengthen your forearms and wrists because it will help you control the ball better out of the rough and also help you control the ball better. Look at every long hitter in golf history and you will see most of them have popeye-like forearms. You can get one of those wrist exercisers you can carry with you. (I used to carry this very wrist exerciser everywhere with me when I was in high school and college so I can work out my forearms and wrists while I am studying.) There’s also many ball hand exercisers too so your options are limitless when it comes to exercising your forearms and wrists on your off-time from golf. Forearms & wrists don’t necessarily add a lot of distance to your drives directly but because your strengthened forearms and wrists will better help you control the golf club, your drives will be hit more squarely in the sweetspot and result in longer drives.

2. Rotator-Cuffs – These are the crucial muscles in your golf swing, the rotate cuffs are basically the muscles under your shoulders that allow you to “rotate” in a golf swing. You need to strengthen your rotator cuffs as much as possible as they play a major role in a golf swing (and tennis too). Having strong rotator cuffs can also help you with lots of things such as lessen strain on your back, be able to rotate your shoulders faster (therefore hit the ball longer), and are basis for a golf swing.

3. Legs – A lot of people like to go to the gym and work only on their upper body and really, the legs are the muscles in golf that give you more balance, stability, and utmost, power. It doesn’t matter what kind of leg exercises you do really but make sure you work out your legs often and make sure they are strong, you will get more yards.

4. Abdominals – Believe it or not, working out your abdominals can be very healthy for your golf swing, your back, and also hit the ball longer. The golf swing is driven by the power of your core, which is your abdominals. And since abdominals play a big factor in your back aches, I highly recommend you do work out your abdominals often and make them as strong as possible. And yes, there “are” exceptions but having strong abdominal muscles can only help you in golf.

Overall, any exercise is good for golf in my opinion, just make sure you also do lots of stretching to stay flexible because that is also another key to adding MPH to your drives.

One more thing (this is an advice my chiropractor gave me), you might want to swing the opposite way often. For example, if you are right-handed, do some left-handed swings every once in awhile. Because of how human body is structured, if you hit lots of golf balls, your spine tends to get a bit awry, this is inevitable fact of golf, your spine will twist and turn the wrong way if you keep swingin’ only one way. To counter-set that, just swing the other way too. This is really for preventing back injuries but believe me, I’ve had more back injuries (due to golf) than anyone else I know. Having a good back and knowing good exercises to prevent back pain is also another key to your golfing career going longer.

How Hard Should I Hit The Golf Ball on my Driver and Irons?

Friday, May 6th, 2011

A lot of amateur golfers hit the ball with 100% (or more) of their effort and this is main reason they can not hit the golf ball with control.

One of the secrets of scratch and pro golfers is that they never swing out of control.

So, how do you swing in control?

As a rule of thumb, you should never swing more than 75-80% of your maximum effort.

The only time you would swing with 100% effort is when you are hitting driver off a par 5 hole where there’s no trouble on the left or right. But for most shots, you can get better control of your shots simply by throttling down how hard you hit the ball, and 75% is a good number.

Even I forget to do this sometimes as golf makes you want to just hit the ball darn hard but remember, whether you hit the golf ball with 75% effort perfectly square in the sweetspot of the club or you hit it 100% effort but miss the sweetspot, the results are going to be similar except the 75% effort swing will most likely go straighter at your target.

This can surely take several strokes off your strokes next time you play.

So, next time you play, don’t go over 75-80% of your maximum effort on all your driver/iron full shots. I bet your golf scores will go down.

This also helps you control adrenalin because you are not trying so hard at golf. Good golf is supposed to be easy, you shouldn’t try that hard.

Next time you get a chance, watch carefully how effortless a PGA pro swings the golf club.

Here’s Fred Couples hitting the driver:

Even though he probably bombed it, can you see that he’s swinging in full control, not all out 100% but maybe 75%?

You Must Put That Club Down When You Practice!

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

One of the mistakes golfers make when they are on the range is that they don’t “align” themselves correctly and get into a bad habit of aligning themselves 20 yards right or left of the target.

Believe me, I’ve played golf over 20+ years and it always comes back to that, alignment. If you can’t align yourself correctly, you can hit gazillion golf balls and never really be able to hit your golf ball on target.

Of course, there ARE exceptions but that means you are always compensating 20 yards left or 20 yards right.

I’ve been guilty myself of sometimes not putting a club down to align myself and those months, I basically waste my time trying to find my golf swing when it’s my alignment that’s at fault.

So, here’s I practice.

Whenever I am at the range, at least for the first 20-30 golf balls, I set my longest iron, 2-iron down, somewhat halfway between the ball and my feet. Now listen carefully, I set it so the club is “parallel” to my target line, the line from my golf ball to the target.

A lot of people mess this up too, they align the golf club to the target itself, which effectively means you are actually going to be aiming about 20 yards right of your target.

This is small alignment problem but when you are using your driver, that problem literally explodes exponentially and you will develop more bad swing habits to correct that error. And the #1 reason why people come over the top or do something funny to compensate for their alignment error.

Another tip (for expert golfers), you align the back of your heels, not your toes. You will have to imagine the back of your heels being parallel to the club you set. If you align the toes, you are again, aiming slightly right because you left foot is more open than the right (unless both of your feet are open at the same angle like Tiger used to do.)

These small alignment problems can become the cancer of your golf swing. They are minor problems but it can cause havoc on someone’s golf swing.

Before you take a lesson from your golf pro, the best thing you can do is learning to align correctly. From there, you can learn to swing to golf club but if you don’t know how to aim, you are like a rifle shooter who aims 20 yards of his target then compensating right before you shoot your target.

The next time you are hitting golf balls, try to set a club down, it’s probably the #1 advice teaching pros give you and you don’t want to pay them $50 an hour to tell you how to aim. My point, just put that club down so you know you are aimed correctly.

P.S. I think a lot of people don’t do it because they think it’s “silly” but next time you goto a PGA Tour event, count how many pros have a club down for alignment, probably over 75%, exactly.

Here, let Hank Haney show you how to align:

Frustrated with Golf? Golf Is Not for Perfectionists!

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Frustrated with your golf game, golf swing, or even your golf scores?

Don’t worry, when you play too much golf, this can happen to you but it’s only a sign that your golf game is improving.

Why?

Most golfers get into this cycle: Play golf -> Play more golf -> Score Better -> Play more golf -> Suddenly you score way worse because your expectations go up.

The more you play golf, you mind naturally “thinks” you are a better golfer and those golf shots you used to suck on, now you hit it way better and can’t expect any worse even if the world turned upside down.

Because you are actually a “better” golfer, you expect more from yourself.  In other words, you become more of a “perfectionist” where you have to hit perfect golf shots.

And this all leads to frustrations and lower golf scores.

Sometimes, you need to really sit back and look at how you’ve been improving at golf and only think of positive things you’ve done.

I tell you this because this actually happened to me yesterday.  Right after it stopped raining here in California and spring hit, I went to the range with a mindset like, “Oh right, I am gonna starting playing more golf now, I am so happy to be alive and hitting golf balls!”.  And yesterday, my golf mindset was like, “damn it, I missed 5 yards left of my target!”

But I do think it over and I think I am getting better and shouldn’t think like that.

So, if you are frustrated with golf, it’s all in your mind.  Go back to the last day you played golf that made you happy and golf was fun just because you were on the golf course or simply playing golf.

Thinking in perspective can help frustrated golfers (and me).

Practicing on the Golf Course!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

One of the “secrets” to scoring well in golf is being able to hit various different shots on the golf course.  I am not talking about completely flat lie at the driving range but the ones from real fairways, rough, and from different sidehill/downhill/uphill lies.

How do you practice these shots and how to you learn to guage the differences?

Simple, you practice them on the golf course.

Now, you are going to have to outsmart the weekend warriors because if you only play golf on the weekends and your golf course is rather busy, you are probably not gonna have a chance to hit more than one shot during your round of golf.

Here’s a couple ways to get around that:

1. If you just can’t play golf during the week when the golf course is not so busy, try getting a tee-time for the weekend for the earliest tee time.   And also get a golf cart.  Once you tee off, just skip a couple holes so you’ve got about 1 hour of difference between yourself and the foursome behind you.   And just leave the foursome you joined so you can get some practice done, seriously.

2. Go out during the week, preferably Monday through Wednesday.  Usually the old timers are there in the morning so if you tee off right at noon during lunch time, you should be have no competition.

3. There’s always “loop holes” at the golf course, just go skip some holes and find the loop hole where there’s no one playing for 2-3 holes.  Find some hackers, they will surely be 2-3 holes behind.

On the golf course, play your round but whenever you miss a golf shot, try at least 2-3 times until you get it right.  These on-course practice gives you valuable feedback and positive experience you can use later.

I remember this is actually a “golf tip” one of my high school rivals gave me.  And it was really unbelievable because he never went to the range yet he would shoot par or under and he told me his secret was “practicing on the golf course”. (His name was Scott Wingfield btw, he played for UNLV but don’t know what happened to him.)

Anyways, if you haven’t been practicing on the golf course, start doing it and get better at scoring golf!

How to Get Out Of Bogey Train!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

You know many people say golf is all about your mind and it’s true, most of your good golf is played in your mind.

I am sure this happens to you on the golf course like every time you play, you get on some kind of bogey train or even worse double-bogey train. It’s one of those bad holes one after another.

But here’s the thing, virtually EVERY golfer goes through this at least once in their round, even the guy who wins the U.S. Open. (Well it might be called Par Train for them.)

Whatever train you are on, it’s not that it happens to you but you do something to break that cycle.

How to get out of bogey train? (and other trains)

First, you need to think in the present, think of the shot at hand.  No matter how many bad shots you’ve been hitting, don’t think about that but really clear your mind, visualize the shot you are going to play RIGHT NOW, and do it. If it doesn’t work out, too bad but at least you gave yourself the best chance by thinking positive.  The worst is if you give up and sloppily hit your current shot while visualizing all the bad shots you’ve been hitting, that’s a sure way to never get off the bogey train.

Second, you need to think of make just a “par” on every hole.

I tell ya, once you get on the “par train”, it’s really easy to hop onto the “birdie train”.  And once you are on the “birdie train”, making birdies become really easy and those are rounds when you shoot under par.

So, getting back to the basics, think simple and think one shot at a time, one hole at a time.

Whenever I play a round of golf and I get on one of those bogey trains, the faster I can just make a “par” is when I start to take control over my round and rest of my round goes well.

Anyways, next time you are on the bogey train (or whatever), try my advice and keep golf simple in your mind, your mind/scores will thank you for it.

 

Is Driving Swing Different From Iron Swing?

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Mike Gleeson left a comment on this blog yesterday and he asked me, “Would it be safe to say, this method could be used for most clubs?” on my advice to hit the driver longer.

Well, this is probably confused many golfers and believe me, my mom used to ask me all the time, “son, I do this differently on my driver and I hit it better.” (My mom is wrong btw.)

Folks, the golf swing stays the same whether you are hitting a pitching or the driver.

Why?

The golf swing actually never changes whether you have a pitching wedge, 5-iron, or even driver. The golf swing always stays the same.

This is because it helps you be more consistent if you have one golf swing you can use for your pitching wedge, 5-iron, or driver.

However, there ARE “special shots” such as a 200-yard 4-iron in the rough with a downhill, left-to-right lie and 20MPH wind coming right-to-left while it’s the end of your round near an ocean-view golf club where temperature has dropped from 80 degrees to 65 degrees. (Just an EXTREME example, golf is complicated as you know.)

Even when you factor all those things in, your golf swing usually stays the same and this will help you be more consistent. (I could probably use my same golf swing for the above situation by first aiming 20 yards right, then put my golf ball slightly back in my stance, and perhaps a half-swing to keep the ball lower under the wind and since with a downhill lie my clubface will “deloft”, I will still hit it further and that will adjust for the temperature difference but my golf swing would stay the same. And the rough will make your golf ball after landing, causing a “flyer”, so you might actually have to roll your golf ball to the green, can’t really one hop and stop out of the rough. TMIF)

The only thing that really changes is your setup most of the time.

For a pitching wedge, you stand closer to the ball because the club is shorter and hence, your swing automatically becomes more vertical.

For driver, you tee the ball up and it makes your swing much, much more flatter.

You see though, your golf swing stays the same although it’s more vertical or flatter.

And in other words, your golf swing does “change” in reality but your golf swing (that’s in your head) doesn’t change.

If you go read any of Nicklaus’s golf books, he says this, that nothing changes other than your setup for any full golf shot, and even Ben Hogan. Just sayin’, these aren’t my tips but tips I learned from the best golfers in the world.

It’s a simple concept to grasp, you never actually change your golf swing.

You can use one golf swing for most full-shots in golf. The more you make it complicated, the more complicated you will make for yourself on the golf course.

I will get to this later, I never had a blog post on this, that of judging the wind, downhill/uphill/sidehill lie, and adjusting to the temperature but it’s actually a big part of scoring well so that will be next.

But no, if a golf tip works for your driver, it should work the same for your shorter clubs too.

I hope I’ve answered this question as best as possible and thanks for listening, more golf tips coming tomorrow! :)

P.S. I still remember Butch Harmon(the guy who helped Tiger win more Master than any of his other teachers) tell me, “Son, the pitch shot is nothing more than a miniature version of your full golf swing and you golf swing is nothing more than exaggeration of your pitch shot.”  That was my last golf teaching pro.

How to Hit Long Sand Shots and Put a Lot of Spin On It!

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

One of the easiest shots in golf  for pros and scratch golfers is a sand shot inside 30 yards.

One of the hardest shots in golf for anyone is a long sand shot more than 30 yards.

Why?  Because with the sand wedge, you can only hit it so far from the beach.  Since you are opening the clubface near 30 degrees open, after about 30 yards, you are doing to have a hard time just getting the golf ball to the green.

So, how to hit this long sand shot?

There’s two ways, you can either open your sand wedge less and try hitting the shot but that’s not always the best way because the less you open your sand wedge, the less bounce you effectively use on your wedge.

Without bounce, the sand shot becomes more risky.

A better way to hit the longer sand shots is with a longer club such as your pitching wedge or even 9-iron.

For a 50-yard sand wedge shot perhaps from a fairway bunker (that’s relatively close to the green), you can hit a pitching wedge, almost exactly like your sand shots with the sand wedge.

Here’s the cool part though, because you are effectively hitting the golf ball harder with the longer club, you can put a LOT of spin on the golf ball.

Not that many people know or even attempt to hit this long bunker shot but when you pull it off and your ball one hop and stops next to the hole, you will see everyone’s jaws drop as you take their money.

You still have to hit the long sand shot correctly, perhaps a bit less margin of error than shorter sand shots.  This inevitable because the pitching wedge has less bounce.

When hitting these longer sand shots, you need to aim a bit more left than you think because the pitching wedge causes more left-to-right spin than on short sand shots.

Also, make sure you make a “shallow” and “thin” scoop of sand.  The sand should look 5-6 inches long but very thin.  This is same concept as a regular short sand shot but in a short sand shot, you can still get the golf ball on the green with a slighter fatter action whereas the longer sand shots, you don’t have that margin or error.

Now, if you are at a longer distance, let’s say 80 yards in the fairway bunker, you can try a 9-iron.

If you are at longer than that, my advice is to actually try to hit the ball clean while keeping your head up throughout the shot.  Once it gets to that distance, it’s better to hit a half-swing/full-swing shot and in my opinion, those are much easier than something between 30-100 yards.