Archive for the ‘short game’ Category

Short Game Tip – Getting More Feel Before Hitting That Chip Shot!

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

If you watch pro golfers on TV carefully, you will notice that sometimes (during the heat of a match/championship), the pro golfer will walk the greens.

This is because he/she is trying to get a “feel” for the greens before hitting their chip shot.  Sometimes pros do this for even longer pitch shots such as 90 yards in.

The nature of the game forces the greens to get harder as the day goes by and usually when you see the leaders finish on the last couple holes, that’s usually when the greens are hardest and fastest, especially on windy days.

These little, minute effect of nature can have a great impact on how your ball behaves when you are chipping or pitching to the green.

To get a good feel for the greens, simply walk the green where you will be landing the ball and rolling it to the hole.  Then try to get a good “feel” for the greens by feeling the green with your feet.

After getting a good feel for the green, visualize your chip/pitch shot and then hit the darn thing.

You should start doing this more often (although you don’t have to do it everytime) as it will help you predict and hit better short shots around the green.

Also, by walking around the green before you hit the chip shot, you will subconsciously relax yourself and also help your mind get a better “feel” for the shot.

Short game requires more “feel” then anything and your feet need to feel the greens when under the gun.  Whether you are hitting that chip shot close to win a nassau bet or the U.S. Open, this little tip will help you win more often than not.

If you don’t believe me just watch the pros walk around the greens before they hit their chip shot and also watch exactly where they are walking.

Putting Tips – How to Putt Consistently!

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Last time I showed you some putting secrets of how to roll the putt better by hooking it.  Well, today, let me give you couple tips that will help you putt even better.

First, I don’t really care how you grip but your putter should “hang” naturally from your hands.  This fixes many putting flaws.  When your putter is “hanging” naturally by gravity from your hands, your putting stroke will have consistency.

To do this, simply feel the weight of the putter head and make sure you can feel it “hanging” off your hands and arms right before you begin the putt.  You will also find this is easier to achieve if you stand up as tall as you can.

As for the putting grip, I find that the one with your thumbs going down the middle of the shaft works best.  Also, I have tried “looser” putting grips where your thumbs are placed diagonally across the putter grip.  These are good for light hands but ultimately make you miss short putts, where it counts.

For your putting stroke, make sure it’s a “stroke” back and forth, not a “hit” back and forth or any other fast, jerky movements.

Try to keep your putting clubhead on the ball as long as you can and that is what I mean by “stroking” the golf ball.

When you do this right, you will find you hit more putts solid and they also “feel” right in your hands.

As for the putting rhythm, try to mimic a metronome.  Just like an old wall clock that goes back and forth, your putting stroke is the same.  No need to get more complicated than “1-and-2″ rhythm.

Remember, when you practice putting, you are striving to achieve a putting stroke that will roll your ball smoothly on the green.

A great way to test your roll is to putt on a humid green when there’s a lot of fog.  Try a long putt about 30 feet and see if your golf ball “jumps” or “skips”. If it does, that means you are not doing it right, apply my tips until your golf ball “rolls” smoothly.  When you have truly master the art of putting, your golf ball should never “jump” or “skip” on foggy greens.

It’s Friday, I hope y’all have tee times, and I will have more golf tips next week!

Putting Secrets – How to “Hook” Your Putts!

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Okay, I am going to let out another cat out of the bag, that is “hooking” your putts.

I’ve been recently noticing that I have been “naturally” hooking my putts, virtually every one of them.  This occurred naturally while just trying to make solid contact with the ball.

By the way, I have been making helluva more putts with my new “hook” method.

WHY?

When you put a slight right-to-left spin on the ball while you putt, your ball will roll more true than if you simply hit it normally.  I also found that by hooking my putts, I was able to make more left-to-right putts and right-to-left putts.

The only drawback is that you will have to adjust your aiming accordingly, meaning you might want to aim more right for right-to-left putts and play for less break on left-to-right putts.

How to Hook Your Putts

For me, an inside to slightly outside putting stroke is natural since I mainly use my wrists to putt.

I find I putt better with my wrists plus more feel when I let my hands do most of the work.

The inside-out path is natural when you simply use your wrists to putt.

To try my new putting method, simply take the clubhead back, letting it hinge on your wrists.  You will find that the path of the putter will automatically go inside.

On the follow-through, simply let the putter clubhead swing through to the target, you will find that the path of the putter will naturally go slightly outside then straight towards the target.

Because this is a natural movement and I am sinking more putts, I decided to stick with it.

When you do this right, you won’t notice any “hooks” with naked eye but you will notice that you can “hook” the ball on right-to-left putts (meaning you have to aim more right) and you will be able to hit those slightly left-to-right putts straight at the cup without compensating for any breaks.

Remember, the “hook” part is ever so slight that it can’t really be seen with the naked eye, it’s a “feel” thing so don’t over do it!  (Perhaps like 1-3 degrees of inside-outness…)

If you look at Tiger’s putting, he also “hooks” his putts.  (There’s even a golf training tool you can buy here.  They call it inside-down-the-line path but it’s really the same thing.)

I’ve also noticed that one of the greatest putters Ben Crenshaw does a similar move in his teaching videos.

Of course, you can also do this without using your wrists only but I don’t know how to teach you that.  Perhaps the golf training aid will help although I don’t believe in any training aids because you can’t use it on the golf course.

Anyways, this is really for advanced golfers.  If you are not already accomplished putter, perhaps you might want to just try hitting putts straight and keep it simple.

How to Hit the Pop and Run Pitch Shot! [Short Game]

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Today, I was practicing this pop and run pitch shot where your pitch shot flies about 15-20 yards then rolls the rest of the way about additional 5-10 yards. (It’s also called hit-and-run but I like the term “pop and run” since it feels more like I “pop” the ball” rather than “hitting” it)

This shot can be very useful in situations where you have a lot of green to work with yet you still need to fly the ball about 15-20 yards onto the green.

Also, this shot can be useful for uphill lies/greens where the ball tends to die after landing on the green.

Okay, one more thing, this shot can be useful in situations where the green lies left to right, meaning you need to aim left of your pin and also put some nice “hook” spin to the ball. (so it will counter the left-to-right slope on the green)

Anyways, to hit this pop and run pitch shot, it’s not terribly hard nor different from your regular pitch shot.

First, setup to the ball square to your target with the ball about the center of your stance.

Second, let your hands be very “light” like spaghetti as with all short game shots.

Third, take your backswing aggressively inside, you should feel that your wrists are forced to hinge quicker because you take it back on a such flat plane.  Yes, it’s okay to be wristy on this shot, just make sure you hands stay super light throughout the shot.

Fourth, follow through inside-out without breaking your wrists.

When you hit hit shot right, you can literally take a really clean hit of the ball and very little turf.  It should feel very solid and with lots of overspin.  The golf ball should feel like “butter” at impact.

The beauty of this shot can be seen in windy against-the-wind situations where you need to keep the ball strong and also rolling once it hits the green.

I know personally that Tiger (although his MIA right now, perhaps I will have a post on that soon) practices/uses this shot a lot.

It’s hard for you to catch pros hit this shot because the pitch shot is such a small action, subtle changes in the pitch shot can be hard to see with the naked eye.

When hit right with enough force, this shot can also “skip and drop” when hit under dry, normal conditions or against the wind.

Of course, this shot isn’t for the hacker, perhaps for those of you who are already accomplish short game players.

Putting “hook” spin on the ball with small chip/pitch shots can save you a great deal of headache on very fast, sloping greens where just playing along might not be enough.  Instead, you might have to “counter” spin the ball to get your ball stopping next to the pin.

On the opposite side, there’s the slice spin chip shot but I am not going to tell you how to do that because most of you already know how to do that.  Most pitch shots can have slice spin as soon as you open the clubface.

Of course, you might think you can add “hook” spin simply by closing the clubface but I find that is a lot harder to control than using the inside-out swing method.  Anyways, that is why I am telling you how to hit this shot.

I usually use my 60 degree lob wedge to hit this shot but you can use longer club (even a 7-iron) for longer pitch shots such as 50 yards or more.

As always, my tips are meant to help you to experiment with you own short game and develop your own “feel” and shots.   In short game, there’s no single right way to hit the same shot.  Likewise, I would like you to experiment and see if you can find my method or any other variations thereof helpful for your golf game.

Practice your short game at least 30% of your practice time as having a great short game can help you score under par even if you hit your drives/irons all over the place.

How to Hit the Soft Floating Chip/Pitch Shot from the Rough!

Monday, November 9th, 2009

In this blog post, I will show you how to hit that soft, floating chip/pitch shot from the light/medium rough.  This is a shot I practice and use constantly and can be a great par saver.

This method might differ from anything else you have learned in the past but trust me, this is a fail-proof method of hitting a great soft, floating chip/pitch shot from the rough.

Also, you might be interested to learn that I have devised my own method by applying a lot of stuff here and there I’ve learned from other pros.

Short game can be limitless in the number of ways you can hit different shots and this one is specifically geared towards “simpleness” and easy enough for any weekend golfer to repeat it with little practice.

Basically, this is a short game shot that’s really a chip shot and a pitch shot since you will hit the ball soft and higher than normal, but still need to get some roll after the ball hits the ground.

The basic method of hitting this soft, floating chip/pitch shot is to open your clubface (this would depend on how high you want to hit it) and simply using a “mini version” of your full swing.

There’s couple of things you need to do and that is to take a square stance, just like a full shot, you DON”T NEED TO OPEN YOUR STANCE AT ALL.

I find that you can actually hit these little pitch shots more consistently if you setup square to the ball.  Also, make sure to hit DOWN on the ball and THROUGH the ball.  Don’t be afraid to hit this shot, you need to be confident.

One more thing, you want to try to hit about 1/4 inch behind the ball and let the clubface “bounce” off the grass.

For the shot, I recommend either a lob wedge or sand wedge.  (Btw, I used a 60 degree lob wedge in the video.)

Before you hit the shot, make sure to “visualize” exactly how the ball will fly (its trajectory) and where it will land on the green.  (read the green too so you know how the ball will roll after landing)

The greatest part about this shot is that you don’t have to change your swing at all or learn a new pitching technique.

Make sure to keep your hands super “light”, barely on the grip and let your arms feel like “spaghetti”.

Light hands are essential to every shot in the short game.  Ask any pro in the world and they will tell you light hands equal great feel.

Remember, short game is about creativity and imagination, don’t be afraid to experiment and make your own chip/pitch shots.

I assure you, if you get good at this shot, you will be making a lot more pars on the course.  I find this shot more useful than hit and run chip shots.  (which are useful too but not as used often in my experience and much easier)

How to Practice Putting!

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Practice makes perfect in golf and so is putting, probably the most important part of the game.  Whether you hit a 350 yard drive or 2 feet putt, they are counted the same.

If you can putt, you can turn a round that could be a bad 75 into an incredible 65.  Or even a bad 95 into 85.

Putting does not simply depend on luck although sometimes you can get lucky and hole putts even if you miss hit it or misread it.

But for all purposes of playing better golf, you will need to practice putting.

Now, to play better golf, you need to also learn “how” to practice putting.

A lot of amateurs just throw a bunch of balls on the putting green and start hitting putts but you can do so much of that.  It might improve your “feel” on the putting green but that’s not the best way to practice.

Let me tell you how I get ready for pro tournaments.

I do actually throw about 3 balls on the putting green and start putting away.  But I do that to get a “feel” for the green.  Once you have practiced enough of that, you need to really focus on pressure putting.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to take just one golf ball and play a 9-hole round of putting game with yourself at the end of those “random” putting practices.

For example, today at the end of putting practice, I played (with myself) a 9-hole round of putting game where par is 2 for each hole.  You can pick random distances like 5, 20, or even 100 feet putts.  The goal is to score, of course, under par.  Luckily, today I came on top and scored 2 under for my imaginary competition.

Every time you practice putts, I want you to start playing these mini-games to put pressure on yourself.  Keep score of your mini-games and over the long run, you should be improving, perhaps even 1-putting every hole. (although very hard to do)

These simple putting practice tips will go a long way to help your golf game.  Whether you are a weekend warrior or aspiring junior golfer, playing games on the putting green will allow you to perform on the golf course too.

Of course, if you happen to be with friends, make sure you bet some money and play games together. (and take their money DUH!)

How to Hit Those Short Chip/Pitch Shots out of Medium/Tough Rough!

Monday, August 31st, 2009

rough

(Image Credit)

Today I practiced 20-50 yard pitch shots at my favorite public course Harding Park with my 60 degree wedge.  Since Harding Park will be hosting the 2009 President’s Cup this year in October, the greenskeeper was growing the grass like mad.

Anyways, those long rough conditions allowed me to practice those tough shots and here’s simple tips next time you see some of those medium to high length rough:

  1. Set up to the ball with your clubface open, anywhere from 5 to 45 degrees depending on how high you want to hit your pitch shot.
  2. Set up with most of your weight on the left side of your body and keep it there during the whole pitch shot.
  3. Try to hit slightly behind the ball.  The long rough will actually act as cushion and add a little “bounce” to your shot, meaning you actually want to hit a little behind it to hit the ball consistently.   You want to hit about 1/4 to 1/8 inch behind the ball but no more than 1/4 inch, otherwise you will end up flopping the pitch shot.  Just make sure to keep your eyes 1/4 inch behind the ball and try to hit that spot, not the ball.  This will ensure you don’t “skull” the ball while you will get a consistent results out of any medium to long-sized rough.
  4. Make sure to keep your pitch swing nice and smooth, free flowing while keeping your hands super light.
  5. Make sure your follow-through is much longer than your backswing to ensure acceleration through the pitch shot.

Now, apply these tips next time you go out to the practice green.  I tend to like to spend a lot of time around the greens, not much of a ball-banger anymore (I used to be).  But I can assure you that when you can hit well and consistently close to the hole out of these medium to long-sized grass, you will definitely play better next time you play a good course like Harding Park.

Of course, hitting behind the ball only applies to 1 inches of grass(rough) or longer.  Anything shorter, you can keep your weight evenly distributed and focus on the front of the ball itself. (otherwise you will flub it for sure)

These shots are not easy but they are really fun if you master them and you will have a great advantage over your playing partners, especially if they are not accustomed to hitting those pitch shots within 3 feet circle like you do.

Have fun practicing and I should have some more tips on various different pitch shots.  (And yes, practicing with 1-ball can help greatly to these shots as you will learn to manipulate your 60 degree wedges better.)

Shortgame DIY – How to Hit the 3 Wood Chip Shot!

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Well, one of the most useful shortgame shot is the 3 wood chip shot.  But first, you need to know when and where you hit the 3 wood chip shot.

I found it helpful on the following occasions to hit the 3 wood chip shot:

  • Your ball is laying in-between the green and the fringe, sorta half-way and cannot get the putter fully on the ball.
  • Your ball is in the fringe but the green is super-fast or downhill, you don’t want to chip.  The 3-wood can do a great job here since you will be guaranteed that the ball rolls, to avoid flubbing.
  • Your ball is in the fairway but you are playing a links-style course, the 3-wood chip can come in handy and let you roll the golf ball all the way home

Now, those aren’t situations you come to often but 3-wood can make you score better, especially if you are playing for money or a tournament is at stake.

To play the 3-wood chip, simply grip down on the 3-wood near the metal or graphite.  Then simply chip it like your chipping shot or you can even experiment with a putting grip and putting swing.

You will notice that the golf ball comes off the 3-wood very hot with a small jump at the start.  Don’t worry too much about how much the ball jumps, the main thing you need to practice is to control the speed with the 3-wood.

Every once in awhile, you will use the 3-wood and start getting better and better with it.

Of course, don’t be too disappointed if you hit the ball too far or short, you need to practice this shot to get the “feel” for it.

Once you have the “feel” for it though, you are on your way to adding another great shortgame technique.  And you can tell your friends you learned it online for free at ProGolferDigest.com.

Enjoy~

Golf DIY – How to Hit the Sand Shot!

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

sandshot

(image credit)

For most beginners, the sand shot might be the hardest trouble shot to overcome.  As a pro golfer who has hit thousands of these little sand shots under tournament pressure, let me just point out a couple things that will guarantee that you hit the ball out of the sand.

1. First, you need to see the sand as sand, not a sand “trap” or any of that negative stuff.  Golf starts in your brain, the more positive you look at your troubles, the better you will play.

2. Before you hit ANY sand shots, please “dig” your feet into the sand about 1/4″ by wiggling your feet.  If you do not make use of this wiggling (and it’s lega), you are not taking advantage of all the Golf Rules has to offer.  WIGGLE your feet until they are pretty darn stable.

3. Keep your weight near your heels.  That’s right, you want all your weight nearer to your heels so you will hit the sand with the “heel” of your club, not the “toe”.  Hitting the sand with the “heel” of the club allows your sand wedge to make use of the maximum bounce allowed and swiftly go through the sand.

A lot of people don’t know this but I am here to tell you this is the ultimate secret I learned from Stan Utley, one of the best short game players/teachers in the world.

4. Keep the ball about 2-3 inches front of center of your address, sorta like a pitching wedge.  You want your ball to be about opposite your left heart. (if you are right-handed)

5. Open your stance and clubface about 30 degrees each.

6. 50-50 weight balance will do most of the time, try to keep your weight evenly distributed in both feet.

7. Now you are ready, hover your clubhead about 2-3 inches behind the ball.

8. On your backswing, make sure to cock your wrists as fully as possible.  Cocking allows you to get a steep angle on the ball and get it out easy.

9. Hit about 2-3 inches behind the ball, into the sand, and most importantly, FOLLOW-THROUGH past your waist.

Now, that’s a lot of information but if you follow my directions, you will become a sand shot pro in no time.

Another note, you can control the distance of the ball travel with the amount of your follow-through.

During the whole swing, try to keep your body movement to the minimum (including the head) and use mostly wrists.  There’s no need to try anything fancy, simple does it.

I didn’t have time to shoot a video but next time, I will show it to you. :)

DIY – How To Putt Like a Pro!

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
DIY - How To Putt Like a Pro!

DIY - How To Putt Like a Pro!

Putting is probably the most part of golf as it can break you or make you regardless of how you hit the ball.

A 2-inch putt is worth as much as a 350-yard drive off the tee.  That is why every pro on the PGA Tour can putt really really really good.

Today, I will tell you some simply tips on how to get that ball in the bottom of the cup.

Here’s the tips for today:

1. Alignment, alignment, alignment.  You need to align your putt before you do anything else.

How to align the putter?

Align the putter so that it hits the top of the apex of the putt.

As you can see in my horrible photoshop screenshot, the green line represents the overall break of the putt.

Now, the apex is where the putt start breaking and you need to start your ball there.

2. After aligning “parallel” to your putt, you need to “feel” the speed and rhythm of the putt.  Do not ground your club behind the ball yet.  You need to “feel” and judge the exact speed of the putt.

How to do this?

Really feel that your right hand is doing all the work in the putting and feel the right hand “rolling” the ball.

You need to find the right speed where the golf ball will stop maybe 3-5 inches past the hole.

Of course, this will depend on your putt.  If you have a really fast downhill putt, you want to think of stopping the ball right at the cup.

3. Once you get the feel for the distance and speed of the putt, simply step up to the ball and hit it.  Since you’ve already “aligned” yourself, don’t hesistate too much and repeat your “feel” from the practice stroke.

If you do this, I guarantee you will hole a lot more putts.

Remember, putting is 90% feel and 10% technique.  If your feel is good, you might get away with really bad technique.