Posts Tagged ‘how to’

How to Putt Better by Slowing Down and Lightening Your Grip!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Well, today was the best putting practice session I’ve had in a long, long time.  I practically sank every 1 out of 3 putts I looked at.   One of the things I was practicing today was putting a “solid” stroke on the ball, like I was telling you the other day. (For those of you who haven’t read, please read how to putt better by trying less.)

While trying to get my putts down super solid, I stumbled onto more putting secrets.

Since I don’t like keeping secrets just to myself for my benefit, let me tell you and they are rather simple.

First, if you are not hitting every one of your putts solid, try slowing down a pace or two.  I slowed my putting stroke about a pace or two and bam!  I started hitting every one of my putts SOLID.

Second, you can also try lightening your grip as much as possible while you slow down your putting stroke.

If you already have a really, really slow putting pace, you might actually want to try the opposite, speed up a bit.

The trick here is to find the right rhythm and speed that gives you the best results, solid-feelin’ putts.

Try these small tips next time you are on the putting green.

And if you are never on the putting green, you know why your putting never improves.  I go to the putting green like it’s the most fun things to do in the world, and it is.   It’s like playing 8-ball but better.

How to Hit Downhill/Uphill/Sidehill Shots!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

A lot of you may play great golf on flat courses where there are no hills but suffer bad scores on courses that have lots of hills.   I personally grew up playing very, very hilly golf courses and practically 90% of all my shots were either downhill, uphill, or sidehill.

If you don’t know how to hit these shots, you might want to keep reading as I can show you that they are not that hard, you just need to understand the fundamentals behind it.

How to Hit Downhill Shots!

Downhill shots are probably the hardest of them all to hit because most of the time, the downhill slope de-lofts your clubface.  For example, on a downhill shot, your pitching wedge will be more like a 9-iron or even 8-iron, depending on the angle of the slope.

Here’s THREE simple rules to remember about downhill shots:

One, setup with your ball further towards your right foot.  Because of the downhill slope, your clubface will contact the ground much sooner, meaning you need to place your golf ball where you will hit it, further towards your right foot.

Two, obviously you will need to lean a bit more toward the hillside, the right, otherwise you will lose your balance.

Three, because your ball is now further towards your right foot, you need to aim left as your clubface will be slightly open at impact.   Most of the time, I hit a 5-10 yard fade on downhill shots, just a rule of thumb I follow so I aim about 5-10 yards left target.

There’s more things you can do to enhance your downhill shotmaking skills but I am only going to make you learn the first three I mentioned here because these are perhaps the most important.  One more thing, try to keep your best balance here and swing smooth and easy.  This isn’t the best time to swing all-out.

For golf strategy, when you are on a downhill, your percentages are against you so play the safer shot instead of going for the green.

How to hit Uphill Shots!

Uphill shots are probably the easiest of them all because you are hitting into the slope and usually you can get by hitting it pretty hard.

Uphill shots are just the exact opposite of downhill shots, here’s THREE simple rules to remember about uphill shots:

One, setup with your ball further towards the left foot.  Again, the sloper will dictate that the best chance of hitting the ball is further towards the left foot.

Two, again lean a bit more towards the hillside, the left to keep balance.

Three, most likely you will hit a nice little draw because your golf ball is placed further left, aim 5-10 yards right of your target as a general rule of thumb.

For golf strategy, uphill shots are the ones to go for.  If you are in a grey area where you could make a potential eagle/birdie by going for the green, by all means, this is the time to go for it, just aim right enough and make sure to follow through all the way to your target on the finish.

How to hit Sidehill Shots!

Sidehill shots are also one of the hardest to master, especially the ones where your body is sitting higher than your golfball.

For sidehill shots when your body is sitting higher than your golf ball, try to stand a bit closer to your golfball and also as tall as possible.  From there, make a very smooth and easy swing.   Remember, this is one of the most delicate shots (because of the angle) so take it easy!

Also, don’t forget to aim about 5-10 yards left (depending on the side slope) as your ball will be not fading but actually going at a different angle!

When your body is sitting lower than your golf ball, grip down about 1-2 inches on your golf club and make the same golf swing.  No need for any changes other than that and also your golf ball will travel slightly from right to left so aim 5-10 yards right.  This is much easier shot in my mind (because of the angles) so play more aggressive when you have lies where your golf ball is higher than your body.

For shots that are mix of an uphill and sidehill, you will have to take everything into consideration.

For example, if you have a downhill shot on a right-to-left slope (where your ball is higher than your body), you might want to put the ball slightly right toward the right foot, grip down about an inch on the club, and aim slightly right of the hole.  Of course, the aiming part might be completely different depending on how much downhill/sidehill slope you are facing.

The important part is that you actually practice these uphill/downhill/sidehill shots with every club in your bag so you have your own “feel” of how the distance/aiming vary.

Trust me, these are one of the hardest shots to master but they could potentially be your best weapon when you are playing a hilly golf course.

You won’t be able to practice most of these shots on a practice range so I suggest you to practice them on the golf course.  When it’s not too busy on the golf course, just make sure to hit 3-4 shots whenever you encounter these hilly shots.

Most importantly, know that you need to make these small adjustments on these shots, even on a slight slope.   When you don’t, that might be the reason why you “duff” or “skull” the golf ball because you don’t play the slope, the slope plays you.

Practice, practice, and practice.

How to Putt Better by Trying Less!

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

If you want to improve your putting, first thing you will want to do is “stop trying” to sink your putts.

I know, I know, the whole point of putting is that you want to make the ball go in the hole but if you keep your focus there, you will inevitably make less putts.

So, how do you putt better by trying less and “not” trying to sink every putt?

I want you to try this exercise, I assure you, this will help you putt better.

The next time you go out to the putting green, I want you to practice putting by hitting towards “nothing”.

What do I mean?

I want you to actually don’t worry about where your golf ball goes but rather, focus on your putting stroke.  Keep putting the ball into “nothingness” while focusing on achieving solid hits.

When you start letting go of everything including that of making putts into a target, you will inevitably start developing a better putting stroke.

Having a good solid contact on all your putts is not only essential, it will pretty much determine whether your putt has a chance to go in the hole or not.

99% of amateurs I have seen play don’t hit their putts solid, the main reason why putts don’t go into the hole.

What does hitting putts solid mean?

When you hit a solid putt, you will be able to feel it in your hands.  This will happen because you made a good, free putting stroke without trying to manipulate it.  When you hit your putts solid, you will be hitting them squarely in the center of the putter’s sweetspot.

When you hit putts solid, two things happen.

One, your putt won’t be affected as much by the slope nor the putting surface.

Second, you will inevitably sink more putts because your putts “roll” true and smooth.

On the other hand, if you don’t hit your putts solid, you probably don’t even have a chance of making it. (unless you got lucky)

Most pros on tour don’t miss putts because they mis-read the putt, they miss them because they didn’t hit their putts solid.

Once you have mastered your putting stroke, then you can start trying to sink putts on the practice green.

If you keep hitting putts that don’t feel good in your hands, it’s always a good idea to focus on your putting stroke by practicing the stroke itself.

Even one of the best putters in the world Ben Crenshaw tells you to do this in his instructional putting video.  Plus, did you know that Ben Crenshaw used to sink putts from everywhere with 1 quick look at the hole when he was a teenager?  This is because when you hit your putts solid as hell, you will sink a LOT of putts, as simple as that.

If you don’t believe me, try this next time you are on the putting green.

I really could give a damn how you putt whether that’s left hand down the shaft, criss-cross, or whatever but if you can hit your putts solid, you are gonna be winning more skins and your friends will wonder why you are such damn good putter. (and them always buying you dinner)

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 Practice the Driver!

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

For most of you, you probably have one shot with your driver, that is trying to hit it long as possible.

Well, let me tell you right off the bat, I can hit at least a dozen different shots with my driver including the full long drive, short knock-down drive, driver off the fairway, low-bullet slice shots around the trees, and the list can go endless.

Because of how the driver is designed, it can be a great weapon to use even off the fairway when there’s a fair amount of wind on the golf course or you are stuck under a low-hanging tree and you need to get the ball down the fairway as far as possible.

Of course, a long iron such as a 2 or 3-iron can also be good for hitting a low-bullet shot but the driver has some better results such as putting less backspin on the ball.  In the time you need to roll it more, the driver can come in very handy.

Well, let me just go over couple of these different shots you can practice with your driver so you can make 12 shots out of this driver club, not just one.

Having more weapons in your bag will help you become a scratch or better golfer but only knowing how to hit full shots will limit your potential as a golfer.

1. The Long Drive – I am sure you have this in your bag already, I won’t go much into details other than you should have a super-long drive ready to launch at a long par 5.

2. The Short Drive – At times, there’s a need for you to hit a distance off the tee, something between a driver and a 3-wood.  At those times you will want to grip down on the driver a little bit and make a three-quarter swing.  This will allow you to hit the ball little bit lower and control it better.  This short drive also works well on windy holes where a 3-wood balloon the golf ball in the air too much.  Anyways, this is probably more important driver shot than the Long Drive.  Look at the pros, even they are using it, especially Anthony Kim, he will grip down on almost every drive for better control and lower ball flight.  This isn’t an easy shot by the way if you don’t practice and learn to control your backswing so make sure you practice this before using it on the golf course. (or any of these shots for that matter)

3. The Short Drive Fade and Draw – Learn to really be able to work the ball left-to-right or right-to-left with these short drives, they can come in very handy for those dogleg-lefts and rights.

4. The Long Drive off the Fairway – This will require that you already hit the golf ball pretty solid.  This Long Drive off the Fairway can come in handy on super, long par 5s or super, windy conditions where you need to hit the ball far and run it too.

5. The Short Drive off the Fairway – This one is another one to practice for windy conditions and when you need to run the ball more than the 3-wood.

6. The Low-Bullet Shot – This low-bullet shot with the driver is basically same as a short drive off the fairway except you put the ball back in your stance slightly.  You won’t have to put the ball back too far back because the loft on the driver is already de-lofted a lot, just make a nice and short swing.

Also practice with different clubface angles.  For one, don’t close your clubface but rather open it up gradually and see what kind of results you get.

These shots can come in handy where you have to hit it under the tree then slice the heck out of it down the fairway.

Other than these, you might want to keep experimenting with different driver shots.  All these shots may seem like a waste of time but will actually help you hit the Long Drive good too because your hands will have to be light and your body will adjust to swing correctly.

Banging Long Drives one after another can be fun but they are usually detrimental to your overall golf swing and rhythm but if you mix your driver practice with all of these different ones I’ve outlined, you will make a much better use out of your driver plus better rhythm in the long run.

Remember, if you practice like everyone else on the range, you will only become like them. (a real good HACKER!)

Learn to be creative and create your own golf shots, that will ultimately be your competitive edge on the golf course when your competitor thinks you are stymied behind a tree, then stick it 2-feet from the pin using the low-bullet slice driver shot. :)

Bring out the best in yourself, don’t limit capabilities of a golf club to one shot.

Happy golfing!

How to Properly Warm Up before Practicing/Playing Golf!

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

One of the most overlooked facts about golf is that most people believe it’s physically not intensive enough that you need to warm up before practicing/playing.

Actually the opposite is true, a golf swing requires proper functioning of your spine, lower body, shoulders, and the rest of the body.

I probably overlooked this fact too that I didn’t mention it so far on this golf blog but before any golf practice/play, I do a proper warm up for my body by swinging 2-clubs and stretching.

This is simple and common sense for those of you who have played golf for a long time but most amateurs do not warm up before practicing/playing golf.

Especially on cold days if you don’t warm up and stretch beforehand, you have more chances of injuring your lower back, which is critical for good golf.

So, here’s few warm up/stretching exercises you can do (that I do) before hitting any golf shots:

  • Get 2 of your heaviest clubs (for me it’s my lob and sand wedge) and start swinging very very slowly about 10-20 times until you can feel your body warm a bit.
  • Next, you can do a bit of stretching.  First, I try touching my toes with my hands while standing up.  This gets you whole body and hamstrings stretched out well.
  • Then, I will do some lateral rotations to stretch my spine, do like 5-10 of these.  When I do these, I usually hear some nice pops/cracks, which feels good and also prevents your muscles from hardening during practice/play.
  • Also do some more leg stretching such as holding one of you foot behind you and standing with one leg.

These are just couple warm up/stretching exercises you can do but do them and I assure you, your back will thank you for it.

And one more thought, DON’T SWING THE DRIVER right away!

I usually start with small 50 to 75 yard pitch shots before moving up to full shots and the woods.  If you start with the driver, I guarantee you that you are going to ruin your swing.

Of course, that’s for practice.  If you are playing, just really try to get yourself warmed up on the practice tee beforehand.

P.S. Even better, if you have a practice green near where you practice shots, try hitting putts/chips before moving to the range.  This will help you maintain a good, soft rhythm that will carry to your full shots.

I’ve seen a handful of great players who do this, start with short shots and gradually move up to longer shots.  And they have great rhythm.

How to Take Slow Motion Golf Swing Videos!

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

I’ve actually noticed bunch of YouTube videos online of these awesome slow motion golf swing videos and noticed that everyone was using selective Casio Exilim series, which can do like up to 6,000 frames per second.

I found that these cameras below will let you take super slow motion golf swing videos:

  • Casio Exilim EX-FC100 – These go for about $219.95 on Amazon, really good deal for capturing up to 1000 frames per second, which beats most other digital cameras for the price and purpose of taking slow motion golf swing videos.
  • Casio Exilim FH20 – This is the higher end version that can cost about $550.  If you want to use it more than a slow-motion golf swing camera, this might be a good way to invest more and get more out of it.

Here’s some videos showing the capabilities of these Casio Exlim digital cameras:

Slow-motion golf swing with Casio Exilim EX-FC100:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Slow-motion golf swing with Casio Exilim FH20:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Of course, I don’t really advice to you analyze your own swing unless you are at least an 8 handicap and have some experience tinkering with your own swing.   Otherwise, you might be better off getting a real golf pro to look at your swing.

Also, you can use V1 swing software to analyze your swing.

I should be getting the cheaper EX-FC100 to test it out soon, I need one really bad, technology has gotten so good, it’s unbelievable!

UPDATE: I also found that Casio Exilim EX-FS10 does slow motion golf swing videos too, the cheapest of all at $179.

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)