Posts Tagged ‘short game’

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.

 

How to Hit the One Hop and Stop, Low Trajectory/High Spinning Wedge Shot!

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

You probably seen on TV golf pros hitting that one hop and stopping wedge shot.

This is probably one of the most useful shots from 100 yards in because it’s a “one hop” and “stop”.

I know you’ve seen other high-spinning wedge shots that land then roll back 20 feet.  I am not talking about those.  Actually those shots are much harder to control and would only be useful in situations you actually have to roll it back.

For most situations from 100 yards in, you will benefit more from one hope stop, then a shot that lands and rolls back into the water.

So, how do you hit this shot?

First, you need a “clean” wedge with no dirt or grass between its grooves.  If you don’t clean your golf clubs, I highly suggest you to do it starting from now on or at least clean your wedges as it will help you put more spin on the ball and hit the one hop and stop shot.

If you don’t have a clean wedge with dirt or grass in its grooves, that pretty much gives you no chance at this shot because clean grooves mean backspin on the ball.

Third, you need a relatively soft ball.  If you use long-distance balls, you are probably not gonna one stop and hop it by any means.  You might be able to do it in perfect conditions but if you want to hit the one hop and stop shot on consistent basis, switch to a softer ball as this will help your overall shortgame too.

I primarily use Titleist Pro V1X, that’s been my favorite golf ball for like the last 10 years or since it came out.

When you have a clean wedge and a soft ball, you are ready to rock!

The one hop and stop shot is nothing but actually a clean half-swing shot.  To hit this, you need to do a half-swing instead of a full swing and try to hit the golf ball really clean.

When you do a half-swing on a wedge, you will get a lower trajectory and won’t spin out of control (and spin 20 feet back) but will simply one hop and stop.

There are of course more advanced ways to hit this shot but in reality, anyone can hit this shot with a clean wedge, soft ball, and a half swing provided the ball is hit squarely on the center of the clubface.

If you want to get a bit lower trajectory, you can play around by putting the golf ball slightly back in your stance (but I don’t recommend beyond center) and getting your weight over to the left on your downswing, which feels almost like you are coming over the top.

Also, you don’t hit this shot HARD, you want soft hands and a lazy rhythm.  It’s a “feel” shot, if you force it, your ball will shoot up in the air and you won’t get the same stop and hop effect.

Remember, you need to hit the golf ball super-crisp and super-clean, a nice “thin” divot is a sign of that, no big divots please.  Big divots mean you struck down on the ball too much and what happens is that the dirt  and grass will get between the ball and your wedge grooves, killing your chances of putting lots of backspin on the golf ball.

You can hit this shot with pretty much any wedges (sand, lob, pitching), I prefer my sand wedge the best).

Remember, practice makes perfect.  You will want to practice this shot with a clean wedge and also clean, soft balls.  And yes, try to have a wet towel with you so you can clean your grooves every couple shots.

All these little things do matter when hitting the hop and stop shot.

The hop and stop shot is a great weapon to have in your golf bag because you can use it on a good day or a day with 30MPH+ winds.  Since it will travel at a lower trajectory, your wedge shot isn’t affected by the wind as much, meaning more wedges shots closer to the hole.

Anyways, enough rambling, I hope these tips help you, just remember the most important 4 things: Clean grooves, clean “soft” balls, easy half-swing, and perfect contact with the ball.

You don’t have to do anything special to make the golf ball spin, just do the basics right.  THAT, is the secret.

Happy golfin’

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.

Weekend Warriors – How to Hit the Ball More Consistently!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Most of us don’t have the time that it takes to perfect a golf swing nor maintain it.  For those weekend warriors, here’s couple swing tips that have actually worked for me:

  • Don’t fight your swing, whether you hit a draw or fade on that day, just play that shot.
  • Keep your swing smooth but make sure your followthrough is longer than your backswing.  This makes sure you accelerate through the golf ball without over-swinging.  This is probably the best tip for keeping your ball flight consistent even if you hardly practice.
  • Keeping your ball flight consistent, whether that’s a slice or hook,  comes first.  If you can hit the ball with a consistent ball flight, you don’t have to hit the ball straight and still score good.  I’ve seen hundreds of scratch golfers who have bad swings but they have consistent ball flights.
  • Don’t ever try to “correct” your swing, just go with the flow and work with your flawed swing.  Again, consistency rules over straight shots.  Even pro golfers don’t try to hit the ball straight.  Jack Nicklaus and Fred Couple hit fades all through major championships, you should pick a side too.
  • Practice more short game and putting, that’s where your advantage is or even Tiger’s for that matter, not in the 300+ yard driver.  Although it’d be good to hit it 300+ yards off the tee, that’s the last thing that’s gonna help you score near par.

I’ve been playing golf for over 20+ years now and more I realize that perfecting your golf swing has more to do with scoring bad  than trying to work with what you already have.

Even me, I have less time to practice than before since I have to run my online publishing business.   I score better when I try to find ways to keep my swing more consistent by doing less.

Less is more, especially in golf.  No matter how many personal golf lessons you get, it’s probably worthless if you change your swing everytime you go out on the golf course.  Stop tinkering and start playing golf.

Here’s a simple exercise if you tend to end up in vicious cycle of trying to fix your swing.

1. Don’t practice on the range anymore.

2. Don’t try to fix your swing on the golf course.

3. Keep playing more golf and try to work on your golf strategy to fit your ball flight.

4. keep doing 1 to 3 until your ball flight is consistent and you have find a working golf course strategy.

5. If you must, fix your swing once every 3 months.

Happy golfing!

How to Swing Better by Not Being Perfect!

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Sometimes, perfection can be the root of all evil things in a golf swing.  A lot of times when I was playing competitively on a daily basis, I would try to perfect my golf swing by banging 10 buckets of balls.  I would have probably done better if I just relaxed more and focused more on my short game and putting.

Golf is a game that requires great mental focus, it’s a not a game where the best golf swing mechanics win tournaments.  Rather, golfers with ability to turn the golf course into their friend wins as evidenced by Y.E. Yang’s win over Tiger last weekend.

That said, I hit balls for the first time in about 3 months yesterday and boy, I hit the ball really, really good.

Here’s something I tried to do yesterday:

  • I tried to not be perfect, simply relax my hands and let my body do the work.
  • My swing though consisted of “keep it smooth” like Fred Couples.
  • Worked on specific shots that would help me on the golf course like fading the ball (which is my strength) and odd shots that could get me out of trouble.

In all, yesterday’s practice at the driving range might have helped me whole lot more than me simply banging a lot of balls mindlessly one after another.

The key to great golf is keeping your golf swing consistent.   The only way an average golfer who rarely practices to keep their golf swing consistent is to keep their swing thoughts simple.

Golf has so many parts to master but unless you are a professional golfer with all the time in the world, you are not going to master it.

Forget “fixing” your swing and try simply “scoring” with your current golf swing.  Whatever your bad shots are, a nasty hook or banana slice, you can still “score” well by adjusting to your weaknesses and using them as strengths.

I’ve seen it a gazillion times where a golfer with a really weird swing will win over a golfer who has a perfect swing.  Most of the time, the golfer with a really weird swing has an incredible short game and a knack for putting since he/she is hitting the ball all over the place.  The golfer with perfect swing usually never performs under pressure because he/she simply does not know how to deal with trouble under pressure.

Anyways, I will be heading over to the course more often before this summer ends and looks like they got the tent set up at Harding Park for the President’s Cup 2009 this year. (I have an incredible view of the 12th hole at Harding Park from my 12th floor apartment!)

Letter From a Reader on Masters 2009!

Monday, April 13th, 2009
Well, I guess my last blog post on the “mental” analysis of the top players at the 2009 Masters encouraged one of my readers to respond back.
Anyways, my analysis was from my professional golfing experience, true and nothing but the truth with facts I can backup.
Of course, they wouldn’t say this on TV because the big media doesn’t want to start a controversy.  What I say may start one but this blog post is to clarify that and I hold nothing back as I am an independent media, I don’t write to make people happy, not that I try to make people feel bad either.
Letter from Reader:
Dear Friend:
Your attitude on your web page amazes me. I never in all my years in golf ever known a person who actually roots against another golfer. You are the first and I hope the last. You seem bent on proving that someone choked in the Masters.  We  did not hear anyone else claim such a  fact and I did not see any indication of that although it is obvious that all would be nervous to some extent. Tired perhaps but no yips that I could see so I don’t know where you are getting your evidence. It is silly to think someone could be leading or within a few strokes of the lead and would just melt down as you suggested.  Making a bogey is not a melt down. I believe Tiger and Phil doubled a few during the round and he did not melt down did they? The real reason that the Argentinian won  was due to the fact that his short game was a little better and he could lob his wedges rather than depending on spin to control those shots around the green. Why don’t you give credit rather than just be a front runner and root for Tiger who has been very very fortunate to make some of those putts in the past.  He may never win a major again so who knows. Tiger has been a  great player but he is in for a miserable life if his only satisfaction comes when he is winning because the winning will stop for everyone. His cursing is repulsive and he acts like a spoiled child who needed his parent’s disciplining. If Tiger is your hero you are deceived as he is and I hope that is not the case. The real pros are the Kenny Perrys and others who have decent things to say about their competitors who give it their best shot and go home knowing that they did the best they could wishing for a better outcome next time.
My response:
Hi Nick,

Thanks for your comments but my thoughts are from professional golfing experiences, this may be hard to understand but competitive golf can be analyzed mentally and that’s what I did.

Usually, people will analyze people’s swings, I analyze the thought processes of the players because I know how.

I did not root against another golfer, I simply predicted what would happen, Kenny and Chad both never had dealt with pressure of majors, that is a fact, not hatorade.

My predictions could have easily gone the other way, Perry could have easily won but even he said afterwards that he could not stand the pressure of majors, referenced here:

So you know, I have a lot of memories. It just seems like when I get down to one of these deals I can’t seem to execute. Great players make it happen, and your average players don’t. And so that’s the way it is.

Kenny Perry admits himself that he could not “execute” and he doesn’t consider himself a “great player”.  But he is a great player, he just can’t win majors until he can think that he can.  Golf is a self-fulfilling prophecy more often than not, the player must not defeat himself in his mind before he can win anything.

As a pro player who have melted down numerous times, I know exactly what those players are going through and that’s my analysis, my blog title reads, “Pro Golfer Digest” not “Golf Digest”.

My opinions will come from a very competitive background so they might come off a little harsh but I can back up my facts.

Anyways, no hard feelings, like I said on the blog post in case you missed it, golf is NOT about winning but what you do afterwards.

Kenny did a great job btw of handling his defeat but I don’t have to get into that, there are plenty of articles from other media and whatnot to cover that.  If I wrote the same things they wrote, no one would read my blog and you probably wouldn’t be e-mailing this to me.  Besides, most people who write stuff like that aren’t even scratch golfers.

Anyways, I’d like to put this on the blog if you don’t mind, everyone “could” have won including Kenny, Chad, Tiger, and Phil.  But golf has only 1 winner, that’s a sad fact of golf. If golf was fair to EVERYONE, I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now, I would be on the PGA Tour long time ago.

Please also note that I praised Angel Cabrera because he won, if I were only Tiger fan, I would have stopped watching after Tiger fell short.

How to Hit The Flop Shot!

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Hitting the flop shot is probably one of the hardest short game shots in golf, that is if you do it right.

If you take a look at my previous video on how to practice with 1 golf ball, I am basically hitting an exaggerated flop shot that “flings” the golf ball straight up in the air.  As such, I can tell you that my flop shots are probably as good or maybe even better than Phil Mickelson’s.

Okay, enough self boasting there, I just want to tell you that I know how to hit that flop shot and teach you how to do it.

There are several different types of flop shots, one is very risky and wristy while the other one is safer and not as wristy.

For the Risky and Wristy Flop Shot:

1. You will need to open you stance and clubface about 30 degrees opposite each other.  You will most likely feel as if you are hitting a baseball to the left field while your clubface is pointing to the right field.

2. You will need to set your weight nearer to your heels than you think it should be, almost bending backwards.

3. On the backswing, only use your wrists, cock them straight up in the air but keep your hands super “soft” like spaghetti.

4. On the downswing, use your wrists again, making sure to hit the “bounce” of your club right before the ball and FOLLOWING through.

5. Again, KEEP YOUR HANDS LIGHT throughout the whole swing or you will risk either hitting the ball fat or really thin and hit the guy next to you.

6. Also keep your head and body really quiet, this is “wrists” only!

The Risky and Wristy flop shot is very hard to master, I used to practice it everyday for about 15 years and still haven’t perfect the method but this is the ultimate flop shot when you need to get it up and down with LOTS of backspin.  This will work well on really hard courses where the slope average is above 75 and the greens are super hard.

For the Safer and Not as Wristy Flop Shot:

1. You will need to open the stance like the wristy flop shot.

2. Same thing with weight.

3. On the backswing, you can make a regular backswing, sorta like your regular swing.

4. On the downswing, you can make a regular downswing WHILE keeping your feet on the ground.  If you move too much feet, you will probably thin the shot and kill someone next to you.  LMAO, just keep steady on this one.

5. Again, KEEP YOUR HANDS LIGHT throughout the whole swing, that is key for flop shots in general.

6. Also keep your head and body super quiet, flop shots aren’t intended to go too far, just 1 to 30 yards at most.

The Safer Flop Shot is safer because it’s basically a miniture version of your full swing so it’s easy to do.  (That is the swing I used here btw.)

I usually use the safer flop shots whenever I can because stregically it’s safer.

The only time I use the risky and wristy flop shot is where I have to get it up slightly higher on super hard greens.  Of course, it all depends on what you are playing for.  Sometimes, you need to go all out and sometimes you need to play safe.

You might have seen Phil Mickelson attempt 5-6 flop shots in a tournament, only to end up with a quadruple bogey or worse.

Don’t do that, be smart and use what you can.

Anyways, flop shots in general require a lot of practice and you might want to actually practice with someone standing next to you if you want to get better.

My teacher used to force me to hit over his head, just so I can beat the pressure and that’s what it takes for tournament golf.

But for regular easies, just take it easy and don’t kill anyone with your errant flop shots.

Also, DON’T practice flop shots too much, especially the wristy ones, you will ruin your regular full swing.  LOL, yes, it’s a shot you need to practice but not that often.

Another note, always use a lob wedge for this shot.  If you don’t have a lob wedge, go buy one, don’t try doing a flop shot with a sand wedge, its results aren’t as facinating.

Get a 60 degree or more lob wedge with no or little bounce.

Enjoy~

How to Divide Up Your Practice Time!

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

One of the major mistakes that golfers make is how they spend their time practicing golf.

If you are one of those people who bang 2-3 buckets per day but have been lazy to hit putts on the putting green, watch out, someone’s gonna take your money.

Here’s a simple guideline on how you should divide up your practice time:

50% – Mix of iron and woods.  These are mostly full shots.

50% – Shortgame consisting of putting, chipping, and chipping.

If you don’t have access to a putting green, you can still do short game on the driving range.  Take your sand or lob wedge and hit to different “short” targets around 30 to 75 yards.  Believe me, this will do wonders for your pitching game.

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. :)

Floppy Indoor Golf Ball!

Thursday, August 28th, 2008
Floppy Indoor Golf Ball!

Floppy Indoor Golf Ball!

For the ultimate indoor golf experience, you might want to consider getting couple of these Floppy Indoor Golf Balls.

You can hit your 330-yard drives in your livingroom without any broken-windows.  Now, just make sure your hands are not wet, otherwise you WILL have broken ceilings.  (I have personally broke couple ceiling in my life)

The revolutionary indoor practice golf ball. Whether you want to practice your game at the office, or in your home. The Floppy® will give you the same feel and feedback of a golf ball but without the fear of damaging your property. Designed for the short game The Floppy works wonders with your wedges and short irons.

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