Looking for some extra yards? Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Jim Suttie says that extending your arms can sap your clubhead speed, but bending your wrists and elbows increase it.
Every golfer has a number in mind-a goal score that represents a successful round. Now Golf Magazine and GolfTEC, the global leader in golf instruction with four million lessons taught and a 95-percent success rate, have created a blueprint to finally help golfers reach it in just thirty days.
The Par Plan, the first book to offer instruction across three platforms (lessons, video, swing-analysis app), presents a six-part blueprint that golfers of all levels can follow. Playing better golf is like the fitting together pieces of a puzzle; you need to get each one right in order to realize the full picture. The plan emphasizes this by helping players break down their games into nine key areas -- driving, putting, wedge play, scrambling, iron play, strategy, equipment, shot-making, and bunker play -- and providing a practical day-by-day regimen. As golfers progress through the plan, they'll notice that making slight improvement in these areas, just enough to cut one or two strokes per skill, will significantly improve their overall score.
Designed to produce not only maximum but also lasting results, Golf Magazine and GolfTEC equips players with lesson schedules and targeted on-range and at-home drills. Before moving onto a new key area, golfers complete self-assessment tests. They can also take advantage of the plan's revolutionary swing-analysis app, My Pro To Go. David DeNunzio, Golf Magazine's Managing Editor for Instruction, who worked closely Andy Hilts, GolfTEC's Vice President of Instruction and Education, on The Par Plan, argues that video analysis is an essential tool.
"It provides you with facts and truths that your sense of feel or a friend's eye simply can't catch. Pros know this, which is why video now dominates Tour practice tees."
The result is an easy-to-follow plan to revolutionize a golfer's game in thirty days. Good practice days will soon translate into solid rounds as golfers learn how to add yards to their drives, avoid costly mistakes on the putting green and build an arsenal of score-saving swings.
"Golfers they don't need to be shot-making machines in order to reach their target scores," said DeNunzio. "They just need to have a plan."
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Do you struggle in the sand? Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brian Manzella has a tip that will help get you out of a bunker in one swing.
RELATED: More Sand Tips on Golf.com
There are some folks that say that watching a big-time college or NFL football game live isn't as good an experience as watching on TV. As a season-ticket holder for both the LSU Tigers and the New Orleans Saints, I respectfully disagree.
There are also those who say that watching The Masters on your giant flat-panel TV while lounging on your couch is better than being there in person. I won't argue that point one way or the other, but I can tell you one thing you will miss on your XBR: Slope. It's the main thing that makes Augusta National the incredible course that it is.
TV flattens out the hills and bumps and knobs that give this course its teeth. For example, the second shot at 18 is straight up very steep hill, and because of that severe slope you can't see much, if any, green from the fairway. All you can see is a sea of people, a TV tower, two big bunkers, and a little yellow pin in the middle of it all. Trust me, if you ever get to see it live, you'll realize how good a shot Sandy Lyle played out of that fairway bunker and how Greg Norman could easily do something silly.
The hill below the first tee is so steep, you can kick a Nerf soccer ball 80 yards off of it, and if snow ever fell on No. 10 [pictured above], you could go sledding right down the fairway. And if you can't fly your tee ball 280 yards, you will have several uphill lies to flags that are even farther up the hill. If you go the Chip Beck route and lay up on No. 15, you'll be greeted with a right-to-left downhill lie to a super-shallow green with water front and back. Good luck.
If the slope in the fairways wasn't intimidating enough, there's the utter fear that results from pros faced with navigating pitch shots off tight lies to Augusta's ultra-quick, sloping greens. Some of those shots are so tough that I couldn't pull them off more than two out of 10 times in a casual round.
Don't miss No. 1 long, or No. 1 short. You'll wish you didn't. If you miss No. 13 left and the pin is left, it's 4th down. Miss No. 14 long and left, and you may get a free pass to a 30-yard come-backer from the fairway. I saw first-time Masters participant Ted Potter Jr. putt two balls off green at 14 and send one short chip off the putting surface as well. He's a PGA Tour winner, folks.
Television just can't capture that essential essence of one of the greatest courses in the world. The announcers will try to tell you about it; they do it every year. But until you get a chance to see if for yourself -- and I hope someday you do -- you'll just have to take my word for it: The National is some kind of tough.
Brian Manzella is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher.
(Photo: Fred Vuich / Sports Illustrated)
AUGUSTA, Ga -- "You gotta dance with who ya brung," was one of three-time Masters champion Sam Snead's favorite lines. He wasn't very found of last minute adjustments to his game, so he preferred to play whatever shot his fluid swing was producing that week -- or even that day.
But at Augusta National on Monday, there were many of the best players in the world working hard on their games and swings on perhaps the prettiest practice area in the world. But, what exactly are they doing out there? And, do most of them agree with Snead's philosophy?
Having been on both sides of the ropes at a major championship, I can tell you that the players are out grinding away earlier in the week than they typically do on tour for many reasons.
One, the magnitude of the title and all that comes with it demands a preparation equal to the task of major championship pressure and course set-up.
Next, it gives the player -- or player/teacher team -- the time to make a slightly larger adjustment and get comfortable with it before the gun goes off on Thursday. Also, the course setup is usually quite different than a regular tour event and extra time on the course is almost always in order.
Augusta National's practice tee was less crowded than a regular event on Monday, and the caliber of player is obviously as elevated as the atmosphere. I saw swing coaches with their cameras; teachers and their players using the "house" TrackMan (personal radar devices are not allowed at The National); and swing tweaks being worked into tournament-ready form.
Driving the ball well is a prerequisite at Augusta in the post-Tiger proofing era. The unique driving "fairways" on the practice area -- one curving left to right and one bent right to left -- give the players a chance to really work on moving the ball to a realistic target. And they utilize it a lot.
Every player at this level has a pre-tournament routine, and the more experienced ones have a major tournament routine. Most include getting to the course early, working on either the last thing they put in with their teacher away from Augusta, or putting the polish on it in real time with their instructors by their side.
They'll get plenty of short-game work in, getting used to how the greens hold, check and run out, and how the green speed, grain and slope is to putt on this week. Everyone inside and outside the ropes knows what is at stake, a place in the history books not being the least of it. So they are out in force on a Monday, getting ready to have a chance at the glory on Sunday afternoon.
(Above: Tiger Woods talks with coach Sean Foley on the practice range. Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)