Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online Tuesday at noon ET to answer your swing questions and analyze swing videos. If you have a question or video link for Brady, leave it in the CoverItLive chat below!
Category: Golf Tips
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."
RELATED: Order The Par Plan today
Thankfully, now there's an app for that.
It's called "Golf Shot Fixes," and it's the brainchild of Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Mitchell Spearman. A former PGA Tour pro, Spearman has created an app that offers high-def video tips to correct virtually any type of swing malfunction. Problem areas addressed include slices, hooks, shanks and chunked chips. More than 60 video clips were filmed at Orlando's Isleworth Country Club.
"My app gives instant access to professional advice so you can figure out what you're doing wrong and fix your swing straightaway," Spearman said. "Your skills -- and round -- will improve immediately."
The app costs $4.99 and is now available in the iTunes Store.
For more information, visit golfshotfixes.com.
On Monday, August 17, at 3:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Eastern time, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher Laird Small will be taking part in an online seminar to help you improve your golf game.
Small, who is the director of instruction at the Pebble Beach Golf Academy and was the 2003 PGA of America Teacher of the Year, will be joined by Ingrid Gudenas, president of Effective Training Solutions in Silicon Valley, Calif.
Topics that will be discussed include:
· Improving your consistency
· Creating more power
· Distance and directional control
· Developing a sound pre-shot routine
It’s that time of year – the weather is 80 degrees one day and 35 the next. It’s difficult to get on the course consistently, and we’re all rusty from lack of play over the winter. So what can you do to start the season fresh and knock that rust off? I recommend the following game plan to help get your season off to a good start.
Get your clubs ready for the season
If your clubs need to be re-gripped, do it at the beginning of the season. If you are looking at a new set of clubs now is the time to buy them. By all means if you are looking at getting a new set, get a club fitting. The price is the same as if you buy them off the rack. And remember, if your buddies are selling you their old set, try before you buy! They may be a good deal, just not for you.
Get out and play a few rounds After a long, cold winter your body is stiff and needs to move. The first time you swing after a long time away is the hardest, so make sure you get to the course early enough to warm up your full swing and short game to give yourself the best chance at making a good score. Play a few rounds, see what your swing and game are like, and then develop a plan for improving your game.
What would you like to accomplish this season in your golf game? Maybe you would like to lower your score 10 strokes, or add distance to all your clubs. Perhaps you want to play more golf and learn to practice correctly. Whatever your goal may be, you need to sit with your instructor and plan out your year.
Taking golf lessons early on in the season is a great start to accomplishing your goals for the year. An instructor can help direct your game and help you understand how you are going to reach your goals. They will also keep you on task. If your goal is to lower your score by 10 strokes, and your short game is the place you need the most help, your instructor will keep your focus on that part of the game.
If golf is your serious hobby you should plan time for it. You will want to plan your practice time, your playing time and your lesson time. If you know your schedule at the first of the season you will stick to that time. Planning is the key for improvement.
Just as you need balance in your life, your game needs balance also. If you play too much and never practice, your game will stay the same. If you practice your driving and never practice putting, then your game will be unbalanced. Your game needs a good balance of practice on all parts of the game. You need to play different golf courses to give your game a different look. Do something different for your golf game this year to keep improving.
Practice days need to be structured. I see golfers get a large bucket of golf balls and work only on the driver. If the driver is what you wanted to work on, then great. But if you wanted to practice a consistent swing, then a mid-iron would be best. Give some direction to your practice and watch your game improve.
By developing a plan for your golf game early in the season, you will see the pay off all year round. Good luck!
Where should I put lead tape on a driver to correct a wicked slice?
John B., via email
Great question, John. I asked Craig Allan, our club fitter at Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia, for help with this one. Here’s what he had to say:
Within every clubhead design there is really only one optimal CG (center of gravity) position, so it is probably best to get fit to a clubhead that creates the ball flight you desire. That is why equipment makers intending to help golfers improve their ball flights are designing drivers with shafts that insert at different positions instead of drivers with adjustable weights.
That said, it is possible to slightly adjust the CG and bias of a club with some specific placement of weight. This type of "tweak" is sometimes necessary when your club is close, but not perfect.
More Draw/Less Fade = Weight on heel
More Fade/Less Draw = Weight on toe
Adjusting the vertical trajectory is more difficult as loft is really the primary factor, but here are some guidelines…
Higher with more draw or less fade = Weight on low heel
Lower with more draw or less fade = Weight on high heel
Higher with more fade or less draw = Weight on low toe
Lower with more fade or less draw = Weight on high toe
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Gale Peterson teaches at the Sea Island Golf Learning Center in St. Simons Island, Ga.
You know you’re supposed to be in an athletic position at address, but what you might not know is that you’re not always supposed to have a 50-50 weight distribution on your right and left legs. In fact, to smash drives like the big hitters you may want as much as 70 percent of your weight on your back leg, while for soft short irons you might place 60 percent of your weight on your front leg.
So how do you know how much weight goes to each side? Use your club as a guide.
SWINGING YOUR DRIVER
The driver swing is much different than your swing with your irons. For example, the driver swing demands a slightly ascending approach angle with a shallow and wide bottom to it. To encourage this wider, shallower bottom for the driver, you should set up with about 60 to 70 percent of the weight on your back leg at address. Your stance should be wider than your shoulders to ensure that your center of gravity (the middle point between your hips) is behind the ball at address. This wider stance also puts your head and spine slightly behind the ball at set-up—another power key—and will encourage you to naturally make an ascending blow to the ball at impact.
Did you know that virtually all the long drivers in the National Long Drive Championship set up this way? They even appear to leave 60 to 70 percent of their weight on their right leg at impact. The most accurate drivers (players like Fred Funk, K.J. Choi and Kenny Perry ) all have very wide, shallow downswings. Next time you’re watching a tournament, watch how these players set up with their weight back and even look as if they are releasing the club a little early from the top of the swing. This almost imperceptive move tends to widen out their downswings and makes them very accurate drivers of the ball.
SWINGING YOUR IRONS
The iron swing is very different than the driver swing so you need a different setup. For iron shots, you need to make a descending blow, hitting the ball first and then taking a small amount of turf just in front of the ball. To ensure a descending blow, you should set up with 50/50 weight distribution with the medium irons and hybrids, and 60/40 (front/back) distribution for the short irons. A good rule to follow is the shorter the shot, the more your weight should favor your front leg. Your stance should be narrower than your driver swing, with your center of gravity positioned directly over the ball. The best iron players tend to have higher golf swings with a steep and narrow approach to the ball. Jack Nicklaus in his prime is a great example.
Great iron players all have two things in common: 1.) They all get their weight to their front leg before impact; and 2.) They all have their hands in front of the clubhead at impact. This is easier to do if your weight is distributed slightly to the left leg at address.
To get a feel for the correct weight distribution at address, try this drill. For the driver swing, find a slight upslope. Take your right shoe off and take your driver setup. It will feel like you are hitting up the slope with the weight on the right leg at address and through impact—that’s the feeling you want on the tee.
For the iron swing, find a slight downslope. Take your left shoe off to feel the correct weight distribution for the iron swing. It will feel like you are hitting more down and getting your weight aggressively to the front leg at impact.
If you watch your weight distribution at address, it won’t be long before you are hitting both your irons and your driver with confidence and consistency.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Jim Suttie, Ph.D., is director of instruction at the Suttie Academies at TwinEagles in Naples, Fla. You can read more tips from Jim at www.jimsuttie.com.
Many PGA Tour pros will tell you that the bunker shot is the easiest in golf. This is a pretty demoralizing statement when you are having difficulty getting the ball out of the sand much less near the hole.
The truth is that for amateurs the bunker shot is the hardest shot in golf. Our short-game testing data proves it. So what’s the Tour-player secret that makes bunker shots so simple? You're about to find out.
First, you need to understand that your sand wedge is designed differently than any other club in your bag. The back of the bottom of the club is lower than the leading edge. This allows the club to skid through the sand and not dig too deep. The secret to hitting consistent bunker shots is to take long, shallow divots and hit the sand in the same spot each time.
Sure, it sounds simple, but this approach can make a profound difference in your bunker play. Find a practice bunker and knock some sand out of the bunker. Notice how far the sand flies, where the divot starts and the sound of the club hitting the sand. Ask yourself these questions: Was the divot long and shallow? Are your divots starting back of the center of your stance? Does the contact with the sand sound like a "thump" or a "thud"? (You want to hear "thump.")
Once you are controlling your divots, place a ball slightly forward of the middle of your stance. Stay focused on the divot of sand as if the ball was a large speck of sand. Make the same swing as before, taking a long, shallow divot. This swing will explode the ball onto the green. Your bunker success depends on your ability to take the same long, shallow divot and start the divot in the same place every time.
Distance control is relatively easy. Just hit the sand short, medium and long to hit short, medium and long bunker shots. You can control the distance with the length and speed of your swing. Put these ideas into practice and maybe you too will be able to proclaim the bunker shot the easiest shot in golf. Watching this video will help too:
Golf Magazine Top 100 Charlie King is director of instruction at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga. He is the star of the most-popular video in golf.com history, "The Proper Way to Throw Your Club," which has been viewed more than 1.8 million times. You can also read his golf tips blog here.