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How to play the putting chip – get up and down

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We know from previous articles that the averagechipping a golf ball onto the green amateur golfer will achieve around three greens in regulation during their eighteen holes of golf. So for us to make any kind of reasonable score will will need to get up and down more often than not. By this we mean chip the ball close to the hole and sink the putt. In this article we will discuss a different way of chipping the ball close to the hole called the putting chip. This should give you more consistency and hopefully lower scores.

So what is the putting chip?

Many golfers find taking a standard chip shot from the fringe of the green a difficult task to hit consistently well. They set up over the ball and take a nervous backswing and stub the club behind the ball, or look up and thin it across the green. Either way the results do not give us a chance of securing a par.

What we would encourage you to try is the putting chip. As the name suggests take a six or seven iron and grip the club with your standard putting grip. Take a few practice swings gently brushing the grass in a sweeping motion. Now set up over the ball and focus on the back of the ball where the clubhead will make contact. You should find that this is a more comfortable set up and now all you need to concentrate on is the contact of the ball. Try this shot with a number of different clubs with the rule of the more roll you need the less loft you will have. For example, if you are hitting a longer chip and just need to get the ball onto the green and rolling then maybe a six iron would be the club of choice. If the hole is much nearer and you are looking for less roll then a pitching wedge maybe the club to choose. For you the grip and set up remains the same the only thing that is changing is the club in your hands.

If you think that this technique maybe of help to you then your next step is to take this to the practice ground. Spend sometime practising with a number of clubs to see what clubs works best at different lengths. Then you will be ready to take this onto the course and start lowering your scores.

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The Golf Talk team

 

 

Can I break 90 with just a set of irons?

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Many mid to high handicappers are seeking to break the elusive ninety and will try anything to write a score that starts with an eight on their card. So is it possible to break ninety with just a set of irons? In this article we discuss how to break ninety and whether leaving your woods at home really does help.

The good news is that if you are scoring in the mid nineties now then you can obviously strike the ball well. It may be just a case of managing your bad shots that’s going to take a few strokes off your round. Let’s take a minute to remember that a score of ninety on an average par seventy-two course is an eighteen handicap or bogey golf. So why can’t we play to that? It sounds so simple, three seven irons onto the green and a two putt for a bogey.

In our experience the higher handicappers amongst us usually get into trouble with the longer clubs and do not play enough to really master the driver. The result is a three off the tee, or a lost ball out-of-bounds and a couple of big numbers on the scorecard. This is then very difficult to recover from and post a good score.

So consider, are you are playing the wrong clubs off the tee? The next time you are out playing a practise round of golf with your buddies leave your driver and three wood in the car as an experiment. You will be forced to play more conservatively off the tee with more thought of how you are going to play your second and third shots. Also playing in a more controlled way will mean that your iron shots into the green will be nearer to the pin and you may have a few chances of holing a putt for a par.

So to answer the question ‘Can I break ninety with just a set of irons?’ we say a resounding yes!

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The Golf Talk team

What are the odds of a hole in one?

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There are approximately one hundred and fifty thousand (150,000) holes-in-one per year around the Golfer happy with his shotworld,  and all golfers at one time or another have stood on the tee and have hit a shot that is tracking right online to the flag stick. We hold our breath as the ball lands and rolls to the hole thinking this could be the one where we ace the hole. But what are the chances of making a hole-in-one? GT has been looking at the odds of this great achievement to see how we fare.

Let’s start by looking at the odds for the professional golfer. The pro’s chances of hitting a hole-in-one are around two thousand five hundred to one (2,500 – 1). So what about us mere amateurs? Well, the low handicappers odds of an ace are around five thousand to one (5,000 – 1) and the odds climb even further for the higher handicapper. We are now at twelve thousand five hundred to one (12,500 – 1). These statistics are for many of us a once in a lifetime event.

However if you are lucky enough to get a hole-in-one then the good news is that your chances of making another are increased. Statistics show that those lucky golfers who make an ace are fourteen percent (14%) more likely to make another.

Now let’s look at club selection. Did you know that 40 percent (40%) of all holes-in-one are made with either a seven, eight or nine iron. With the most popular club being the seven iron.

Finally if you are lucky enough to get an ace then be prepared to buy everyone in the clubhouse a round of drinks. This is an old golfing tradition and can be an expensive celebration. You can even buy an annual insurance to cover the cost.

We hope you have enjoyed this article. if so then please comment and share below. You can also email any questions you may have to info@golftalk.club

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The Golf Talk team

 

Golf tips for beginners – Where to start?

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The GolferIf you are fairly new to golf and are just starting to get to grips with the game then you maybe feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of technical golf instruction out there on the web. For some of us we are not yet ready to consume this level of instruction and actually may find it detrimental to our game. In this article we want to give you our golf fundamentals of where to start to instantly start improving your game and hopefully your enjoyment out on the course.

Let’s start at the beginning. Can you teach yourself golf? Well yes of course you can and you may achieve a reasonable level of success. Many golfers never have any lessons at all and can get their handicap down to single figures. For the rest of us however there is a potential to build in some fundamental errors into our golf swing that may give us some kind of immediate success but also may leave us regretting not getting the basics right in the first place. So our advice to any new golfer is to seek out your local golf professional and book a set of lessons. This will give you a good start to the game and avoid any swing flaws that could creep into your game. You will notice that we said seek out your local professional. Your friends or relatives may be good natured and offer to give you lessons. Be careful that they are not teaching you their own swing flaws and doing more harm than good.

During your lessons you will be taught how to hold the club, the correct setup, the basic turn and co-ordination of movement and good tempo. Our second piece of advice is to dedicate time on the practise tee honing your swing and practising these movements. Little and often is what we would like to see. Hitting balls aimlessly on the range is not a productive way to learn how to play golf. In previous articles we have discussed deliberate practice which is a worthwhile read and should help you.

Many of us feel we need to rush out to the golf course to play eighteen holes and we are enthusiastic as to what score you can achieve. We seem to get obsessed by breaking one hundred or even ninety. For us playing the course and hitting good shots is more important than keeping a score. So our third piece of advice is to leave the scorecard behind and concentrate on good ball striking and mastering the fundamentals of the golf swing.

One part of golf that is not often discussed (except on Golf Talk) is the amount of concentration needed out on the course to play well. This is a learned behaviour so playing nine holes two or three times a week maybe more beneficial to learning concentration then trying to do this over eighteen holes. Why not give this advice a try for a few weeks and see what difference it makes to your game. You can then step this up to a full eighteen hole game.

Finally for the new golfer have a realistic target of where you want to be by the end of the season and accept where you are now. You are then in a strong position, along with your golf professional to put a plan together of how you are going to improve your game. This will consist of lessons, practise and of course competitive play.

If you have enjoyed this article please comment and share below. You can also email any questions you may have to info@golftalk.club

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The Golf Talk team

 

Golf Tips – How to play off a tight lie

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I’m sure you will agree playing golf in the warm sunshine is how the game should be played. This also gives the green keepers an opportunity to manicure the fairways and expose some bare lies. In this post we will teach you how to play off a tight lie so it does not cause you any problems out on the course.Golf club hitting a ball

So what do we mean by the term a tight lie? A tight lie is when the grass is cut very short or is non-existent underneath the ball which means there is a potential for the club to bounce on the hard ground slightly behind the ball and cause a topped or thinned shot.

For many golfers, when we find ourselves in this position we immediately try to help the ball in the air which only makes matters worse. Anytime we scoop at the ball the shot is less than perfect.

So how do you play this shot? Firstly club selection is important. Try to choose a club with a sharp leading edge. We are not saying that playing off a tight lie with a sand or lob wedge is impossible. However, there is a very small margin of error. The bounce of these clubs mean that it is more difficult to get the leading edge of the club face on the back of the ball.  So if you are feeling anxious over this type of shot then a pitching wedge or nine iron maybe a better choice for you.

Now that you have selected your club we need to play this shot with a steeper angle of approach. To do this place the ball a little further back in your stance and fix your eyes on the back of the ball throughout the shot. You may even want to close the clubface slightly to ensure a consistent strike. You are certainly less likely to hit behind the ball and thin a shot if the clubface is slightly closed. If you do this then don’t forget to adapt your stance and aim slightly to the right to compensate.

Finally good tempo is essential. You must not allow you swing to quicken up because of any worries you may have. Use your pre-shot routine, visualise the shot and swing with a smooth controlled action. If you take these recommendations then we are sure that you will soon build your confidence and success with a tight lie.

Try these tips and see how they improve you score and enjoyment out on the course. And don’t forget to try this type of shot when next on the practise tee.

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The Golf Talk team

 

How to play great golf in the wind

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yellow golf flagOne of the attractions to our great game for many golfers is that it is an outdoor sport, so we can get some fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors. This also means that during our round we may need to deal with all the elements including wind. We have previously covered how to play well in the rain and in this article we will give you our recommendations to achieving a good score when the wind is blowing.

Ok, so let’s accept that the wind is blowing and the course is going to be playing more difficult as a result. We must be able to adapt our game to these challenging conditions or else we will never be able to score our best. So how will the wind effect the golf course?

Golf courses will be constructed with the wind in mind. The course architect will play close attention to the wind direction and will try not to design long and difficult holes into the prevailing wind.  Also the wind is often used to protect some holes on the golf course and make them more difficult to play. Depending on where in the world you play the wind can have a very dramatic effect on your game. With some links courses on the coasts of Scotland almost unplayable with a standard golf shot.

The wind will blow from four general directions from behind, against or into, across from left to right or across from right to left with many combinations in between. Here are GT’s recommendations to playing in these challenging conditions.

Let’s start with the wind behind. The ball is pushed forward with less backspin this means that the ball will roll more on landing with a lower trajectory. This is great for those long par four’s and five’s when the extra distance off the tee is welcomed. However, this may also bring hazards into play that would usually not be in reach so noting the distances and taking a lesser club maybe the safer option. Also when playing into the green with the wind behind makes the ball more difficult to land and control on the green so you will need to adapt your shot making to compensate.

Playing the ball slightly higher is the answer to more consistency when the wind is blowing from behind. You will need to calculate how hard the wind is blowing in clubs. For example, a two or three club wind will mean you take two or three clubs less to achieve the same distance. Playing the ball higher will mean a longer flight and a softer landing with less forward roll. If you are able to, playing a fade shot down wind will also give you a higher trajectory and more control on landing. One great aspect of the wind blowing hard from behind is it tends to straighten out any unwanted side spin so a slice becomes a fade and a hook becomes a draw shot. Another option is to play the ball lower trying to keep the ball below the wind so it does not effect the balls flight. You will need to practise this type of shot and be confident with the distances you can achieve. When the wind is really blowing hard this may be the only option you have.

Playing into the wind for many is the most difficult. This is sometimes because feeling the wind on your face can cause you to swing at the ball much harder with a lack of tempo. Also when the wind is blowing hard you can find it difficult to keep your balance resulting in an off centred strike of the ball. When playing into the wind the strike on the ball is critical. Any unnecessary side spin will be exaggerated by the wind so a slight fade will become a big slice and a slight draw will become a hook. The obvious challenge when playing into the wind is the effect the wind will have on the ball distance. This will make long holes even longer and you will be using the longer clubs in your bag more often. When playing into the wind we want you to concentrate on your timing trying not to swing to fast. ‘ Into the breeze swing with ease’ is the swing thought we would like you to carry around the course with you. As previously mentioned measuring the wind in clubs is also useful when the wind is in your face. In this situation a two club wind means you will take two clubs more and swing easy to achieve the same distance.

Cross winds can be equally as difficult partly because golfers are unsure whether to play a shot that works with the wind or one that holds up against it. Our recommendation is to play shots that let the wind shape your golf ball. Try to play the ball with a lower trajectory to minimise the cross winds affect on the ball. Also when on the tee play close attention to where you are teeing up on the tee box. Teeing up on the right hand side of the tee box into a left to right wind may help you aim more confidently and get the shape from the wind that you have visualised.

One final note on good wind play. To play well when the wind is blowing is a lot to do with your attitude. If you have the mental toughness to accept that the round is going to be more challenging, and you are up for the challenge, then you are more likely to succeed out on the course and play reasonably well. After all, the course is playing just as difficult for your fellow competitors.

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The Golf Talk team

 

How to use meditation to play better golf

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Girl golfer sitting in yoga posture on golf course.I’m sure you’ll agree, there are times when you are swinging your club you can feel you are in the ‘zone’ – the golf club is connecting with the ball and your shots are great.  However, on the other hand there are times where nothing is working right and you just want to throw your clubs into a lake.  Golf Talk have been looking into meditation and how this might help improve your game.

Golf is a sport where good concentration and focus can improve your round immensely, helping you to have less wayward shots and missed putts.  Better focus will not only mean you have less tension but also will allow you to play a more relaxing round.  Also, by having positive thoughts, you can have total focus through your pre-shot routine and swing.

So what is meditation?

Golf Talk believes meditation is mental concentration where thoughts and reflection can give clarity of the mind and improve concentration. It can be used to focus your mind and control your breathing both before and during the game. So how do you get into a meditative state.

Firstly, take three to five minutes quiet time – three to four times a week – to sit in a quiet place and clear your mind. Close your eyes and concentrate on your surroundings and yourself within them.  Whilst doing this, breathe in and out through your nose, taking longer breaths each time, which will help you relax and have positive thoughts. Once you can do this without to much trouble and are starting to feel the benefits then we can move on to taking this out on the course.

The technique of deep breathing can be used before you take a shot with the club, in fact, you can control your breathing with the practice swings so you are focused on the shot at hand before you hit the ball. Use this focused breathing and you swing the club and visualise your shot in hand. Now step into the shot in a relaxed state ready to strike the ball.

Another important factor is to have plenty of rest and sleep, this can help in many situations outside of golf too but can improve concentration within the game. The amount of sleep you need will vary from person to person however the National Sleep foundation recommends adults get between seven and nine hours sleep and school aged children get between nine and eleven hours of sleep. So if you have a big game this weekend get plenty of rest and have better focus out on the course.

We hope these tips on meditation, concentration and focus will help to ensure your mind remains clear in order for you to enjoy your next round of golf with less shots and hopefully a better handicap!

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The Golf Talk team

Course Management – Five tips for short hitters

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For many golfers we have to accept that hitting the ball a long way is not going to happen for us and try as we may, keeping up with the long hitters in the group will just make us feel frustrated. However, this does not mean that we cannot score well we just need to play to our strengths. In this article we will give you our top five recommendations of how to score well and not let yGolf 005our distance off the tee be a disadvantage.

First of all we need to accept that distance is not our key priority, accuracy is. For many short hitters are relatively accurate. What we need to concentrate on is consistent ball striking. So our first tip for the short hitter is to practise hitting crisp iron shots. A good drill to practise when on the driving range is to place a ball under you right heel and hit a few half shots with a medium iron. This should give you the crisp feeling of a descending blow and help you achieve the desired strike. Also remember to practise your pre-shot routine, this will help with consistent ball striking. For more details on how to develop a reliable pre-shot routine look in the back catalogue on www.golftalk.club

Our second tips is to look at your golf club selection and assess whether you have the right clubs in your bag for your local course. If you are playing a course that has a number of longish par fours then maybe the addition of a seven wood or a rescue club would be a good addition to your bag.  Longer irons are usually much harder to strike consistently well so try them out and see what difference it makes to your game. If you do decide to stick with your irons then ensure that you give them plenty of time on the driving range to help with your confidence and consistency.

You will find that you will be faced with a number of longer shots into the green so a good short game is a must for you to score well. Practise chipping from off the green and holing the putts to help you get up and down on a consistent basis. Also spend a little time on pitch shots of around twenty to thirty yards as you may find yourself just short of the green and as with chipping getting up and down from here is essential.

Also with regard to putting practise, spend more time holing out from three feet to take some pressure off your chipping. Develop a good, reliable stroke. Remember that even though you may not reach the green in regulation a good putter is a match for anyone. Keep a note of your putting stats with an objective to lowering your averages.

Finally accept that you will not reach some greens in regulation and that you will be forced to play some par four holes as three shots onto the green. This means that good course management is essential. Ask yourself how is it best to play this hole instead of immediately reaching for your driver. For example a par four hole with a yardage of four hundred yards maybe a driver, a five wood and a chip onto the green for you. Or you could play three six irons and achieve the same result. What type of play will give you more consistency?

Try these tips and see how they improve you score and enjoyment out on the course.

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The Golf Talk team

Course Management – Five tips for long hitters

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For many golfers hitting the ball a long way is not an issue for them. With developments in swing techniques and equipment many of us mere mortals are able to hit the golf ball considerable distances. However, for some this just means a different set of problems. In this article we will give you our top five recommendations of how to keep the ball in play and use your lGolf club and ball in grassength off the tee as an advantage.

First things first. If you are a long hitter then you will have more opportunity to miss the fairway. A shot that is a slight push for a short hitter may not cause to many problems. But for you this could be thirty yards off-line and finish in the rough or out of bounds. Your number one priority must be to keep the ball in play. Our first tip is to use a club off the tee that you are confident that you will hit the fairway. Don’t automatically reach for the driver. Instead look at the hole on your course planner and asses whether a utility wood or even an iron may keep you on the short grass. As an experiment next time you are playing a practice round play two ball of the tee. Your usually driver and a lesser club and mark your card for both balls and compare your scores. In our experience you will usually score a lower score with your more carefully planned shots.

Golf tip number two is to think more about the shape of your shots. We would like you to have a regular stock shot shape that you can rely on under pressure. On the practice tee try different shots and hone in on a shot that you know you can play consistently well no matter what. For us a slight fade is the shot of choice because the ball has more back spin, is easier to control and will land on the fairway or green with a more predictable bounce.

Longer drives will mean you will be hitting more short irons and wedges into the green. Accuracy with these clubs is essential for you to score well.  It may be worth you investing in a third wedge to compliment your club armoury. This will give you more options from one hundred and fifty yards and in. On the practice tee ensure that you focus on hitting these shorter irons to a target. A slight improvement here will have a positive impact on your score immediately.

If you are hitting your short irons well you should also find that you will hit more greens in regulation. This has an effect on the distance of your first putts. We have found that the more greens in regulation you hit. The longer your first putts usually will be. Before you tee off spend some time on the practice putting area stroking putts from medium and longer distances. Try to focus on your lag putts ensuring a tap in for a regulation par.

Finally you will hit the driver off the tee and you will find yourself in the rough. This is inevitable for the longer hitter. When you are on the practice ground spend some time hitting shots out of the rough. Try and get a feel for what reaction the ball has out of the rough. This will help you predict what the ball will do when faced with these shots out on the course and help you decide on what type of shot to play. Just because you are in the rough does not mean the scoring potential for the hole is no longer available.

Try these tips and see how they improve you score and enjoyment out on the course.

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The Golf Talk team

What to get your golf obsessed Mother on Mothers Day

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There is no shortage of goodies and gifts for the golf obsessed mum in your life. As a change from the norm for Golf Talk posts. We celebrate the golfing mums in our life with some helpful gift ideas.

Golf socks are always a useful and well received gift for golfers. The Coolmax Golf Socks are high performance Coolmax fibre for added comfort & performance. Ventilated Fabric construction reduces moisture & cools the foot. Made from 70% Polyester (Coolmax) 20% Cotton 10% nylon machine washable. Soft Grip top with Tab to help keep socks in place. High density terry fabric – cushions & helps protect against shock & impact. Elasticated Arch – provides support & minimises sock movement. Ventilated Fabric construction – Reduces moisture & cools the foot. Size: LADIES – to fit UK shoe sizes 4 through to 7 (US 5-8; Euro 36–40)

Next on our list is the Srixon soft feel golf balls. The Soft Feel Lady brings all of the distance technology of Srixon’s success to a golf ball specifically designed for women. The newly developed super-soft Energetic Gradient Growth core allows moderate to low swing-speed golfers the ability to generate impressive ball velocity and excellent feel. The “Hit Straight” alignment aid provides a clear path toward the intended target, putting more fun back into your game. Specifically designed for 70+ mph swings.  They are two-piece golf ball that provides both feel and greater distance. The new dimple pattern equals enhanced aerodynamics and greater distance.

Here is another great gift for the mum in your life the Golf Gift Set With Leather Scorecard Holder . This soft feel leather golfers’ gift set comes in its own presentation box including a leather golf scorecard holder 9.5cm x 15cm x 1cm. Blind embossed with “Golf Score Card” on the front of the holder. Leather pencil holder and has been designed by golfers for golfers.

Now that the spring is here in the northern hemisphere we are looking at kick starting our season. A new pair of golf shoes will make a great present. The Puma Spark Sport 2 Golf Shoe  is made from a combination full grain and synthetic leather for a soft feel and fantastic levels of comfort. This combination also offer you outstanding durability, waterproof protection and breathability so your feet are always dry and comfortable. They look cool too!

Harvey Penick’s Little Blue Golf Book: Lessons & Teachings for Women Golfers – Half of all new golfers are women, and here Harvey Pennick directs his advice to meet the unique needs of the woman golfer. While male golfers generally need to gain more control, women usually need to develop more power. Pennick shows women how they can hit the ball further, choose the right clubs and cope with shots involving trees, water and sand traps. From those wishing to play a few rounds on holiday to the business woman who wants to hold her own on the links with clients and colleagues, this manual covers it all and finally caters for golf’s most overlooked audience.

We hope you have enjoyed this ‘Mother’s Day special article. Have a great Mother’s Day …

The Golf Talk team