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Golf fundamentals – How to set up to the ball

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practice golfGetting into the correct position as you address the ball will help you strike the ball more consistently. Your
aim, ball position and posture are essential parts of the golf swing that cannot be overlooked. In this post we look at the correct set up that will help you achieve a better address position and more consistent ball striking.

Your goal should be a square position to the ball at address. Lay a golf club on the ground to act as your target line. Now stand parallel to the club with your feet, hips and shoulder square to that target line. This is what we mean by a square orthodox stance. Many golfers fail to get into this position simply by not having a good pre-shot routine that will help them get into the correct setup position. Please look through our back catalogue for posts on developing a good pre-shot routine.

Next we want to talk about ball position. The correct ball position can vary depending on the type of shot you are trying to play. For example if you are trying to hit a shot with a higher than normal trajectory you may position the ball slightly further in your stance to help achieve an ascending strike and higher ball flight. Or you may want to play the ball further back in your stance to hit a lower than usual shot. For this post we are going to assume that you are playing a standard shot with a standard trajectory for that club.

Lets start with the driver. This club is almost always played off a tee peg so we are trying to hit this shot on the upswing. To help us achieve this ascending hit we must position the ball forward in our stance in-line with our left heel. This will encourage the correct strike on the ball and a high flying shot.

As we move into our fairway woods and longer irons we move the ball slightly back in our stance, just forward of centre, two or three ball widths. These clubs are struck with a sweeping motion so the ball should be positioned just forward of our sternum where our swing reaches its lowest point.

Our shorter irons are positioned further back still, around the centre of our stance. This will encourage a ball then turf contact and apply the correct spin on the ball as it is compressed against the ground.

What about your weight distribution? Many golfers ask whether their weight should be favouring their left or right foot. This is not something that you should consciously do. However, you will feel that you are more behind the ball with a driver and that your weight is more on your right foot. Also when you are playing shorter irons you may feel that you are favouring your left foot because of your smaller width stance.

The set up is much more important than many golfers give credit. If you are finding that your shots are inconsistent then go back to basics with your set up to see if there are some bad habits that are creeping into your game. At your next friendly round of golf ask a friend to video you with your cell phone so you can analyse your set up and find any faults. A good set up is something that the best players in the world work on regularly. Start dedicating some time at the driving range to your set up. Only with constant repetition will you start to build muscle memory that you can take on the course and play your best golf

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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

The exercise workout for golfers, keeping your health and game in good shape

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Golf is a dynamic game so you need a certain amount of fitness to play the game well. In this article we want to give you a few suggestions of what exercises you should be working on to keep you fit and help your golf game. Just as a not of caution. Please consult with your doctor or physician before attempting any new exercise program, and start any new exercise slowly.

Let’s start with the obvious. An average golf course is around six or seven miles so having strength in your legs to be able to walk this distance is essential. The easiest way to build strength in your legs is to walk. Try walking three to five miles, three times per week. This will give your legs the necessary strength to walk the course without to many problems. If you are not walking any kind of distance at the moment then remember to start off slowly and build up to these distances.

Your upper body is your swing engine. So maintaining good strength in your torso, arms and shoulders will will give you the opportunity to play at your very best. A great exercise for your upper body is rowing. This will exercise your arms, shoulders and abs. Use the rowing machine in your local gym on a low / medium intensity for two minutes slowly building up in 30 second increments until you can comfortably row for five minutes. You can then dial up the intensity to make the exercise more difficult if you want to.

If you do not have access to a local gym on a regular basis then a Dumbbell Set or Kettlebells are a great alternative to building upper body strength. Concentrate on lower weights and more repetitions. For example use a 1kg dumbbell in both hands and do twenty bicep curls with each arm. This will build up your arm strength with less potential for injury. Another great exercise to use with your weights is the squat to high lift position. Place your chosen weights in front of you and assume a squat position. Next take the weights from the squat all the way up to the high lift and hold for 3 seconds. This is an explosive exercise will build up your arms, shoulders, abs and legs.

There are many exercise regimes available to you that will help with your golf game from wights to gym work and walking. However for us at Golf Talk the most beneficial we have found is Yoga. This is an excellent combination of exercise, strength and flexibility and in our experience has helped numerous golfers maintain their golf swing throughout their lifetime. (please click the Yoga link to find out more).

Finally we know plenty of golfers who would love to embark on a new fitness regime but have issues with any kind of high impact workout. So if this is you, what can you do?. We love swimming. This is a great workout for golfers combining a low impact arms, legs and core workout with stretching of all the key muscle groups. And can be done anytime of the day, anywhere in the world. You just need to find your local pool. Why not give it a try!

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The Golf Talk team

Six tips to keep you fuelled out on the golf course

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We all know that playing golf can be an energetic sport. The golf swing is a dynamic movement coupled with an average walk of around five to six miles. This means that we need to keep fuelling our bodies to give us the energy required to play our best golf.

Here we give you six tips on how you can keep yourself  fuelled for your next round…

  1. Golf ist gesundTry to avoid teeing off immediately after a meal. Leave a couple of hours between your meal and tee off time. This will ensure your food is digested.
  2. Drink plenty of water before and during your round. Dehydration can lead to poor decision making. So keep consuming the fluids. This is also important on those cold days. If you start to feel thirsty then you are already dehydrated.
  3. If you need instant energy then keeping a supply of nutrition bars in your bag can help give you that boost that you may need out on the course.
  4. Eating fruit out on the course can also be a good supply of energy. We recommend eating apples, strawberries and bananas to keep your energy levels topped up.
  5. Try to avoid any additional ‘sugar highs’ during your round. Chocolate bars, although nice are definite no no out on the course.
  6. If your course has a halfway house at the turn, avoid any big meals. This can make you feel lethargic for your back nine.

Good nutrition can have a dramatic effect on your golf game, giving you more energy during your round and may help you play your best golf yet.

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The Golf Talk team

How to reduce first tee nerves

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First tee nerves affects many amateur golfers. They feel that the entire world is watching them on the tee. The heart starts pumping harder and this usually means they play a bad shot. Having a strategy to overcome this feeling can help you get your round off to a good start and set the stage for an enjoyable round of golf.

One thing we notice more often than not is the speed of the swing. Many golfers who are nervous on the tee just want it to be over with as soon as possible. This leads to a quick swing and inevitably a poor strike on the ball. One way you can over come this is to count in your head ‘ one and two’. One being your backswing, two being the transition and three your down swing. This drill coupled with some deep breaths will ensure that you do not rush your swing and have every chance of playing a good shot.Group Of Male Golfers Teeing Off On Golf Course

Also consider your pre-shot routine ( mentioned in an earlier article). This will also prepare you to hit a good shot and help combat any nerves you may have on the tee.

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The Golf Talk team

Six tips for hitting long straight drives off the tee

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If you ask the club golfer which shot they would most like to improve a huge number would say the driver. After all, hitting a long straight drive sets up the hole and give us a reasonable chance of hitting the green in regulation. Also striking the driver well gives us confidence on the course that can filter down the the rest of the clubs in our bag. In this article we will give you six tips to help you when you are next on the tee.

Golf driveHitting a long straight means firstly hitting the ball out of the sweet spot of the club. It dosen’t matter how well you swing the club. If you are not hitting the ball out of the middle of the clubface you will lose direction and yards off the tee. We recommend swinging the club in a slow and controlled manner until you are making the correct contact out of the sweet spot. You can then begin to increase the pace of your swing until you can match good clubhead speed with good contact.

Tip number two is to loosen your grip. Many poor shots off the tee are the result of the golfer gripping the club to hard and tightening up the arms and chest. Having a tight grip makes it more difficult for you to swing the club smoothly and will often result in a poor strike.

Tip number three is to pay attention to where you place the tee peg on the tee box. Some tee boxes are deliberately angled away from the natural direction of the fairway in an attempt to lure you off track. Also teeing from the left hand side of the tee or the right hand side of the tee can drastically change the hole perspective. Finally look for a flat even part of the tee where you are comfortable over the ball. If you are not feeling comfortable over the ball then do not swing the club until you are!

Tip number four is to keep the club head as low to the ground for as long as possible in the first few feet of the backswing. This will encourage the correct swing path in the backswing. Getting the swing on path in the first few feet is critical to making a long smooth back swing with the correct shoulder turn. If you want a practice drill for on the driving range, place a headcover on the target line about two feet behind the ball. Try to touch this on your back swing, once you are achieving the correct takeaway remove the headcover and repeat your swing.

Tip number five is to tee the ball at the correct height. A driver is best struck on an up-strike. If the ball is hit before the up-strike you will get a lower trajectory and will lose vital distance. Many tee’s have markings on them to help you tee up at a consistent height. Experiment on the practise tee with different heights for your driver. Once you are gaining consistency make a note of the height you are teeing the ball.

Finally tip number six is keep a note of where your tee shots are going. Are they consistently going to the right with a slice? Or are you hooking the ball to the left?. Having a clear understanding of the shape of your bad shots will help you on the practice tee to eliminate them. Also it may help you keep a score together in your monthly medal. If you know that your bad shots are slicing to the right you could aim a little more left to compensate or opt for another club off the tee to avoid a hazard.

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The Golf Talk team

How to cure a golf slice

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The golf slice affects more than 80% of new golfers and can be one of the most irritating parts of the game. To get the most out of your golf game is essential that you learn how to cure your slice. In this article we talk through three main drills you can use today to stop slicing the golf ball.

Let’s start by looking at why we slice the golf ball. The slice is a result of an out-to-in golf swing with the clubface open to the target line. This means you are taking a glancing blow (slice) of the golf ball. The result is a shot that either starts left of the target line or on the target line and curves to the right. This shot will usually have a higher trajectory and will be of shorter distance.

Are all slice shots bad? Well no sometimes you will need to curve a ball from left to right around an obstacle, a tree for example. Or because these shots have a higher trajectory and stop quicker. You may want to use this type of shot as an approach into a green.

Where we see the slice the most is with a driver off the tee. This is because you are using a club with the least amount of loft that will enhance any side spin on the ball. Also the ball is travelling the furthest distance with a driver so again side spin will be exaggerated.

OK, so what drills can I use to try and cure my slice I hear you ask?

Drill #1 Get the golf ball above your feet. Try teeing up on a slope with the ball above your feet. This will encourage a flatter more rounded swing resulting in a more in-to-out swing path and a square or closed club face at impact. The ball should start right and curve to the left.

Drill #2  Close your stance. Address the ball with your normal square stance and then move your right foot (for a right handed golfer) 18 inches back. This will force you to swing at the ball from inside the target line. This drill is a favourite of Golf Talk’s because it can be used on the driving range. You can also use Golf Alignment Sticks to help you set up to the ball with the correct alignment.

Drill #3 Slow down your swing. Often the slice is exaggerated with the longer clubs in your bag because we sometimes feel we need to swing harder with these clubs. Start counting your swing one and two. ONE – is your back swing AND is the transition and TWO is the down swing. This will slow down your swing and give you a chance of striking the ball more solidly.

We hope these tips help you. Please comment and share below.

The Golf Talk team