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

How to develop a Perfect Pitching technique

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The average amateur golfer with a score of 90 strokes will hit around three or four greens in regulation. Even the pro’s shooting a level par round with only achieve 12 out of 18 greens in regulation. This means having a solid pitching technique is essential for you to get ‘up and down’ and save par. In this article we will give you a some practical advice on a perfect pitching technique that you can take out on the course with you.

Many of the golf professionals use a gearing technique to control the distance of their pitches. This gearing technique means that when they are faced with a 50 yard shot to the green they automatically know which club to hit and how hard. Enabling them to get closer to the hole and sink the putt.

What is the gearing technique?

What we want you to imagine a clock face, with you standing at 12 o’clock . Gear 1 is your backswing going back to 9 o’clock (for a right handed golfer), or a half backswing. Gear 2Clock is 11 o’clock or a three quarter back swing, and finally Gear 3 is 1 o’clock or a full backswing. This will give you three shots to choose from when faced with a pitch shot. Either gear 1,2,or 3.

Next we want you to practice these three gears with your LBW, SW, PW, 9 Iron, 8 Iron and 7 Iron. This will now give you 18 pitch shot options. For example if you are faced with a 30 yard pitch shot then all you need to think is gear 1 with a Pitch Wedge. This technique will also help if you have any hazards in front of you. An 80 yard distance to the green could be either gear 3 with a LBW if there is a bunker in the way or gear 1 with an 8 Iron for a pitch and run shot.

Spending some time on the practice ground is essential for perfecting this technique and will certainly help you get more pars and lower your score. Our advice is to hit 10 balls with each club, in each gear an note down the average distance. As you develop your pitching technique keep an ongoing record of your distances.

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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

Concentration, the secret weapon to lower your golf handicap

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Do have rounds of golf when you feel like you are striking the ball well and playing with a sensible amount of course management. Yet you are not getting the results you deserve and your handicap is going the wrong way?Man playing golf

Well it could be your concentration that is letting you down. Paying more attention to your concentration when out on the course may just be your secret weapon to a lower handicap. Our quick tips to keeping your concentration should help.

So how can you improve your golf concentration? In our experience having a routine over the ball is the key to a consistently. Our first tip is that you imagine a three foot circle around the ball know as the ‘strike zone’ any discussions or banter with fellow golfers is done outside of this circle. Once in the strike zone you are focused on the shot in hand. Go through your pre-shot routine and take the shot. Once the ball has landed then you can step out of the strike zone and continue your conversations with your golf buddies.

In our research golfers have a habit of loosing concentration when they are playing at either extreme of their ability. Either very well or very bad. This can become a vicious circle and you can follow a bad shot with a bad decision. Watch the professionals and you will see that they try to keep calm and deliberate at all times. This keeps their heart rate steady and helps keep their concentration out on the course. Quick tip number two, try taking some deep breaths before the shot this should help lower your heart rate and better your concentration.

Finally quick tip number three. Ensure that you have no distractions that you can avoid. Make certain you’ve had plenty to eat and drink (coffee is a stimulant and can help concentration) and you have left your mobile phone in the car or have turned it off. Keeping these distractions off the golf course will certainly help you play better golf.

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The Golf Talk team


Will a golf GPS device improve my game?

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If you are striking the ball well and are getting consistent distances with your clubs then it may be worth looking into purchasing a golf GPS device.

The main benefit to a GPS device is they can accurately tell you the distance to the hole or a hazard. This information will give you confidence to strike the ball and not be concerned if you have either enough or to much club in your hands.

These GPS devices come as either handheld or watch format. We at Golf Talk prefer the watch type because in our opinion they are easier to use, with just a quick glance you can see the yardage to the front, middle and back of the green and they can be used as an every day watch as well.

The Garmin Approach S3 (as pictured) also debuts a digital scorecard. You can save, review and print scorecards from your home computer. Plus, when you hit a long drive you can check the distance with the Measure Shot feature.

11EmpmhX3tLOne of the newer features of the Garmin Approach S3  is Green View. This shows you the true shape and layout of the green. You can use the touchscreen to manually move the pin to the day’s location. This is especially helpful on par-3s where you’ll be able to dial in the distance you need, and fire away with confidence. We loved this feature out on the course, it proved much more helpful than we thought it would, providing you have the pin positions.

The only downside to these devices we could find is the battery drain. They are good for at least 18 holes of golf so this should not be a problem to most golfers. However if you are planning more than 18 holes in any one round then be prepared to give an external charge to keep your device going. We recommend the PowerGen External Battery Pack as a charger for your GPS watch and also many other devices if needed.

Overall if you are looking to improve your score out on the course then a golf GPS watch may just be the answer …

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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

Want a lower score? – Here is three quick ways to sink more putts

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If you ask any golf professional whats the quickest way to lower your score they would tell you to ‘get better at putting’. We know that for the average mid to high handicapper spends around half of their time on the greens so getting better at putting will definitely improve your score overall. In this article we would like to share with you three quick ways you can sink more putts an improve you score.

  • Practise, practise, practise. It is with putting as it is with mGolf player at the greenany things in life ‘Practise makes perfect’. The more you practise your putting stroke the better putter you will be. We would encourage you to practice a range of putts from all distances, practise putting from off the green and practise reading the green. This is a sure fire way to gain your putting confidence and get more into the hole.
  • Get into a putting routine. Watch the pro’s on TV and you will see them have the same routine after every putt, no matter what the distance or break. Having a solid routine will help you hole more putts, especially the pressure putts because you will be forced not to rush and make a bad stroke.
  • Try a new putter. As we all know golf is a game of confidence and if you are simply not holing as many as you deserve then maybe changing your putter ( or getting it re-gripped ) may have a positive effect on your confidence. Also putters are the clubs in our bag that we probably change the least, so you may be upgrading your putter to a newer technology that could help you hole with those off centred strokes.

Putting is a vital part of the game and if you are putting well then you will usually have a good round of golf and a more enjoyable time on the course.

Try these tips to improve your putting and please share any successes you have … good luck!

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The Golf Talk team

Course management – The key to breaking 90?

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It’s the question that most new golfers want answered, how can I break 90?

Golfing couple high fiving on the golf courseIf this is you and you are scoring in the mid 90’s now, then great, this information should be of help. The good news is that you can obviously hit a reasonable ball if you can shoot in the mid 90’s. Where we see most mid to high handicappers fall down is with their course management.

Course management is often an over-looked part of the amateurs golf game because hitting a 7 iron off the tee for safety is not as exciting as a 250 yard drive. Every golf professional on the planet will analyse the ‘risk and reward’ of each shot to see if it is worth going for. What do I get if I pull the shot off? and what happens if I don’t?

So what is course management?  We define course management as the ability to play the course as the course designer intended. Hitting a variety of different shots and avoiding the hazards.

Course management can be divided into three main categories.

  1. Tee shots
  2. Approach
  3. Putting

Tee Shots – Don’t automatically reach for the driver. When on the tee, look to see what hazards the course designer has placed in front of you and work out how best you can avoid them. For example, can you play short of a bunker with an iron instead of hitting a great tee shot with a driver only to run into the hazard?

Also, do you have a favourite distance for your second shot into the green? It would make sense to try and leave yourself this shot instead of a distance that you are less confident to reach. For example, if you were to play a 4 iron tee shot to leave you your favourite 9 iron shot then you may have more chance of reaching the green in regulation.

Approach Shots – Now you have hit the fairway and avoided any hazards you need to think about your approach to the green. The golf professional will look for a safe area, somewhere – if they were to miss the green – where they would have a better than average chance of getting ‘up and down’. So where is your safe area? Usually the middle of the green is good enough however, we still go for the flag even though a miss may leave us with a very difficult third shot and a potential 5 0r even 6 on the scorecard.

Also, with your approach shots consider how well you have been hitting your clubs on the day. If you are not striking the ball particularly cleanly then it may be advisable to club up. The worst that can happen is that you strike the ball well and finish at the back of the green.

Putting – In an average round of golf almost a third of the shots taken are with the putter. Your goal should be to two putt every green. This means an approach putt that will leave you an easy ‘tap in’. We see many amateur golfer try to hole every putt which can sometimes leave them with a difficult return and a 3 putt on the scorecard. Also, when on the practice green do spend time trying to hole the 2 – 3 feet putts. on the scorecard they count the same as every other shot you take.

Using these course management tips will undoubtedly take shots of your score. Why not give them a try?

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The Golf Talk team

The Odyssey Versa 2-Ball White Putter review

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Odyssey Versa 2-Ball White Putter with SuperStroke Grip 

Golf Talk’s hottest putter review …

The odyssey range of putters have been best sellers since there very first introduction almost twenty years ago. The two ball design help golfers of all levels line up putts better so they can concentrate on the distance control. Now with the Odyssey Versa 2-Ball White Putter the product range just got better.

The actual design of the putter head has not changed much in recent years, however the High Contrast Alignment System now makes it even easier to line up short to mid distance putts. In our hands this did have a positive feel and gave confident that we were lining up correctly. We immediately could see a difference in how many short putts were holed.

The Odyssey Versa also has Counterbalance Stability Weighting Technology. This means the putter has a heavier head (400g) and heavier shaft (150g) this helps to keep your hands quiet during the stroke and prevent wrist break. We felt that this counter balance system was effective at keeping the putter true to the target line.

The addition of the Super Stroke grip helps remove any tension in the wrists and keeps your arms swinging freely. Odyssey have also introduced a new high-tech PU material featuring CrossTraction technology for improved feel and tackiness and 1.30” in diameter weighing 60 grams.

Overall if you feel that you are not making enough putts out on the course and are looking for a new putter to try then the Odyssey Versa is definitely one that Golf Talk would recommend!



Five essential tips for playing your best winter golf

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Tip no.1  – Make sure you spend a few minutes warming up to get some flexibility and prevent any injuries. A number of injuries could be prevented by simply spending a few minutes swinging two clubs and a few stretches
Tip no. 2 – Clean groves on your clubs are essential for a good strike on the ball and a true flight. A groove cleaner or an old toothbrush will do the job.
Tip no. 3 – When the ground is hard from the frost the ball can bounce anywhere especially around the green. Choose to chip around the green as much as possible. You can control the flight of the ball, but not the bounce.
Tip no. 4 – Club up, club up, club up, in winter the ball is cold and does not have the same compression as in the summer. We recommend at least one club even two clubs when the temperature is below five degrees Celsius
Tip no. 5 – Enjoy the day and don’t take the game to seriously. Remember why you are out there, get some fresh air, exercise and keep your swing going through the winter months.