How to break 90

Golf Fundamentals – How to develop good swing tempo

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We have all seen it, and some of us do it on a regular basis. We stand over the ball, take the club back nice and smooth, and then lunge at the ball in a blur, only to see the ball scuffed a few yards down the fairway.

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In this post we are going to discuss one of golf’s often overlooked fundamentals, swing tempo and give you a better understanding of tempo, and a drill that you can take on the course with you.

So what do we mean when we say a good swing tempo? A good swing tempo allows you time to fully complete your backswing and transition into the downswing without casting the club head at the ball. It means that your hips, shoulders and arms are all working in harmony to return the club head back to the ball. It should feel relaxed, and approximately eighty percent of your effort for a full shot. Also your swing tempo should be the same for every club in your bag you should not be thinking that your swing tempo increases with your longer clubs. However, good swing tempo does not mean slow. Many professional golfers have a quick tempo, that’s just their swing. Look at great players like Nick Price or Jose Maria Olazabal as examples. They both have great swing tempo and a faster than usual swing.  It is important for you to find the correct swing tempo for your game. One that is repeatable and brings consistent results.

Many golfers have a swing thought when they play the game. This includes a saying or phrase to help them with their tempo. One that we have used at Golf Talk is simply saying the words out loud ‘back and through’. ‘Back’ being the start of the backswing, ‘and’ being the transition, and ‘through’ the downswing. Try this out on the practice tee and see if it helps your ball striking. It may also help you out on the course saying it in your head.

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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

How to play from a green side bunker

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Do you have a look of dread when you find yourself in a green-side bunker? Unlike the professional golfers many amateurs struggle immensely with green-side bunkers and landing in one usually means a dropped shot. In this post we will give you advice and tips on how to escape from a green-side bunker so you can be more confident when out on the course.How to escape from a green side bunker

As we have said in a previous post on fairway bunkers ‘prevention is better than cure’ and our advice for the green-side bunker remains the same. If you can avoid a green-side bunker, do so. OK, so how can you avoid a green-side bunker? Firstly you will need to know where the green-side bunkers are. On some holes it will be pretty obvious to see them from the fairway, but other holes with blind shots it may not be as easy. If it is a new course you are playing our advice is to buy a course planner from the pro shop and study the scorecard to establish where the bunkers are on each hole. Next you need to know your yardages (how far you hit each club) and if a green-side bunker is in play for you. If it is, then perhaps playing a different club may be a smarter move for you. On many par three holes the green is protected by bunkers at the front of the hole so take an extra club and play to the back of the hole this will take the bunker out of play for you.

If you are unfortunate to land in a green-side bunker then here are our essential tips to help you successfully escape the sand trap and hopefully save par.

Firstly you will need to create a solid base. Shuffle your feet into the sand until to reach firm ground. This will help ensure that you stay balanced throughout the golf swing. This also means that your swing arc will be lower than usual and will result in you hitting behind the ball. This is ok, you are looking for a sand then ball contact. The picture we want you to have in your minds eye is the ball coming out of the bunker on a carpet of sand.

The sand-wedge is designed to bounce off the sand so setting up to the ball you will need to open the clubface compared to your target line. If when you line up to your target line you are at 12 o’clock then we would like your feet, hips, shoulders aiming at 10 o’clock. This open stance will encourage you to swing out-to-in across the target line and keep the clubface open. If you are set up square to your target line the clubhead will simply dig into the sand and the ball will bump along just a few feet.

Next we want you to position the ball in the middle to front part of your stance. You are looking to strike the sand around one to two inches behind the ball so the sand lifts the golf ball out of the bunker. Remember when you are in a bunker to hover the clubhead and not to touch the sand. It is against the rules of golf to touch the ground with your club when in a hazard.

Finally swing smooth. You do not need power out of a green-side bunker. By keeping your swing smooth and relaxed you are less likely to dip your shoulder and fluff the shot. Your grip should remain consistently light throughout the swing and a good swing thought is to let the club do the work.

So now you know the theory of escaping from a green-side bunker, lets go to the practice area and try this out ….

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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?

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

Also don’t forget to subscribe to Golf Talk to ensure you never miss a post.

The Golf Talk team