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3 drills that will build a great putting stroke

3 drills that will build a great putting stroke

By Todd McGill

When you find yourself scratching your head because of all the putts you’re missing, take the time to hit the practice green and work out the kinks. All players go through slumps and face times when their stroke needs touching up, these three drills will go a long way in helping to reestablish a solid putting motion.

1. 4 Tee Drill

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This drill is great for focusing on center contact as well as helping to maintain a square putter face through impact.

Most players will associate this drill with the two tees that many players on tour use for solid contact. But what makes this drill different is that by having two sets of tees, it forces us to have a good takeaway, as well as a good, follow through. Just have the two sets spaced 3 to 5 inches apart with the openings of the two sets being slightly wider than your putter. From there, any unwanted lateral movement with your putting stroke will be met by a tee.

2. Coin Drill

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This drill pertains to those who tend to look up before hitting a putt which throws off our follow through and makes us manipulate the head. We do this for different reasons, though none of them are justifiable. Because those that keep their head down through the stroke will allow you to have better speed, control and just make a better stroke in general.

To perform this drill, just place the ball on top of the coin and make your stroke. Focusing on seeing the coin after you hit your putt before looking up.

3. Maintain the Triangle drill

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One of the biggest things that I see in high handicap golfers or just bad putters, in general, is that they either don’t achieve an upside-down triangle from their shoulders, down the arms, and into the hands as pictured above. If they do, it often breaks down in their stroke. Either way, both result in an inconsistent strike and stroke motion. It also makes it harder to judge speed and makes it easier to manipulate the face which affects your ability to get the ball started online.

I use a plastic brace in the photo to hold my triangle, however, you can use a ball or balloon to place in between the forearms to achieve the same thing.

These three drills will help you establish proper muscle memory and promote strong techniques to help you roll the rock!

Source: GolfWRX.com

5 approach shots every golfer needs to master

5 approach shots every golfer needs to master

By Michael Breed

Good golf is about playing as many par 3s as you can. What does that mean? In addition to the actual par 3s on the course, your goal should be to have a reasonable “par 3” to the green after your tee shot on par 4s (or second shot on par 5s). If you drive it in the water or out-of-bounds, you don't get to play a par 3. But from 150 in the fairway, you should be thinking, I can make 3 from here. -- With Peter Morrice

Driving is the first step in the process, but given at least a decent drive—assuming you're playing the right set of tees—it's really more about what you do next. Think about it: What's the most important shot on a par 3? It's the shot to the green—the approach shot—because that's what determines if you'll be scoring or scrambling.

Let's look at five common situations you face after your tee shot. I'll give you some playing tips and the swing keys for each one. Use my par-3 strategy, and you'll play every hole better.

1
IN THE FAIRWAY FOCUS ON TEMPO AND SOLID CONTACT

If you don't hit a lot of fairways, you probably feel oddly anxious when you do find one. First, don't rush up to your ball and then have to wait. Stroll the last 50 yards or so. Hogan used to prepare for his rounds by driving to the course at half speed. Point is, let your mind and body slow down. Next, a good word to focus on is “complete.” Think about completing the backswing and getting to a full finish. That means turning your body back and through (top), letting the swing take some time. Nerves usually speed things up, with the hands and arms taking over. Smooth tempo and a full motion will help you hit the ball flush—and follow up that piped drive.

2
FROM THE ROUGH PREDICT THE QUALITY OF THE STRIKE

Photo by Walter Iooss Jr.

Shots in the rough test judgement as much as skill. Some lies allow any shot; others require caution. Here's a system I use to read them: Imagine there's a sock stretched over your club-head, and the thickness of the sock determines how crisply you strike the ball. A buried lie, where you get a lot of grass interference, is like hitting with a thick sock—a dead thud. Maybe you have to just pitch that one out. A medium lie is like a thin sock, so you might be able to play to the green. For most rough lies, you need a steeper angle of attack. Play the ball back and hinge your wrists sooner in the backswing (right). Also, open the clubface a little to help it slide through the grass. Don't lift the ball out. Elevate the clubhead on the backswing, not on the through-swing.

“TO ESCAPE ROUGH, HINGE THE CLUB UP FOR A STEEPER ATTACK.”

3
FAIRWAY BUNKER SWING MORE WITH YOUR ARMS

 

Photo by Walter Iooss Jr.

The No. 1 key to playing out of fairway bunkers is hitting the ball first. Let's assume you can easily clear the lip in front of you. Some of the swing keys from the rough work here, too, because you want to make a little steeper downswing. Positioning the ball slightly back from normal, opening the clubface, and hinging your wrists early are good points, but the shifty sand underfoot requires a couple more. Add flex in your lead knee—that will keep your weight forward and promote ball-first contact. Also, grip down on the club for control. Overall, think of the swing as more hands and arms and less body turn (left). Because you're taking power out of the swing, it's a good idea to use one more club, as long as the lip isn't an issue.

SAFETY FIRST: NEVER RUN A RED LIGHT

One way to look at approach shots is to use a traffic-light analogy: red, yellow and green. Green means take dead aim. You like the lie, the distance, the shot. Red is a no-go situation usually requiring a punch-out or lay-up. Yellow is a judgment call, and these can turn to green when you're feeling good or need to play aggressively—like when you're down late in a match. But reds should never turn green, and this is where a lot of amateurs get into trouble. So hope for green lights, be cautious on yellows, and hit the brakes on the reds.

4
DOWNHILL LIE TILT YOUR BODY WITH THE SLOPE

Photo by Walter Iooss Jr.

Of all the uneven lies you get, downhillers are the toughest. The reason is, you feel like you really have to help the ball into the air—and that's a killer. The first step is to widen your stance and flare your lead foot for balance. Then, grip down on the club to counteract the lowering action of getting into a wide stance. The big key is tilting your hips and shoulders more with the slope (left). You'll never get them to match the angle of the hill, but that's the feeling. A little more flex in your lead knee will help level your hips to the slope. What you shouldn't do is play the ball back in your stance, like a lot of people think. That only makes you hit the ball lower—on a shot that's already going to fly low. Instead, position the ball up in your stance and open the clubface to boost trajectory.

“GOING DOWNHILL, PLAY THE BALL FORWARD TO HIT IT HIGHER.”

5
FROM TROUBLE PLAN FOR THE NEXT SHOT

Photo by Walter Iooss Jr.

OK, this last one isn't an approach shot, but I bring it up because many golfers try to turn it into one. When you hit a drive off the grid, have the discipline to just get back in play. Grab a wedge, and make a simple up-and-down swing. Three factors to consider: (1) You want a level lie in the fairway for your next shot. (2) Give yourself room for error on the recovery—don't hit it into trouble on the other side. (3) If possible, play to a yardage you like. You probably want a full swing with one of your wedges, not something in between. As with all these shots, be smart and keep the technique simple.

MICHAEL BREED runs his golf academy at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, New York City.

Source: Golf Digest