7 Steps To Shave Ten Inches Off Your Game .pdf
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Author: IDA BURTON
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7 TIPS TO HELP SHAVE 10” OFF YOUR GAME
Compiled: By L. Burton
For golfers, the change from being a 95-shooter to scoring in the low- to mid-80s is huge. It changes the
way they feel about the game and opens their eyes to their true potential.
I remember when I made that jump and how it fed into my lifelong love for the game. I’ve heard more than
one new student say that they aren’t scoring well and are not enjoying the game enough to continue playing,
and the recipe below has helped them lower their handicaps by as many as 10 shots in a season and enjoy
the game again. You’ll notice that none these steps has anything to do with crafting the perfect swing. A few
of them won’t take much time at all. And these steps are not just for 18 handicaps; they will help players of
No. 1: Assess Your Skills
Your coach should be able to assess your putting, short game and ball striking, and determine where you
stand relative to your goals. If you’re a 12 handicap, want to get to an 8 and your short game handicap is 15,
that’s probably the area you need to focus on most. ShotByShot.com, one of golf’s leading analytics
company, allows a coach to handicap every skill area. Together, the coach and student can prioritize their
work on the areas that will lower scores and boost their confidence the fastest. Doppler radar launch
monitors like my Flightscope X2 and Trackman are also incredible teaching tools. They help show players
exactly how far they hit their clubs, how accurately they hit them and even how weather changes affect ball
No. 2: Assess and change your clubs
Most new students have at least two clubs in their bag that actually hurt them. They often have too little
loft, or shafts that are too long and too stiff or have the wrong playing characteristics. Shafts, grips and club
heads all need to suit your swing and your skill level, and they need to be fitted to your specs. Every club in
your bag should suit the conditions you play most and your clubs need to be properly gapped so you can hit
more greens. The only way to know how to gap your clubs accurately is to use a launch monitor.
No. 3: Work on keeping your tee shots in play
Contrary to popular myth, distance is not as important to an average player’s improvement as it is to PGA
Tour players. Peter Sanders from ShotByShot.com has an extensive amount of data on how regular golfers
play the game. Statistics that he has collected for 20-plus years indicate that a shot in the fairway can be
worth as much as 50 yards versus a shot in the primary rough for the average player. That means that most
golfers cannot control a 9 iron out of the rough (or from behind a tree) as well as we can control a 6 or 7
iron from the fairway. If you play the proper tees, keep the ball in front of you and hit it at least 220 yards,
you will score much better.
How do you do that? First, get a properly fitted driver with a loft and shaft that will help you get the most
out of your swing. Second, understand that hitting your driver is only necessary a handful of times a round
if you play from the correct tees. Lastly, find a coach who can help you develop a balanced, repeatable
swing that will allow you to generate speed and make solid contact with a square club face. The “5 Simple
Keys” system allows players to clarify their thought process and focus on making a better, more athletic
No. 4: Work the Wedges
The PGA Tour average for greens hit in regulation is just more than 12, but regular golfers hit fewer than
five a round. The best players in the world keep their momentum by getting the ball up and down, which
they have to do five or six times a round. Unless you are an extraordinarily gifted amateur, you have to do it
more often than the pros, and whether you’re successful will determine the direction of your round.
The best way to do this is mix technical training with “transfer” training. The first step is learning good
pitching technique. Keep your weight on your lead foot during the entire stroke. Play the ball no farther
back than the middle of your stance and farther forward if you want to hit a higher shot. Aim the face of the
club at your target and open your stance more or less depending on how high you want to hit the shot. Then
just fold your trail elbow in the backswing, turn your chest through impact and feel like you’re dropping the
club head on the back of the ball. Finish on your lead leg facing the target and let your arms softly fold in
the follow through. This technique leads to great distance and trajectory control, the two key elements to
pitching the ball around greens. Practice it around a putting or chipping green, but don’t be afraid to drop
balls in different spots during casual rounds. Remember that shotmaking is basically improvisation, which
you must develop through on-course transfer training.
No. 5: Focus on putting and get fitted for a putter
If they actually practice putting, many golfers grab a sleeve of balls, go to the putting green and hit putts of
random length and break until they feel they have finished their lap. Whether this occurs in the minutes
before teeing off or for the 15-to- 20 minutes after a long-range session, neither provides effective practice.
You need to have a strategy for getting better, and that means going to a teacher who can give you the tools
you need because he or she is trained to teach putting and to fit you for a putter. According to industry data,
fewer than 10 percent of golf lessons are on putting, so choose wisely.
The U.S. Open at Pinehurst is coming up, and many of us remember the role the SeeMore putter played the
last time the Open was held there in 1999. Fifteen years later, the SeeMore Putter Institute has more than
300 certified instructors all around the globe who can custom fit you to a putter and teach you the system
that helped numerous major champions.
No. 6: Go through a ball fitting
The ball you play and its compression matters a lot. The only way to know definitively is to go through a
ball fitting with a qualified professional. There’s a debate now on where a proper ball fitting should start.
Should golfers place more importance on the performance of their ball around the green or off the tee?
Bridgestone has it right. First, the science shows that compression matters. Here’s an example why:
Bridgestone makes the low-compression U.S. Kids Golf Yellow ball and a junior golfer can gain as many as
15 yards by simply switching from a high-compression adult ball. That could be a three-club difference
when it comes to a junior’s approach shots, which is the difference between loving golf and being
discouraged by its difficulty.
Bridgestone offers different compression balls with different spin options to satisfy your feel needs around
the green. Start with your swing speed and then make your choice about how you want your ball to spin and
feel on short shots.
No. 7: Focus on scoring, strategy and your target
Hogan said that “placing the ball in the proper position for your next shot is 80 percent of winning golf.”
Most players get enjoyment from hitting the ball pretty well and scoring well. If you don’t think about golf
strategically, there’s no way you’ll get to the second part and your frustration will probably prevent reaching
the first part sooner rather than later.
Everyone, even golf pros, have limited time to practice and play. Keeping expectations reasonable and
focusing as much as possible on the tangible, real things that will allow you to play the shot at hand as well
as you can is the best use of that time. For “real-life” golfers, the game is simply not about hitting the most
glorious drive you’ve ever seen then trying to get it close with a wedge. It’s about creating a more complete
toolbox of skills and scoring with strategic choices and well-executed shots.
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