You've finally made it to the green, and the hole is a mere few feet away. Now, you just need to get the ball there. Start by adjusting your grip. You no longer need the interlocking grip you use to drive. Instead, place your thumbs and index fingers on the shaft of your club so that you can better sense the conditions of your swing. Next, adjust your stance. Stand closer to the ball than you do for a drive. Instead of distributing your weight evenly, you'll want most of your weight, about seventy-five percent, on your forward foot.
Finally, keeping your arms straight and parallel to each other, control your swing with small shoulder movements. PGA professional Joe Beck recommends two drills to improve your putting game. In both instances, determine how hard you'll need to hit the ball and how to adjust for any breaks or elevation changes in the lay of the land before you take your shot.
Every golfer is built differently, which means we rotate fastest and most efficiently in various ways. For most golfers, tapping your natural lower-body strengths is the secret to unlocking the smooth swinger within.
Start by swinging a medicine ball or similarly sized object in three distinct ways. I explain how in the video below. Contacting the ball away from the center of the sweet spot not only diminishes energy transfer causing the ball to come up short , it destroys your accuracy, because off-center contact forces the putterhead to twist open on strikes near the toe and closed on strikes near the heel.
You need to find a way to contact the ball in the sweet spot on every attempt. Are your hips up to the task? Watch the video below for the answer. With any iron, swing back while letting your right elbow naturally fold.
Stop when your hands reach waist height in your backswing. Have your friend lay an alignment stick or club along your shoulder line. Move the club until it matches the alignment stick, regardless of where this is.
Once you find this spot, hold it for a few seconds until you can memorize its location. The matchups, however, vary depending on the ideal backswing shape you determined on Day 1. Perform this check weekly as you proceed with the plan. Getting your swing on the right track at the start makes the rest of your motion much easier to execute. There are, however, some absolutes. Check it by asking a friend to lay a club or an alignment rod across your shoulder blades as you hold your position at the top.
If not, repeat the open-palm backswing drill from Day 1 until you get it right. The more creative you are around the greens, the better your chances of saving par. Part of this day improvement plan is to increase your short-game shot arsenal. Learn it in the video below. Channel your inner Phil Mickelson and put a reliable flop shot in your bag.
Perfecting your putting setup will go a long way to helping you make more than your fair share of putts. I like my students to be as comfortable as possible when they address a putt. The only non-negotiables are that your putterface is set perpendicular to your starting line and your shoulders match the line on which you want the ball to start. Nail the first with my chalk line drill Day 3. For perfect shoulder alignment, spend some time on the practice green rolling putts with your feet close together.
After a few attempts, widen your stance by stepping out the same distance to the left and right until you reach your regular stance width. You see a lot of Tour players start from a feet-together stance and then go wide.
Excessive body motion can make it difficult to control distance and direction. Putt like the King either in practice or out on the course. Swinging the club back on plane is tough to do with limited shoulder mobility. Top Teacher Jon Tattersall offers a test in the video below to see if your delts are up to the task, and a way to improve their mobility and rotation to swing the club correctly without stressing your body.
Now the fun part: As you turn into the impact zone, keep your right elbow in front of your right hip. This keeps your right hand in its natural power position under the left.
As soon as the clubshaft gets parallel to the ground in your downswing, extend your right arm out toward the target. Try to get it to snap straight by the time you reach the follow-through. As you extend your right arm, pull your head and chest slightly away from the target to help maintain balance.
As you bring the club into the delivery position, time your arm swing and hip turn so that your right elbow is even with your right hip, or on top of the side seam on your shirt. As soon as the butt of the club points at the ball in your downswing, straighten your right arm. Try to extend it 45 degrees pas the ball. This undoes the horizontal hinge you made in your backswing.
It may look too inside, but your release will take care of that. As soon as your left arm gets parallel to the ground in your downswing, straighten your right arm — but do it without losing the angle in your wrists. Since you have a lot of downward movement here, thrust upward from the ground for best results. Good pitching is about getting the club up on plane in your backswing and mirroring this move in your finish.
Start by easing up on your grip. If your normal pressure is an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, make it a 3 but squeeze the handle tightly between your right thumb and forefinger. As you swing back, point your thumbs toward the sky. Coming down, your only goal is getting to where your thumbs point toward the sky in your follow-through. Thinking only about your thumbs creates a perfect arc through the ball and squares the face at impact.
Want to be a short-game marksman? Easy—build an arsenal of varying pitch distances. You need to be able to produce consistent numbers on every shot.
Obviously, the swing will fly the ball farther than the , and the will carry farther than all of them. Now, switch up your grip. Repeat the swings above with your hands choked up on the handle about an inch and half, then repeat after choking up another inch and a half below. Note how far each ball travels in your journal.
Repeat the entire process with your other two wedges. Learn the final piece to pure contact with every iron in your bag—a powerful release—with the help of Top Teacher Mike Adams, who shows how to match your post-impact move with your most natural swing.
Your lower body is your true source of power, as evidenced by long hitters such as Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson. These players dip down as they start their downswing, then shoot up onto their toes as they move through the hitting zone. Using your driver for balance, set your feet together and bend your knees, squatting to the point where your thighs reach parallel to the ground.
Repeat the squat, but this time with a two-inch high object wedged under both heels. If this squat feels easier than the one in step 1, you calves again lack the flexibility to correctly pressure the ground for power. To work out the kinks in your calves, sit on the ground with your legs stretched out.
Place a molded foam roller or similarly shaped object under your calves and, with your arms slightly behind you, raise your rear end slightly off the ground. With your rear end lifted, hold for a few counts and let gravity pressure your calves against the roller. Five minutes of work should be enough. Use the roller daily until you can pass the test in step 1 by squatting without having to lift your heels.
Consistent, square contact with your irons is a blend of both proper body rotation and arm swing. Increasing the frequency of your one-putts is mostly a matter of controlling how far you roll the ball on every attempt. The best putters in the world control putt distance by executing a pendulum-style stroke, and change the length of the pendulum swing—not the speed—to motor the ball different distances.
Use different colors to code each increment pair if possible. Set the stick on the green and line up a ball with the center mark. As you proceed, note how far each putt rolls for the various even-length stokes two inches, four inches, six inches, eight inches and nine inches. As long as you note how for the ball rolls with each stroke, nothing can fool you on the course. Never feel the need to add or subtract power from your stroke as you strike the ball.
On Day 2 you learned the power of using the bounce on your wedges to catch the ball cleanly on pitches and chips. As Top Teacher Scott Munroe explains in the video below, more bounce is better in a bunker.
Say goodbye to chunked sand shots once and for all. Driving it straight keeps you in the match. Driving it far and straight will take you to a whole new level.
Top Teacher Mark Hackett explains in the video below. Your wrists are capable of adding several miles per hour of swing speed by unhinging them in your downswing. They also have a lot to do with your ability to keep the club on plane and square the clubface at impact. Top Teacher Jon Tattersall provides easy ways to build wrists strength and flexibility for an accurate, power-packed swing. A few minutes each day working out the kinks in your wrists can pay huge dividends, and help you hit the ball farther and straighter with every club in the bag.
Your line to the green is devoid of hazards, but the lie is really tight—the kind of lie where if you catch the shot anything but perfectly clean with a wedge, the ball will go screaming across the green.
Sure, you can putt the ball, but Top Teacher Scott Munroe has an even easier option: The longer shaft on a hybrid allows you to make a much smaller, much slower stroke to run the ball the correct distance. Set up with your feet together and stand a half-pace closer to the ball. Move your grip down to the bottom of the handle. Play the ball in the dead center of your stance center and set your hands even with your zipper. You can use your normal hybrid grip; just make sure your palms are facing each other.
Swing the club back using the triangle formed by your shoulders and arms. Swing the club forward. The ball will jump a little off the clubface then roll to the hole. Driving it far but missing left and right? Big drives that never miss. Time for a checkup—a contact checkup. Top Teacher Mike Adams shows you how to assess the quality of your iron impact to make sure your not leaving precious yards on the table, or striking the ball in a way that limits your ability to hit approach shots extra close.
Keep the spray handy—check you impact at least once a week. One of the keys to contacting the ball solidly and in the center of the clubface is establishing an athletic posture at address i. To check if your hip flexibility—or lack thereof—is hindering your ability to stay in posture, do a simple toe touch.
Stand erect, and without bending your knees, see if you can touch your toes. When it comes to your body, even moderate gains in flexibility can pay huge dividends. If you watch the majority of top golfers, they get into motion well before the club begins to swing away from the ball. To get a feel for this fluid and dynamic swing—and add big-time yards to your drives—try the following drill.
Instead of setting up with the club behind the ball, set the club in its release position, or just before your left elbow would begin to fold in your forward-swing. Set most of your weight over your left foot. From this forward position, swing back to the top while transferring your weight to your right foot.
Swing down, unwinding your body while swinging your arms and getting your weight back over to your left side, like it was when you started the drill. Replicating this shift of weight and the feeling of continuous motion will keep you on plane and ramp up the speed of your overall motion, resulting in longer drives without having to swing out of your spikes. This drill is a great warm up or an effective replacement for any practice swings you make on the course.
Last week you learned how important it is to use the bounce of your wedge to escape most standard greenside bunker lies. Do the same rules apply when the ball is buried? Most weekend players consider the to yard bunker blast the most difficult shot in golf. A change in club and minor tweaks to your motion is all you need to pull off a sand-based miracle.
Top Teacher Scott Munroe lays it all out in the video below. Get ready to putt the lights out from anywhere on the green. Calibrating your stroke to roll the ball specific distances on demand is a powerful thing.
But since most greens are anything but flat, you must learn how to tweak your calibrated stroke for the times you have to putt uphill and downhill. Uphill putts effectively add length to the overall roll; downhill putts shorten it.
Watch the video below to learn the secrets to dominating on sloping greens. Want piercing irons that never leave the target? Simply get your divots to start in front of the ball, not behind or under it. Top Teacher Mike Adams has a drill to make it second nature. Watch the video below to elevate your ballstriking, and knock down the pin on every swing.