Importance of Good Grip Pressure
Many golfers complain of unsolid, misdirected golf shots as well as a lack of distance and sometimes this can be attributed to a simple thing called “Grip Pressure”. When a golfer has a light grip pressure on the backswing and a tight grip pressure on the downswing it creates a lot of tension or, what we call in golf, “putting the brakes on” and causes a slowdown in the speed of the swing as well as a loss of the feel of the golf club. To avoid this, institute this thought, take your grip, squeeze the club very tightly and call this #10 pressure. Now go to one half that pressure or #5 pressure.
Swing the club back with this #5 pressure and forward with this #5 pressure. You will start to feel the weight of the club in both the backswing and forward swing and finish. If you can learn to keep the grip pressure constant throughout the swing, your tempo and your timing will improve and the more awareness you have of the weight of the club, the better. This will most assuredly help your game to get more distance and more solid shots.
How to handle the bunker shot!
When you approach the bunker it is important to understand that this is not a difficult shot as shots go.
The four simple keys are:
Use an open stance and place more weight back in your heels.
Square the club in the intended direction that you want the ball to go.
Play the ball forward in your stance and your weight forward as well.
Hold the club with a weak grip. This means your top hand positioned more to the left with your thumb more on the twelve o’clock position and your bottom hand more on top of the club. This will allow the club to stay lofted through the ball allowing the club to do most of the work. Remember to take a LONG SLOW swing from a green side bunker. You will be amazed if you stand to the ball correctly that this shot becomes simple to execute. Confidence is bred from practice. Take a little more sand for a close flag placement and a little less for longer shots.
Pitch vs Chip
For those of you who are having difficulty with what club or shot to use when just off the green this tip may just be of help. All statistics show that a ball that is rolling has better speed and directional control. This is why so many people putt when just off the green. The golfer who when only a few feet off the green pull out the sand or pitching wedge and end up well short due to spin and bite on the ball or much to long because they counted on this bite and it did not happen. The simple solution for more consistency is to go to the chip. Next time you go out to practice take ten balls, drop them several feet back off the green, take your 6,7, or eight iron and try to find for that situation which club gives the best and most consistent result. Repeat this from various positions around the green. You should find that the good shots improved and the missed shots are more salvageable than the missed shots with your wedges. In order to make such a change in your golf shot thinking it will require practice but the pay off you will enjoy through lower scores.
Getting Out of the Rough Around the Green
As you know, the club selection and technique needed can be confusing to some people. Here are a couple of helpful tips.
If you like using a wedge, use a slightly open stance with the ball back in your stance and your hands forward of the ball. Then almost with a putting stroke motion, stroke through the ball. You will find that the change in ball placement and hand position to the ball will allow the ball to come out very easily. The ball should run and the shot should be played to allow the ball to run.
Your next option would be to take a 9 iron, play the ball forward in your stance with your hands equal to the ball and, using the same stroke motion, the ball will come out because of the loft of the 9 iron and will run very easily towards the hole. Most people use more effort than needed to get the ball out of the rough. Although the grass might be tall it cannot compare to the tall rough up north and does not require a lot of effort to get the club through the ball. With a little practice you will get a touch for this pitch and run type style from out of the rough around the green and it should save you a few strokes and make the game more enjoyable.
An easy rule of thumb to remember: When the sand is hard, swing easy, and when the sand is soft, swing hard. So a semi-explosion shot for the average golfer is the way to go. This is done simply by opening the stance, placing your weight back on your heels, taking your sand wedge, squaring the blade, and playing the ball a little more in the middle of the stance. Break your wrists quickly on the backstroke and then hit slightly behind the ball with an abbreviated follow through as if you are plowing through the sand. This is called an explosion shot. The reason for this is because the club never touches the ball, rather, the compacted sand goes against the face of the club and through the ball. This abbreviated low follow -through will insure that the ball will come out every time. With a little practice you will acquire the feel needed for all bunker conditions and various changes in consistency of the sand throughout the course.
When you are going through the putting woes, sometimes all that is necessary is to change the style of putter. If normally you are using a 34″ putter, go to a 36″ putter. If you are using a flat putter, go to an upright putter. If you are using a blade, go to a mallet. Allow the putter to dictate how you are going to stand to the ball as well; the configuration and size of the grip allows you to change your hands on that club. Indeed, sometimes the putter changes the stroke by the length of the shaft, the lie of the club, the overall weight of the club and the grip dimension. Therefore; in this change of the stroke, you have a new sensation and your old sensation that has caused the missed putts vanishes very quickly. The old adage to stay with the same putter and therefore miss putts is foolish. With today’s technology and materials there is a wide choice. For those who never get it to the hole, you want to go to a little harder putter, and for those who are a little more with the feel, a softer putter would be in order.
Alignment of the blade is crucial on all putts and some putts offer an easier alignment configuration to your eye.
So the next time you are having putting woes, go into the pro shop, take 4 or 5 completely different styles of putters out to the putting green, let the style of the putter dictate your style of stance and stroke and you might just buy not just a new putter, but a new stroke that works even better than your old one.
Reading Breaks in Greens
Most people can read the green; however, they have difficulty in stroking it on the line. Here is one tip that may make a big difference in your ability to hit the putt at the right speed and the right line. When you are standing over the ball, look at the front of the ball instead of the back of the ball. Look from the ball to the hole instead of from the hole to the ball. Try to track your eyes from the ball to the object; therefore, creating a visualization of the direction that the object must travel. This is commonly done by all tour professionals. Most people look at the hole back to the ball and because of that order they are reversing what the ball’s position is doing. So the next time you are out on the golf course, look from the ball to the hole and you will see the line much easier and be able to judge the break and the speed.
More putts made, more enjoyment and lower scores. Better golf.