15th March 2011

Golf Driving Tips – 5 Easy Ways to Hit for Distance and Accuracy

Whether you’re a new golfer or a duffer that’s been playing for years, chances are good that you’re always on the lookout for golf driving tips that will help you hit the ball straighter and further. Hitting a driver can be one of the most frustrating, or most rewarding, parts of playing golf.

When you’re looking for golf driving tips that can quickly improve your swing, it’s important to look for advice that can be implemented easily, without having to totally overhaul your swing or spend years practicing to get right. Fortunately, I’ve found some quick fixes that you can put into use on the course today.

Driving Tip 1 – It’s All in the Hips

When you think about the components that make up the perfect golf swing, there’s a good chance that your hips don’t even cross your mind. That’s partially why so many golfers have so much trouble hitting their driver, though!

A common mistake happens during the downswing which leads to slices, poor distance, and all kinds of other common golf swing problems. That mistake is letting your hands lead the club.

Once you reach the top of your backswing, rather than stopping the club with your hands and letting them begin the downswing motion, you should instead start rotating your hips forward. This naturally pulls the club into the proper downswing motion and puts a ton of power behind your swing that your hands and arms just can’t generate. Your hips also draw the club through your swing at the proper speed and trajectory, leading to straighter shots and less slices and shanks. Let your hips do the work! It’ll make your game so much better.

Driving Tip 2 – Bend Those Knees

Another common mistake that plenty of golfers make is locking their knees and standing up too straight when addressing the ball.

If your knees are straight, your body won’t be able to go into the proper turning motion that will put power and distance behind your shot. By letting your knees bend a little bit, your body will be able to follow through the entire turning motion, just like how your club needs to follow through the entire swing. With some bend in your knees, your club head will come around faster, giving you way more distance.

Driving Tip 3 – Put the Ball Forward

One easy golf driving tip that will help you hit your driver better is to position the ball closer to your front foot when setting up in your stance. It’s natural to want to place the ball right in the middle between your feet, but to get under the ball and get the loft you need to keep from hitting “wormburners,” you need to get the ball a little further up in your stance. Don’t go too crazy, but try experimenting with the position until you find a spot where you consistently make good contact with the ball.

Driving Tip 4 – Get a Grip

If you’re regularly hooking or slicing your shots off the tee, one of the best golf driving tips I can give you is to check your grip on the club. Proper hand position during your swing will ensure you make square contact with the ball, rather than having your club face too open or closed. By taking a neutral grip, you’ll actually maintain better control during your swing and won’t be forcing the club head into an awkward position.

One final note on your hands: if your hands are ahead of the club head when you make contact, it’ll cause you to slice or push the ball way off target. Your hands should always be further back than the club head when you strike the ball, which should naturally happen if you let your hips lead the swing, as I recommend above.

Driving Tip 5 – Stay Square with the Target

It sounds so simple, but one of the most common driving mistakes that players make is to not actually be lined up properly with what they’re aiming at. You should be able to draw a straight line from the toes of your back foot through the toes of your front foot and have it point directly at your target. This should be true for your shoulders and hips as well. If any of these is even a little bit out of whack, your drive will be too. Making this simple adjustment is one of the easiest ways to hit a golf ball straight more consistently.

I hope these golf driving tips have been helpful to you! As always, make sure you practice them regularly until they become a natural part of your swing. If you’re looking for some extra help perfecting your swing, especially your driving, I strongly recommend Fix a Slice. It made a huge difference in my ability to drive the ball well.

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16th February 2011

Fat Shots – How to Stop Hitting it Fat

Compared to some other common golf problems like hitting a slice, hitting fat shots doesn’t occur as often, but is arguably an even bigger problem in your game. It’s an easy habit to fall into, but if you can analyze the part of your swing that’s causing you to hit it fat, you can easily fix it and hit it clean in the future.

Before I go into specific tips for fixing your fat shots, let me say that it’s a good idea to have someone else check out your swing while you’re practicing or on the course, since it can often be easier for them to spot the flaw in your swing instead of trying to identify it yourself. If you let them know what to look for, it can make the analysis go much quicker than trying to do it alone.

The Main Fat Shot Culprit: The Back Shoulder

There can be a few different causes of hitting fat shots, but in my experience the most common is allowing your back shoulder (the one behind the ball in your stance) to drop during your downswing.

If you allow your back shoulder to drop down while you’re swinging down, your club head will hit the ground early, rather than swinging through the ball and getting clean contact like it should. The most common cause of this back shoulder drop? Trying to swing too hard, which shifts your hips too much and messes with the natural arc of your swing.

You may be thinking, “I’m supposed to move my hips in my swing!” But there’s an important difference between twisting your hips like you should and shifting your hips. If you want to see what happens when you shift them, try taking up your natural stance and performing your backswing. As you reach the top of your swing, deliberately “push” or shift your hips in the direction you’re aiming. I guarantee you’ll notice that your back shoulder is pulled down, which shouldn’t be happening.

Fixing this mistake in your motion is simple enough but will likely require some practice to feel natural. What you’re going for is making sure that your hips are performing the twisting motion instead of the sliding motion.

One visual aid you can use is imagining that there’s an invisible line running down the center of your body, right between your hips down to the ground. When you go into the transition from your backswing to your downswing, try to keep this imaginary line in place and twist your hips around it, rather than letting it move forward in your stance.

Another good trick is to make sure you keep your front shoulder down, rather than letting it raise up during your downswing, which can let your back shoulder drop. To get this motion right, make sure your front arm is held straight during your backswing. When you reach the top of your backswing and are ready to start the transition to downswing, take a split second to think about keeping your front shoulder down before starting the swing. This should naturally help keep your back shoulder up, where it needs to be.

Time to Practice

While these techniques seem simple enough, whenever you’ve got a basic flaw in your swing, it’s going to take a solid amount of practice to fix your swing and get your muscle memory to make the fixes a natural part of your swing.

So get to the practice range and work on these changes as often as you can. While you’re there, be sure to practice with a bunch of different clubs to make sure you’ve got the feel for different weights, club types, and hitting it off the tee versus the ground. Working on all of your different clubs will help you quickly stop hitting fat shots and get you back to hitting it straight and clean.

If you’re looking for more advice and instruction on hitting cleaner, longer shots, I really recommend Simple Golf Swing. It’s got lots of straightforward but detailed advice on perfecting your swing and making good contact.

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11th February 2011

Fix a Slice in 5 Easy Steps

Do you find yourself slicing the ball on a regular basis? Believe me, I know how frustrating and aggravating it can be. Here are some techniques I’ve developed on how to fix golf slice problems once and for all. They’ve helped me a lot, and I’m sure they can help you too.

Slice Fix Tip #1 – Check Your Stance

Although it’s hard to say what’s causing your slice before you’ve tried a number of things, the first thing you should check is your golf stance. When you step up to the ball, check to make sure that your body and feet are lined up correctly to the target. Point your left shoulder (or your right, if you’re a left handed golfer) straight at the target you want to hit. If your alignment is off by even a little bit, you’re much more likely to slice the ball badly.

Slice Fix Tip #2 – Check Your Golf Grip

After you’ve got your stance lined up correctly, you need to check your grip on the club. What you want to look for is to make sure you can see at least two or three knuckles on your left hand. If you’re not seeing them, it means you’ve got your grip wrong. Adjust your hand placement and grip, as this can often solve your problem.

Another important part of having the right golfing grip is to keep from squeezing too tight, since you need a bit of give to be able to release after making contact with the ball. On the flip side, if you don’t have a strong golf grip, the face of the club may be wiggling a bit as you make contact, which leads to slices and mishits.

Slice Fix Tip #3 – Check Your Hips

A frequent cause of slicing the ball out to the right is that many players don’t get their hips turned completely straight before making impact with the ball. To hit a straight shot, the face of the club needs to be completely square towards the target.

One way to remedy the problem of not getting your hips around is to practice finishing high. This technique can help you turn faster and make good contact. For more info on this part of your swing, check out my article on backswing basics.

Slice Fix Tip #4 – Check Your Speed

A common mistake among golfers is to speed up their swing too much, since they think this will lead to more distance. However, it often causes their hands to come around faster than the rest of their body (such as their hips), leading to the club face being open as it contacts the ball. By focusing on slowing your motions down, you can keep everything in alignment and start hitting consistent shots.

Slice Fix Tip #5 – Check Your Head

You’re given this piece of advice starting with your first golf lesson, but it’s amazing how easy it is to forget. Keep your eye on the ball and don’t lift your head until after your swing is complete. It’s all too easy to pick your head up right as you strike the ball, which messes up your swing and sends the ball off in the wrong direction.

I know, it’s hard not to try to watch where your ball is going from the second you hit it. But resist the temptation! If you think you might be doing this but aren’t sure, have a friend or partner keep an eye on the movement of your head as you hit it. Believe me, it’s a lot more fun to wait an extra second or two and watch a good shot than to see a bad one right away!

I really hope these tips have been useful for you. If you stick with them and keep practicing, even just at the range, you’ll be able to cure your slice in no time! The trick is to run through these mental checks every time you take a shot until they become totally natural and a part of your muscle memory. You’ll be hitting the ball straight in no time.

PS- If you want to get some really detailed, helpful advice on straightening out your swing, check out this video course. It made a huge difference for me and got my game back on track quickly.

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11th February 2011

Golf Downswing Technique

Of all the elements that go into a great golf swing, the downswing is for many golfers the most frustrating and difficult to master. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to master your golf downswing technique and hit the ball better every time.

The beauty of the downswing, but something that trips up countless golfers, is that if you’ll let it, your body will do all of the hard work of generating the power for your swing.

Keep Your Motion Smooth

To have a great downswing, you need work on keeping the point of transition from your backswing to your downswing as seamless and effortless as possible. A lot of golfers “force” the club to come down, either by yanking it into the downswing or by using their hands to initiate the transition. The latter is especially bad, since it throws off your body’s natural rhythm and movement and leads to bad contact with the ball.

Rather than letting your hands or arms do the work of bringing the club down, when you get to the top of your backswing, take just the slightest possible pause (I’m talking less than a second) and then start to turn your hips. This motion will lead the way for all of the other parts of your body and keep your swing motion smooth and strong. The best part of letting your hips do the work is that it not only leads to straighter shots, it adds quite a bit to your distance as well!

Keep Your Hands in Front

A key element of a great golf downswing technique is to make sure your hands are further ahead in your swing than your club head when it actually makes contact with the ball. Having your hands still leading the club head will put a ton of power behind the shot.

If you make the common mistake of swinging the club head out ahead of your hands, you’ll have way less power behind the shot, as well as possibly messing up the direction. Many golfers run into this problem because of the common mistake I mentioned earlier of letting the hands (rather than hips) lead the way in the downswing.

Keep Your Head Behind

As vital as it is to get your hands in front of the club head, it’s equally important to make sure your head stays lined up behind where the ball is in your stance. If your head ends up moving with your body during the swing and getting ahead of the ball, there’s a good chance that your shot will go astray, in addition to losing a lot of the energy of your swing.

Keep it Moving

The last key part of a great golf downswing technique is making sure that your club continues accelerating in speed throughout the course of your swing. This doesn’t mean trying to “muscle it” and yanking the club forward with your hands, though. It just means that as your body, starting with your hips, begins its motion and naturally picks up speed, you don’t want to pull back on your swing as you come close to making contact. This means swinging all the way through your follow through, which keeps the path of the ball true and gets plenty of power behind it.

As always, the biggest part of a great golf downswing technique is practice. Get out there on the driving range and put these downswing tips into practice, and you’ll be improving your game in no time! If you’re trying to fix a particular part of your downswing, be sure to check out our articles on how to hit a golf ball straight and how to fix a slice.

Also, if you’re looking for really detailed and thorough advice on getting a smoother, more powerful swing, take a look at this video course. It’s the best instructional information I’ve found for improving your swing.

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11th February 2011

Golf Backswing Basics

For many golfers, the golf backswing is one of the most frustrating parts of their game. It seems like it should be such a simple motion, but can end up causing many swing problems.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a source of frustration or anxiety for you. In this article, I’ll cover some golf backswing tips that will improve your takeaway motion almost immediately, and get you hitting the ball straighter.

Setting Up For the Backswing

Before you even start worrying about your golf backswing, though, make sure you have the ball properly lined up with your golf stance. For different types of shots there are correct ball positions, and if you’re not using the right placement for the right kind of shot, even a perfect backswing won’t help.

Once you’ve got the ball lined up correctly, take a firm grip on the club. Just don’t choke the club too much—you want to keep the club head from wiggling when you make contact, but you don’t want to keep your swing from feeling natural.

A key element to having a great golf backswing is to let your knees flex a little bit. If your legs are too stiff, your hips won’t be able to turn naturally with the shot, which robs you of a lot of power and distance.

The Backswing Motion

Now you’re ready to begin the swing. As you pull the club back, keep both of your arms perfectly straight and don’t bend your elbows yet. Bent elbows lead to shortened distance, which means you’ll need to correct things mid-swing. To make life easier on yourself, just keeps those arms locked as your begin the backswing.

Once the club head and your hands have reached the level of your waist, start to bend your right elbow (or your left, if you’re a lefty). As you perform this motion, focus on keeping your hands from rotating from their original position. Letting your hands rotate can shorten the arc of your swing, preventing you from getting the proper swing motion.

The final element is what to do when you’ve reached the top of your swing and start the transition to the downswing. There’s no top point or angle that’s right for every golfer. Each person’s swing will have its natural limit that lets them achieve the top club head speed without sacrificing accuracy.

Until you’ve found yours, it’s a good idea to experiment a bit on the driving range to see if there’s a point that feels natural and achieves the shots you’re looking for. You might even try videotaping yourself, commenting on each shot after you hit it, so you can get an idea of what top point seems to work best for you.

One final point about the backswing motion: it’s really important that once you’ve reached the apex of your backswing and are ready to bring the club down, keep the transition motion smooth and consistent; don’t yank or jerk the club into a downward motion! Let your hips kick off the downswing, rather than forcing your hands to do it. Your body will naturally pull the club in the correct arc.

For more info on what to do once you’ve begun the downswing motion, see my article on golf downswing technique.

Since the backswing can be the source of many golf swing problems, it’s important to practice the motion as much as possible until it becomes natural and smooth. If you have a friend or partner you golf with, ask them to keep an eye on your backswing to help you identify any mistakes you’re making. With some concentration and practice, you’ll soon have mastered this critical part of your swing.

If you’re looking for some really detailed but simple instruction on perfecting your swing, I really recommend this video course. It’s a great instructional program to make your swing much better and more consistent.

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