Swing Analyzer Can Show You the Details of Your Swing.
It’s not uncommon for many golfers to execute certain shots quite well yet struggle with others. To be a truly well-rounded golfer, the goal is to make all shots properly and efficiently. To achieve that higher level of play, you need to identify the golf shots you make poorly, find the cause of the problem, and correct it – easier said than done, I know.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that the best way to hone in on a golfing problem is to begin with the big picture and work backwards.
Here are some tips to help you pinpoint your weak areas, plus suggestions on how to fix them.
Head or Hands:
The first step in diagnosing your weak areas is determining if the problem lies in your mechanics or your nerves.
Even golfers with perfect swing mechanics can make bad shots when they feel pressured, such as during a tournament. When it is your mind that is causing the problem, working on your swing can actually cause more harm than good.
Before you do anything, make an honest assessment of the root cause: mind or mechanics.
When looking at your weaknesses, it’s important to start with the fundamentals. If your weakest golf area is your
swing, take a look at this “Simple Golf Swing” Guide that makes it easy for you to see improvements:
If you decide that your nerves are just fine and that the problem is in your swing, take note of which shots are causing the most grief. Is it the drive, fairway play, chipping, or pitching? It could be more than one type of shot, or it could be that all of your shots are flying erratically.
The good news is your problem may be simple to fix.
Perhaps your grip on the shaft is too strong or too weak to achieve a proper, neutral grip.
The bad news is, some swing problems can be very hard to identify on your own. In fact, being your own swing doctor can be an incredibly frustrating role to play. When seeking outside help, you have two options:
Visit a good golf store that has an analyzer, or visit your local PGA pro.
Using a Swing Analyzer to Help Your Game
The swing analyzer can record your swing, from address to follow-through, and break it all down for you. This is one of the fastest and most effective ways to nail down your swing mechanics.
You local pro can be a great help in diagnosing your weak areas. A good course professional will spend time with you, examining your swing and offering tips. While the swing analyzer may be able to show you the details of what you are doing, they cannot teach you how to correct a specific problem as well as an experience human can.
When looking at your weaknesses, it’s important to start with the fundamentals. If your weakest golf area is your swing, take a look at this “Simple Golf Swing” Guide that makes it easy for you to see improvements:
A course pro can also watch you move through all of your clubs and offer important tips on how you should play each one. As little as an hour or two spent with an experienced professional can do wonders for your golf game.
Purepoint Golf Team
How To Improve you Game with Golf Fixes
Very few golf fixes work immediately. Be prepared to spend some time perfecting your new, improved swing. The key is to not give up. So get out there to apply what you learn in practice
At the top of most golfers’ to-fix lists – right after the slice and hook – are the fat, thin and topped iron shots. The good news is, these common problem areas can be easily fixed with minor adjustments.
Fat & Thin Shots
For most golfers, the fat or thin iron shot occurs when the center of the swing is too far behind the ball at contact. When this happens, your club hits the ground first (resulting in a fat shot) or hits the top of the ball (causing a thin shot). See what the Golf Swing Guru has to say about fixing your fat, thin and topped iron shots:
The primary cause of a fat or thin shot is having the head too far behind the ball, which tends to put too much weight on the right foot. You can fix this by moving your head more to the center and making sure your weight is on the left foot at address.
Some golfers get into the habit of tilting the spine to the right more than necessary. This will throw off your swing path and cause the club to hit the ground before it hits the ball. The easy solution is to square your shoulders when you address the ball.
Also make sure you turn your right hip – not allowing it to slide to the right – as you begin your backswing.
One of the more common causes of thin and fat shots with irons is standing too far away from the ball at address. This will cause you to over-reach your arms at impact to get to the ball. Pulling the arms in at impact can also cause a fat or thin iron shot.
The hips have to move out of the way as you bring your arms through, or the left arm tends to bend, causing a chicken wing effect. When you get your hips forward at impact, your arms will have room to extend at the bottom of your swing.
Topping the Ball
There are two main things that can cause you to top the ball. The first is raising your body up at impact, which also raises the level of the clubhead and results in a topped ball. The main cause of this is tilting too far forward at address.The second trigger is setting up with your arms too far extended.
On the downswing, it can be difficult to make the sudden adjustment to get the arms back in quickly enough. An unmistakable sign of this problem is the left arm going into the chicken wing formation as you move through impact.
The effect of both of these mistakes is magnified as you move to the shorter clubs.
By the time you get to the 9-iron, the problem may have worsened, resulting in severely fat, thin or topped balls. To avoid topping the ball, slow down the swing, allow your arms to relax, and stay in the proper position as you move through the downswing.
Getting the clubhead to hit down on the ball is the key to success. A lot of material has been written on how to cure the dreaded slice. Rather than go through all the tips you’ve already heard dozens of times before, I have put together a simple step-by-step guide to cure your slice once and for all.
Go to the driving range and get a bucket of balls. This drill is designed for the driver, but can be applied to any club that hits slices.
Spend a few minutes stretching and warming up, focusing on calming your nerves.
Set a ball on the tee, and take your normal address. Find a target out on the range with an unobstructed view.
One very common cause of slicing the ball is lining up to the left of the target. To determine if you are doing this, simply hold a long club (such as your driver) straight across both of your hips as you address the ball. Check to see where the end of the club is pointing. A perfectly hit ball will follow that line. Once you have your hips aligned properly, look down at your feet. They should not be too open or closed.
Re-set your address, making sure your hips and feet are positioned properly. Hit four or five balls, aiming at your target. If you are still slicing the ball, you know alignment isn’t the problem. Proceed to Step Six. If your golf balls are no longer slicing, then your alignment was the cause of your slicing. Go play golf!
Now that you’ve made sure you have proper alignment, check your grip on the club. Step up to the ball, and look down at your hands. Count how many knuckles you can see on your left hand (if you are right-handed). If you do not see at least two knuckles on your left hand, rotate your hands until you do. If you see four, you went too far and need to back up. It’s very important to rotate just your hands, NOT the club.
Address the ball again, using this new grip. Hit four or five balls, again aiming at your target, paying close attention to the flight path. If you are no longer slicing the ball, your grip was the problem. If the balls are still slicing, move on to Step Eight.
It is possible that your swing is ending up with the dreaded chicken wing. Take several practice swings, keeping your right elbow pressed against your body.
When the right elbow flies too far away from the body, it causes an out-to-in swing path that almost always results in a slice.
Use Muscle Memory
Once you fix your slice, hit several more balls using the new information you’ve discovered on your alignment, grip,or swing path. Your muscle memory has already learned know how to make you slice the ball; now you have to retrain it to use the right process. By repeating the proper swing over and over again, your muscle memory will begin to register the proper mechanics, making it much easier to replicate a good swing later.
Purepoint Golf Team
5 Golf Drills to Improve Your Game
Golfing drills allow you to concentrate on one or two aspects of the game so you can easily measure your success as you go. They can make all the difference between having a full bag of golfing shots or an empty bag of tricks. You can get some great practice drill videos as part of the bonus material offered in The Simple Golf Swing:
Here are 5 great golf drills to get you started.
1. To beat your hook shot, start by taking your stance to a ball. Swing your club up to the very top of your backswing, and then stop. Slowly count to yourself, one … two … three, and then begin your downswing.
This golfing drill forces you to slow down your lower body movement and the rotation of your wrists. When you make yourself stop at the top, you have to deliberately set up your downswing process. Shift your weight slightly to the lead foot as you begin your downswing.
2. Chipping can be frustrating for many golfers. Instead of trying to hit the ball to the hole, place a folded towel on the green right where you want your ball to land. The bigger target area will make it much easier for you to concentrate on properly landing the ball, which is key to great chip shots.
3. If your putts routinely roll right or left of the cup, you may have a problem with your putting stance. It’s crucial to have a square stance when putting. Try placing a flagstick at your feet, aligned with your toes and parallel to your target line. Use the visual line of the stick as a guide for your putting line. Your shoulders and hips must be on this same line as well. Once your body is square with your intended target path, you should see immediate improvement.
4. This next drill is fun and easy, but very powerful. This works with all golf shots, from driver to putter. Make it a habit to mentally see the shot before you. Visualize it happening as if you are watching a movie in your mind. Then perform the shot and see if your results are the same as what you envisioned.
If the results are not the same, stop and consider what part of the shot went astray. Perhaps the fade shot you imagined went off just fine, but the distance was short. Or maybe the putt you saw riding the break fell well short of the cup.
This drill allows you to hone in on the particular problem you may have with a specific shot. Once you pinpoint the cause, you can begin to fix it.
5. Swing a broomstick.
This is a very good drill that focuses only on weight shift, which is crucial to powerful, solid golf shots. To get started, cut off the bristles from a broomstick, and use the straight stick as a pretend golf club. Go through your golf swing, paying particular attention to your feet, legs and hips. Concentrate on shifting your weight as you slowly move through your golf swing.
Purepoint Golf Team
Ways to Develop More Power in your Golf Swing
There is a misconception in golf where some believe that power equals muscle. This is not exactly true. The true source of power in your golf swing is clubhead speed. The faster you can swing the club while keeping your swing pure, the more energy you will deliver to the ball. And that added energy equals increased power.
How can golfers increase clubhead speed?
Flexibility equals torque, and torque is how you gain that extra speed during your downswing. Here are a couple of quick tips to help you get the clubhead speed you need to increase your power shots.
Increase Speed: Head Position
Head position at address is important. Your head should be positioned just slightly to the right of the ball (as you look down on it). Poor positioning of the head restricts the shoulders from taking a smooth, full turn during the backswing.
The second thing to remember about head position is to keep the chin off the chest. You want your shoulders to be able to turn under your chin. If the chin is on the chest, this cannot happen.
Increase Speed: Reduce Arm Tension
Many golfers, especially those new to the game, will grip the club so tightly that the muscles in their forearms bulge. This happens more often with the driver than any other club, but it is not exclusive to the driver.
It is impossible to tell every golfer how tightly he or she should hold the club. One common analogy is to hold the club as you would a tube of toothpaste without squeezing any out. For those who truly want to add power to their game, added flexibility is the key.
Keep in mind that while the backswing is important it sets up the downswing the speed of the clubhead during the downswing is what truly matters. You can find a variety of flexibility exercises online to help you work out the kinks, release tension and loosen up your core muscles.
This should be your first step.
The type of exercises you do and the level of difficulty you choose must be dependent on your current health. If you are already somewhat limber and are not overweight, probably opt for the more intense programs. However, if you are older, have less range of motion or are overweight, then opting for the less-intense flexibility programs should be your goal. You can always move up as you become more limber.
Another Way to Increase Power:
Aside from your physical ability, one other way to add a bit more power to your shots is to use heavier clubheads. For most golfers, this means using a bigger driver. It is also possible to buy slightly heavier irons today.
The increase in power you get with heavier clubs is due to the added mass of the clubhead. More mass at contact equals more energy onto the ball. However, heavier clubs, especially heavier drivers, will require some getting used to. You should not expect to simply buy a set or new driver and be able to use it
without some practice.
Professional golfers who are looking for the maximum amount of power in their golf swing will take advantage of both of these tips. So work on your flexibility and master the modern driver, and you will benefit as well.
As you probably already know, one of the fastest ways to add 20 yards (or more) to your drives is to move up to the bigger 460 cc drivers. Over the last several years, driver heads and weights have been increasing. Currently, the USPGA has put a limit on drivers of 460 cc. So, for the time being, this is the largest driver you can use legally.
While these monster drivers can certainly result in longer drives, they have some unique characteristics that must be learned. To get the maximum effect, you have to spend significant time practicing with them and perhaps even change your thinking about ball flight in general.
When a ball is hit correctly with a bigger driver, the golf ball spins less, causing it to go higher than usual. The combination of high launch along with less spin causes the ball to travel farther. The trick is to get enough ball spin to create lift, while at the same time eliminating as much drag as possible.
Here are four very useful tips for using that new driver:
The Ball Must Be Teed Higher:
Older drivers normally required the ball to be teed up, putting the top of the driver about midway up the golf ball. For these bigger drivers, you need to tee the ball so the top of the driver is about 1/3 up the ball.
As you know, the standard tee is only 2 1/8-inches long. When you buy a 460 cc driver, make sure to buy some longer tees as well. You’ll need at least 3 inches, or a little longer if you can find them.
Change Your Stance:
A common mistake is trying to keep your old stance at address. For the bigger drivers, it is important to move the ball forward in your address stance. For right-handed golfers, this means moving it more towards your left foot.
With the smaller drivers, we were all taught to play the ball off the left heel, which is appropriate for those driver heads. But for the bigger ones, we need to hit the ball on the upswing, and the best way to do that is to move the stance forward a bit.
In addition to increasing the launch angle, hitting the ball on the upswing also decreases the ball’s spin rate. For some players, moving the ball forward might mean playing the ball off the big toe, and for other players it might mean moving the ball outside the left foot altogether. The only way you will determine your ideal ball position is to get to the range and experiment.
Train Yourself to Hit the Center of the Driver Face:
Here is a quick test to see if you need to retrain yourself.
Tee up a ball and take your address position. Stretch your arms out, noticing where the face of the driver is in relation to the golf ball. This is most likely where the face will strike the ball.
With the new drivers, you may find that your strike one the hosel or the heel of the club – bad news on both counts. If so, take a slight step back and repeat the test. Keep moving back until you have the proper ball-to-face alignment.
Hit the Golf Ball on the Upswing:
Learning to hit on the upswing is crucial to getting those added yards with your new driver.
For many of us, this is easier said than done. If you are still hitting your new driver on the apex of the downswing, you won’t get the boost in yardage. When you learn to hit on the upswing, you will get a higher launch angle and lower spin rate, the equation for longer distance. After you buy your new driver, give yourself 30 days to fine-tune its use. Once you get comfortable with it, your drives will improve and you will potentially produce more power in your golf swing.
Purepoint Golf Team
Good Ball Flight in Golf
It is the flight of the ball that gets us from Point A to Point B in the game of golf. So, the more we know about ball flight in golf, the better golfers we will become.
The way a ball behaves once it takes flight is determined by two things: the angle of the clubface on impact and the swing path that got it there.
When it comes to clubface angles, they can be open, closed or squared as the face hits the ball. Each of these angles produces a different type of ball flight in golf.
The clubface can travel on three different paths. The best path is when it travels along the target line.
Or, the club head can move from inside to outside across the target line.
Lastly, the club head may move from outside to inside. This is also known as coming over the top.
Ball Flight Characteristics:
If your ball starts out straight but then hooks or slices, your swing path is fine, but you are opening or closing the face upon impact. Check your grip to ensure you are not using an overly strong or weak grip.
When you grip your club, you should be able to see the first two knuckles of your left hand (for right-handed golfers). If you cannot see them at all, the weak can lead to a slice. If you see more than a couple knuckles, you are in a strong grip, which often leads to hooking the ball.
If your ball immediately heads to the right but does not hook or slice, you are pushing the ball. Your swing path is too much on the in-to-out plane, but your clubface is squared.
If your ball goes to the right and hooks, your swing path is too much in-to-out, and your clubface is closed. If it slices, same thing except your clubface is opened.
If your ball heads left right away, you are pulling the ball. A straight pull happens when you are on a swing path that is to out-to-in. If the ball also hooks, you are to out-to-in and hitting with a closed clubface. If it pulls and slices, you are to out-to-in and hitting the ball with an opened clubface.
As mentioned above, it is imperative that you hold the club in a manner that is neutral rather than too weak or too strong. A neutral grip allows the clubface to become square with the ball at impact. For many golfers, the grip is the key to fixing the hook or slice.
For both the push and the pull golfer, the first and most important thing to look at is the position of your club at the top of your backswing. For both types of players, the problem occurs when you cross the line.
Have a buddy or local pro take a look at your club position at the top of your backswing. If the club is pointing to the left or to the right of the target, your swing path is going to be affected, leading to either a push or a pull as you come back with your downswing.
A common fix for both of these swing problems is to bring the club inside a little more as you begin your backswing. Keep your lead arm straight, and pause at the top of the backswing to help you transition into the downswing.
With all these considerations on the ball flight in golf done, we now move onto the first tee.
Hitting a long drive is too often rooted more in wishful thinking than anything else.
Here are some useful tips to help you get more distance off the tee. In fact, some of you may get as much as 30 to 50 more yards (up to 45 meters) by applying these techniques.
One thing to keep in mind, however, as we learn to add some yards to our drives is that the longest possible drive is not always the best shot choice. If you have a long, straight fairway, big distance is important and useful. But, if you are faced with a dogleg or other type of challenge off the tee, consider using distance control as a strategy.
To get more distance off the tee:
Tip 1: Slow and Smooth Carries the Ball
One of the most common mistakes you see on all golf courses when players are trying to get more distance is the rushed golf swing.
The common logic behind this is if golfers want to get more distance, they only need hit the ball harder, which means swinging the club faster than normal. The logic is simple ñ but it’s also flawed.
It is important to keep in mind that there is a difference between a player who has perfected faster club head speed through practice and a player who is rushing his or her swing to get those added yards.
When you hurry your swing, you throw off your entire rhythm. This is especially noticeable at the top of your backswing, also known as the transition point.
Rushing the backswing causes you to unwind too fast as you begin your downswing. This improper action results in all sorts of misalignment and mishaps, including lost yardage.
The key element to overcoming this fault is to slow down at the top of the backswing, even stop for a second, and then transition into the downswing smoothly. This allows your core to unwind naturally, increases club head speed, and makes for a much more solid hit on the ball.
Tip 2: Avoid Over-Grip
It is almost second-nature for us to want to grip the club tighter when we know we want to get maximum power out of our drivers. This is a yardage killer.
A long drive requires that all muscles and joints be loose and relaxed, especially in the hands, wrists and fingers. All of these body parts must be able to move, cock, rotate, etc., throughout the swing. Once you start strangling that club in your hands, you lose much of this flexibility before you even begin.
When you address the ball, concentrate on a light grip. This is crucial during your downswing as well. This one tip alone can add several yards to your drive right now.
Tip 3: Extension
What I mean by this is extension on your backswing. Keep in mind that your backswing sets up your downswing. You want to increase the arc you create during your downswing so as to give the club more time and distance to increase its speed before impact.
Try this drill to improve your extension: Using your driver, set up as normal, and in slow motion begin your backswing. Pay attention to your leading arm (left arm for right-handed golfers). Is it straight and locked into position? The answer should be yes.
Do several practice swings with your driver and concentrate on maintaining a straight-arm until you get to the top of your backswing.
Try these tips next time you hit the practice range, and keep track of how much farther you are now hitting your drives. You should see some nice results quickly.
For a more detailed guide to adding distance to your drive, I recommend you check out the Golf Swing Speed Challenge:
The Secrets for Better Putting
Professional golfers make mistakes just like the rest of us. But there is one mistake they make that really irks them, and that is three-putting a hole. The point here is even the very best golfers in the world will occasionally three-putts so don’t be too hard on yourself if you do too.
Here are some techniques you can put to work to minimize those three-putts:
- It is wrong to believe that most three-putts take place on very long putts.
A lot of golfers will sadly attest to making three-putts on three-foot putts! Do not be over-confident when you walk up to a short putt. True, shorter putts are often easier to make than longer ones, however going too quickly or without taking a moment to settle in can often lead to a missed shot.
- Control Your Emotions:
A missed putt, especially a missed short putt, often results in anger or frustration. While you are angry can often lead to more missed putts. Settle down before you take your next putt.
- Short Putts:
This does not apply to everyone, but it does apply to enough golfers that it needs to be addressed. Three-putts are often the result of poor short golf shots. This is when your ball rolls forward but stops way short of the hole, thus leaving you another difficult putt which you are just as likely to miss as the first.
This can be rooted in many different things, including a lack of confidence. The cure for this is mastering distance control. And mastering distance control on the green should be a routine part of all of your putting practice sessions.
A good drill for mastering distance control on the practice green is to take several balls and putt them to an imaginary line that bisects the cup. Don’t worry about sinking them; just concentrate on getting the ball to that line or a little beyond. This is one of the best distance controls drills you can perform because it works.
- In order to get the ball close to the hole on long putts you have to hit the ball hard enough to get it there. If you find yourself with a long putt and are unsure of how much force you need to use, go to a point about half-way between the ball and the cup to take a few practice swings.
Because you are closer to the hole, your muscle memory will probably be able to better tap into putt you need to make the shot. Take this information with you to the ball, and when you set up to putt, bring your putter back twice as far as you did on the closer practice putt. This may feel odd, but give it a try anyway.
- The 3-Foot Circle:
This simple concept has been around for ages, and it works for many golfers. Imagine a
three-foot circle around the cup. Your objective is to get your golf ball within that circle. Don’t concentrate too much on sinking the putt; only get the ball within that circle.
This tip all but assumes that you will need to make one more putt, but that putt will be much closer to the hole. If the ball drips into the cup, great! But if it does not, you now have a short three-foot (or less) putt to make.
One of the best ways to improve is to do what I call a preview. This is basically the same as a pre-shot routine, only it takes place on the green rather than on the tee or fairway.
Developing a preview will serve you in many ways not the least of which is helping to settle your nerves on those tricky putts we all run into from time to time.
Here are some tips on how to develop your own putting preview routine:
Start your preview as you walk to the green. On some courses, you can tell the grain of the grass by the color you see as you approach the green. A darker shade indicates the grain is toward you, whereas a lighter shade shows the grain is running away from you.
You can also look for slope conditions as you approach the green. In many cases, seeing a slope will be easier from a distance than when you are standing on top of it.
Depending on the course you are playing, look for water and mountains. The ball will normally break toward water and break away from nearby mountains.
You do not want to hold up play for too long, but do take a few moments to size up your putt. Squat down and look at the line from as many angles as you need to in order to determine the break, if any.
Always take a few practice swings before putting. This not only helps to settle your nerves, but it also allows you a moment to catch your breath from the walk up to the green.
It also allows your muscle memory to get in sync with your swing.
A part of my putting preview is to pick up my ball, after marking its spot, and clean it. I then replace the ball, aiming it toward the proper target line using a black line I put on all of my golf balls. Yes, this is legal, in case you are wondering.
This black target line helps me to keep my head down as I putt since I only concentrate on hitting that black line squarely with the putter face.
An important tip about making a preview work for you is to make your putt as soon as you finish the routine. If you do your routine and then stand around for even a minute, you will lose most of the benefits the preview has to offer. When you complete your preview, take your stance
and make your putt.
With a little practice, most golfers can develop and perfect a putting preview routine that takes no longer than sixty seconds. Once you have your own unique sequence established, performing it will become easier, and faster, as time goes on.
The key to making this work for you, however, is repetition. You have to get a sequence established and then perform the sequence time after time. Repetition is the key!
It should also be noted that the routine that works for one golfer may not work as well for the next. The set-up of any routine should be rooted in what works for you. However, if you are new to golf or if you are not sure what to do, watch what some of the pros do on the green.