Golf is defined as “playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.” The modern game originated in Scotland and can be dated back as far as the 16th century.
Accuracy and consistency has always been the key to the success of a golfer of any level. But the game has changed dramatically in recent years due to several advances in the sport.
Manufacturers constantly compete to produce high quality golf clubs and balls that make it easier for golfers to hit harder and more accurate shots. While the upper body strength and over health and fitness of professional golfers who undertake rigorous workout programs has also help towards producing a younger breed of golfer that can now play longer and more accurate shots in equal measure.
As with all professional sports, the very top golf pros are aware of the role of a good diet and the importance of sports psychology. Many of the top players’ entourage will include personal trainers and sports psychologists to keep the body as well as the mind healthy and positive before, during and after a big tournament.
Of all the big hitters I’ve seen in recent years, it never ceases to amaze me to watch an inform, relaxed and confident Justin Rose coil and unwind his upper body as he hits a power-driving tee shot down the centre of the fairway. The accuracy and the power he gets is amazing. But the way his upper body twists while there is no movement from his hips down is almost cartoon-like.
Justin Rose is a perfect example for amateur golfers to follow. He looks healthy and fit, and the power he creates comes from the suppleness and action of his body as much as the swing itself. New titanium head drivers allow even amateur golfers to hit longer drives. But length is only as good as accuracy. A good tip for any aspiring amateur golfer who wants to improve their handicap is to consider their suppleness and strength as much as simply attempting to hit the ball harder through the speed of the swing.
There are plenty of books on how to play certain golf tips or shots, but I find the next best thing to having a one-to-one lesson is watching a video or DVD as you can actually see the movement and swing.
This morning I watched a short golf instruction video of David Leadbetter on The Golf Channel explaining how to hit a tee shot into the wind, a tip that will certainly come in useful here in the UK in January!
Whether you are playing directly into the wind or you are battling a vicious cross wind, Leadbetter’s golf tip is the same.
Drop your grip two or three inches down the shaft. This will restrict the arch of your swing and keep the loft down through impact. By doing so the ball will travel at a much lower trajectory and therefore not get caught up in the wind.
Once you are confident your putting technique includes a good follow through then you may need to concentrate more on your accuracy. This is an excellent tip to cure putting accuracy caused by too much backswing.
Improve Your Putting
I have read, for an accurate putt you need to swing your putter one-third in the backswing and two-thirds forward. This will give your stroke a smooth, positive swing motion. But to make sure you are not pulling the puuter too far back, or losing the line, place a 5p coin on the back of the putter blade. Unfortunately this putting exercise doesn’t work as well with two-ball putters.
To gauge the right distance and smoothness when pulling the putter back, the 5p coin should remain on the back of the putter, and only slip off as the the putter connects with the ball or in the follow through.
Try it, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Furthermore, I saw a real improvement in my putting when I was able to manage the length and steadiness of my backswing and follow-thorugh.
Another exercise that has helped me with my putting is to concentrate on following through with your stroke. Like many beginners / high handicappers I found it difficult to commit to a putting stroke; and the consequence is that I was not stroking the ball firmly or accurately enough. The result of this lack of confidence is leaving the putt short of the hole.
Improve Your Putting
To improve your putting, try pushing the ball with the putter with no backswing. Line your putter up against the back of the ball and simply push the ball forward to the hole. This exercise taught me to follow through, resulting in a more confident, positive swing motion.
Once you start playing golf it doesn’t take you too long to realise your putting is the most important part of your game. I’m sure most high handicappers have a similar problem as myself. I can now confidently hit a ball some distance, and more often then not, hit the fairways. But getting onto the greens in two or three strokes is pointless if it then takes you three strokes to get the ball in the hole.
So I am going to share with you some of the tips I have been given over the past few months or so; and it would be great if you had other tips to share with me.
It’s an old cliche in golf, but its true to say – putting is a game within a game!
Improve Your Putting
This tip might sound odd, but believe me it works. It will help you gauge the power of your stroke and also gain confidence in your ability to judge how hard to hit the ball.
I read that when Tiger Woods was very young, his father used to tell him to pick the ball up and roll it towards the hole. If you are throwing a ball to someone else to catch you don’t fill your head with complicated sums trying to workout the distance, you simply look at your target and gauge the amount of power you need to apply to send the ball to the recipient.
By rolling the ball to the hole you are using those same instincts. Try it, if it works then attempt to hit the ball with equal power using your putter.
Trust me, it works; and by doing this exercise you will gain confidence in your own ability to judge the distance and power required to send the ball to the hole without worrying too much about techniques.