Read these 126 Instructions for Golf Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Golfing tips and hundreds of other topics.
There is no one perfect golf ball position for everyone because of the differences in height, weight and flexibility of golfers. There is a general rule of thumb for ball position: with your driver, woods, 2 and 3 irons, play the ball just inside of your left heel. With your 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 irons you would play the ball halfway between your inside left heel and the center of your stance. And with your 9 iron and wedges you would play the ball in the middle of your stance. But, the best way to find your proper ball position would be to go to the practice range and hit balls. After you have hit a few shots place the ball at the beginning of your divot and do this until you have found your proper ball position with all your clubs. You will hit more good shots off the sweet spot on the club and the ball will go more consistently towards the target.
Try these tips for a longer drive. GRIP IT LIGHT-Many short hitters grip the club too hard, causing tightness in the fore arms, and a tense take-away. A light grip will cause you to loosen up and swing with more flexibility. A good analogy is to grip the club like it was a small bird. SWING IT BACK SLOW-The majority of touring pros take the first 12-36" of the back swing deliberately slow, causing a smooth back swing, getting maximum distance. The Golden Bear said "The slower your back swing, The farther the ball will go", which is true. Extend to a high finish! A full finish adds more yardage to the ball.
A good thought process for driving is to imagine the golf club hitting thru the golf ball and not at it. Try to imagine the club's swing path and the ball simply getting in the way of the club. You swing the golf club along the target line and the golf ball goes along for the ride.
Gettting out of a greenside bunker can be easy when you know these three rules.
#1-Use a Sand Wedge with a large sole to slide through the sand.
#2-Strike the sand behind the ball as you accelerate to a full finish. Most players hit the sand behind the ball and "quit" on the shot, leaving the ball in the bunker.
#3- Make sure you use a light grip pressure. Holding the club too tightly will "freeze" your wrists making it difficult to slide the club under the ball in the sand properly.
To be sure you are aimed at the target, picture a set of railroad tracks. The track furthest from you is where the golf ball will be and that track runs directly to your target. The track closest to you will be the track your feet will square up to and this track will run left of the target the same distance your feet are away from the ball at address. Have a fellow golfer stand behind you and ask him/her to see if you are lined up properly. You can also lay clubs down on the ground at your feet and on the target line. Be sure your knees, hips and shoulders are also parallel to the target line. Practice your aim. It is very important in hitting a good golf shot.
If you need to keep the ball low, such as under tree limbs, but need some distance, try the low shot. Play the ball rear of center and press hands forward of the ball more. Use a 3, 4 ,or 5 iron and close the club face. Keep your hands ahead of the club for the whole swing. The ball will come out low and hot, so compensate with the amount of back swing. Sometimes the ball will draw a little more than usual, so practice this shot and it will add another trick to your bag.
If your body is too close or far positioned from the ball, your distance and aim will be greatly effected. First position yourself behind the ball as normal. If you are right handed, grip the club as usual. Let your right hand go from your grip. If you are positioned just right, it will stay in the same location as when you gripped the club. If you are too far from the ball, your hand (when you release it) will fall towards the end of the shaft. If too close, your hand will fall further down the shaft. For lefties, this drill should be done with the left hand. This only takes a couple seconds to do but will improve your distance and accuracy.
Having timing problems? Try swinging a heavy broom and making it sweep along the target line and hit the same spot on that line. The heaviness will make your body make the most efficient weight transfer and balanced swing. You will start to feel the broom speed increasing with less power applied as your timing is enhanced.
For successful fairway bunker contact, limit your back swing to 3/4 of its normal length, and then mirror it on the follow through. Because you are using such an abbreviated swing, take two more clubs for the distance you are approaching. If you have a good lie, choose that 5 instead of the 7 iron golf club.
What you have is what some call a slice or fade. This occurs when the golf club head is open at impact causing side spin on the ball. The initial momentum of the golf ball sends it straight, but as the forward momentum decreases, the affects of the spin take over and move your ball right.
Several causes for this condition include the equipment you use and your swing. Golfing equipment problems include golf club shafts that may be too flexible, make sure your shaft is right for your swing speed. Another golfing equipment problem may be that the head of the golf club driver that you have is open faced.
A neutral or closed faced driver, usually called an offset driver, will help stop a slice. When it comes to the swing there are many different exercises that can help you with solving the problem, most include drills on trying to swing from the inside out instead of the outside in.
The one that works pretty good for some people is this: Go to the golf driving range and tee up as you normally do. Now try to hook the ball really bad. Exaggerate turning your hands over. Keep doing this at least 15 times or until you hook every shot. Now try to hit one straight. You will see that the exaggerated swing begins to build muscle memory and causes you to turn you hands over better even on your normal shot.
Every golfer has his/her own pre-shot routine. An example of a good pre-shot routine would be: Stand behind the ball, pick an intermediate target, take a practice swing visualizing the ball flight to the target. Now, address the ball lining up the club face with the intermediate target, look at the target once again and swing through the golf ball with the same tempo you used on your golf practice swing.
Let your body, not your hands and arms, control the pace of your down swing and follow through. Your belly button should be facing the target when you finish. Key on turning your shoulders back and through, while keeping your hands quiet throughout the swing.
The sand trap (aka beach) shot should not be feared. Just open your stance a little, play the ball in the center, and hit about 2 inches behind the ball in a smooth continuous swing. The club will glide thru the sand and the ball will ride up and out on a column
of moving sand. It is like throwing a shovel of dirt with a ball on top. The ball moves yet the club
or shovel never actually touches it.
Many people have a strong grip that feels too uncomfortable if they try to neutralize it. The problem could be the positioning of the grip is too much in the fingers. Try laying the club across the hand pads where the fingers meet the hands and grip the club. You should have a much easier time getting the grip neutralized.
For fringe, uphill and longer chip shots try keeping the wedge in the bag and consider using the 6, 7 or 8 iron instead. You still lock your wrists and arms, yet the shot will feel more like a putt. Do not be too surprised when you start holing out more often.
Since every golf club is different in length we need a general ball placement guide for every club. Iron golf clubs are played at center and rear of center to allow a hit in the downward part of the swing arc, while woods are played front of center to give the feeling of sweeping at the ball.
Hitting the ball to the hole should be accomplished by the "feeling." When you were a kid playing a game of catch, it was easy to toss a baseball to the other guy (the target). Your mind never got in the way and wondered... "How far away is that guy?" "How hard should I throw it to reach him?" "How should I grip the ball?" You just threw it and it landed in his glove. I promise you that the golf clubs work and were designed for certain distances and situations. The only thought you need to have is, "How far did I hit this club the last time I hit it good?" Pick the golf club, swing freely ... it all falls into place.
When practicing at the range, pretend you are playing a round of golf. Start with the golf driver, then hit a 6-iron. Go back to the driver, then the 3-wood, and then the wedge. If you pretend you are playing a round of golf your practice will seem more like the real thing because you never go out and hit 15 drives in a row and then 20 8-irons. A bucket of golf balls will last twice as long. Practice your pre-shot routine before each shot.
Find the tempo that gets your timing at its best. Look, listen and feel the way good timing occurs and remember it well. When you are struggling during a round, make practice swings until you get the timing to look, sound and feel correct again. Remember to use your senses.
Do downhill golf putts intimidate you? Do you either wack it 10 feet past or leave them 5 feet short? Take your normal putt for this distance but play the ball nearer to the TOE (front end) of the putter. The toe putt is a less solid hit and the ball comes off the putter with diminished inertia. You can also experiment for lightning fast greens by moving the ball closer to the toe too.
While in a fairway trap, dig your feet in by twisting them into the sand. hen, let your knees pinch toward each other so the majority of your weight is over the inside of your feet. Your foot impressions after the shot should be deeper on the inside half of each foot.
To maximize your distance, you must make a powerful pivot. Use this golfing drill to ingrain the proper feel. Take your stance and then pull your front foot back away from the target line and lift your heel off the ground. Keep the heel off the ground as you make your backswing, rotating the upper body fully. You will end up with most of your weight over the rear leg, the perfect position to unwind powerfully through impact.
The most important thing to remember when playing an uphill lie is to square your shoulders to the angle of the hill. Think of it as if you were playing the ball from a flat lie, your shoulder angle should be the same in comparison to the ground. On the uphill lie, the hill adds loft to the ball, if you are looking to hit it a certain distance, you may need to add more club.
Downhill lies are treated the same. Square your shoulders to the hill, but in the case of the downhill lie, you may need a higher lofted club.
If you need to hit over an object and land soft on the green, try the pop shot. Position the ball a little forward, slant the blade back to add more loft, and take a full swing, even though the landing area is only 10 feet or so away. The blade should hit an inch or so behind the ball with a wrist popping (snapping) motion, this makes the blade lead the hands, and the ball pops up quickly and lands softly with very little roll. You have probably seen Tiger Woods do this near the green many times and wondered how a full swing could result in a soft lob.
To get out of a buried sand trap lie, try closing the face of the wedge a little and hit an inch or 2 behind the ball on your down swing. Do not stop at the ball, but rather continue the swing and the ball will come out nicely. I prefer a pitching wedge for the buried lie shot.
If you are a high handicapper, always play the most consistent and safest shot. When faced with a long fairway bunker shot, go with a 7 or 8 iron golf club instead of a 3 or 4 iron golf club.
The golf draw shot is a mild curve from the dominant hand side to the undominant hand slant as you are facing the hole. Learn to hit and use it to your advantage. It will get you more roll. It will fight an opposing cross-wind. It will help you bend a shot around an obstruction, and more.
Watch a kicker make a field goal and you will almost always see him draw the ball inside the uprights with an inside-out move. His foot moves up and to the inside after the kick. Use the same image for your golf swing. Try to attack the ball from an inside path to hit a powerful draw instead of a weaker, outside-in slice.
The down swing re-shifts weight from the back swing part of the swing. The weight transfer is from the rear foot to the front foot. The legs should shift at the target, then the down swing of the club is the natural release thru the ball. Learn to transfer the weight first, then the club for accurate, solid, long drives.
If you are having trouble with your putting, but sure to check your golf setup. There are many factors that can cause inconsistent golf putting, but the problem that often occurs is ball placement. The golf ball should be directly under your eyes. If you stand too far away and your eyes are inside the line of the putt, you will probably push a lot of putts. Likewise, if you stand too close, you probably pull a lot of putts. Try dangling your putter from the bridge of your nose. If it points directly to the ball, you are in good shape.
If your ball is on the fairway short of the green, you can use your putter from a good distance away. This will depend on the speed of the green and the height of the fairway. Practice this shot and you will learn your limits on when to use this shot. This is a good stroke saver if you are not chipping well that day.
Slicing the golf ball is one of the most common errors that average players make. The definition of a slice is a ball flight that curves from left-to-right for the right-handed golfer (opposite for lefties). To fix the slice you must change the position of the clubface at impact. Turn both your hands to the right on the grip (opposite for lefties)and be sure to hold the golf club in the crooks of your fingers. This will help square the clubface at impact resulting in longer and straighter shots.
If you need to get the golf ball up fast out of a trap during a bunker shot, try starting the back swing by cocking your wrists upward followed by the normal back swing. The down swing is the same but you release the wrists (uncock them) before impact. The result is a steep cut thru the sand popping up the ball quickly and softly on the green.
If you cannot seem to consistently keep the club square at impact, try keeping the thumbs off the top of the golf club shaft, rather let them slant off to the opposite side. Example: The right thumb slants left, the left thumb slants right. This simple tip has cured many people.
The first step is to stick two tees in the ground on both sides of the golf ball, so they make a 45 degree angle to your target line. The line should point to your front foot. Second, slowly take the club back making sure it stays inside the outside tee. Finally, starting the down swing keep the club head inside the two tees, thus creating an inside out swing plane.
Plumb-bobbing is a golfing technique to read the break of a putt. Stand behind the ball about 10 feet. Hold the very end of the golf putter grip. Dangle the club so the shaft falls through the center of the cup and the ball. Your looking to see if you can identify any slant that may be in the green on your golf putt. This does not always work for all golfers.
Square your stance and your shoulders at the target for the correct alignment and swing plane. Lay a club at the target, then butt your feet against it. Now, you are square. At this point make sure your shoulders are pointing at the target, also. Alternate method is to lay the club across your thighs. It should also point at the target.
If you slice the ball, see if your grip is too weak. In a weak grip the dominant hand's back hand is seen and it angles at the sky and/or the undominant hand's back hand is angling at the ground and fingers are visible. To correct, roll the hands back so that the undominant's back hand is facing the target and the dominant's back hand is facing the exact opposite direction.
To develop a consistent entry point in the sand in correct relation to the ball position: Draw a straight line 10 feet long in the sand with the butt end of the club or rake handle. Straddle the line so it is slightly left of center in the stance. Make swings so you splash sand forward with the entry point starting on the line. Travel down the line repeating the drill until the entry point is consistent. Then add a ball some two to three inches ahead of the line and repeat.
For iron golf club shots, the golf ball is hit in the descending part of the swing. The golf club should hit the ball first, then the ground second. Any divot should be past the ball's position on the ground. You will hit longer more solid shots with nice back spin to hold the greens better. So study your divots to see if you are hitting the irons properly.
One reason players come over the top is that their arms and body are not in sync. Try extending a golf towel across your chest and hold it in place under your arms. Tee up a golf ball and take a 7 iron and hit some balls. Notice how the towel makes you turn your body more in sync with your arms. You will also notice that the balls you are hitting have a draw. Practice this for a while to get you muscles use to the timing of the body and arms swinging closer together then try a few without the towel and see if this helps.
You can chip with a fairway wood. Best to do when your ball is lying on short grass and taller grass is behind your ball. Grip the club below the grip right on the shaft and take a normal chip shot swing. You may feel better moving the ball a little more forward in your stance.
Hit golf balls at the range until you start to feel tired. After you are tired, stop hitting golf balls or else you are likely to develop sloppy habits.
At address, weight is balanced 50-50 on both feet. The first shift of weight transfers some of the weight from the front foot to the rear foot during the back swing. Try to get the feeling of shifting your weight to the rear during your back swing and become comfortable with it.
Try making your grip stronger to promote a draw by rolling your hands backwards in minute increments. Think of a clock with the seconds (hash line on it). The neutral point is 12 o'clock, so roll your hand to the 12:00:01 (1 second after 12) position and try a shot. Use trial and error as you rotate to different positions. At some point you should see a bend in the ball's flight pattern. So practice the draw; it will help your game.
If you are playing a practice round, and not holding anyone up, hit extra shots. On the greens, hit extra putts from all over the green to get the overall contour of the green. A practice round is just a round to get the feel of the course. Try playing smart golf on the tough holes and go for it on the easier holes.
The contact point of your half wedge shot is more important than your normal swing. To get a sense of where you are consistently hitting the ball off your club, stick a piece of tape on the face of your wedge. The golf ball will leave an impression on the tape, and will help you keep tabs on how proper contact points feel through your hands.
Do those long, big breaking putts give you trouble on direction and distance? When you have a hard breaking putt to make, try aiming at the break point you have determined by angling the club face at it, but take your normal putting stance at the hole. Putt at the hole with the amount of distance you think you need for a straight putt, and let the introduced blade-angle put the ball on the calculated break mark. What this gives you is a better feel of the real distance to the hole and a good method of hitting the mark at the same time. This really does work.
The set up for teeing off is quite simple. When ready to hit, make sure your shoulders and feet are the same width apart. Make sure your feet are pointing in the right direction by placing a club, stick, or rope on the target line, then butt up your toes to it. The rope will show which way you are pointing.
A common cause of slicing is an open stance where the front foot is back from the target line causing your body to face the hole more. This promotes an outside in swing-path and spin on the ball. The result is a slice to some degree. Try closing your stance so that your belt buckle points at the ball. This will promote a straight swing path and squarer hit.
One of the sneakiest slice causing culprits is the karate-chop hand or the home run swing. This is hard to spot unless you know what to look for. Try this golfing drill: Take a golf stance near a chair's padded back rest and let your hands form your grip against the back rest. At address, the undominant hand's back hand is flat on the backrest. Make a back and forward swing at the chair, a square impact has the back hand hitting flat against the back rest. If the pinky-side-palm-pad hits first (like a karate chop) you are opening up at impact. Practice this golfing drill until you can hit flat every time and you will be square at impact.
Here is an alternate way to get the ball on the green without using your putter from the fringe. Try practicing with and using the 3 wood, it gives you a bit of extra lift, like a chipper club, and can add to your arsenal. You have probably seen Tiger use it on occasion.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|