Wide = Far: How to get more out of your full-swing shots

Written by: Keely Levins

The Jutanugarn sisters had one heck of a 2018. Older sib Moriya picked up her first LPGA Tour victory, while Ariya won the U.S. Women’s Open title, was LPGA player of the year and moved to the top of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. So when they give advice on better ball-striking, it’s wise to listen.

One of Moriya’s favorite drills to hit it higher and farther is as simple as it gets.

Take any full-swing club and set up to the ball normally. Now adjust your feet so they are several inches wider apart, and then start hitting shots.

“We call it the flat-feet drill,” Moriya says. “It helps shallow out your angle of attack, which is going to help you hit it more solidly using the club’s proper loft.”

Moriya also uses this drill to slow hip rotation, which improves her swing’s timing. And a wider stance has a benefit for amateurs: It helps prevent the common fault of swinging with weight on your back foot to try to “help” the ball up. Your weight should shift into your lead foot in the downswing.

To improve this drill, alternate hitting 10 balls with the wider stance and then 10 with your normal stance.

 

Written by: Keely Levins

Source: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/wide-far-how-to-get-more-out-of-your-full-swing-shots-moriya-jutanugarn

You’ll Pitch Better If You Don’t Hang Back

By: David Leadbetter

Great advice to remember when hitting pitch shots is to swing through impact on a shallow angle, letting the bottom of the clubhead slide along the turf.

Having said that, I’ve seen the application of this advice prove troublesome for some amateurs, because they try to do it off the wrong foot—the back foot. This typically happens because the golfer wants to help get the ball in the air with some unnecessary hand and body english. There’s no need for that. Wedges have more than enough loft to produce a high-and-soft shot, especially if the angle of attack is shallow—think skim, not dig.

So what I want you to do is make sure your body is being supported by your lead foot as you swing through impact. An easy way to ingrain this into your pitching game is with the classic step drill. It’s reminiscent of Gary Player’s signature move of walking toward the target in a seemingly continuous motion after he struck the ball. In this drill, swing down feeling all of your weight shift into the front foot. As your club is about to meet the ball from that shallow approach, your back foot should be off the ground and starting to move toward the target. Hit the shot and step forward as you see me doing here.

Getting your weight forward is going to help make your pitching game much more reliable.


MORE FANCY FOOTWORK: THIS ONE CURES THE SHANKS
Shank one shot, you try to brush it off and move on. Shank the next? Full panic sets in. Before you walk off the course and put your clubs on eBay, let me help. First, understand that the shanks most often occur when the golfer has moved too close to the ball at impact. Sometimes we unknowingly drift toward our toes as we swing, and this causes the club to strike the ball near or on the hosel. So what can you do? TRY THIS: At address, lift your toes inside your shoes (below), and keep them up when you swing. This will prevent you from moving toward the ball and clanking one off the hosel.

—With Ron Kaspriske

 

By: David Leadbetter
Source: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/youll-pitch-better-if-you-dont-hang-back

Make the Ones You Hate to Miss

By: Jamie Lovemark

A six-footer is by no means a gimme, but it’s still short enough that it stings when it doesn’t go in. To make more of these, start by locking in your speed. It’s the most important part of every putt. And when you assess speed, don’t just factor how fast the ball needs to roll to get to the front of the cup. Think about it: You’re not trying to be so precise with your putting that the ball falls in on its last rotation. So forget the front of the cup. You should be looking at a spot 1½ feet beyond the hole. You’ll still be in tap-in range if you miss, but now you know the ball is going to get there every time.

Once you’ve determined that spot, then you can read the break. Start by walking to the hole, and try to picture the line in your head, keeping in mind that it continues 18 inches past the cup. Typically a putt of this length isn’t going to break that much—unless your course is Augusta National.

To get my speed down, I often practice with a small silicone cover over the top of the hole. The ball rolls right over it. If you don’t have one, you can just putt over the location of an old cup like I’m doing here (see bottom photo). The point is to get the ball to stop at a consistent distance beyond the hole. After I hit a putt that rolls over the cup and stops where I want it to stop, I’ll put a dime down to mark that end point. Then I’ll stroke putts over the hole trying to get every one to stop on a dime, so to speak.

DEVELOP A SHOT CLOCK
Having a pre-shot routine is important, but that doesn’t mean only doing the same things before every putt. Just as important is the amount of time you take to do those things. It will make a big difference if there’s a consistent duration from setup to stroke—it gives you good rhythm and confidence. Another thing you should do before you hit a putt is to take one last look at your line of putt all the way to the hole and then back to your ball—but do it quickly. The longer you stand over the ball, the more likely you’ll start to psych yourself out that you might miss. Good putting is a lot more mental than physical. Not a lot can go wrong with your stroke on a six-footer—it’s a fairly short and quiet motion. If you can relax and trust in what you’ve done prior to the putt, your chance of rolling one in will go way up.

BE AN ATHLETE, NOT A ROBOT
If you struggle with these makable putts, it’s probably because you’re too focused on using perfect mechanics. I’ve got news for you, guys like me on the PGA Tour rarely set up and make a textbook stroke, yet the tour average for putts made from six feet last season was 70 percent. What I’m saying is, there are a lot of ways to get the ball to go in the hole.

Putting is extremely personal, but everyone should feel comfortable over the ball. I like when my arms hang freely, and I have a slight roundness to my back. As for the stroke, I don’t think about the length the putter moves back and through. Instead, I try to be as athletic as possible, meaning my process is to look at what I have to do—then react. If you’re shooting a basketball, you don’t think about how hard your arm has to move for the ball to reach the basket, you just look at the rim and let it fly. Try putting with that same mind-set. —With Keely Levins

 

Source: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/make-the-ones-you-hate-to-miss
Written by: Jamie Lovemark