By Michael Breed
Here’s your greenside sand lesson in two words: speed and bounce. Splashing a ball out of a bunker takes more power than you might think—that’s the speed part. And to use that speed effectively, the club has to slide through the sand without getting stuck—that’s the bounce. Focus on a few keys.
First, grip the handle more in your fingers than your palms. This will help you hinge your wrists on the backswing—notice I have a full wrist set by halfway back (above). I can use that lever to generate speed quickly.
Second, lower the handle at address, feeling more bend in your wrists. When your hands are low, the heel of the club is more exposed, and that helps the clubhead glide through at a consistent depth. Setting the hands higher raises the heel and can cause the toe to dig, which stops the swing short.
Third, stay centered as you go back, and then swing to the left through impact. To maintain the club’s bounce, don’t let the shaft rotate counterclockwise as you swing through. Your trail hand should stay under the shaft, the knuckles on your lead hand pointing up. Use these keys to hit quality bunker shots.
Originally published on GolfDigest golfdigest.com/story/exit-strategy
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Dealing with a slice can be one of the most frustrating aspects of golf for amateurs. The banana ball flight off the tee makes it difficult to keep the ball in play and can drastically reduce the ball flight. Here are a few tips to help eliminate your pesky slice and hit it further and straighter off the tee.
This is often the first thing that goes wrong and can lead to a big slice. In order to properly grip the golf club, right-handed players should take the club first in their left hand and grip it mostly with their fingers. With the clubface on the ground, turn your left hand until two knuckles are visible and form a “V” shape with your left index finger and thumb. Place your right hand over the left and create the same “V” shape with your right index finger and thumb, pointing to your right shoulder.
Start with the ball teed up and placed just off the inside of your front foot. Place your head a few inches behind the ball. This will help create an upward strike off the tee rather than a downward strike. When the club makes contact at a downward angle it can create a lot more spin and take away distance, leading to that big slice. Your shoulders should also have a natural tilt due to your head placement behind the ball.
Using that shoulder tilt from setup, rotate your shoulders and bring the club back until your left shoulder is underneath your chin. This will allow you to complete an inside-outside swing path. A big slice is often the result of an outside-inside swing path, which feels like it should cause the ball to go left but creates the opposite effect. For the proper inside-outside swingpath, picture hitting the ball to the opposite field in baseball or softball.
One of the biggest contributing factors to a slice is an open clubface. Once you’re swinging on an inside-outside path, slightly rotate the toe of the club over the heel while swinging through impact. This will square the clubface at impact and help produce the proper ball flight.
Originally published by Golfweek golfweek.com/2018/12/26/how-to-correct-your-slice-in-golf/4/
by Butch Harmon
The old idea of hitting a low draw to get the ball running down the fairway is, well, an old idea. Launch monitors have proven that carry distance is the key to overall distance. Here are some tips for maximizing carry. —
First, check your driver specs. A little more loft—for most players, at least 10.5 degrees—will help you launch the ball higher. A lighter, more-flexible shaft means you’ll get more out of the speed potential you have.
Next comes the setup. Move your trail foot back a few inches to widen your stance. That’ll tilt your spine away from the target and put your head behind the ball. From there, you can swing into impact on a shallow, sweeping angle and produce that nice, high launch.
You can make a few tweaks to your swing, too, but don’t try these all at once. Going back, take your time setting the club at the top. You don’t want to go slow, but be deliberate. Get as much body turn behind the ball as your flexibility allows.
Coming down, let’s focus on two things: the trail shoulder and the trail foot. Keep your shoulder back and in for as long as you can. Nothing saps power faster than the upper body taking over the downswing, which causes a steep chop. Let your hands and arms drop as the lower body starts forward. But don’t overdo the lower body: Keep your trail foot down longer, and the club will stay to the inside and come in shallow.
Finally, maintain your arm speed all the way through like Dustin Johnson is doing here. Don’t just hit at the ball. Carry distance requires a level strike and as much speed as you can muster and still hit the ball flush. with Peter Morrice
SUMMER’S HERE: HOW’S YOUR GOLF?
If you’re getting out to play, you’re probably realizing that your good shots and bad shots look a lot like last year’s. Don’t let that bum you out; a consistent pattern is a good thing. Taking stock is the critical first step, then you need some solid swing advice. Seeing a PGA pro is a great option. So is Golf Digest’s all-access instruction program. The videos are top-notch; and all the leading teachers are there. Best of all, you can pull them up on your phone or computer whenever you have time. Learn more at golfdigest.com/allaccess.
BUTCH HARMON is based at Rio Secco Golf Club, Henderson, Nev.
Originally Published on GolfDigest golfdigest.com/story/driving-for-distance
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by Butch Harmon
When most golfers climb into a greenside bunker, it’s like an out-of-body experience. They lose all sense of what they need to do, fear takes over, and a few hacks later . . . triple bogey.
The good news is, most of the mistakes I see come at address, and those are the easy ones to fix. A lot of golfers play the ball back and push their hands ahead. Typical miss: chunk. Others set up tilting away from the target. Typical miss: skull. So let’s check your setup.
First, open the clubface. That adds loft and helps the club slide through the sand. Rotate the face open, then grip with your top hand, setting your thumb on the top of the handle. Add your bottom hand. Opening the clubface before you grip helps keep it open during the swing.
Second, play the ball forward in your stance, in line with your front foot. That pre-sets hitting the sand a few inches behind the ball. The shaft should be straight up and down or leaning slightly away from the target—another key to maintaining loft and promoting that sliding action.
Third, dig in your feet a little and lean your body over your front foot. That’ll give you the descent you need on the downswing to drive the club through the sand and under the ball.
Focus on a spot a few inches behind the ball, that’s where you want the club to touch down.
Now you’re in a great position to hit the shot. All I want you to think about is spanking the sand and keeping up your speed to the finish. You’ll be amazed how your fear disappears after you see a few good ones.
Originally published on GolfDigest
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