Golf Tips and Questons Answered from
(LPGA Tour Star!)
Hello "I Suck at Golf" fans!!!
My name is Diana D'Alessio and I am your new touring professional. Please feel free to ask me questions or make comments. I will do my best to reply in my monthly column.
Anyway, I've been on the LPGA Tour for 8 years and enjoying my 9th season. I'm originally from Flanders, NJ and now reside in Florida. Had to move south for the nice warm weather. Right now, I'm up in New Jersey preparing for the Sybase Classic at Upper Montclair Country Club, and the weather couldn't be worse!!! It seems that crap weather follows the LPGA from state to state. We have nicknamed the tour the Ladies Precipitation Golf Association. Cause if you have a drought, host a tournament, we'll bring rain!!!
I'm currently in my fifth week of eight straight tournaments. So needless to say, I'm absolutely exhausted. I'm not sure how many of you play competitively, but it is very tiring especially when you play in crap weather. Which unfortunately is all we've played in the last four weeks. I started my stretch in Orlando ...windy!!! Then went to Miami....more wind!!! Then to Tulsa....30 mile per hour wind...and last week we were in Williamsburg, VA where we got to add rain to the wind. Not very much fun. I'm really looking forward to a nice 80 degree day without any blowing, but I don't see that in my future for a quite a while.
Smooth as butter!
So far this year, I've been doing pretty well. I have had some good starts to tournaments, but haven't been playing particularly well on the weekend. I'm having trouble pin pointing why I play well the first two days, and not the last two days, but I'm hoping that is something I will figure out with my coach tomorrow. I work with David Glenz, and he's been coaching me since I was 15. We've had a great working relationship, and he pretty much knows what makes me tick so hopefully he'll be able to shed some light on my crappy play on Saturday and Sunday. For some reason, I can think my way around the golf course the first two rounds, and then I get very tentative on Saturday and Sunday. One would think it would be the opposite, but we'll figure it out.
Well, I hope you all enjoyed the brief introduction of ME!!! Please email your golf questions to me by clicking here!, and I will answer them. I love questions. So ask away!!!
Thanks and keep in the short stuff!!!
VISIT DIANA'S WEBSITE! Click here!
Help! I'm not getting better fast enough! (Mental Game)
Weight Shift Causing The Shanks?
Blading iron shots
Can't get comfortable over ball after layoff...
Accidentally touched another player's ball when hitting my own. Penalty?
Double Jointed Elbow, HELP!
What Grip should I use? Double overlap?
Charles Barkley esque hitch out of nowhere
(May 08 )
ISAG note: Hi Cindy, thanks for the question to Diana! We're thrilled that she's taking the time to answer questions for us and our readers, especially with her very busy tournament schedule the last 2 months.
Just to put things in context, Diana had been struggling a bit on the weekends when she started writing for us only 3 weeks ago, and in her first column above she mentioned recognizing the need to address her play on the weekend. Which is a bold thing to do in itself, as that can add even more pressure if you can't deliver! Diana shot better rounds on the weekend than she did on Friday and Saturday for the last two tournaments after writing that column, firing back to back 68's last weekend to keep herself in contention throughout the final round! The rest of us who may "suckatgolf" may want to take note on how isolating a problem in your game and working on that rather than just beating balls at the range til exhaustion can reap great rewards. Nice job Diana!
...and nice job to her swing coach David Glenz as well!
I watched your video on ISUCKATGOLF.net, very funny that you signed that fans butt! You seem very nice. I’ve been playing golf for about 5 years. Can you tell me what clubs you play now and if you ever switch drivers or putters if you’re not hitting them well? I’d also like to know what shaft flex you use, what ball, etc. Also how often you practice vs. play, especially if you’re not playing in a tournament the next week or in the off season. I want to improve my game as I have the summer off, but I don’t know where to focus my efforts and if I’m playing with the right equipment etc. (I shoot around 90 right now, but I’ve gone lower!)
Thanks so much for taking my question!
Edison N. J.
Thank you for your questions. I do try and accommodate fan's requests, so if the butt is what they wanted signed so be it.
As for the clubs in my bag, I have quite a mix. Here is what I use:
Driver - Callaway FT-5 9.5 (New Tour head) Shaft- Diamana Stiff
3 Wood- Callaway X 15 degrees Shaft- Diamana Stiff
3,4,5 Taylor Made Rescues, Shaft Fujikura YS-6 Regular Irons 4-PW Srixon 706, Shaft Nippon 1050 Regular Steel
58 and 52 Wedges, Srixon Dynamic Gold Stiff Putter - Scotty Cameron Newport Fastback, center shafted
Ball- Titleist Pro V-1
Shoe - Footjoy
I do change equipment when something isn't performing the way I would like it to. But for the most part, if I find something I like I stick with it. Your best bet would be to go to a demo day and try everything out. Because there's nothing worse then buying something bringing it home and you don't like it. So I would try everything out there.
That's it for my equipment. As for practicing vs playing ...During the season, I usually don't practice too much. The season can be quite long and you can burn out quickly, so if I know I have a long stretch of tournaments coming I usually have this kind of schedule. Monday, travel day (day off). Tuesday, practice round. So I usually spend most of time that day practicing on the course. Wednesday, pro am day. So once again, I'm on the course and then I'll do a bit of practice after. Thursday-Sunday tournament rounds. So during the season, my weeks are pretty chock full of playing. Off season, I usually work with my coach a few times a week, and that generally means we hit balls and work on certain things in my swing. But we also play quite a bit too. I'm the type of person who actually gets more out of playing than practicing. I like to be on the course
trying different things and trying to get myself in competition mode.
But it just depends what kind of person you are. For example, Karrie Webb is a big practicer. She likes to be out on the range hitting balls and preparing that way. The more balls I hit on the range, the more I mess up my timing. So you sort of have to pinpoint how you think you can improve on your game whether it's a lot of practice or a lot more playing or both.
My suggestion for improving your game, would be to find a teacher/ coach that you trust. They can figure out what kind of equipment would be best for you, what exercises would be best to help you achieve certain things in your golf swing, etc. So it depends on how serious you want to be. All of us on tour have teachers that we work
with. That's the only way to get better. I work with David Glenz.
He owns the David Glenz Golf Academy in Hamburg, NJ. I've worked with him since I was 15, so I trust him and what he has to say about my game.
I hope I helped answer your questions. Feel free to ask me more.
Good luck this summer!!!
If you had to pick the top 8-10 ladies on tour that you would like to play with who would they be and why? (they can be one’s you’ve already played with or one’s that you haven’t but would like to.)
Hey Ray C,
I'm sorry it's taking me so long to respond to your question. I've been busy playing really crappy first rounds of golf tournaments. Therefore, I've had to practice a lot more than usual to try and get my game back in shape.
Top 8 Ladies....Hmmm....Good question! I know it was top 10 ladies, but I didn't have two more. These are not ranked, just listed!
Girls I've played with:
1. Annika Sorenstam - My first experience playing with Annika came this year at the McDonald's LPGA Championship in June. I had never been paired with her and I was psyched that I would be able to tee it up with her since she will be retiring at the end of the year. She is a pleasure to play with. Very professional, very courteous. And she hits it so freakin' straight, it's ridiculous.
2. Rosie Jones - I know Rosie is retired, but when she was on tour every time I was paired with her I would shoot in the 60s. I need her back out here. Plus, Rosie is just a fun person to be around. She's a very scrappy player and can turn a so-so round into a great round because she never gives up and has so much determination.
3. Becky Morgan - Haven't been paired with Becky for a while, but we play a lot of practice rounds together and she's a lot of fun. Most people think that the Welsh Wonder is very shy, but she's actually quite out-going and funny. She makes me laugh!! And she hits it ridiculously straight too.
4. Becky Lucidi - I had the pleasure of playing with Becky in Kingsmill the first two rounds this year. We were doing a little side betting and we just had a great time. Laughing, giggling...it was refreshing to actually joke around during a competitive round.
5. Ai Miyazato - I absolutely love playing with Ai. She has incredible rhythm in her swing. It's unbelievable.
6. Natalie Gulbis - Last year I seemed to get paired with Natalie a lot. Another really great girl. Super nice. And usually she has quite a crowd of people following her, which I like playing in front of people so that works too.
Girls I would like to play with:
1. Lorena Ochoa - Unfortunately, I've never been paired with Lorena. It's probably a good and bad thing cause I think I'd be really nervous. Even though, she is by far the nicest person on tour. She's an amazing champion, but what I love about Lorena is that she is so humble. I would really like to see her hit it cause she hits it so freakin' far.
2. Paula Creamer - I think eventually I'll have the opportunity to play with her. I think it would be good fun. She's a lot of fun in the locker room and fitness trailer. Plus, I want to see her play in person when she gets that putter going. Cause as we've seen, she can go scary low.
Thanks for the question. Once again, sorry it took so long to get back you, but I really had to think about it.
Big fan of yours!
Thanks for taking my question!
I enjoyed your answer about the other LPGA players. It’s fun to get an inside look at who’s who? What do you do in the off season?
Do you play less? Do you take any time off, away from golf? What do you like to do when you ‘re not golfing?
Thank you for your question. Usually in the off season, I do take some time off. It's right about this time in the season, when I'm absolutely exhausted and can use some time off. The tour ends in mid- November. So I usually take about a month off (pick a wonderful resort and spend a week laying in the sun), and then I head home to New Jersey for the Holidays and catch up with the family. And one of the benefits of going home for the Holidays besides seeing my family is that my coach, David Glenz, is based there from April through December so I do some good practice with him. After the Holidays, I
go back down to Florida and start gearing up for the season again.
Fortunately, David makes the trip to Florida - he teaches down there in the winter. To prepare for the upcoming season, I hit the gym about 5 days a week, practice and play quite a bit. I also throw in sunbathing time and some down time on the couch. The LPGA schedule starts up in February so if my schedule permits I like to hit the slopes in January for a little skiing, but I made a trip to Australia for two warm up events and I will probably do that again.
That's about it..but one of my favorite things that I like to do in the winter is cook. That's something that I miss with traveling so much, just the taste of home-cooking.
Thank you again Cindy. Take care.
Do you have any exercise routine that you do to keep in shape and help your golf game? I’m trying to maximize a very small frame and get some extra distance out of all of my shots. I don’t know if I should be working just at the range, or in the weight room, or running! I’m 32, in pretty good shape but only 5’1” and petite. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Thanks for the question and it’s a good one. Fitness is obviously very important to golf. Ever since Tiger hit the scene, so many tour players have hit the gym trying to gain distance and overall strength. I do have a workout routine that I follow. Winter is the time that I hit the gym hard and do a lot of golf specific exercises. My coach believes that many swing flaws stem from different weaknesses in the body. For example, I have a tendency to come up and out of full shots because my core and glutes are weak. I work with a trainer/physical therapist, who is certified with the Titleist Performance Institute. And last winter I went through a series of tests and she evaluated the results. Then she plugged all that info into the TPI website and it actually created a whole exercise program that I can follow on the web.
My exercise program in the winter usually entails a lot of leg, glutes, core, and back exercises. And I try and do quite a bit of cardio. I usually do the TPI workout 3 times a week and run or the elliptical trainer the other 3 days. During the season I usually start out very strong, hitting the trailer and the gym 4 to 5 times a week. But by August, I get a little lazy and sometimes can’t find the trailer :) Every year I say I’m going to change that, still working on that.
The advice I have for you, would be to definitely keep working out. As for hitting it further, there are many exercises that you could do that would probably make you hit it further. As well as fitness, there might be things in your swing that you could do to gain some extra distance. I obviously don’t know what your swing looks like and I don’t know if you take lessons, but that would be something that I would encourage as well. If you are interested in finding a teacher that is certified in the TPI training, you can go to the website, www.mytpi.com, and there is a section called “find a fitness pro.” I think you are from Florida, if so there are a ton all over the state. And then there is the golf club. I don’t know what you are currently using, but finding the right head and shaft combination is key. I would recommend going to a demo day and try a bunch of different drivers and see which one you like.
Hope that helps. Please let me know how it goes.
This is so cool that people can write to you and you’ll answer for free! My question was do you play year round and if not what do you do to in the off season to keep your golfing muscles in shape so you start off strong next golf season……..or do you need to let your body rest to be ready for the next season? I want to start doing something to get ready, maybe more with my legs. But you know how it is, it’s hard to get motivated, especially when you’re not sure what to work on or if you’re doing the right things. Thanks!
Good luck this year!
Hi Carol C!
Thanks for the question. I do enjoy relaxing on the couch a bit in the off season, but during the off season I try and hit the gym a few days a week. During the winter, I really focus on golf specific exercises. I have a woman, Wendy Ferrara, that I work with in New Jersey and she is certified with the Titleist Performance Institute, so she gives me lots of exercises that work on the various weaknesses in body. A lot of swing flaws stem from not having enough strength and flexibility. So she does a variety of tests to see where those weaknesses are and then we work on strengthening them.
My advice would be to maybe discuss with your professional where you might have some weakness in your swing and try and strengthen as well as lengthen those areas. If you don't have a professional, you can go to www.mytpi.com and find a trainer in your area that could help you.
I know it's tough to stay motivated. I'm the same way. But nowadays, fitness is very important in golf. Tiger and Annika have definitely shown us that.
Hope that helps. Look forward to any more questions you might have!
I read with interest your message concerning the problems after the 1st two rounds in tournament competition. Senior amateur competition is usually no more than two rounds but maintaining concentration can be difficult so you have plenty of empathy here. If you ever find the secret to maintaining concentration, please let me know. It’s an eternal struggle!
I am a right-sided swinger with Gary Edwin golf. I am concerned about consistency in making solid contact with the ball on iron shots and fairway woods. I have read and witnessed the theories behind stack and tilt with the basic emphasis of hitting the ball way before the ground. My problem is that when I do that the trajectory is a lot lower than normal using the right sided swing method but…….. I do hit the ball first. What do you do to hit the ball solid with irons and fairway woods (I do know how to use the sole plate – skidding - for fairway woods). I am a 6.0 GHIN and am a very in shape 61 year old male (don’t hold that against me, please) who works out very regularly. I love the competition!
Thanks for your question...it's a good one. I wish I could give you a great answer on how to hit it solid, but that's what everyone struggles with. I don't know much about the stack and tilt, but I sort of have an idea of the concept. What I do to hit it solid, is really work on my rotation back and through the ball. For me, I try and pretend that my arms are just an extension of my body. Most of my un solid, offline shots come from using too much arms in my swing. If I start the club back with just my arms, then I usually go in a downward spiral with the rest of my swing. I really try and feel like I bring the club back with my big muscles, and then on the way down really try and screw myself into the ground and rotate around my left leg starting the downswing with my lower body instead of my arms.
As for the height of your shots ...perhaps you might need a different shaft with your fairway woods. But I would practice hitting knock down/punch shots. When I'm not hitting the ball that solid, I really hit a lot of those because I have to stay down and through the ball better to keep it lower. And then to hit it higher, I try and feel the knock down swing but continue to a full follow-through. I would try that to start.
Let me know how it goes!
I just started playing. I’m in my late 20’s, female, in shape but not real athletic. Any tips on anything I should concentrate on in particular just starting off. And also any tips on how to stop hitting to the right and popping the ball up in the air off the tee!
Thanks for the question. It’s kind of a tough one, since I’ve never seen you swing but I’ll do my best.
You are probably hitting it right and high from staying back on your right side at impact. Since you are new to the game, you should concentrate on feeling the rhythm of the swing. Example 1-2-3 back swing and 4-5-6 downswing, trying to keep it even and flowing. And then focus on your balance. Moving right to left, finishing with your hips, shoulders and right knee facing the target at finish. Also, it would be good to practice 1/2 swings ( in rhythm and balance). So you would use your pitching wedge and make half swings and try and finish with your hips, shoulders and knee facing the target.
I’m not sure if you take lessons, but if you are in the Phoenix area you could look up Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott. They are at the Legacy Resort (I believe) and they could probably help you. If you are not in the Phoenix area, you can go on lpga.com and click on the Teaching section and find a pro.
Hope this helps! Good luck!
Leaving for Kelowna BC this weekend I work for the Edmonton oilers scouting staff we will be staying at Predator Ridge. My question is everything in my bag is solid! With an exception of the driver. Then I hit that an all is lost is there anything I can do to hit consistent drives. Petrified when I go up to the tee.
First of all, GO DEVILS! Just kidding.
Thanks for the question. The driver is typically the club most people struggle with, that's due to the length of it. Because it's the longest club in the bag, many swing flaws are magnified. And because it's the longest club in the bag most people try to hit the crap out of it; therefore, creating an array of shots that range from right down the middle to off the planet. My suggestion to you is to try and swing 70 percent with your driver. It could be that you have it in your head that you're not going to hit it solid, so you probably tense up. And just that little bit of tension can cause shots to be un solid and offline. So give it a try on the range ...instead of going for that 110 percent swing, try 70 percent - smooth and rhythmic.
Hope this helps! Let me know how it goes!
I am having a problem with my weight shift when hitting the ball. Are there different stances for different clubs? I feel that I may not be shifting enough to my right foot in my back swing!!!!!!
Thanks for the question. I would say there are a variety of stances. As the clubs get longer through the bag the ball position and width of stance change, but I don't want to make this too complicated. This is what I do:
Wedges, 9, 8 and 7 I generally have in the middle of my stance with my weight slightly more on my left foot. Width of stance varies between just shy of shoulder width to shoulder width apart.
6, 5 and 4 iron I have positioned slightly forward of center with my weight evenly distributed. Width of stance is just slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
3 wood and hybrids I have slightly forward of center as well, but weight a bit more on my right side. Width of stance is just slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
Driver is teed up even with my left heel and weight is set more on my right side. Width of stance is just slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
Since you are having issues with your weight transfer, a drill you can do is... Without a club cross your arms over your chest, get in golf posture and practice rotating into your right side and then rotating to the target. Making sure you have a full uncoil to the target and your weight is transferred to the left side. After you do that, see if you feel a difference between your weight transfer without a club versus your weight transfer with a club.
Also check to see how wide your stance is. One thing I notice when I play with amateurs is that their stance tends to be too narrow. They cannot make a good weight transfer behind the ball, and therefore cannot transfer their weight through the ball. I like the width of my stance to be slightly wider than shoulder width apart. That might help with your weight transfer.
If that doesn't work, perhaps give your local PGA or LPGA teaching professional a call. I'm sure he or she could fix you quick!
I was wondering what has happened to my golf swing.
I was driving the ball around 260-270 yards. Not consistently, but I still could do it pretty regularly.
Now all of a sudden I cant even get the ball in the air, it just blades the ground, and I cant seem to figure out what I have changed. Can you please help me??
Thanks for the question. It’s tough one cause I don’t know what your swing looks like, but if I had to make a suggestion: I would think that if you are used to the ball consistently going 260 to 270 yards, and then it’s all of sudden not doing what you’re used to seeing you are probably really tense with your arms and upper body. When the upper body gets tight, the rest of your body doesn't’t flow as well as it should.What is most likely happening is your arms are probably taking over.
Next time you go out to practice or play, when you are in your pre shot routine (the routine that I hope you have when you stand behind the ball and see the shot that you want to play) tense up your whole body for a few seconds then relax your body and see if you see the difference between being really tense and being fully relaxed. Then my next suggestion would be to try and hit drivers on the range where you are trying to only hit your driver 150 yards. So if that means you are swinging your driver at 50% of your capability, then that’s what you do. And then you build from there...60%, 70%, 80%, 90%. Hopefully that will get some rhythm back in your swing. For me when my driver starts going awry, I try and swing about 75% of my max till it starts working itself out. Because usually when I’m trying to hit it hard, my arms start working too hard.
Hope that helps. If not, perhaps take a quick lesson with a teaching pro and see if he or she picks up on anything.
ISAG Comment:Not that Diana needs any kudos from us!...but we really liked this answer! With not much to really go on this was a really solid place to start. See also "Tension"
I’m 13 years old and just started hitting golf balls for the first time. I really like it and can hit pretty well with my dad’s clubs, but we’ve only hit in the back yard with whiffle balls and have been to the range once. I’d like to get my own set of clubs, as the ones I’ve seen at the pro shop are so much lighter than my dads. My dad wants to see if I stick with it first. My questions are do you think I can learn if I like the game using a men’s set? And if/when I do get my own any suggestions on what brand or style to get? My dad says I’m too new at the game to get fitted. I’m average size pretty much, but maybe a little tall for my age and pretty strong.
Thanks for the question! First of all, I'm happy you have an interest in golf. I started playing when I was 13. That was the year I watched my first LPGA event on TV and knew that golf was what I wanted to do!
I know you are just starting, but if you are very interested in the game then I would suggest you get your own set of clubs. I say that because you are only 13 and men's clubs might be too long and too heavy. When I started playing, I played with women's clubs. Many driving ranges have demo clubs that you can try. There are also demo days that you could probably google online where many of the top golf manufacturers have all their equipment for you to try. I play Titleist clubs, but there are tons of different brands. It really depends on what you like. And the only way to figure out what you like is to try 'em out.
If you're not sure that golf is for you, you could join an LPGA/USGA Girls Golf Club and take some lessons and clinics. They usually have equipment for you to use as well as some valuable advice. Then if you decide you really want to continue to play, you can get your own set. You can go on lpga.com to see if there is a Girls Golf Club in your area. Also, at the range you've been to they might have some junior clinics you can get involved in.
Hope this helps. Feel free to ask me anything else. Golf is a great game. I've been lucky enough to do it for a living which has granted me the opportunity to travel to fantastic places and meet a lot of people!
Thanks so much for taking my question. I’ve been playing for about 3 years and shoot around 100 from the red tees. I’m not very strong, and I can only manage about 140 yards or so off the tee! :0(
Can you give me any advice on how to increase my club head speed, or any particular ball or clubs I should play to maximize my distance? They say “straight is great”, but I think they only say that to keep your spirits up!
It’s very nice of you to answer questions like this.
Thank you for your question. I do agree that “straight is great.” It’s a lot easier to hit approach shots into greens from the middle of the fairway, but I understand your need to gain more distance.
For starters do you like the ball and driver you have? You probably would want to play a ball with a firm outside cover such as the Titleist NXT Extreme. This would give you maximum distance but also some control around the greens. Secondly, you would like a driver that you feel comfortable with that allows you to swing within yourself (not swinging out of your shoes), but also has a good flight off the face. I don’t know if you have a teaching professional that you see, but they are always helpful in picking a driver that matches your swing.
Next to gain distance, you could probably incorporate a workout routine into your golf. If you go to mytpi.com (Titleist Performance Institute), you can see if there is someone certified in golf specific exercises to help you formulate a program. The great thing about My TPI is that they look at your swing and do an evaluation to see if there are any physical limitations in your swing. And then they will give you a program to help you swing efficiently and powerfully.
Most of the exercises I do revolve around my core, legs and back. So My TPI program encompasses a lot of balance activities that also incorporate flexibility exercises. Because you not only want to strengthen but you want to lengthen. Golf is a sport that you need to be strong, but also maintain flexibility.
Hope this advice helps. Please feel free to ask some more questions. Let me know how it goes.
I just had a nasty rotator cuff surgery. at this point ,i'm almost
finished with my therapy. any guidelines on how i should ease back
into swinging the golf clubs? thanks,
Sorry to hear you had to have surgery. It's a bummer to have to deal with shoulder injuries because most of the exercises are so tedious, but really have to be done diligently to stop any more injury. I have had issues with both of my shoulders and do notice that when I do my exercises, my shoulders feel great and my golf swing improves.
The exercises I do require 1 - 2 pound weights and a stretchy band. The first exercise I take the 2 pound weight and with my thumbs in the air, stretch arms straight out to the side and do a small movement up and down.
And the second exercise is to extend your arms in front of you and do the same small movement up and down with your thumbs in the air. I do 3 sets of 20 reps. Really boring, so I do them in front of the TV :)
The next exercise I do is with a theraband. And I attach it to a door handle and do internal and external rotation. I'm sure this is something you are very familiar with in your rehab. 3 sets/ 15-20 reps.
I would try and do this 3 -4 times per week. They are really helpful.
As for getting back in the swing of things...you have to start small and work up. I just had 2 injections in my left shoulder and my doctor recommended that I start slow, so as not to aggravate the shoulder. So for the first week, putt and chip. Then the second week, chip and hit short pitches. Third week, move to your short irons. Fourth week, move to mid and long irons. Fifth week continue through the rest of your bag.
Obviously, you have to see how your pain feels. If it hurts as you move through the bag, then take it slow. I stayed on short pitches 20 - 60 yards for 2 weeks. But the good thing about taking it slow is that your scores will go down because you have worked so hard on your short game. Which we all know is the key to lower scores.
Hope this helps. Good Luck!!
What determines in your opinion when it’s time to upgrade your clubs? I’ve had people tell me since I’m hitting my clubs well that I should stick with them. But I’m sure Nicklaus was hitting his first or second set well and upgraded at some point. I mean at some point your clubs have to hold you back. I mean can’t a well coordinated player adjust his swing in order to hit say a regular shaft when he really could play better with a stiff shaft? Hope that makes sense and you can shed some light. I don’t want to just go to the club fitter’s blindly as I know they just want me to buy something no matter what. I don’t really have a pro or such that I really trust as I just moved here.
Thanks for the question. I’m from the school of if you like what you use and you hit it well, then don’t bother changing. For the most part, the technology of irons is not going to change so dramatically that you would have to change every time a manufacturer comes out with something new. Until this year, I played my Srixon irons for 3 years. I decided to change because I tried a set of Titleist and really loved how they felt. Technology with drivers changes quite a bit, but I really don’t think I hit my current driver any further than I hit the driver I played with since 2006 till the beginning of 2009. So to me, clubs are all about preference.
I do recommend that players get fitted for clubs. There is a ton of technology that will help you use the clubs that are right for your swing and your game. And then again, it comes down to what you prefer. If you are happy with what you have, and you hit everything well then I wouldn’t worry about changing. If you want to try something new, a lot of courses have demo days. That’s when most of your large manufacturers (Ping, Taylor Made, Callaway, Titleist, Nike) bring all of their equipment to the course for a day, and you can try everything under the sun. Obviously, I’m lucky because if I want to try a club, I just walk over to the rep and grab it. So I would recommend a demo day, if you are wanting to try something new. But please don’t feel pressure to change. If ain’t broke, don’t fix it :)
Hope this helps. Feel free to follow – up, if that didn’t help!
See also Top 50 Teaching Pro Barry Goldsteins' response.
Any tips on hitting out of a fairway bunker? Especially if you need a wood to reach the green?
Thanks for the question. Fairway bunker shots should be easy, but I think we like to make them more difficult than they need to be. To start, one thing that I generally do for a basic fairway bunker shot is take one more club than I would if I were in the fairway. (By basic, I mean a relatively good lie, even stance, and a lip of the bunker that will not interfere with your shot). If I was hitting a 7 iron out of the fairway, then I would use a 6 out of the bunker. The sand is going add some resistance to the striking of the ball, so I always take more club. Secondly, I grip down on the club about an inch. I feel that that gives me more control of the club and my chances of catching it heavy will be reduced. Thirdly, when I address the ball I usually position the ball just back of middle in my stance, just to insure that I catch the ball first than the sand. The key to fairway bunker shots is not to go down and try and help the ball out, cause then you will catch it fat or heavy and you won't reach the green. You want to hit a fairway bunker shot, just as you would a fairway shot - nice and relaxed upper body, solid lower body, and a smooth even tempo.
There are some different situations that you will encounter in fairway bunkers. You said what do you do if you need to hit a wood to reach the green. I do the same thing with a wood that I do with my mid to long irons. I grip down an inch, place in the middle to just back of middle of my stance and make a smooth swing. But I emphasize a nice smooth swing. I think we all have a tendency of swinging quickly in the bunker because there is an element of tension and uncomfortableness, so you really want to feel even tempo in the swing.
Now when you hit it in a fairway bunker, the first thing you should do is assess the lie. There could be times that you will be 170 yards to the green but the bunker has a large lip that is not going to allow you to hit a low lofted club. So sometimes you just have to take your medicine. Say you can only advance it 70 yards, well then you only have a 100 yards to the green - which you can get up and down.
My suggestion is to find a practice facility that has a fairway bunker at the range. And test different clubs out. Start with your pitching wedge, and work through your bag. You will find certain clubs that you are more comfortable with out of fairway bunkers, than others. I fully admit, that my best shot is not a wood out of a fairway bunker. So I try and play to my strengths when I encounter that shot. Hit it out to a comfortable yardage and then work like hell to get it up and down. But there is nothing worse than compounding your mistake in a fairway bunker by leaving it in the bunker because you were trying to hit a shot you weren't comfortable with.
Don't know if that helped. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions that I didn't address.
What do you think about players on Tour playing the old square groove wedges? Fair or not? Do square grooves really make that much of a difference? Do you know of any tricks
to get more spin out of my clubs? I read something about scuffing up the face and/or letting them rust a bit. Looking for any edge I can get out there.
Thanks for the question. You have asked about an issue that has a bit of controversy right now. I'm not really an expert on this subject, only because I believe that the new rule really only affects the professional and low handicapped men. There are a few women who spin the ball enough to see the difference, but for me the only difference I see is the 20 to 60 yard pitch out of the rough. The new wedges are not getting that first check that the old wedges had. As for the square grooves, I'm sure they make a difference for some one like Phil Mickelson, but I haven't used those clubs in such a long time that I really can't remember how the ball reacted off the club face. In my opinion, they probably should have made the square groove clubs illegal; therefore, everyone would have to change to the new groove.
As for you getting more spin....Do you play in tournaments that you will have to change to new wedges? If not, then I suggest getting wedges that have the old grooves, such as the Titleist Vokey Spin Milled wedges. Those create a lot of spin. Also, when is the last time you changed your wedges? Are the faces worn down? But the way to create spin with your wedges is to make sure that you hit down on the ball, so that it's creating backspin on the ball as you hit it. A lot of people try and swing up on wedges in effort to hit the ball higher, but wedges are designed to hit down on the ball and then the ball will go up. I don't really know about scuffing or letting the face rust. I've never tried it, so I'm sorry but I can't help you with that. My suggestion would be to experiment with your wedges and see how you can create spin with them. So for a full shot that you want to see take one bounce and stop, hit some knockdowns where you are hitting more down on the ball and see if it sits faster. If that gives you more spin, then you can incorporate that feel into your full swing.
For shots around the green, that's a bit more difficult to explain without being able to show you. But being able to create spin on chips and short pitches really depends on the lie in the rough. If you are in the fairway, for the most part you should be able to spin the ball because the lie isn't going to dictate what kind of shot you have to play. When you are hitting a chip in the fairway, you will create spin by hitting the chip with clean crisp contact. You can actually hear the contact of the ball, club and grass and hopefully you can feel the contact that creates spin. As I said out of the rough is more difficult. If the ball is sitting down, it's going to be very difficult to create spin. You just have to see where the best miss will be. If the pin is on the back of the green and you have a lot of green to work with then you just need to pick a spot to land it and let it release to the hole. If the pin is cut tight to the edge of the green and you don't have much green to work with, obviously you want to get the ball on the green so you will pick a spot on the green between you and the pin and do your best to land it there but it might run by a bit. But you have played the high percentage shot there and given yourself a chance to save par. If the ball is sitting up in the rough, then you should be able to put spin on it. For me, if I have short sided myself and the ball is sitting up in the rough. I like to slightly open the face of my 58 degree wedge and hit a shot called the hinge and hold. What that means, is I break my wrists on the way back and then on the way through hold the club face open so it doesn't shut down. This will create a medium to high lofted shot that sits softly. And one key is to not strangle the club when you hit this shot. A nice relaxed grip is helpful. Phil Mickelson's short game DVD shows you this shot in detail. I would recommend getting this DVD because he explains a bunch of different shots you can hit and how to create spin. Very helpful.
Hope I gave you some insight. Feel free to ask some more questions.
I am an Avid player and shoot between 80 &85. How can I play
better in the Wind. I have the distance but inconsistently straight. Allot of wasted shots. Thank you for your time . sincerely,
Thanks for the question.
Wind is tough to play in so the first key is to be patient. The second key is when it's breezy swing easy! When it's windy most players feel like they have to swing really hard. When it's blowing in your face, make sure you take a couple extra clubs and make a 75% swing.The harder you try and hit it in the wind the more offline it's going to go. You can also work on a knock down or punch shot.The way I like to play the knock down is to take one or two extra clubs, put the ball back in my stance, more weight on my front foot, make a 3/4 swing and abbreviate the follow through. So for example if I have 135 yards to the pin on a calm perfect day, I would hit 8 iron. But if the wind is blowing in my face (depending on the strength of the wind), I might hit a knock down 7 or 6 iron. When you play in the wind a lot, you will get a feel for how much to add on.
For me to figure out the wind, I usually see what the actual yardage is so 135 then throw up grass to see how strong it is. I then say to myself, well i have 135 yards but I'm going to allow for 15 yards of wind, so now I'm looking at hitting a 150 shot. I then pick the appropriate club.
Practice the knock down on the range and see if you see a difference in the ball flight. You can even use the knock down down wind. Sometimes it's hard to figure out how much the wind is going to carry the ball when you are down wind. So sometimes i like to take the guess work out of it, and hit a knock down and keep it out of the wind.
Good luck and hope this helps!
I need a good putting drill, any suggestions?
First thing I concentrate on is to make sure I'm in a good athletic posture. So just like in the full swing I make sure that my stance is about shoulder width apart and I have a slight bend in the knee. That ensures that my shoulders can rotate back and through the ball. Most of my drills consists of working on my tempo. So that can be counting such as 1 and 2, 1 and 2. Saying those numbers to myself. I also have a little putting track that can be found on scottycameron.com. They look like little rails that you put the putter between to make sure you are bringing it straight back and through for short putts. With longer putts, the putter will track more on an arc but for the first few inches back and through should be straight. That's about it.
Do you have any tips for getting control of your nerves when you have a crucial stretch? I blew another real nice round this weekend choking on the last 3 holes! If I can get past #1 and the last 2 or 3 I’d be on tour!
What a brilliant question! First of all, let's kind of get rid of the verbiage of you choked on the last 3 holes. You didn't choke, you just didn't handle the nerves and the situation as you would have like to. And it's okay that you didn't, cause I'll give you some tools that you can practice so that next time you're in that situation it will hopefully turn out in your favor.
So you said that if you could just get through the first hole or the last three you'd be on tour :) I love that. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I kind of feel that you tend to look into the future a bit too much. So I don't know if this is the case, but as soon as you get to the first hole...are you like, okay just get through this first hole and everything will be smooth sailing from there? The key to having 18 holes of solid golf, is to really focus on each shot at hand. I know you've probably heard that a million times, but it's true. I find that I play my best golf when I step on the first tee and the only thing I do is get the ball from point A to point B. No thoughts of don't hook it, don't slice it ...nothing in my head. I'm so focused on the process of the actual shot that I don't worry about the results.
With that being said, here are some keys to keeping yourself in the present when you start thinking about the first hole or the last three holes. Do some deep breathing and this is something you can practice on and off the course. If you really concentrate on your deep breathing, it's quite impossible to have any other thought creep into your head. To deep breathe, you inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, then exhale for 6 counts. Breathing is very helpful when you find that you are anxious or nervous about an upcoming shot - such as your standing on the 15th green and you're concerned with your tee shot on 16. There is nothing you can do about your tee shot on 16 when you are on the 15th hole. So if you feel those thoughts coming in your head, do some deep breathing.
Another tool that you can use and this is one I use frequently, is to do something physical. When you have an unproductive thought come into your head, you can do something physical. Such as throwing the ball up and down - essentially you are playing catch with yourself (Lorean Ochoa used to do it all the time). You can play piano with your toes. So you can stand there and play Chopsticks with your toes. You can tap your foot. Anything physical, that takes your mind off something unproductive is what you want to do.
And lastly, I like to say a mantra to myself. And it can be anything that calms your mind and your body. My mantra is 100% commitment. And if my mind starts to wander into the future or into the past which is just as detrimental, I say to myself 100% commitment. Or fairways and greens, fairways and greens, fairways and greens. It can be anything that relaxes you and gets you focusing on the process of your next shot. It can also be chatting with your playing partners to get your mind off things.
One thing to remember, thoughts of the past and the future are unproductive. Just because the last time you played, you didn't finish the way you wanted to doesn't mean you're going to do it again. In fact you have to believe that that's not you. Something that I would like you to do, is after every round write down 10 things that you did well, 1 thing you could do better, and then how are you going to improve that one thing. I have found that all of us golfers get so focused on the things we didn't do well, we forget about the things we did well that day. For example, you told me that you didn't finish the last three holes very well, but what did you do well the first 15? So do that for a while and see how you feel.
Also, I would like to recommend a book to you. It's called Every Shot Must Have a Purpose by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott. You can order it at www.vision54.com. It's a great book. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to go to a seminar with Vision54 so that I could learn more about it.
Hope this helps. Please feel free to ask more questions!
(Mental game tip)
Thank you for taking my question and I love your site! I have been playing for about 5 years, am a fit 30 something and am very competitive by nature. I’m not improving at near the pace I expected of myself when I got serious about this game. I think my problem may be as much mental as physical or lack of ability. I can hit all the shots, but not consistently enough over the course of 18 holes. This leaves me in a quandary what to practice and what to work on to improve. Did you ever have any points in your golfing career when you just felt like you were never going to get any better? And if so did you do or think anything in particular to get you through it?
Thank you so much!
Thanks for your question. It's a great question. There is nothing more aggravating than knowing that you can hit shots in practice, but when you get into competition those shots don't show up! The key is to practice with a purpose. Because what you practice, you get good at. Meaning you want to work on replicating golf course situations during practice. The most difficult thing I find is trying to recreate the same pressure I feel on the golf course during a tournament, during practice. I hope you like to read because my suggestion is to get the book Every Shot Must Have a Purpose: How GOLF54 Can Make You a Better Player by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott. I think that may help you more than I can. They show you how to recreate that performance state, so that when you are on the golf course you can hit the shot when it counts. I attended their Every Shot Must Have a Purpose seminar last year, and it was one of the best things I've done for my golf. They have seminars throughout the year. So if you were looking for a more hands on approach, I would ultimately suggest that. But the book is also phenomenal as well.
So read it or listen to it on tape, and then let me know if it helps. If not, I can maybe suggest some other options but I really think that will help!
I’m suddenly hitting a pull hook. I was hitting my drives great then mid-round I just started pull hooking. Not quite a duck hook, but a big pull hook. Any tips?
Thank you so much. I need help!
Thanks for the question. Tough one to answer since I can't see your swing. My first thought was that, if you were hitting your driver well and then you suddenly started pull hooking it that perhaps you were trying to swing too hard. Sometimes I find that when I'm hitting my driver really well, I try to hit it harder. Which never works. My suggestion would be to work on your tempo. Hit some drivers where you feel like you're trying to hit it 150 yards. So if you hit it 300 yards with 100 percent tempo, then feel like you're swinging at 50 percent tempo. Then when you're on the course, feel like you're swinging with an 80 percent tempo. Most of the time, my feeling with my driver is just a nice smooth, even tempo. I know if I swing out of shoes, I can probably hit it further but I'm looking for accuracy and control. And I find that if I have a more even tempo and balanced swing, I will achieve that.
Let me know how it goes! Good luck! Hope that helps.
ISAG Bonus 2 cents worth: Check out The Medicus Swing Trainer. Very good for Tempo and swing plane issues.
I’m a scratch golfer and am thinking of playing golf in college, but part of me would rather not go to college and concentrate full time on improving my game. I’ve got the rest of the year to decide, but I’m not the greatest student and I really just want to play golf for a living. I’m concerned if I go to college I’ll be struggling with keeping grades up and my game will suffer. I know you can’t get inside my head, but do you have any thoughts on what would be a good avenue for a guy who’s not sure if he wants to go to college to take in order to have the best chance at one day becoming a tour pro?
Thanks for the question. It's very exciting that you love golf and know that you want to be a tour player. I think everyone has unlimited potential and it's awesome that you want to follow your dream.
I'll give you a little background on myself and tell you how I became a touring professional. When I was 13, I watched my first LPGA event on TV. Watching the women play I knew I wanted to follow in their footsteps and become a professional golfer. I dedicated all of my time to practicing and improving my skills so that I would be able to compete out there. And one decision that I made was to go to college. I received a full scholarship to Furman University in Greenville, SC. It was something that I will never regret because I earned my degree. As well as graduating, I believe the college experience is very beneficial for life on tour. It taught me how to manage my time because you have to practice and travel to events as well as practice your golf. I understand that you are not a strong student, but my suggestion would be to pick a school that's not too academically challenging and go for a couple of years and see how you do. If you feel that college is not for you then you can leave and pursue your dream in a different way. The beauty part of golf is that you can play it for a long time. So even if you take four years to go to college, earning a degree is something that you'll be very proud of. If you look at many of the PGA Tour players, most attended college.
You have to decide what's best for you. I just really enjoyed my college experience, so going to college would be my recommendation.
Let me know if there is anything else I can do and good luck.
Thanks for taking my question! What clubs to you carry in your bag? Do you carry long irons or hybrids? What makeup would you recommend for a mid handicapper? I’m afraid I might be making the game harder on myself hanging on to these long irons, but I don’t know how many to replace, what replaces what etc? Any advice would help. Thank you and good luck on tour this season.
Thanks for the question. My first question to you would be, what's the longest iron you have in your bag that you are comfortable hitting and you hit well? For me, the longest iron I carry is a 4 iron. But depending on the course I am playing, I will sometimes take out my 4 iron and add a 5 hybrid. If I'm playing a course that has very firm greens and is playing very long, such as a US Open course, then I will use the 5 hybrid because I will want the ball to travel higher so it lands softer. But now if I'm playing a course that is known to be windy, then I will carry a 4 iron because I will most likely need to keep the ball lower. But overall for you, I would definitely suggest hybrids over long irons. Hybrids are a lot easier to hit than long irons.
The best thing that you could do would be to Google a demo day in your area. I don't know if you belong to a golf club, but they sometimes have demo days. Every club manufacturer makes hybrids, so you should test different ones to see which feel, look and perform the best for you. I currently have a Callaway Razr X hybrid in my bag, and I love it. Callaway has hybrids that range from 3 to 6. I find that hybrids go a bit further than my long irons. So when I take out my 4 iron, a 5 hybrid goes in the bag. when I take out my 3 iron, a 4 hybrid goes in the bag. But that varies from person to person, so you will have to check that out for yourself. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful with that.
Hope that helps you a bit. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask.
Thanks for this service! Anyway, I read a lot and have taken lessons and have improved. The big change is learning that the first move from the top is to shift weight to left. However, soon after I started doing this, I began shanking the ball or rather, hitting it with wide open club face. I've struggled with this for about 2 years now. Some days I hit well, some days I shank. I'm starting to wonder if my fault is that I'm shifting my weight too much and in doing so, my axis is moving in front of the ball and not giving myself enough time to close the club face. The reason I think this is because even when i hit well, I hit really low. Am I right in my assessment of the problem? I've tried to keep my head behind the ball, which does seem to make the ball go higher and I'm yet to 'shank' it doing it this way. However, the swing I make that keeps my head behind the ball makes me feel like my first move is not shifting my weight to left side and there is much less compression.
Thanks for the question. You've done an excellent job assessing the problem. Here's what I think: You are correct in that the first move should be into the left foot. What perhaps you're not understanding is that it's a very small move. And the move is a feeling of the foot planting itself into the ground. You don't want to feel the weight on the outside of the foot. Are you feeling that? Cause I think in an effort to make the first move into your left side, you are sliding into the ball. That would leave the club face open and you would either slice it or possible shank it. This is what you want to do. Slight shift of weight into the left foot, then you want to turn and rotate around your left leg and don't try and keep your head behind the ball. Allow it to go with the body into a balanced finish to the target. Hope this helps. Please let me know.
I have had many lessons to try and improve my tempo to no avail. For some reason my swing with the 5 thru wedge is fine. However I cannot duplicate that off the tee. I put the driver or even rescue club in hand and I take away slow , but am coming through way too fast.
Consequently, I hit the ball a matter of feet not yards.
What can I do to not freak out with the driver and come down slowly ?
Thanks and good luck in NJ!
Hey Joe C!
Thanks for your question. A lot of people have difficulty hitting the long clubs, so don't stress out about it. There is more anxiety when one gets the driver in his hand. I know, I sometimes feel the same thing. The good thing is, if you can do it with your shorter clubs then you can do it with your long clubs. First thing I would do would be to head to the practice range. You're going to do your normal warm up focusing on a nice smooth tempo with your shorter clubs and move your way through your bag. One thing that I tell amateurs when they are hitting their driver is to feel like you're swinging 75 percent. Many amateurs, when they get the driver in their hands, try and over swing and hit it as far as humanly possible. I don't know if you watch much women's professional golf, but one thing we have in common is that most of us have a very smooth tempo and the ball still goes. So to start, when you're on the range feel like you're only going to hit your driver about a 100 yards. Swing as slow as you possibly can back and through. You're not trying to hit the ball very far, but you are trying to get a feel for tempo. So swing your driver at 25 percent, then 50 percent, then 75 percent. The objective is to make the same swing back and through whether it be to hit it 100 yards or 200 yards. Really try and feel an even tempo. You will find that swinging at 50 percent back and then 50 percent through that you'll be able to feel or see if you are making an even swing.
Another thing you can do is, try and feel a slight (one second) pause at the top of your swing. If you are swinging too fast from the top, sometimes it's good to incorporate a slight pause at the top so that everything has a chance to set before you change direction.
Also, sometimes this happens to players. They work so hard on slowing down their back swing, that because it's so slow it causes a surge from the top. Meaning, so you take it back really slow, but because you've taken it back so slow you tense up and swing really fast from the top. So you could try and slightly speed up your back swing so that you are not so quick from the top. I'm not sure this is the issue for you, but it's something you can try and see if it helps.
Lastly, you obviously have high anxiety with your driver and longer clubs. Don't own that. It's not you. Tell yourself that I stripe my driver down the middle of the fairway with a nice smooth swing. What you pay attention to has a tendency to grow. So if you keep telling yourself I can't hit my driver, then you're not gonna be able to. Instead of focusing on the negative, try and change it to creating a feeling that is going to produce the shot you want. And for you, that is focusing on tempo. So really work on the 25, 50 and 75 percent swings and see if you notice a difference. If it doesn't, please write back. I'd be more then happy to help.
My instructor tells me to hit inside of the ball with my iron so that my initial trajectory is slightly right of the target line, allowing the spin on the ball to curve it back toward the target. Is this correct advice? And if so, why is this preferable over simply hitting the ball straight along the target line? Thanks!
Thanks for the question. Your instructor is correct with trying to hit the inside of the ball and allowing the ball to draw back to the target. You can also, try and hit the outside of the ball allowing it to start left of your target and fade back to the target. Everyone has a shot that he or she prefers or is the natural ball flight for that person. Personally, I am more comfortable hitting a draw. Generally, when you hit a draw, you get a bit more distance out of the shot. Honestly, it is whatever you are more comfortable with. But yes the advice he has given you is correct.
I would recommend playing around with various ball flights. Try and hit the inside of the ball and hit a draw. Then on the next shot, try and hit the outside of the ball with a cutting motion and hit a fade. And even try and hit it straight. You will probably find that there is a particular shot that you really like, but knowing that you can hit all three of them makes managing golf courses a lot easier. If you have a back left pin, it's reassuring to know you can line up 15 feet right of the pin and hit a draw in there. If you hit it straight, then you have a 15 footer. If you draw it in there, then you have a kick in. But which ever shot you choose to play, just make sure you commit to it and trust it. That's all you can control. Once it leaves the club face, there's nothing more you can do.
Hope this helps.
I can’t seem to get my first putt past the hole no matter how hard I try to mentally block out the fear of hitting it too far past. If I don’t come up short I tend to force it 6ft past of course missing the break with that speed and ending in a 3 putt.
Any tips on how to get that consistent 2ft past?
Regards 38 putts per round.
Hello 38 Putts Per Round,
Speed is obviously key in putting. So my first recommendation would be to do some different speed drills on the practice green to really get a good feel for the greens before you go out and play. One drill that I do consistently, is to put a tee behind the hole about 3 feet away. And then from various distances, anywhere from 20 feet to 50 feet, I putt ten balls. So I start at 20 feet and I try and putt 10 balls with them finishing either in the hole or between the hole and the tee. Your goal is to get 10 points. You get 2 points for holing the putt, 1 point for having the ball finish between the hole and the tee, -1 point if you leave it short, and -1 if you hit it past the tee. Do that from 20 feet, 30 feet, 40 feet and 50 feet. Do an uphill putt, then do a downhill putt. Really try and get a feel for the speed from each increment.
Next drill is to do some speed putting with your eyes closed. So pick a 30 foot putt. Take 3 balls. With your eyes open take your practice strokes looking at the hole. Then step into the ball, close your eyes and stroke the putt. Then before you open your eyes, ask yourself, where did that ball finish? Did if finish short of the hole, did it finish long of the hole. Answer the question, then open your eyes and see where the ball finished. This is really good for becoming aware of speed and the feeling of each stroke for longer putts.
And the last drill is to practice your 3 - 5 foot putts. If you are secure in making 3 to 6 foot putts, then your lag putting will get that much better. You will be able to be more aggressive on your long putts because you know that if you leave yourself a 4 footer, you can make it. So I like to put 10 tees around the hole starting at 3 feet. And make 10, 3 footers in a row. Don't stop until you make 10 in a row. Then move the tees back to 4 feet, do the same thing, then to 5 feet do the same thing and again with 6 feet.
I would say I'm a fairly aggressive putter. I usually will always be past the hole rather than short. Obviously, the ball can't go in if you don't get it there, and if you hit it past the hole you will always have an idea of the break and read of the putt because you've just watched it roll out. So if you hit one past the hole, make sure you keep an eye on it so you have an idea of the break for the next putt. I feel if you do these drills, you will see dramatic improvement in your putting out on the course. Hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask.
One last thing, don't be afraid to miss. Unfortunately, we're not going to make every putt, so don't be afraid to miss. Play without consequence!
My iron play has been horrific the past 3 -4 months. I've gone from a
10 handicap to an 18-20. I blade my shots nearly every time. I'm ready to
quit golf. They fly low and slice directly right. What can I do?
You sound like you're a bit fed up with your iron play, so let's see if we can't straighten things out for you. This is kind of a difficult question to answer, only because I can't see your swing. So I'll give you some ideas and then you can see what helps.
First of all, if you have access to a teaching professional, I would go have a lesson. If you don't, there is a website that you can actually send a video of your swing and he will send you feedback. The website is called Mobile Golf Lesson. You can put it into Google and it will come up. The instructor is Derek Radley and he's a great teacher. But anyway, here are some ideas:
Firstly, check your grip on the club. You want to make sure that you have a solid, neutral grip. Here is a good description on how to grip the club. www.golf.com/golf/instruction/article/0,28136,1565168,00.html
Secondly, check your ball position at address. Too far forward or too far back could cause thin, low shots. With your irons, you want your longer irons to be just in front of middle and your mid to short irons to be in middle to just back of middle. A way to check this is to put two clubs down. One on line with your target and one perpendicular to the other. So you are creating a a lower case t on the practice range. Place the ball on a tee peg at the top of the "t" and then address the ball. The club that is perpendicular will show you where your ball position is in your stance. Make sure that your ball position is in the right place.
Thirdly, make sure in your swing you are completing a good weight shift on the back swing, and stay behind the ball with head coming forward on the way through (stare at the back of the ball). Cause what you are most likely doing to produce a thin right shot, is coming over the top and moving your upper body ahead of the ball. So you want to stay behind the ball a bit longer.
But honestly, I think you should have a lesson, to get things sorted. That would be your best bet. You can visit LPGA.com to find a teaching professional in your area, who will get you going in the right direction.
Hope that helps!
Where is the measurement taken from eg the driver I have is 43inches but from where to where.
All golf clubs are measured in inches. Just a shaft is simply measured top to bottom. When a golf club is assembled, with a head and grip, an iron is measured from the top butt end of the grip to the bottom of the hosel. When a wood is being measured it should be measured to the closest point of the sole to the hosel to the butt end of the grip. So you start at the end of the grip and measure where the shaft enters the club head and continue to the sole of the club on line to where the shaft enters. Easy way to do it, is turn the club upside down so the club head is in your hand and the butt of the club is on the ground. Take a measuring tape and measure the entire length of the shaft. Driver lengths vary. Mine is 45 inches, yours 43....it all depends on what you like. Shorter drivers have a lot more control. So you might not hit it as far, but you will have more accuracy. It boils down to personal preference.
Hope this helps.
I have been playing golf for around a year now, I am 20 years old with an official handicap of 18. I was playing 2 18 rounds of golf per week, with 1-2 driving range sessions also. I was playing really well until I had a month or so of playing only once a week or once every 2 weeks. I got back into playing a few more times but I was scoring around 100-110. I now walk up to the golf ball and feel my stance is really uncomfortable, and I don't feel well balanced, but I can hit the ball ok, whereas when I walk up to the ball and get into a stance I feel is comfortable, I mishit the ball a majority of the time. What do you think I am doing wrong?
Thanks for the question. It's a bit of a difficult question without being able to see you hit balls, but I will give it a try. First of all, golf is a quirky game. One day your stance and address position can feel very comfortable and the next not so much. Can even happen in a round of golf. For 9 holes you feel comfortable, and the next 9 uncomfortable. The key is to really become in tune with your body. A drill that I use for this is called Balance, Tempo, Tension (BTT). This comes from Vision54's, Essential Playing Skills Playbook by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott. If you have an iPhone, there is also a Vision54 app with a variety of drills to improve your game.
The first of BTT is balance. The key to a sound golf swing is balance. When you watch the pros, every one finishes in a well-balanced position. A few drills you can do to achieve good balance, is to take your pitching wedge and hit balls with your feet together, hit balls balancing on your left leg only, and hit balls balancing on your right leg only. This really gives you a good feel for achieving great balance in your swing. You will find that if you swing too hard and fast with your arms, that you will lose your balance. Another balance drill would be to hit balls with your eyes closed. You will get a good feel for what your body is doing when you close your eyes. I would also incorporate practicing your stance and address position with your eyes closed. Try and feel what it is that makes your stance comfortable versus uncomfortable by closing your eyes. If you can pinpoint what it is, then we will have better success correcting it.
The second of BTT is tempo. Tempo is very important in the golf swing, as I'm sure you know. For tempo, I would like you to make a variety of swings varying the tempo of your swing. You can do this one with a variety of clubs. Start by swinging at what you think is 25%. So swing 25% in your back swing, and 25% in your forward swing. Then do 50%, then 75%, then 100%. This gives you an idea of what percentage of 100% gives you the most consistent ball striking. For example for me, I swing about 80% with all my clubs. I find that the best tempo for me is not full bore. When I swing at a 100%, sometimes my arms outrace my body and things can go awry. You can vary this drill as well. Swing 50% back, and 100% through. Do a variety and see what works best for you.
Finally the third of BTT is tension. Tension is a huge factor. And this potentially is what is holding you back from hitting the ball the way you want. Golfers as a whole, hold a lot of tension in their hands, arms, shoulders and neck. When you have tension in any of those, generally it doesn't allow your body to move in sync. So first thing to do would be to vary the tension in your grip. Give them a number, 1 being the most loose and relaxed, and 5 being the most tight you could grip the club. For me I find that I'm between a 3 and a 4. Hit balls varying the tension in the grip. So for the first one, use grip tension 1. Make sure you keep the grip loose throughout the whole swing. Do that for all grip pressures and see which grip pressure is best for you. Another drill you may try and this is a tasty one – potato chip drill. Take potato chip and put it in your mouth. Lay it on your tongue. Don't eat it yet! Take a golf swing, and see what happens to the chip! Your goal is to have the chip not break while you swing. If it breaks, then most likely you have a lot of tension in your upper body. You can also do this by trying to swing with your mouth open. But the chip drill is lot more fun :-)
So give BTT a go, and see if this helps you. For you, I would definitely focus on doing some things with your eyes closed to see if you can feel what it is that is comfortable versus uncomfortable, and what the difference is in your swing. If you can feel what it is, then that will make a huge difference because then we can figure it out.
Again, if you like to read, then check out the Webshop at Vision54.com. They have some excellent books to help with this.
Please let me know how it goes. If it doesn't help, then we can try something else. But I truly believe this will help you. BTT is something I use everyday when I practice. It's amazing how just the simplest little drills can help you get back on track!
I hit my ball with my iron onto the green and on the follow through my iron accidently touched my opponents ball, which did not move. The two balls were near each other his was in front of mine. Is this a penalty.
Thank you for the question! Here is your answer. You did not occur a penalty. Had you touched the ball purposely or caused it to move, you would have incurred a penalty under Rule 18-3b. But because it was not intentional, there is no penalty.
In the future when you have two balls close together, always ask the other player to mark the ball either with a tee or coin. When he or she picks up the ball, always pick it up with just your thumb and forefinger. Holding it out. You cannot clean the ball, so you cannot just pick it up and hold it in your entire hand or put it in your pocket. This would be a penalty. Sometimes when I have to mark my ball, I will pick it up and place it elsewhere on the ground until it is my turn to hit. Just to insure I don't put it in my pocket.
Hope this helps! And also if you ever want the answer ASAP, I believe you can call the USGA and they will answer your question.
My husband had a massive stroke about five months ago . His only passion in life is golf. He was told he should have lost all feeling in his right arm and leg . The neurologist said it is a miracle that he can use his arm and leg. He lost his speech but he still wants to golf. It the process of practicing he realized his left elbow is double jointed. He still has lost some feeling in his right arm and hand. This is not detouring him at all. My questions to all the professionals are what can he do about a double joined left elbow. Are there braces to keep the arm straight. He is frustrated and I want to find someone that is willing to help figure out how to help him.
I'm sorry to hear about your husband's stroke, but it is a miracle that he can still play the game he is so passionate about. This really isn't my field but after a little research, I came up with something that has potential to help.
With the double jointed elbow, we just need some sort of brace that will stop the hyperextension. On the website, www.braceshop.com, there is a brace called the Breg HEX Adjustable Hinged Elbow Brace. It is priced at $172.99, a bit expensive but I would think something similar to that kind of brace should do the trick.
I will keep looking at different types, but wanted to get back to you ASAP. The last thing your husband needs to worry about is a double jointed elbow :-)
Thanks for the question and good luck!
I'm 59, a fairly new golfer still trying to break 100. I've coached HS tennis for many years and am very right arm-dominate. In a small group lesson, the pro said I'm strangling the club with my right hand (true). I use an overlap grip and he suggested that I overlap two fingers instead of one. I've tried it at the range and surprisingly it doesn't seem to effect my distance. Can't tell if I'm squeezing lighter or not. Is this a good adjustment? Any other suggestions?
Thanks for the question. In my opinion, the grip is a very personal thing. Yes you want to have good fundamentals and the proper grip is the first thing. As for double overlapping, unless when you first picked up the club and you double overlapped, I would stay away from that. I would pick a grip that is comfortable for you, whether it be overlapping, interlocking, or 10 finger/baseball grip. My suggestion would be to go to the range and do this drill. On a scale from 1 to 5, one being the loosest grip and 5 being almost strangulation of the club, hit balls varying your grip pressure. So hit balls with grip 1 (loose) and see what happens. The key is to focus on having equal pressure in both hands. Then continue hitting balls with grip pressure number 2 and so forth. See which grip pressure is the best for you. I know I play my best golf with grip pressure between 3 and 4. But make sure when you are doing this that the grip pressure is equal in both hands. That is your only focus.
Also, take some one handed practice swings. So grab the club in your left hand and make some swings. Feel how your left hand feels on the club. Then make some one handed swings with the right hand. Feel how that hand feels. The key is for you to become aware of the difference between the two. Then put both hands on the club and make practice swings really emphasizing the equal pressure in both hands.
Hope this helps. Let me know!
Sorry to bother you but I'm desperate and I figured if anyone could help, you could. Until recently I was about a 13 handicap and considered myself a pretty decent player, trending down. In September, after one of the greatest practice sessions of my life, I played a round with my dad and developed a nasty pause in my swing at the top. Long story short, I hit rock bottom last week on a golf trip to Torrey Pines. A once in a lifetime experience turned into a nightmare. I hacked it around like I'd never played before. My swing now resembles Charles Barkley's (not that bad, but close); I just can't pull the trigger once my shoulder gets under my chin. I resorted to 3/4 punch shots the rest of the trip just to somewhat enjoy myself. Any ideas what might cause the extended pause and how I can shake it?
Hey R. Z!,
Thanks for the question. I'm sorry you are having a tough go of it. Think I will need some more info from you, in order to get you on the right path. First of all, does this only happen on the course or is it also happening in practice? If it is just on the course, I could maybe pinpoint it to the fact that you are too result oriented. So concerned of where the ball is going to go, that when you get to the top of your swing you're not firing to the target due to fear. Is there a particular feeling or thought that you observe at the top of your swing? Or even before you swing? Is it every shot or just particular shots? I apologize for all the questions, but kind of need to know these things. The key is for right now, let's not stress about it. We will do our best to help you with this.
One thing you can do to start is to take your mind away from the ball and away from your swing, and place it at your target. Start doing this on the range. When you stand over the ball, have your mind's eye only focus on the target nothing else. If it's a tree your aiming at be specific to a particular branch you are aiming at. The color, the shape, etc. or if you're going at the flag - visualize the color, the shapes on it etc. It will take great discipline, but I know you can do it. See what happens. See if it helps.
Also, another Drill for Skill I want you to do is called a T'ai Chi swing. This is a fantastic drill from Vision 54. What you do is ...without a ball but with a club, close your eyes and make a golf swing as slow and deliberate as possible. I want you to feel every aspect of your swing - body, arms, hands, legs, everything. In the process of making this swing see if you are aware of any tension in all aspects. There is a player who actually took 5 minutes to do a T'ai Chi putting stroke, so think you get the idea of how slowly I would like you to the swing.
Another thing you can do is create a mantra for yourself. One I use a lot when I get under stress on the course, I say the words chocolate milk. I say them over and over again in a nice rhythmic cadence. So when I stand over the ball and I'm lining myself up, I keep saying to myself chocolate milk, chocolate milk, chocolate milk and on and on until I'm at the finish of my swing.
Let's start with those three drills and see how you go. Just remember, stay patient and we'll get to the bottom of this.
FOLLOW UP from Diana D'Alessio:
Couple more questions for you….Do you get negative feelings when you hit bad shots and don't produce the swing you can do? If that's the case, it may not necessarily be technical. You have got to have a new focus over the ball like target or a mantra and you NEED to, something I don't often say, be objective to the outcome or it's only going to get worse.
If you have reactions, you should read chapter 11 in Play Your Best Golf Now by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott
In my opinion, might be yours to, that Charles Barkley has the Yips because of emotional storage...he had a beautiful swing before he hit a person in the crowd and felt so bad he could barely hit the ball again (that's how it started) ... he has the entire golf world helping him store that his swing is terrible.
A great way to get better at this...
1: say 1 good thing about every shot
2: use a mantra to replace negative thoughts and feelings
3: get physical after the shot...snapping, stand on one leg, anything to replace the feeling
Let's give that go, and see how you do!
I’m 60 years of age and used to play off 5 but haven’t played for about 4 years. I now have time to devote to practice but want to practice correctly. My problem is that I play or practice one day and everything is great, playing to my handicap but then the next time it all goes wrong. My bad shot is one that squirts off low right (off the toe I think) or I hit a pull hook. Even my good shots are very slightly thin, no turf. These bad shots can just suddenly happen in the middle of a round or practice and then every shot is bad, cant seem to get my swing back until the next time I play.
Would really appreciate your help.
Many thanks and regards,
Thanks for the question! I would most likely suspect that your thin, off the toe right shots and your pull hooks are from the same problem. When you swing, you most likely don't get off your right side. A sort of up and out of it move, instead of a full rotation to the target move. Am I on the right track? Anyway, regardless of whether you are hitting it to the right or pull hook to the left, you are most likely keeping your weight on your right side and either hanging on with your arms and hands; therefore, producing the right shot. Or keeping your weight on your right side and instead of hanging on, flipping your hands at the ball; therefore, producing the pull hook. Whichever shot shows up, generally the next shot will be the opposite. Speaking from experience :-)
First of all, I want you to do a drill on the range. You are going to take your pitching wedge, and you are going to hit some shots standing only on your left foot. You can use your right foot for balance, but your weight will only be on your right toe. Take some practice swings first getting a feel for the drill. If you use your arms and hands to quickly from the top, you will notice that you will most likely fall down. The purpose of this drill is for you to finish full on your left side, in a well balanced finished. If you pull with the arms or don't rotate to the target, you will not be able to produce a crisp, well-balanced shot. I do this drill religiously. Every time I warm up for a practice round or a competitive round, I always hit 10-15 balls on my left foot.
Something else you can try is sort of like the Gary Player "walk-through." You know how when Gary Player used to hit some shots and he would continue to walk through to the target. You could give this a try as well.
Lastly, unfortunately you are not going to hit every shot perfectly in practice or when playing. The key to playing well is how you react to these shots. When you hit a shot you are not particularly happy with, do your best not to get down or angry with it. Either have a positive or neutral post shot reaction. You can be subjective, meaning when you hit a shot that you did not perform the way you wanted, rehearse it again envisioning how you wanted to hit that shot. Make a practice swing and visualize the ball going where you wanted it to go and producing the swing that you wanted. Also, if one of those shots happen to come up in a round, make some practice swings doing the left foot only drill I explained above. You just want to replicate that feel of transferring your weight to your left side and rotating to the target from your practice swing to your actual swing.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions!
My name is Margarita, I'm 32 years old, construction worker, I just stared playing golf and I can not stay away from it, I'm getting better every day and I would like to join the pro tour one day, I'm a hard worker woman, and I'm working very hard in my game, you think I have a chance to reach my dream?
Thanks for the question. Glad you have a new love of the game. It's
really not my opinion that matters. If being a professional is your
passion, then go with it. Yes, it is definitely possible for you to
become a touring professional, but as you know it takes a lot of hard
work. The players are coming out younger and younger each year, but if you
keep going with it - you never know what can happen.
What I would do, is to start playing some mini tours to see how your game
matches up with some players. I don't know where you live, but there are
some mini tours in Florida and Arizona that you can play. I would Google
events that you can play, so you can get your feet wet. Also, you can do
a qualifier for the US Women's Open, but have a look at that ASAP because
entries close in the next week. My best advice is to keep practicing and
get into as many competitions as you can.
Like I said, no one's opinion matters but your own. Keep working hard,
keep the passion and have fun!
Good luck. Please let me know, if there is anything I can help you with!
All the best,
I have a golf net set up in my back yard....does it matter how far away i am when hitting the ball? I feel that the further away I am the better idea i get of where my balll when end up...does that make a difference when hitting into a net?
Hi Sheryl Lynn!
Thanks for the question. It really doesn't matter how far you stand from the net. The only thing you want to take into consideration is: If by chance you hit one a bit offline, will the net still catch it? If that's a yes, then you are perfectly fine with your distance from the net.
When you are practicing into the net, really use good visualization tools when you are hitting balls! Envision the green, the flag, all the aspects of being on the course. After you make contact with the ball and you finish your swing, hold your finish for a few seconds and see the ball landing on the green and rolling up towards the pin. It will help you when you get out on the course.
Diana, My golf partner is frustrated with slicing the ball. He is left handed and I know his club is to open at the point of striking the ball. I believe he has the ball to far forward in his stance. By placing the ball further back in his stance correct the problem?
Thanks for the question. Ball position could definitely be part of the reason your partner is slicing the ball. First thing I would do is go to the range and set up two clubs. One parallel/down the line of your intended target. And one perpendicular to the intended target line. Creating a tee. See below:
Place the ball on a tee online with the perpendicular club/stick. Make sure your partner's ball position is just inside his right heal. Also make sure that his/her hips and shoulders are square to the target line stick. And also make sure his/her club face is square to the target line. Then hit some balls and see if this helps. If not answer some more questions for me:
1.Is the ball starting right of the target and then cutting way left?
2.Is the ball starting left of the target and then being blocked to the left?
Hope this helps, but please let me know how it goes.
My daughter plays high school golf. And I'm looking at getting her a
new set of clubs. She is currently using women's flex shafts but seem
a little flimsy. Should I get regular for? Please give me your
thoughts on this issue.
Thanks for the question. When I was in high school, I played men's regular steel shafts. How strong is your daughter? Pretty strong? There are a variety of lightweight steel shafts out there now. I'm partial to Nippon shafts. They are very consistent in the specifications. Nippon makes a 75 gram shaft that is reinforced with graphite webbing on the top of the shaft. If you are looking to buy her a new set, I would find a demo day in your area and try some different irons and shafts. You can Goggle it to find a demo day. That would be your best bet. Then she can try everything available from the main manufacturers. But I would suggest the Nippon NS Pro 750 or 850. I play the 1050 so those others would probably be perfect for her.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
I am a junior in high school. I've been playing golf for about 3 years and I was so certain to continue my path as a golfer. But recently, my mind is full of doubts that I have no chance of becoming a pro. My best score is 73... still a long way to go but I am never going to give up. I just love the game of golf:) I want to get a scholarship for college but I do not know how to contact the coaches. So do you have any tips? also is grip really important? people say my grip is wrong but don't people have their own style in golf. That grip works for me.
Thank you for the question.
First of all, if you love the game of golf and want to be a pro then keep at it. You definitely want to work on eliminating the self doubt that you have. First and foremost you have to believe that you can do it and do not let anyone tell you differently. I know you probably feel that you have a late start in golf, but there have been quite a few pros who started their career late. Elaine Crosby is a prime example. She didn't start playing golf till she was 21 and had a long successful career on the LPGA.
As for contacting college coaches, there are a couple ways to go about it. Firstly, there is a website that lists all the universities and coaches:
I used the PING College Guide when I was looking at universities. My suggestion is to come up with a list of 5-10 colleges/universities that you would like to attend. On most of the college athletic websites, they will have the coaches names and emails listed. Send an email to the head golf coach and tell them that you are interested in attending the university and playing competitively on the team. You will want to include a resume with your tournament finishes, other sports you are playing in high school, and your current GPA.
There are a ton of scholarships available, whether it is a Division I, IAA, II, etc. Most universities offer sport scholarships as well as academic scholarships. It is really up to you in what schools you are interested in and where you want to go. Do remember that if golf is your passion, you should focus on some schools in warm climates so that you can practice and play year round.
Also, many of the universities offer summer camps for golf – usually a 3-5 day camp. This is a great way to introduce yourself to the coach and also work on your golf game for a few days.
Lastly, the grip is very important. The grip is what we call, part of the basics. You want to make sure the basics or foundation of the swing is as consistent as possible. Grip, Stance, Alignment are all key to the beginning of a technically sound swing. When those three things go amiss, then you will make compensations in your golf swing for them. Those 3 things can be practiced in front of the TV, in front of a mirror. Getting those consistent are key. You can practice your grip while your watching TV. Grab a club and make sure you place your hands on it properly, allowing your hands to start feeling the new grip comfortably.
One more thing…You want to play as many tournaments as you can - locally, state wide and nationally. National tournaments are also an avenue for college coaches to learn about you. I don't know where you live, but google some tournaments in your area. Tournament play is essential.
Hope this helps. Please feel free to respond with any questions!
Good luck and believe in yourself!
Visit Diana's Web site at www.dianadalessio.com !!!