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Instruction

This Hot Wheels drill will get your putting back on track

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One of the easiest ways to consistently lower your scores is to avoid three putts during your round. And the best way to ensure yourself of a one or two putt is to concentrate on speed, which will help you to lag the ball up to the hole.

Good news for you, there’s a great way new to work on your speed. And if you look around your attic, basement, toy storage area, or your child’s room, you might find the same orange strip of plastic that I use in this drill. It’s a piece of Hot Wheels track, and it looks something like this.

Photographer Mike M Stylist Alison

It’s useful because usually when you’re practicing speed, you also spend time focusing on your aim and mechanics, which distracts you from having 100 percent attention on speed. The track allows you to focus everything on the speed while never worrying about aim or stroke mechanics, because the track will direct the ball at the hole on the right line every time. So all you need to do is put the right speed and roll on the ball.

The Hot Wheels drill

StranoWheels

To set the drill up, flip the track over so you have the bottom rails facing up (I have colored the rails with a black Sharpie). Aim the track along the break of the putt so that a putt struck the perfect speed will take whatever slope is on the green and go in the hole. Then place the ball in the middle of the track.

When we have this setup, I tell the player to look at the hole and take several practice strokes feeling the speed they want to hit the ball to roll it in the hole. After they do that, I have them put the putter behind the ball and stroke it without thinking about aim or stroke mechanics. Naturally, the Hot Wheels track will give them the proper aim and stroke direction, freeing the player up to focus solely on speed.

StranoPuttingDrill

We like to play several games at my club with the Hot Wheels track, each of which helps golfers groove their distance control with the putter. My favorite game is called “Call It,” in which players hit a putt, but are not allowed to look up to see where it went. They have to decide what speed the ball is rolling by feel alone. They call out “short,” “long” or “perfect,” and then look up to see if their prediction was correct. The game is great for building awareness of touch and speed control on the greens.

Hot Wheels drills can be both fun and very effective, so climb up to the attic and find that box of old Hot Wheels cars and orange track. Take a piece to the course so you can focus only on speed, while honing your stroke as well.

Editor’s Note: Rob Strano recently appeared on the Golf Channel Morning Drive show and demonstrated for everyone how to do the “hottest” drill in putting. Watch the segment here: http://www.golfchannel.com/media/four-disciplines-improve-your-putting/

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If you are an avid Golf Channel viewer you are familiar with Rob Strano the Director of Instruction for the Strano Golf Academy at Kelly Plantation Golf Club in Destin, FL. He has appeared in popular segments on Morning Drive and School of Golf and is known in studio as the “Pop Culture” coach for his fun and entertaining Golf Channel segments using things like movie scenes*, song lyrics* and familiar catch phrases to teach players. His Golf Channel Academy series "Where in the World is Rob?" showed him giving great tips from such historic landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, on a Gondola in Venice, Tuscany Winery, the Roman Colissum and several other European locations. Rob played professionally for 15 years, competing on the PGA, Nike/Buy.com/Nationwide and NGA/Hooters Tours. Shortly after embarking on a teaching career, he became a Lead Instructor with the golf schools at Pine Needles Resort in Pinehurst, NC, opening the Strano Golf Academy in 2003. A native of St. Louis, MO, Rob is a four time honorable mention U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Youth Golf Instructor and has enjoyed great success with junior golfers, as more than 40 of his students have gone on to compete on the collegiate level at such established programs as Florida State, Florida and Southern Mississippi. During the 2017 season Coach Strano had a player win the DII National Championship and the prestigious Nicklaus Award. He has also taught a Super Bowl and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, a two-time NCAA men’s basketball national championship coach, and several PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players. His PGA Tour players have led such statistical categories as Driving Accuracy, Total Driving and 3-Putt Avoidance, just to name a few. In 2003 Rob developed a nationwide outreach program for Deaf children teaching them how to play golf in sign language. As the Director of the United States Deaf Golf Camps, Rob travels the country conducting instruction clinics for the Deaf at various PGA and LPGA Tour events. Rob is also a Level 2 certified AimPoint Express Level 2 green reading instructor and a member of the FlightScope Advisory Board, and is the developer of the Fuzion Dyn-A-line putting training aid. * Golf Channel segments have included: Caddyshack Top Gun Final Countdown Gangnam Style The Carlton Playing Quarters Pump You Up

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Gareth

    May 15, 2016 at 4:06 am

    Best putting trainer I’ve ever seen was something that Euro player Jason Scrivener developed. Best money I’ve ever spent on my golf game… http://www.theputtingsquare.com/

  2. golfraven

    May 14, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Like the tip but my son will freak out when I steal his Hot Wheel stuff.

    • LabraeGolfer

      May 15, 2016 at 8:46 am

      Same but my dad lol. He has over 20,000 hot wheels and probably 300 feet of track.

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Instruction

Gabe Hjertstedt teaches Doc Rivers how to hit the lofted chip shot

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In the first episode of this instructional series with Short Game Guru Gabe Hjertstedt and NBA Coach for the Los Angeles Clippers Doc Rivers, Gabe teaches Doc how to hit the lofted chip shot to get the ball to stop quicker on the green.

Look out for more videos this week including more from Gabe and Doc’s short game session, their full lesson, and our interview with Doc.

Enjoy the first video below!

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Instruction

WATCH: How to hit your driver more consistently

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In this video, I share two great drills that will help you improve your driving today.

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Instruction

3 keys for getting out of bunkers with soft sand

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One of the most infuriating things in golf is to land in a bunker that has too much sand, or sand with the consistency of a truckload of talcum power. Now, I am not picking on the Superintendents; they do have to add new sand from time-to-time, so no hate mail please! It’s my fault for hitting it in the bunker in the first place, and bunkers are supposed to be hazards; I know that.

The one thing we will assume for this article is that even though we are in soft sand, we will have a good lie, not a plugged or semi-plugged one. We are in a bunker that just has a bunch of sand, or it’s soft and fluffy sand. Everyone asks me what the secret is to handling these types of conditions and I’m here to help you get better.

1) Get a wedge with the correct bounce

Let’s consider that you play the same golf course every weekend, or that you mostly play on courses that have the same type of playing conditions mostly. When you have this luxury, you should have wedges that fit the conditions you tend to play. So, if you have a low bounce wedge with a sharp flange and you’re playing from bunkers with lots of sand, then you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.

Why alter your swing if the wedge you have can help you? Use a high bounce wedge (9-12 degrees of bounce) for soft sand, and a low bounce wedge (6-8 degrees) for firm sand.

2) Control your Angle of Attack 

As with most things in golf, there are always things that you must pay attention to in order for you to have the odds in your favor. Simple things such as paying attention to the lie you have can help you save shots in the rough. In bunkers, you cannot test the surface, however, you can use your feet to feel the density of the sand. Pay attention to what you feel in the balls of your feet. If you feel a ton of sand below you, then you know you will have to alter your angle of attack if you want any chance to get out of the bunker successfully.

So what do I mean by this?

The setting of your wrists has a very dynamic effect on how much the wedge digs in or skids through the sand (assuming you have an open face). When there is a surplus of sand, you will find that a steeper attack caused by the maximum cocking of your wrists makes it much easier for the wedge to work too vertical and dig too deep. When you dig too deep, you will lose control of the ball as there is too much sand between the blade and the ball — it will not spin as much and won’t have the distance control you normally have.

The secret to playing from softer sand is a longer and wider bunker swing with much less wrist-set than you would use on your stock bunker shot. This action stops the club from digging too deep and makes it easier for you to keep moving through the ball and achieving the distance you need.

3) Keep your pivot moving

It’s nearly impossible to keep the rotation of your shoulders going when you take too much sand at impact, and the ball comes up short in that situation every time. When you take less sand, you will have a much easier time keeping your pivot moving. This is the final key to good soft-sand bunker play.

You have made your longer and more shallow backswing and are returning to the ball not quite as steeply as you normally do which is good… now the only thing left to do is keep your rear shoulder rotating through impact and beyond. This action helps you to make a fuller finish, and one that does not lose too much speed when the club impacts the sand. If you dig too deep, you cannot keep the rear shoulder moving and your shots will consistently come up short.

So if you are in a bunker with new sand, or an abundance of sand, remember to change your bounce, adjust your angle of attack, and keep your pivot moving to have a fighting chance.

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