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Lee Trevino: 10 Rules For Hitting All The Shots

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By Lee Trevino
With Guy Yocom
Photos by Walter Iooss Jr.
April 2009
Written for Golf Digest

01 The easiest shot is the best shot.
Chi Chi Rodriguez had as good a pair of hands as anybody I ever saw, and more shots than you can imagine. But Chi Chi had a habit of turning simple shots into difficult ones. If he had 140 yards from the middle of the fairway, he would deliberately hit a low hook or a high fade, just for his own amusement or to please the fans. He needed the stimulation, I guess, but it worked against him. Remember, the goal is to get the ball from Point A to Point B in as straightforward a manner as you can. Don’t try circus shots unless you absolutely have to.

02 Simplify draws and fades.
Jack Nicklaus liked to curve the ball by opening or closing the clubface at address. I never felt I was good enough to do it his way. I didn’t like changing my swing path, either, which some guys do. There’s only one really reliable way to curve the ball: Change your hand position at address. If you want to hit a draw, move your hands forward, toward the target, so they hide your left shoe when you look down. Make sure the clubface is square to the target, and then make your normal swing. When you get to impact, your hands will naturally be farther back than that exaggerated position they started in. When the hands move backward, the clubface closes. You don’t have to do anything. To hit a fade, do the opposite: Set up with your hands back, behind the ball. At impact they’ll be more forward, and the face slightly open.

03 Let the club do your shotmaking.
Before the 1987 Skins Game at PGA West, I visited the TaylorMade plant and saw an odd-looking little metal wood in a barrel. It had the number 7 stamped on it, which got my attention because 7-woods were unheard of. “It’s a prototype,” their man said. “Not for sale.” He offered to let me take it home, though. That little club turned out to be the best stick I ever had. I could hit it high or low, draw or fade it, hit it 165 yards or 210, all with barely changing my swing. After I hit a 190-yard fairway-bunker shot over water to five feet on the ninth hole at that Skins Game—a shot I couldn’t possibly have played with an iron—my phone wouldn’t stop ringing. Everybody wanted to know where to get a club like mine. The equipment choices today are even better, with all kinds of hybrid and fairway-wood designs. My point is, there’s no sense trying to squeeze something out of your swing if you can let your clubs do the shotmaking for you.

04 To hit it low, crowd the ball.
I always loved hitting a low fade to a back-right pin with the wind howling from the right. Not many guys could get it close in that situation, because they kept it low by just putting the ball back in their stance. You see, playing the ball back turns you into a one-trick pony—you can only hit hooks. The best way to hit it low—and I’ve never talked about this before—is to stand closer to the ball. Flex your knees and crowd the ball so your hands are only a couple inches from your body. You’ll get the feeling that you’re going to hit a shank, so you’ll instinctively straighten your legs and raise your upper body through impact. When you stand up like that, your hands tend to get ahead of the clubhead, delofting the face and setting up a low cut. If this sounds complicated, read it again—it’s worth it. As for hitting it high, the thing that worked best for me was to play the ball forward and make sure I kept my head as far behind the ball as possible through impact. But keep in mind, this is coming from a low-ball hitter.

05 Don’t choke down.
I love watching Anthony Kim play, but I’m not a fan of the way he grips down a good two inches on his full-swing shots. Choking down lightens the club’s swingweight and effectively makes the shaft stiffer. It also makes it difficult to hit the ball high enough for all situations. But the worst thing is, it gets you into the habit of hitting every shot with 100-percent effort: Instead of hitting a smooth 7-iron with a normal grip, the player who chokes down tends to shorten the 7-iron and hammer the hell out of it. I like the idea of gripping down on chips and pitches, because it can give you more control, but avoid doing it with anything longer than a 9-iron.

06 Learn to beat the fluffy lie.
Besides the long bunker shot, the hardest shot in golf is the 80-yard wedge from light rough. The ball has a tendency to “dip,” or fall out of the sky, because it has so little backspin coming out of that lie. How much it dips depends on the exact lie, your swing speed, the wedge you’re using and the swing you make. If you don’t judge those things right, the ball will fly anywhere from five to 20 yards short of normal and with no spin—that means a lot of balls bouncing over or falling short. Learn the nuances of the fluffy lie, and tailor your swing to fit it. This is really the essence of shotmaking: having a good idea how the ball will behave coming out of all the various situations. Take another good one: mud on the ball. From my experience, taking two clubs more and hitting it hard often works. You’ll probably knock the mud off, but then again, it depends on how much mud you’re talking about. You learn those things only by trying them yourself.

07 Don’t invent shots from trouble.
Seve Ballesteros was the best trouble-shot player who ever lived. It didn’t matter how far in the woods you put that guy, he’d find a way to get out. But Seve inadvertently put a lot of big numbers on the scorecards of average players, because he inspired them to take dumb chances. When your ball is in trouble, the desire to save par can really warp your judgment. That opening in the trees is smaller than what you see, the lie worse, the odds of pulling off the shot perfectly much smaller than you probably imagine. Trouble shots usually require you to do something crazy with shot trajectory, and that’s a guessing game even for the best pros. Keep in mind, the trouble shot you’re about to try is a make-or-break deal. You have only one shot at it, and the consequences are more disastrous than on a shot from the fairway. Seve might have played poker when he was in trouble, but the average guy should stick to checkers. Take the shortest route back to short grass, and move on.

08 Weaken a strong grip.
Changing from a strong grip to a neutral or slightly weak one takes time and is not easy, but it’s a great way to become a versatile player. I played in a tournament with Ben Hogan toward the end of his career, around 1970, and even then there wasn’t a shot he couldn’t hit with ease. Mostly he hit the ball dead straight, but he could play all kinds of little squeeze fades and low hooks. What made Ben great was his slightly weak grip, both hands rotated counterclockwise so the “Vs” formed by his thumbs and forefingers pointed at his right ear at address. Shotmaking-wise, it gave him tremendous control. To draw the ball, he just released the club a little more. To hit it straight, he released a little less, and to fade it, he didn’t do anything. You can play good golf with a strong grip; Paul Azinger, David Duval and I are proof of that. But none of us is known for drawing the ball. When we tried, we hit too many duck hooks.

09 Get creative with the putter, too.
You want to make the same stroke on most putts, but sometimes it pays to customize it. If you’ve got a quick downhill putt, hover the putterhead off the ground at address. This will smooth out a short stroke and take away any urge to stab at the ball. On long uphill putts, address the ball out on the toe, because with a longer stroke you’ll tend to hit the ball closer to the heel than where you set it at address. Right-to-left putts: Put the ball back in your stance to catch it earlier in the stroke, when the putter is still moving outward and the face is open. Left-to-right putts: Lean your hands down the target line in an exaggerated forward press. As with full swings, this will help you close the face through impact.

10 Don’t overload your pet club.
Remember the 7-wood I told you about? The ending isn’t happy. At the 1991 Senior Players Championship, I had a chance to catch the leader, Jim Albus, with two holes to play. On the par-5 17th my drive left me 215 yards to a green fronted by water. It was on the outside limit of my little 7-wood, and my caddie, Herman Mitchell, wanted me to lay up. “Mr. Albus has never won a tournament, Lee,” Herman said, hinting that maybe Jim might choke if I played safe. But I loved that club so much I knew I could pull the shot off. I hit the 7-wood and just nailed it. I was still posing my finish when my ball bounced off the bulkhead in front of the green and into the water. I had so much confidence in that 7-wood, it made me greedy. Be careful with your pet club. If you expect too much of it, it’ll turn on you.

Read More http://www.golfdigest.com/magazine/2009-04/trevinorules#ixzz1fd9DJ4rX

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Instruction

Me and My Golf: Top 5 driving tips (plus one of our biggest giveaways ever)

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In this week’s Impact Show, we share with you five of our best driving tips that have helped many of our students and online members knock shots off their scores!

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WATCH: When to chip with your 60-degree wedge

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In this video, Ryan Benzel, PGA Pro at Sahalee Country Club shows you when to use your 60-degree wedge around the green.

 

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Is your “dad bod” ruining your golf swing? This workout can help

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This article was co-written with Nick Buchan, owner of the excellent online resource Stronger Golf

If you are a working father, I’m willing to bet that over the years, golf and working out have slipped down the priority list a few spots. While commitments such as work, family, more work and kid’s taxi service have increased, so the time for working on your game and body has dwindled to almost nothing.

This has likely left you feeling a little disconnected from your former athletic prime, we know that sedentary lifestyles are strongly linked to decreased muscle mass, reduced strength and increased BMI. This will likely have a negative impact on club-head speed and fatigue levels during the round.

Worst still, all that time spent chained to the office desk has likely ingrained some poor postural habits and negatively affected your ability to turn in the golf swing. Fixed posture is thought to be a key contributor to neck and back pain, generally causes all manor of aches, niggles and discomfort, whilst placing a general ‘lock’ on your mobility.

Sitting at a desk all day (in fact staying in any one position for long periods of time) causes your body to adapt to make that position more efficient. For example, sitting all day may cause your hip flexors to become short and weak (due to lack of load on them), your glutes to shut off and your spine to flex forward, which in turn can result in anterior pelvic tilt, which leads to your hamstrings and low back feeling ‘tight.’

As you can see this postural pattern has pretty far reaching consequences, all of which contribute to those niggles you get from daily life and when you do get a chance to play, negatively affect your ability to execute the golf swing of old.

Further, the lack of systematic load on your musculature is causing a lack of tissue resiliency – i.e. those aches and pains you’ve been experiencing – as well as leading to reduced force output. This is an issue as force output is the vital ingredient for moving fast, the ultimate determinant of club-head speed, and even correlates to how long you will live!

If and when you do get the chance to practice or play, the postural inhibition, loss of strength and lack of golf movement pattern practice are likely to be major restrictive factors in the outcome.

The good news is (as you probably already know), a solid exercise routine can counteract the detrimental effects of your lifestyle that have manifested themselves in “Dad Bod Syndrome.”

The bad news is, you’ve tried that before and can never quite make it stick. You’ve likely been left disappointed about the falling standard of your game and frustrated at the lack of time available to fix the problems.

The Proposed Solution

Work out in way that is quick, easy, efficient, doesn’t require much equipment and targets the following priority areas for improvement:

  • Lose some body fat
  • Gain mobility in T-Spine, Shoulders and Hips
  • Improve Posture
  • Re-gain some basic strength
  • Practice a quality golf movement pattern

This quick and easy, circuit style workout ticks the outlined points above. It doesn’t take forever (less than 45 minutes) and requires minimal gym equipment. Aim to complete it 2-4 times per week, depending on other commitments.

Format: Circuit

Total Time: 45 mins

Equipment: Med-ball, Kettlebell, 41 inch Power Band, GravityFit TPro

Rounds: 3 to 5

Rest between exercises: 10 secs

Rest between rounds: 90 secs

Exercise Guide Playlist (you can shuffle between videos)

Warm-Up

1 round, 30 secs each

Half-kneeling alternate reach

Windshield wiper

PNF diagonal pull-apart

T-Spine rotation with groin stretch

Quadruped rock backs

Bar hang

Cross connect march

Strength Circuit

Exercise 1 – Med-ball slam

Priority – power

Equip – med-ball

Reps – 10

Exercise 2 – Split Stance Turns

Priority – golf movement patterns

Equip – TPro

Reps – 10 each side

Exercise 3 – Kettlebell Swing

Priority – basic strength / conditioning

Equip – kettlebell

Reps – 20

Exercise 4 – Push Up with Band

Priority – basic strength

Equip – power band

Reps – 12

Exercise 5 – 1 Arm Row

Priority – basic strength

Equip – kettlebell

Reps – 10 each side

Exercise 6 – Pallof Press

Priority – basic strength

Equip – power band

Reps – 10 each side

Exercise 7 – Suitcase Carry

Priority – strength/ conditioning

Equip – kettlebell

Reps – 30 seconds each side

To progress simply aim to do more reps in the same time and/or increase the duration of each exercise and/or increase the number of rounds in each circuit and/or reduce the rest periods and/or increase the weight/load used.

This workout isn’t special or innovative or entertaining. But it is practical, and it is useful, and it will help to reduce and reverse the effects of “Dad Bod Syndrome.”

 

 

If you would like something more tailored to your specific needs, check out the training program options at Stronger Golf or Golf Fit Pro

For more information on the featured equipment, check out the links below:

Med-ball

Kettlebell

41 Inch Power Band

GravityFit TPro

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