Connect with us

Instruction

Three ways to improve your game in 2013

Published

on

As 2012 and the golfing season comes to a close, now is the time to look back on the year of golf and evaluate how you progressed toward your goals. Each reader will differ; your goal may have been to break 100 for the 1st time, beat the next door neighbour or co-worker in your grudge match, win the club championship or earn your tour card. All of these are fine!

Today, I want to give you three ways to improve your game. They do not require swing, equipment or body changes and I am POSITIVE they will lead to lower scores in 2013:

COURSE LESSONS

How many times have you seen this guy on the range — the one who seems to be practicing hard every single time you are there. His ball striking and consistency is incredible and he NEVER seems to miss a shot, yet when you look at the leaderboard after the monthly medal he has again shot 5 strokes over his handicap?

On-course lessons are an underutilized part of transforming golf games. Things like the punch shots out of the trees or half-wedges are rarely covered in lessons or practice sessions, but it is exactly those kind shots that can kill a round.

That’s why working on only full swings on the range is not quite enough. Have your coach watch you on the course and see your game in the arena when it really counts.

STRATEGY

If you are anything like the players I work with, you often score better the first time you go and play a new golf course. The reason I believe this happens is because the first time you play, you have little or no idea of strategy or how you “should” play the course, and there are no damaging expectations of what you should do. This often lowers scores as players are “in the present” and focusing on the task at hand instead of letting the mind wander. During the off season, I challenge you to go out and play some rounds of golf with different objectives or strategies. Here are some ideas for starters:

  • Hit driver for most tee shots, even on tight, short holes. Be ultra aggressive, cut doglegs where possible and try to leave as short approach shots as possible.
  • Play for position from every tee shot, find the widest part of the fairways and use clubs you are confident in to leave yourself in the best position after each and every tee shot.

Some more things to try on EVERY hole of a round:

  • Approach shots: Play to the safe portion of the greens OR fire at all of the flags.
  • Chipping: Fly it all the way OR play some low, running shots.
  • Shots out of trouble: Play aggressively through the tiny gap OR play out to the fairway.

Of course, to get your lowest score each round of golf will require a mix of these strategies, but I want you to check your scores after adopting one of these strategies for at least 9 holes and stick to it. Often, when golfers play a course multiple times, they get into habits that are hard to break. You may surprise yourself with lower scores when you play a round playing for position off each tee, or perhaps playing more aggressive with your tee shots on short par 4’s. I challenge you to have a play with these, try them out and see what these little experiments do to your scores.

AIMPOINT

Back when you started playing golf and your golfing mind was free of confusion and conflicting thoughts, how well did you putt? Those of you with kids, how well do they seem to putt when you give them a little club and ball and let them loose? When I started playing golf at age 10, I had no putting swing thoughts and I seemed to make every putt I looked at! As I got older and my technique improved, my rate of putting improvement did not keep up though.

When I learned AimPoint with Jamie Donaldson (Europe’s Most Senior AimPoint Instructor) and how to read greens, the rate sure picked up again! I could go back to just picking a point, feeling confident in that and trusting my stroke to start it there and watch it track back into the hole much more often. In one sentence, AimPoint has transformed green reading from a guessing game to a skill that can be developed using a simple process of calculating distance, slope and angle of a putt to be able to predict the amount of break using a straightforward, legal in play chart! With these principles in place, I have seen huge improvements seen in all levels of golfers I coach.

Stacey Keating (winner of consecutive Ladies European Tour events during the 2012 season) compiled her stats and realised that since she and her caddy learned AimPoint green reading her score has improved 1.5 to 2 shots PER ROUND! That’s a 6 to 8 shots per tournament. It’s easy to see why this year saw her win her maiden tour title. If it can make this much difference to a tour player with lots of experience reading greens and a skilled caddy helping, how much can it do to your game?

So, as you set your goals for 2013, be sure to look into these three areas that may be completely new to you and see how great 2013 can be for you and your golf!

Click here for more discussion in the “Instruction & Academy” forum. 

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Andy is currently coaching in Shanghai, China. He is a UKPGA member and graduate of the AGMS degree at the University of Birmingham. Andy has coached in more than 30 countries and traveled to work with many of the best minds in golf to constantly improve his coaching. His No. 1 desire is to help golfers reach their dreams, and to enjoy the process! Website: andygriffithsgolf.com Online Lessons: swingfix.golfchannel.com/instructors/andy-griffiths Twitter: twitter.com/andygriffiths1 Facebook: facebook.com/andygriffithsgolf

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Andy Griffiths

    Jan 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Brock: Good question and really impressive having some knowledge of your game with your stats etc. I would say personally, the best would be to get out on the course as a bench mark with a coach. Then between you, you can decide what would be best for you going forward.

    Andrew: Wow, that is crazy! You did indeed take that picture and it is great to hear from you. How is your golf going? Glad to hear it is making a difference and will be some more content on here too shortly. Keep me up to date with how it is all going etc: http://www.facebook.com/AndyGriffithsGolf

  2. Andrew Bray

    Jan 23, 2013 at 12:44 am

    There is a good chance that I took that picture on the 7th at spyglass. Nike camp round? I still use alot of the stuff that you gave me during that round. Really cool to see this article and that photo!

  3. Brock Phillips

    Jan 17, 2013 at 12:17 am

    What would be the best route for me? I have a 12+ handicap, my driver kills me 5% fairway percentage, 1.8 putting average, and never had lessons. I want to start lessons. I am deciding between GolfTec or a local course. Any suggestions?

  4. Andy Griffiths

    Dec 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks guys, let me know if can help out with your journeys and feel free to get in touch and say how it is all going, I look forward to hearing about your golf in 2013!

  5. Rufiolegacy

    Dec 21, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Wow, great material in here! I am going to check out AimPoint now. I could use all the help I can get on the greens lol

  6. Dan

    Dec 20, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Fantastic article. I will get to work right away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instruction

Self-discovery: Why golf lessons aren’t helping you improve

Published

on

Of all the things I teach or have taught in golf, I think this is the most important: It’s not what we cover in a lesson, it’s what you discover. 

Some years ago, I had a student in golf school for a few days. She was topping every single shot. Zero were airborne. I explained that she was opening her body and moving forward before her arms and club were coming down. “Late” we call it. I had her feel like her arms were coming down first and her body was staying behind, a common correction for late tops. Bingo! Every ball went up into the air. She was ecstatic.

Some time later, she called and said she was topping every shot. She scheduled a lesson. She topped every shot. I asked her why she was topping the ball. “I think I’m picking up my head,” she said to my look of utter disbelief!

I had another student who was shanking the ball. At least 3 out of 5 came off the hosel with his wedges. I explained that his golf club was pointed seriously left at the top of his backswing. It was positioned well OUTSIDE his hands, which caused it to come down too wide and swing OUTSIDE his hands into impact. This is a really common cause of shanking. We were able to get the club more down the line at the top and come down a bit narrower and more inside the ball. No shanks… not a one!  He called me sometime later. The shanks had returned. You get the rest. When I asked what was causing him to shank, he told me “I get too quick.”

If you are hitting the golf ball better during a golf lesson, you have proven to yourself that you CAN do it. But what comes after the lesson is out of a teacher’s hands. It’s as simple as that. I cannot control what you do after you leave my lesson tee. Now, if you are NOT hitting the ball better during a lesson or don’t understand why you’re not hitting it better, I will take the blame. And…you do not have to compensate me for my time. That is the extent to which I’ll go to display my commitment and accept my responsibility. What we as teachers ask is the same level of commitment from the learners.

Improving at golf is a two-way street. My way is making the correct diagnosis and offering you a personalized correction, possibly several of them. Pick the ONE that works for you. What is your way on the street? Well, here are a few thoughts on that:

  • If you are taking a lesson at 10 a.m. with a tee time at 11 a.m. and you’re playing a $20 Nassau with your buddies, you pretty much wasted your time and money.
  • If the only time you hit balls is to warm up for your round, you have to be realistic about your results.
  • If you are expecting 250-yard drives with an 85 mph club head speed, well… let’s get real.
  • If you “fake it” during a lesson, you’re not going to realize any lasting improvement. When the teacher asks if you understand or can feel what’s being explained and you say yes when in fact you DO NOT understand, you’re giving misleading feedback and hurting only yourself. Speak up!

Here’s a piece of advise I have NEVER seen fail. If you don’t get it during the lesson, there is no chance you’ll get it later. It’s not enough to just hit it better; you have to fully understand WHY you hit it better. Or if you miss, WHY you missed.

I have a rule I follow when conducting a golf lesson. After I explain the diagnosis and offer the correction, I’ll usually get some better results. So I continue to offer that advice swing after swing. But at some point in the lesson, I say NOTHING. Typically, before long the old ball flight returns and I wait– THREE SWINGS. If the student was a slicer and slices THREE IN A ROW, then it’s time for me to step in again. I have to allow for self discovery at some point. You have to wean yourself off my guidance and internalize the corrections. You have to FEEL IT.

When you can say, “If the ball did this then I know I did that” you are likely getting it. There is always an individual cause and effect you need to understand in order to go off by yourself and continue self improvement. If you hit a better shot but do not know why, please tell your teacher. What did I do? That way you’re playing to learn, not simply learning to play.

A golf lesson is a guidance, not an hour of how to do this or that. The teacher is trying to get you to discover what YOU need to feel to get more desirable outcomes. If all you’re getting out of it is “how,” you are not likely to stay “fixed.” Remember this: It’s not what we cover in the lesson; it’s what you discover!

Your Reaction?
  • 332
  • LEGIT27
  • WOW6
  • LOL4
  • IDHT3
  • FLOP4
  • OB2
  • SHANK14

Continue Reading

Instruction

Jumping for Distance (Part 2): The One-Foot Jump

Published

on

In Part 1, I wrote about how I think this concept of jumping up with both feet for more power may have come about in part due to misinterpretation of still photography and force plate data, self-propagation, and a possible case of correlation vs causation. I also covered reasoning why these players are often airborne, and that can be from flawed setups that include overly wide stances and/or lead foot positions that are too closed at setup or a re-planted lead foot that ends up too closed during the downswing.

In Part 2, let’s look at what I feel is a better alternative, the one foot jump. To me, it’s safer, it doesn’t complicate ball striking as much, and it can still generate huge amounts of vertical ground force.

First, set up with an appropriate stance width. I like to determine how wide to stand based on the length of your lower legs. If you go to your finish position and stand on your lead leg and let your trail leg dangle down so your knees are parallel, your lower trail leg should extend only as far back as it will go while being up on the tip of your trail toe. If you roll that trail foot back down to the ground, viola, you’ll have a stance width that’s wide enough to be “athletic” and stable but not so wide you lose balance when swinging. You can go a little wider than this, but not much.

To contrast, the stance below would be too wide.

Jumping off the ground can be caused by too wide of a stance and lead foot position that is too closed at setup

Second, make sure your lead foot is open sufficiently at address. I’ve previously outlined how to do both these first two points in this article.

Third, whether you shift your weight to your trail foot or keep a more centered weight type feeling in the backswing, when you shift your weight to your lead foot, be careful of the Bubba replant, and then push up with that lead leg to push your lead shoulder up. This is the one-foot “jump” and it will take advantage of parametric acceleration (read more about that here).

But also at the same time, shift your lower spine towards the target.

From a face-on viewpoint, this can look like back bend, but in 3D space it’s side bend. It kind of feels like you are crunching the trail side of your mid-section, or maybe just bending over to the side to pick up a suitcase, for example. This move helps lower your trail shoulder, which brings down the club (whereas this is more difficult to do if you try to two-foot jump with your trail leg). It also helps you to keep from getting airborne off your lead foot. Further it doesn’t change your low point (by not changing the relative position of the C7 vertebrae in its general orb in space) and complicate ball striking like a two-foot jump does.

At this point, the club releases and you can stand up out of the shot (you don’t need to transition in to any sort of dangerous back bend) in balance on your lead foot having generates tons of vertical ground force without having jumped off the ground or putting yourself at risk for injury.

“Movember” mustache… not required!

Your Reaction?
  • 26
  • LEGIT4
  • WOW1
  • LOL2
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP6
  • OB0
  • SHANK15

Continue Reading

Instruction

Move Your Legs Like the Legends: The Key to the Snead Squat

Published

on

It’s important not to overdo the “Sam Snead squat.” Understanding the subtle leg movements of the game’s greats is key to making your practice purposeful and making real improvement.

Your Reaction?
  • 38
  • LEGIT4
  • WOW3
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP3
  • OB0
  • SHANK13

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending