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Three ways to improve your game in 2013

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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. 

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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.

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Instruction

Golf 101: What is a strong grip?

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What is a strong grip? Before we answer that, consider this: How you grip it might be the first thing you learn, and arguably the first foundation you adapt—and it can form the DNA for your whole golf swing.

The proper way to hold a golf club has many variables: hand size, finger size, sports you play, where you feel strength, etc. It’s not an exact science. However, when you begin, you will get introduced to the common terminology for describing a grip—strong, weak, and neutral.

Let’s focus on the strong grip as it is, in my opinion, the best way to hold a club when you are young as it puts the clubface in a stronger position at the top and instinctively encourages a fair bit of rotation to not only hit it solid but straight.

The list of players on tour with strong grips is long: Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Fred Couples, David Duval, and Bernhard Langer all play with a strong grip.

But what is a strong grip? Well like my first teacher Mike Montgomery (Director of Golf at Glendale CC in Seattle) used to say to me, “it looks like you are revving up a Harley with that grip”. Point is the knuckles on my left hand were pointing to the sky and my right palm was facing the same way.

Something like this:

Of course, there are variations to it, but that is your run of the mill, monkey wrench strong grip. Players typically will start there when they are young and tweak as they gain more experience. The right hand might make it’s way more on top, left-hand knuckles might show two instead of three, and the club may move its way out of the palms and further down into the fingers.

Good golf can be played from any position you find comfortable, especially when you find the body matchup to go with it.

Watch this great vid from @JakeHuttGolf

In very simple terms, here are 3 pros and 3 cons of a strong grip.

Pros

  1. Encourages a closed clubface which helps deloft the club at impact and helps you hit further
  2. It’s an athletic position which encourages rotation
  3. Players with strong grips tend to strike it solidly

Cons

  1. Encourages a closed clubface which helps deloft the club at impact and can cause you to hit it low and left
  2. If you don’t learn to rotate you could be in for a long career of ducks and trees
  3. Players with strong grips tend to fight a hook and getting the ball in the air

 

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Clement: Driver lesson to max out distance and help you get fit properly

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This is an essential video on how to get you prepared for a driver fitting at your local Club Champion or favorite golf shop or store. I will be showing you two essential drills that we use at Wisdom In Golf, which will get you in the right focus for your driver fitting session which will also give you way more accuracy and consistency out on the golf course. What you should be looking for before your fitting session is the consistency of the golf ball hitting the center face of the driver and your ability to maintain an ascending angle of attack to your target.

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Clement: How to use the legs in the golf swing

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Shawn Clement’s Wisdom in Golf has been going against mainstream instruction for the last 40 years. Before that, we had the Snead Squat, and the teachings of Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus and Wisdom in Golf has taken it from there while others were too busy nipping and tucking all the talent and natural ability out of the game through video analysis. Those teachings showed up in the ’80s, we have theorized on what to do with our body parts and we have examined under a microscope what the leg work of the PGA Tour and LPGA tour players have. We taught “resist with the legs and coil upper body against the lower body” and paid a heavy price both physically and mentally. Then we said “stable lower body,” then finally, just a couple of years ago, we start saying to “let the hips turn” in the backswing.

Well, we have been doing our own thing and blazing a trail for our 115, 000 followers, and because your Human-machine is free of wires and strings, it knows what to do if you give it a clear task. CLARITY IN YOUR TASK will get you the consistency in the movement and it is important for your mind to understand so you know how to let things happen! Enjoy this video on proper leg work in the golf swing and enjoy the practice in your backyard with the easy drills we provide you!

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