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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: How to play golf (with Jake Hutt)

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Yes, you read that right. We’re talking about how to play golf. We at GolfWRX pride ourselves in not only supplying info to the golf junkies out there but to also help along the new golfers that just want to get started.

No, we won’t be discussing “tour issue” head weights or “shallowing” the club in transition. This is a BASIC look into how to play golf—how a new golfer would walk to the first tee, for the first time, and have some fun. If you dig deep that is the spirit to GolfWRX.com as a whole. Enjoying the game.

I’ve brought in some help on this one: A coach who I think has whittled down the basics to their core. Jake Hutt., look him up on IG, it’s “golf for dummies” for basically every type of player out there. Jake, like George Gankas and some others, has what I would call the “voice of the new generation.” It’s the fun, laidback, non-traditional style that my kids will be learning from in years to come. So why not introduce him to the WRX community now?

More bio: Class A PGA Professional Jake Hutt teaches out of The Stanford University Golf Course and currently lives in San Carlos, California. He can be found on Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram, and YouTube under @Jakehuttgolf.

We are doing this breakdown of how to play golf in a very simple way. Yes, people will chime in about what we missed and explained incorrectly but hey, it wouldn’t be a real post without it.

We will do a checklist of the basics: Posture, grip, and an ABC of the motion for a full swing, chip, and a putt.

How to play golf

Posture

Stand straight up, put your arms on your legs, and tilt forward until your fingertips touch just above your knee caps. Let your arms hang straight down from your shoulders. This will feel similar to the posture when shooting a free throw in basketball.

Grip

How would you pick up a suitcase with your left hand? Now replace the suitcase with a golf club. That’s how your left hand goes on the club. To figure out where to put the right hand get in you golf posture and clap your hands together. Now without moving your left shoulder and letting your right arm bend move your hands so they’re just to the right of your right pant pocket. The left arm should be parallel to the ground. Now look at the position of your hand. The palm will either face the ground, the horizon, or the sky. Where the palm points here is where the palm should face when holding a golf club.

Swing

All a golf swing is is throwing the club around your body without letting go of it. If you hear it swoosh, it’s a swing. Once you learn to swoosh the club the next step is learning to hit the middle. To train this spray foot powder on the your clubface and observe where impact is after your attempt to hit the ball. If the ball mark shows up on the toe of the club try and hit the opposite part of the clubface (the heel) on the next shot—repeat the same process for the opposite miss (mark shows up on heel of club). Over time, you’ll need less exaggeration to hit the middle of the clubface. With enough training, this skill will become learned and will require no conscious thought.

Chipping

Stand with your feet close together, the ball off your trail foot, and the handle off the left leg. Lift the heel of the club slightly off the ground so the handle of the club is more vertical. Now make a longer, faster feeling putting stroke. The ball should pop in the air land on the green and roll. The less lofted the club the lower the ball will go and the more it will run. The more lofted the club the higher the ball will launch and less it will roll.

Putting

The most important part of putting is hitting the middle of the clubface. The faster you swing the putter the further the ball rolls. The slower you swing the putter the shorter the ball rolls.

how to play golf putting

How to play golf: Putting. Hitting the center of the putter face is the most most important thing.

The ball starts where the putter face is pointing whether it be straight right or left. To get a feel for speed imagine the effort it would take to roll a ball to the hole. Use that feel to create a putting stroke. Putting greens are not flat the ball will curve left or right. To help figure out which way a green rolls stand halfway between the ball and hole. Ask yourself which foot has more pressure on it. If you feel more pressure on your left foot the putt will break left and more pressure on the right foot means the putt will break right. If the putt breaks right the putter face should point left of the hole at impact. If the putt breaks left the putter face should point somewhere right of the hole at impact.

We’ll be back with more of this entry-level discussion of how to play golf. Let us know in the comments if there are any areas you’d like Jake to dive into!

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Clement: The best video for beginner golfers ever

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One of the deep expertise we have is knowing what side you need to be swinging from to enjoy your best golf. Sometimes it’s both sides like me! So many professionals on tour are including left-handed swings (for the right-handed player) in their warm-up routines and practice routines as a great way to create muscle confusion. Our fabulous kinesiologist, Munashe Masawi, confirms this through his studies and personal training for his grueling sport of football.

But there is always one side that fires better, feels smoother, and has the potential for a lot more than the other for many golfers. Which one are you?

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Clement: Important video on grip! (dare we say “historic!”)

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We so much love being historically correct! Back when I started teaching 35 years ago, when I looked at what the top 5 coaches were teaching, I knew I had to forge my own way. Not only did it not make sense anatomically, it did not make any sense neurologically either! Fast forward to today and we talk about ground forces and how to let the hips turn in the backswing and grip? WHOA, DID THEY MISS THE BOAT THERE!!

This video really takes the cake and REMOVES ALL QUESTIONS AND DOUBT ABOUT GRIP; where to hold it, grip pressure and IN OUR OPINION, THE FIRST TIME IT HAS BEEN REVEALED IN IT’S FULL ANATOMICAL FUNCTIONALITY.

This will end all debates about the “weak grip vs strong grip” argument!

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