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Game of the Weekend: “Eighteen”

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Studies consistently have shown the importance of random practice and how such practice is more transferable to the golf course. While you may be working to improve your ball control during practice, don’t forget to shift gears and spend just as much or more time preparing for all situations (physical, mental and emotional) that the game throws your way. Have purpose when you practice; better preparation leads to better play.

This Game of the Weekend, called “Eighteen,” is a full-swing game aimed at helping you hit more greens in regulation. It’s a game that forces you to change clubs for every shot you hit and where you’ll also score the results so that you can improve upon those results during a second trial of the game.

Game of the Weekend: EIGHTEEN

  • Gear needed: Bring ‘em all!
  • Time needed: You’re going to hit 18 full swing shots so depending on the length of your routine it might take 15-25 minutes.

Rules

Golf is easy when you hit a lot of greens and this game measures exactly that — greens in regulation. For this game, pretend that you’ve hit every fairway in regulation giving you 18 perfect chances to hit the green.

Using the following clubs, and in the exact order listed below, hit 18 shots to various targets and add up the number of shots out of 18 that would have landed on an average-size green. I realize that with certain clubs, depending on your ability level, that your target may be smaller. Feel free to alter what is acceptable to you as well as any of the clubs listed below. If you don’t have targets on your range that are exactly the yardage you’ll need to match the clubs, simply aim over or short of something on your range. Be sure to judge the wind, go through your routine, commit and you can even chart your scores at the interactive practice website www.golfscrimmages.com.

  1. 8-iron
  2. 6-iron
  3. Sand Wedge
  4. 5-iron/Hybrid
  5. 9-iron
  6. 7-iron
  7. Pitching Wedge
  8. 4-iron/Hybrid
  9. 8-iron
  10. 6-iron
  11. Sand Wedge
  12. 5-iron/Hybrid
  13. 9-iron
  14. 7-iron
  15. Pitching Wedge
  16. 4-iron/Hybrid
  17. 8-iron
  18. 6-iron

Benefits

Here’s what this game helps you with:

  • Anytime you alter the target and club for every shot you hit, your practice sessions have more learning, retention and transferability than when you pound away using the same club over and over.
  • You’ll be engaging your mind and decision-making skills much more with a game like this than when you just fire away mindlessly.

Practice needs to be as difficult as, or more challenging than what you experience on the course!

Previous Games of the Weekend

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Trent Wearner is the No. 1-rated teacher in Colorado by Golf Digest Magazine, as well as a two-time Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year (2004, 2014). Along the way, he has been recognized as a Top 20 Teacher Under Age 40 by Golf Digest, a Top 50 Kids Teacher in America by U.S. Kids Golf and a Top Teacher in the Southwestern U.S. by GOLF Magazine. Trent is also the author of the book Golf Scrimmages and creator of the website GolfScrimmages.com

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. rymail00

    Oct 11, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Ooffa,

    I think you may of missed the main point of this article or every other article he or others may have written. It’s about practicing with a purpose. There suggestions/games to keep your practice fun and to get the most out your probably limited time to actually practice. These drills might seem basic to someone who does get improvement from their practice.

    Personally I find the range and putting green/short game area just as much as much fun as actually playing. So these drills are nice change from the normal practice routine I do have which is the same every time.

  2. Phillip Tshabalala

    Oct 11, 2015 at 1:23 am

    Hi. Tried it yesterday and missed only 3 times, game changer! It helped me to focus on every shot and repeat my setup and take away regardless of club selection. Looking forward to today’s round.

    • Trent Wearner

      Oct 12, 2015 at 10:58 am

      Philip – thanks for the comment. Glad to hear it’s making a difference in your practice. Keep it up and it’ll continue to pay off!

  3. ooffa

    Oct 10, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    OMG. Pick different targets and aim at them. Thanks for the advice. Brilliant.
    (Face Palm)

  4. rymail00

    Oct 10, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Always like when these games pop up on the main page.

  5. DC

    Oct 9, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    I fully agree that targeted and challenging practicing accelerates improvement. Thank you! I enjoy your posts.

  6. Christestrogen

    Oct 9, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    No 3W….?
    Cool drill and will try it

    • Trent Wearner

      Oct 12, 2015 at 11:00 am

      Christestrogen – thanks for the reply. You can certain toss in one of your fairway woods if you’d like. You can and should alter the game based around the clubs that you use most often on approach shots. Thanks again and have a great fall!

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Instruction

Golf 101: How to hit it really far (with Tips from Harmon, Gankas, and Killen)

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Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Dustin Johnson…all World #1’s who hit it a mile and oddly enough got to it in very different ways. But what about us? The weekend warrior that also wants to hit it as far as our bodies will allow? I want a foolproof way to hit the golf ball a mile.

Every golfer wants more speed, more distance, more swag, all of it. Yes. I said it.

Have you ever heard a golfer say, “I just hit it too far?”

No….The answer is no.

Like my recent “how to hit a draw” piece, the distance tips have been offered up 1000’s of times,  everyone from Freddie Couples to Freddy Krueger has offered up tips. The game has changed so much even in the past few years with technology, speed training, video, and brute strength but since the beginning of time, the essence of hitting it far remains the……get that clubhead moving as fast as possible. Simple.

In my 25+ years of playing this game, I have heard some really good nuggets to build speed and some….well, others.

Tips like:

  1. Get the hands away from the head at the top AKA Extension and Width
  2. Wide Stance
  3. Turn back to the target
  4. Coil
  5. Uncoil
  6. Push
  7. Squat
  8. Lag
  9. Release
  10. Hit down
  11. Hit Up
  12. Scream at Impact
  13. Hit it left-handed
  14. Happy Gilmore
  15. 50 Inch drivers

Confused yet?

This sums it up…….

So the best thing I could think to do is ask the best coaches in the world to give me ONE golden nugget each. I was fortunate to get the council of Golf Digest Top 100 Teachers Claude Harmon III, George Gankas, and Matt Killen and this is what they delivered.

Claude Harmon III:

“Switch em’”

“For the average golfer, with a driver, you have to  improve the angle of attack. Most average golfers hit down on the driver (launch it low, spin it too much). And they hit too up on their irons. So switch the two. Learn to hit up on the driver to increase launch and reduce spin and hit down and compress the ball for control with your irons. “

George Gankas:

“Scooby Speed”

Matt Killen:

“Learn to turn the shoulders AND the hips”

“Stick an alignment in your belt loops with the longer end facing the target, as you coil make sure the point of that stick gets as close to the ball as possible…that’s what a full turn feels like. And ONE MORE thing! If that trail leg wants to straighten out, that’s a good thing.”

 

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TXG: Should you carry TWO DRIVERS? // Distance, Accuracy, Draw & Fade Setups

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Some of the best players in the world have been testing a two-driver setup for their bags. Does it make sense to play two drivers if they are set up for two different shot shapes? We test one driver setup for maximum distance and draw flight and another setup for accuracy and fade flight. See whether this could be an advantage for your game—and help you get off the tee better at your course!

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Fixing the shanks: How to stop shanking the golf ball

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May you never be concerned about fixing the shanks! But if you’re begging the golf gods for guidance how to stop shanking the golf ball? Ready to offer up your first-born child for the wisdom how to stop shanking irons? Frantically asking Google how to never shank a golf ball again?

Fear not. We’ll get to drills to stop shanking irons shortly that are guaranteed to ingrain the proper feel and anti-shank action, but first, a brief discussion of what exactly a shank is (other than will-to-live crushing).

More often than not, a shank occurs when a player’s weight gets too far onto the toes, causing a lean forward. Instead of the center of the clubface striking the ball—as you intended at address—the hosel makes contact with your Titleist, and—cover your ears and guard your soul—a shank occurs.

How to stop shanking the golf ball

If you’ve ever experienced the dreaded hosel rocket departing your club at a 90-degree angle, you know how quickly confidence can evaporate and terror can set in.

Fortunately, the shanks are curable and largely preventable ailment. While there are drills to fix your fault you once the malady has taken hold, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

How to stop shanking the golf ball

If you’re trying to understand how to stop shanking the golf ball, you need to understand where the ball makes contact with the club during a shank.

Fixing the shanks

To avoid shanking the golf ball, it’s important to lock in on some keys…

  • Have a proper setup and posture…Athletic posture, arms hang down, neither too bent over nor too upright, weight on the balls of the feet.
  • Keep your grip light and arms tension free…If 10 is a death grip of golf club and 1 is the club falling out of your hand, aim for a grip in the 4-6 range. Make sure your forearms aren’t clenched.
  • Maintain proper balance throughout the swing…50/50 weight to start (front foot/back foot). 60/40 at the top of the backswing. 90/10 at impact.
  • Avoid an excessively out-to-in or in-to-out swing path…Take the club straight back to start, rather than excessively inside (closer to the body) or outside (further away from the body).

The best drill to stop shanking the golf ball

Set up properly (as discussed above), flex your toes upward as you begin your swing and keep your chest high (maintain your spine angle) throughout the swing.

Other than those focal points, keep your brain free of any additional chatter, which only exacerbates shankitis.

(For more advice, be sure to check out what our friends at Me and My Golf have to say below)

Now you know how to stop shanking the golf ball and have the tools to never shank the golf ball again.

Praise the golf gods!

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