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Golf 101: How can I get better?

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It may seem like a very general question, but in all honesty, there is a recipe that all great players follow. In my travels, I have heard three nuggets that glue all the world’s best together. It’s not a recipe of hit balls, work on the short game, or even video work with a great coach. It’s all done without swinging a club or input from another human being.

Wanna hear them?

Here they are.

1. Know who you are and who you are not…

Good golf tends to get muddied up in one box—hit it long, hit it straight, make every putt, and card a ton of birdies. Unfortunately, there isn’t a player on tour or in top amateur golf that thinks this…not even Bryson.

The goal is to get honest with yourself, pure and simple. Accept the things that you may never have, i.e. distance, magical touch, etc., and slowly work on them with the idea that they will only enhance your real strengths, not become the benchmark of your game.

For example, Charles Howell III is perceived as a great ball striker, but the stats would say differently. The things he has always done well are wedge it, pound it, and at times make a ton of putts. That’s the core of his game. Now can he grind with his coach to dial in his ball striking? Sure. The goal isn’t to become Ben Hogan though, it’s to raise that weakness to a manageable point where the things he does well can shine even more. Make sense?

So get out your journals, start tracking your game via Arccos or any game tracking app, and the data will speed up the process. Get to the core of who you are as a player. Protect what you do well and get the sore spots manageable.

2. Have a plan…

How many times have you stepped on the first tee, put a peg in the ground, and just blindly smacked one. Sometimes, you get lucky and hit a good one, and sometimes you spray it. But what was the plan?

Yes, it’s the first hole, and you want to get the round started, but any great endeavor does require a road map. Golf is chess, not checkers. Even practice for most becomes mindless. So, to actually get better, every effort you make, whether it be a round or range session, think about where you want to finish and start planning how you will get there.

For example: When Tiger plays the Masters, his whole week is centered around his plan. The plan is not to win essentially, it’s to stick to his plan so he can win. Range sessions mimic shots he needs to hit on the course, tee shots and approaches are thought out to mitigate any risk and at times, increase the odds of a low number. At no point during that week is TW just winging it…so why would you? If you want to get better think about what you are doing. Make every action mean something.

3. Pick a shot…

Claude Harmon III told me this one. No matter what, you have to have a stock shot that you know you can repeat. Whether its thin straight, fade, draw, three quarters, whatever. You have to have a baseline shot to work off of to play well.

When I went to see him, he asked what my shot was. I told him a draw. We get to the range and the ball is fading. I start trying to get the draw back and he asked, “What are you doing?” He said, your shot today is the fade, you are fighting yourself already, and you haven’t even teed off yet. How many times have you been to the range and your ball flight shifts? And how many times did you spend an hour trying to get “it” back? The point is the “it” is what you wake up with. Open your minds, folks!

GOOD GOLF IS PLAYED IN A MILLION DIFFERENT WAYS. IF YOU WANT TO GET BETTER AND STAY BETTER….THINK, THINK, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING…(Caps are because I’m yelling).

 

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

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Clement: Most overlooked visual detail for eliminating slice spin on driver

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When you see this video, you will slap your forehead and think, “Wow, no wonder I was slicing the driver!”

This is the most overlooked aspect of driver setup. Once you have taken care of this detail, you will be ready to enjoy one of the most satisfying aspects of the game.

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The Wedge Guy: Top 7 short game mistakes

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I’ve written hundreds of articles as “The Wedge Guy” and answered thousands of emails in my 30 years of focused wedge design. So, I thought I’d compile a list of what I believe are the most common mistakes golfers make around the greens that prevent them from optimizing their scoring.

So here goes, not in any particular order.

Tempo

Probably the most common error I see is a tempo that is too quick and “jabby”. That likely comes from the misunderstood and overdone advice “accelerate through the ball.” I like to compare playing a golf hole to painting a room, and your short shots are your “trim brushes”. They determine how the finished work turns out, and a slower stroke delivers more precision as you get closer to the green and hole.

Set Up/Posture

To hit good chips and pitches, you need to “get down”. Get closer to your work for better precision. Too many golfers I see stand up too tall and grip the club to the end. And having your weight favored to the lead foot almost guarantees a proper strike.

Grip Pressure

A very light grip on the club is essential to good touch and a proper release through the impact zone. Trust me, you cannot hold a golf club too lightly – your body won’t let you. Concentrate on your forearms; if you can feel any tenseness in the muscles in your forearms, you are holding on too tightly.

Hand position

Watch the tour players hit short shots on TV. Their arms are hanging naturally from their shoulders so that their hands are very close to their upper thighs at address and through impact. Copy that and your short game will improve dramatically.

Lack of Body Core Rotation

When you are hitting short shots, the hands and arms have to begin and stay in front of the torso throughout the swing. If you don’t rotate your chest and shoulders back and through, you won’t develop good consistency in distance or contact.

Club selection

I see two major errors here. Some golfers always grab the sand or lob wedge when they miss a green. If you have lots of green to work with and don’t need that loft, a PW or 9-iron will give you much better results. The other error is seen in those golfers who are “afraid” of their wedge and are trying to hit tough recoveries with 8- and 9-irons. That doesn’t work either. Go to your practice green and see what happens with different clubs when given the same swing . . . then take that knowledge to the course.

Clubhead/grip relationship

This error falls into two categories. The first is those golfers who forward press so much that they dramatically change the loft of the club. At address and impact the grip should be slightly ahead of the clubhead. I like to focus on the hands, rather than the club, and just think of my left hand leading my right through impact. Which brings me to the other error – allowing the clubhead to pass the hands through impact. If you let the clubhead do that, good shots just cannot happen. And that is caused by you trying to “hit” the ball with the clubface, rather than swinging the entire club through impact.

So, there are my top 7. There are obviously others, but if you spend just a bit of time working on these, your short game will get better in a hurry.

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Clement: Gently fire the long irons out there

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The secret to long irons is the full range of motion while keeping the strain level below 3/10. this engages the kinetic chain of the human body and delivers UNAVOIDABLE power! We show you how the simplest of tasks will yield the full measure of the body’s self-preserving system to deliver ridiculously easy long iron shots! And as far as set up is concerned, many of you are missing a key ingredient compared to the short irons that we divulge in this video

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