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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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Instruction

Clement: Why your practice swing never sucks

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You hear that one all the time; I wish I could put my practice swing on the ball! We explain the huge importance of what to focus on to allow the ball to be perfectly in the way of your practice swing. Enjoy!

 

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Clement: This is when you should release the driver

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The golf teaching industry is slowly coming around to understand how the human machine is a reaction and adaptation machine that responds to weight and momentum and gravity; so this video will help you understand why we say that the club does the work; i.e. the weight of the club releases your anatomy into the direction of the ball flight.

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Kelley: Focus on what you can control

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(Part One) Changing The Swing

The address position is the easiest part to change in the golf swing. If an adjustment can be made that will influence the rest of the swing, it should be made here. The set-up is a static position, so you have full control over it. If concepts are understood with feedback given (a mirror or video) it can easily be corrected and monitored. Once the club is in motion, a change becomes much more difficult.

Most faults in the swing originate in the set-up. All to often players go directly to the part they want to change in the middle of their swing, not understating their is an origin to what they do. When the origin isn’t fixed, trying to directly change the part in the middle is difficult and will often leave the player frustrated. Even worse, the part they are looking to fix may actually be a “match-up” move by the brain and body. These match-up moves actually counter -balance a previous move to try and make the swing work.

An example of not fixing the origin and understanding the importance of the set-up is when players are trying to shallow the club on the downswing (a common theme on social media). They see the steep shaft from down-the-line and directly try and fix this with different shallowing motions. More times then not, the origin to this is actually in the set-up and/or direction the body turns back in the backswing. If the body is out of position to start and turns back “tilty”, a more difficult match-up is required to shallow the shaft.

Another simple simple set-up position that is often over-looked is the angle of the feet. For efficiency, the lead foot should be slightly flared and the trail foot flared out as well (the trail more flared then the lead). When the trail foot is straight or even worse pointed inwards, a player will often shift their lower in the backswing rather then coil around in the groin and glutes. Trying to get a better lower half coil is almost impossible with poor foot work.

The golf swing is hard to change, so work on the things that are simple and what you have control over. You may not be able to swing it like a world class player, but with proper training you can at least the address the ball like one. When making a swing change, look to fix the origin first to facilitate the change.

*Part two of this article will be focusing on what you can control on the golf course, a key to better performance

http://www.kelleygolf.com

Twitter: KKelley_golf

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