Photo by Walter Iooss Jr.
Pick a spot for aim and distance: in line with the apex of the break and a couple feet past the hole.
You’re looking over a long, breaking putt, and in your mind you start drawing a picture of the ball snaking its way to the hole. What’s wrong with that image? Nothing, as long as you don’t forget about speed. Speed is the biggest factor in putting. Good speed with a bad line almost always puts you closer to the hole than bad speed with a good line. Think about that.
“IF YOU USE AN AIMING POINT, MAKE SURE IT’S BEYOND THE HOLE.”
What you need is a way of combining those two elements. You probably already pick an aiming spot on long putts. For a lot of golfers, that spot is the high point of the break, which might be halfway down your line. If that’s what you do, don’t be surprised if you’re leaving putts short—you’re aiming at something halfway to the hole!
Want more tips from top instructors and tour pros? Check out Golf Digest Schools.
For better speed control, try this method. First, estimate the high point of the break, then draw an imaginary line through that point to a spot even with the hole. Second—and this is the big one—move that spot a couple feet farther out on the same line (below). Why? Because you want the ball to have a little roll left when it approaches the hole. To quote Yogi Berra: “Ninety percent of putts that are short don’t go in.”
Here’s one more image to help you get putts to the hole: Picture one of those annoying speed bumps three or four inches before the cup. You want to hit the ball with enough pace to get over the bump. You can even practice this concept with an alignment stick on the green.
The best part about getting the speed right is, you become a better green-reader. You’ll have a mental database to access when you’re reading a putt. The more putts you’ve hit with proper speed, the more experiences you have to guide you. Putts hit with poor speed poison the database.
Michael Breed is Golf Digest’s Chief Digital Instructor.
RULES GUY Friday, January 11, 2019
The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.
After marking ball on green and picking up ball, golfer or caddie drops ball, which rolls into water hazard, not retrievable. Replacement ball of exact brand and kind not available. What is penalty and how to continue?
—EARL HUSBAND, ODESSA, TEXAS
Ball lifted from putting green must be replaced. Must be exact ball. If not same ball, make/model no matter—substituting ball without authority under Rules. Two strokes or loss of hole is penalty. Also, One Ball Condition of Competition only encouraged for pros. Top-tier amateurs, too. Not for club play. Suggest: Grip ball tight!
https://www.golf.com/instruction/2019/01/11/rules-guy-what-happens-when-you-lose-a-marked-ball/?fbclid=IwAR11WsdtyZU9C7UU0p1QE1hg2Y8cKpXLWR3L2x-u8SZ-q2M8ywzfs6bGsWg
By Staff
When it comes to improving your swing with irons and hybrids, you have a useful training tool at the ready: your golf bag. At the range, stand your bag up and address a ball with your backside pressed against the bag. Take the club to the top while keeping your right cheek touching the bag. As you swing down and through impact, smoothly transfer contact from your right cheek to your left. Try to feel as though you’re rotating around your spine instead of moving laterally toward the target.
By remaining in contact with the bag, you’ll maintain your body angles longer on the downswing and have an easier time releasing the club and making solid contact. You’ll also train the pelvis to stay back instead of thrusting forward toward the ball—a common downswing fault known as early extension that leads to weak shots to the right. Think “cheek to cheek”— your ballstriking and accuracy will thank you for it.
Keeping your backside in contact with the bag throughout the swing—first with your right cheek, then with your left—lets you maintain critical body angles farther into the swing for more accuracy and consistency.
Squat For Power
Tiger’s dip can add distance to your game
By Sean FoleyPhotos by J.D. Cuban
Nod of approval: Tiger’s head dips as a result of squatting. Then he pushes up to create power.
One of golf’s oldest clichés is “maintain your posture” throughout the swing. The in-tent of the message is good: To help amateurs avoid rising out of the address position–either from a lack of hip flexibility or because they’re trying to help the ball into the air. But keeping your head level might be robbing you of some distance.
What you want to do is squat as you swing into the ball. This move is similar to what any athlete would do before leaping. Many long-ball hitters drop several inches as they start the downswing. Tiger Woods has been doing it throughout his career, and it has served him well. You can see it here (above).
WATCH NOWAND THE WINNERS OF GOLF’S FOUR MAJORS WILL BE…
Essentially you’re creating an explosive action by lowering and then pushing off the ground. It helps you swing into the ball with considerable force. If you were to maintain your posture, it would be impossible to get to the ideal low point of your swing, four or five inches in front of the ball.
If you want to understand the science behind squatting, here it is: Bending your knees lengthens your quadriceps (thigh muscles), and hip flexion lengthens your glutes (buttocks). You’re now in a position to contract these muscles in an upward thrust and deliver a lot of energy into the shot.
So the next time you swing, pretend there’s a banana lying lengthwise under your front foot. Your goal is to squash it as you swing down. Do this, and you’ll really compress the ball.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR GRIP
Most golfers tighten their grip as an unconscious response to fear and doubt. In a heightened state of tension, blood leaves the capillaries in your hands and supports your vital organs and their functions. When this happens, you lose some feeling in your hands, and the natural reaction is to grip the club tighter to try to regain it. My advice is to constantly check your grip pressure because it changes all the time. The more aware you are of gripping the club too tightly, the better chance you’ll have of making a good swing and releasing the club at a consistent point.
By Luke Kerr-Dineen
January 12, 2019
TOUR-TESTED TIPS: Golf’s best players make the game look effortless. How do they do it? That’s what we wanted to find out. Luckily, these guys were more than willing to talk. We tracked down Cameron Smith to teach us the secret to tight-lie chips.
Cameron Smith:
“Weekend players fear tight lies, but the setup is really the same as a basic high chip. My keys are to open the face, position the ball just forward of center in my stance, and make sure that my spine angle is perpendicular to the ground.
From there, I pick out a spot where I want to land the ball on the green then take a final moment to soften my arms and release any tension. From this relaxed position, all you need to do is rotate around your body, back and through, at a smooth pace. There’s no need to lift the ball into the air. The loft on your wedge does it for you.
“Once you take your setup position, pick the spot where you want your ball to land, and commit.”
By GOLF Editors
February 16, 2019
PGA Tour player Russell Henley explains how to hit the tricky, fluffy chip shot…
You missed the green, but hey, the ball’s sitting up in the rough. Good, right? Maybe. In this situation, it’s not always certain how the ball will come out. As with all short-game shots, crisp contact is the key.
Step 1: Even if you’re short-sided, refrain from opening the face too much. With the ball up, you risk sliding the club right underneath it if you add extra loft. The ball won’t go anywhere. I keep the face square in this situation, or barely opened if I really need more loft to stop it close.
Step 2: I swing as if I’m hitting a little draw, with the club moving in-to-out and my hands rolling over slightly through impact. This helps the club remain shallow, which usually results in cleaner contact. My main thought is to get as many grooves on the ball as possible. Think “glide,” not “chop.”
Source: GolfDigest
By Keely Levins
Learn how to turn back, not sway.
Let’s talk about hip turn. James Kinney, one of our Golf Digest Best Young Teachers and Director of Instruction at GolfTec Omaha, says that from the data GolfTec has collected, they’ve found lower handicap golfers have a more centered lower body at the top of the swing. Meaning, they don’t sway.
If you’re swaying off the ball, you’re moving yourself off of your starting position. The low point of your swing moves back when you sway back, so you’re going to have to shift forward to get your club to bottom out where the ball is. That takes a lot of timing, and is going to end up producing some ugly shots.
So, instead, Kinney says you should turn.
“When turning your hips, you are able to stay more centered over the golf ball in your backswing and the low point of your swing stays in the proper position, resulting in consistent contact.”
To practice turning, Kinney says to set up in a doorway. Have your back foot against the doorframe. When you make your lower body move back, your hip will hit the door fame if you’re swaying. If you’re turning, your hips are safe from hitting the frame.
Remember that feeling of turning when you’re on the course and your ball striking is going to get a whole lot more consistent.