Golf pitch shots: a lot easier than you think

I’m so tired of reading about the latest and greatest method for a golf pitch shot or any other golf shot for that matter. You know, you can go back to some golf magazines from the 60’s and you’ll see almost the exact same pictures and instruction sequences as today. Not much has really changed in golf instruction I’m here to tell you. If you read the latest books, however, you’d swear that the human body was just invented or that golf clubs were just invented, one of the two.

Listen, it’s so simple to make a great golf pitch shot and everyone way over complicates this. As with everything I teach in golf, it all boils down to doing a couple main things very correctly. Most of the details matter very little but we get all caught up in so many minor things that we end up not paying attention to the major thing.

For a golf pitch shot. Here’s the major things:

1. As still a body as you can given the distance of the swing. Again, I hear all of this advice on videos about wrist cock and proper stance and blah blah blah… Guess what? There’s many ways to make a pitch shot, not just one. But they all work more consistently when the body is still. Focus on this. Work on this in your living room while watching TV. You don’t even need a ball? This will pay you back in spades in lower score and yet nobody does it. Of course, if you have more than a short pitch shot, then yes, you have to allow the body to rotate with the swing. Just minimize it. The physics of the golf swing is such that the least of amount of variables of any of the swings gives you the highest chance for consistency.

2. Hit down to make the ball go up. Now if I had a nickel for every time I saw an amateur try to “help” the ball up in the air, I’d be a millionaire. This is so common because it is counter-intuitive. To hit a great golf pitch shot, you must strike the ball before the ground. If you need more loft, pull out your sand wedge or lob wedge. Don’t go through all those bodily gyrations to force it. The best way to make sure this happens is to pre-load it in your setup. That means, you should be leaning on your front foot more than your back. That drops your front shoulder down and back shoulder up. As long as you keep your body still, your swing will necessarily result in a downward, correct strike on the ball.

3. Make the shot while keeping it as low as possible. In other words, you don’t always need a wedge! In fact, for most amateurs, running the ball up on the green is almost always a better choice, especially if you tend to chunk it or hit it fat as they say. Pull out your 5-iron some day and chip with it anytime you don’t absolutely have to put it in the air You’ll be surprised.

Folks, those are the biggies. Get real good at them and then you don’t even have to worry about any details. Forget about being “technically correct.” Much of that stuff is for the pros. Look, you just want to break 100 or 90 right? How will you do that? By becoming as consistent as possible. Work on the big 3 in your next golf chip shot and you’ll be amazed at what you can do.

Golf Chipping Tips by Jackie Burke Jr.

Jack Burke wrote the following golf chipping chips:

The average ninety-shooter has trouble playing a chip simply because he does not understand the na- ture of the shot. Usually he putts the ball with an iron, and calls it a chip.

Simply bunting the ball with an iron from the fringe of the green does not constitute a chip. Unless one particular motion is applied to it, such a shot depends almost entirely on luck. This motion is down- ward, the essential action in all iron shots.

The chip is, in essence, a billiard shot. I don’t care if the pin is ten feet away or a hundred, the ball still must be hit down upon. This imparts spin to the ball, and spin means control. Without a downward blow you are not taking advantage of the loft, which is built into each iron for a purpose. That’s why the manufacturer made nine of them.

A ball hit flatly with an iron can do little more than bounce off the face of it. Hitting the ball in this fash- ion, you might just as well play the game with a baseball bat.

To create a golf shot, rather than just bat it, the ball must ride on the face of the club, held there by

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THE NATURAL WAY TO BETTER GOLF

Tips:

The turf against which you hit down until the com- pression of the ball propels it forward. This holds true whether the ball is hit 200 yards or 200 inches.

BurkeChip1

The downward blow of the chip-The essential action in all iron shot. This imparts spin which, in turn, gives you control.

The forward direction in which the ball is propelled is, as I have implied, built into the iron by the manu- facturer. Beyond generating a certain amount of clubhead speed, there is nothing you can do to in- crease this.

But to take full advantage of it, you must hit down on the ball. This is the only way in which the ball can ride as high on the face of it as the manufacturer in- tended.

Get confidence in the loft of your irons from the chip. Learn how much of the work they can do for you when you hit down on the ball. This knowledge will erase your fear of the longer irons.

Concentrating on the downward blow, the chip is addressed and struck basically the same as the putt.

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BurkeChip2

Set confidence in the loft of your irons from the chip. This will erase your fear of the longer irons

plane with your shoulders, how and where you place your feet is a matter of comfort. I place mine close to- gether and well open to the cup. By doing this I get the sensation that my target is lying in my lap.

There are several schools of thought on how to judge a chip. Some contend you should judge the roll and let the ball land where it may. Others say you should pick a spot on the green for the ball to land, and let the roll take care of itself.

Possibly the simplest method is to judge the chip by the manner in which it would react if you rolled it by hand toward the cup. Unless you feel you can al- ready visualize this, practice it.

Roll the ball underhand. Then transfer the results to the proper technique of the chip. This is the most practical way to attune your muscles. Afterward, judging a chip is a matter of using your imagination.

Let’s treat here the popular myth about the follow- through.

The average golfer’s thinking works on the principle that if he follows through, the ball takes care of itself. This is putting the cart before the horse.

A correct follow-through is the result of a well-hit ball, not the cause of it. An incorrect follow-through is premeditated, resulting in an upswing. Most mis- hit irons are caught on the upswing, the inevitable result of a conscious follow-through.

By thinking in terms of the follow-through you are least apt to accomplish what the follow-through is supposed to do-shift your weight.

BurkeChip3

Actually, a follow-through is the unavoidable result of hitting down on the ball. How well you follow

THE CHIP. ESSENCE OF THE IRON SHOT

through will be determined by how well you hit down.

Herein lies the importance of hitting down on the ball, not only on the chip, but on all iron shots.

A follow-through is the unavoidable result of hitting down on the ball. In this chip-shot, the follow-through- although not deliberate-is nevertheless natural and adequate.


This is an excerpt from a book in the Online Classics Golf Library, an ever-expanding collection of golf books. Membership and lifetime access to the OCG library can be yours with your purchase of

Break 80 Without Practice,

A complete guide to score improvement for those with little time to work on their game AND A TURBOCHARGE for those that do.

Craig’s take: If you spend more of your time chipping using these tips, your long game will naturally get better. Give it a try, you will be pleasantly surprised when your long irons and fairway woods start becoming straighter by virtue of you relaxing more knowing that your chipping game will always bring you out of it.  This game is all about confidence and when you have that, your best performances come out and you play the game with your unconscious mind. That’s the goal!

Golf Sand Instruction by Gary Player and Sam Snead

Sam Snead’s golf sand instruction:

Instruction on the cardinal rules of sand trap play (explosion-type) are as follows:

  1. Settle your feet firmly, digging in, so that nothing can shift under you during the swing; also, since it’s against the rules of golf to ground your club in a trap, this will enable you to test the depth and consistency of the sand.
  2. Play the ball off the left heel from a well-open stance and with the clubface laid back as open as possible for quick loft.
  3. Let the arms and hands do the work, with little leg action; the swing is straightforward from an upright position, with plenty of wrist snap at impact.
  4. Be sure the golf club head goes down and forward and emerges with a full follow-through. If your left palm is facing downward at the finish, you’ve kept the club head open and followed through with good form.
  5. sneadsand1

Some particularly tough hazard shots you’ll meet and golf sand instruction on how I play them:

Ball in a footprint: Hit it! Added to the fact that it’s an explosion shot, the ball is rimmed around with sand and needs extra excavating. If it’s a deep depression, switch from a sand iron to the nine-iron or fairway wedge, both of which have quicker “bite”.

Ball bunkered in downhill lie at back of trap: You get these back-slope babies now and then. First, take more sand back of the ball than on the flat: dig in a good two inches behind the ball. Close the clubface a bit to conform to the sand’s contour. Play the ball back a bit, off the right heel.

Ball in level lie on shallow, firm sand and with no overhang lip: If these four situations exist, use your putter. Use a flat-arm motion, not a chop, so that the blade is parallel to the sand. If you avoid making contact on either the upswing or downswing, which would loft or mash the ball into sand, and strike squarely n the middle , the putter will take you out nicely. I keep my weight forward.

Ball at front of trap, uphill lie: Keep in mind that you’re hitting up: therefore, the club head will plow through deeper and deeper sand as it moves toward and through the ball. This means (1) you need to hit a bit closer to the golf ball than on the flat and (2) your follow-through must be especially forceful. My weight remains on the left side and I play the outside-in cut shot, as described before. The clubface stays open and square to the line of flight.

A couple of golf sand instruction tips for working on your sand wedge game I’ve used:Ralph Guldahl, a great bunker player, liked to break a sand “slump” by practicing dummy swings in which he aimed to take divots of equal size. He wanted his sand divots to be about six inches long and three-quarters of an inch deep. Then “Ralph dropped a ball, took real shots with the same swing.

To improve accuracy at hitting behind the ball, draw a line two inches behind the all or sink a tee. Now aim for these targets, forgetting the ball.

Golf sand instruction illustration:

Gary Player’s golf sand instruction for the correct stance with relation to the ball and the direction you want to go for different sand shots:

A) Basic golf sand shot – stance is open, left foot facing target considerably and right slightly. Ball is played off left foot. Club face is opened to the right and enters sand about 2″ behind ball.

B) Buried lie in the sand – stance is square with only left foot pointed slightly toward target. Ball played farther back in stance with clubface square. Club again enters sand about 2″ behind ball.

C) Shot from wet sand – same stance and ball placement as for basic sand shot, and clubface opened to right. Only difference is that club enters sand farther behind ball -about 3 inches- because it will not cut as deeply in wet sand.

D) Uphill shot in sand – same as basic shot except that ball played a bit farther back in stance -note line going to left heel- and club enters sand closer to ball -about 1″ from it- player must be extra sure to move club through sand on this shot since it must cut through more sand.

E) Downhill in sand – same as basic except ball played even farther forward in stance -note line going to toe- and club to enter sand farther behind ball- about 3″, , depending on incline of slope.

Golf Wedge Instruction by The King, Arnold Palmer

I have located this golf wedge instruction from none other than “The King” of golf, Arnold Palmer. I don’t need to add anything to it so here In his own words, Arnold Palmer:

Even though some of my fellow pros disagree with me, I’m a dedicated “wedge” man. The pitching wedge is the most versatile club in the bag and the real stroke-saver. And, there are a dozen ways you can use it, depending on how you want to play a shot. I think that a full knowledge of the use of the wedge will save you more shots than learning to hit a straight tee shot 250 yards down the fairway. I do most of my practicing with the wedge, and the person who wants to score should do most of his/her practicing with it, too.

For the short wedge pitch, I play the ball off a point opposite my left heel. I employ a short backswing, my hands never going higher than my shoulders. Taking on open stance with my left foot drawn away from the ball, I take the club back slowly and don’t cock my wrists until I’ve reached the end of the backswing. .

Although you must hit the ball firmly, you don’t put any effort into the swing. And you must not try to lift the ball into the air. Hit the ball on the downswing; the wedge will see that it gets up in the air.

For a shot that you want to get up in the air immediately after contact, move the ball forward to a point opposite the left toe and hit it the same way.

For the low wedge shot with exaggerated backspin, play the ball back off the right foot. That way you get a low-flying, whirling ball from hitting straight down at the ball. This shot is used against the wind when you don’t want the ball up in the air. The only body movement in wedge shots is a slight turn of the shoulders. The feet remain firmly planted in position.

Golf wedge instruction photos

golf wedge instruction setup golf wedge instruction start
The feet are almost together in an open stance. The ball is opposite the left heel. The body is turned toward the hole. The wrists start to break sooner and in a more pronounced way on the wedge pitch.
golf wedge instruction takeaway golf wedge instruction follow through
The body turn is at a minimum; the hands just go waist high. Particularly on this shot, your head must remain rigidly in place.
golf wedge instruction finish
The body turn is at a minimum; the hands just go waist high.

Gary Players golf driving for distance tips

How one of golf’s greatest legends uses the driver

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Golf DRIVING FOR DISTANCE

by Gary Player

Keeping in mind this American stress on the long ball, I hope my methods of adding distance will be helpful to the reader.

gary player and his toolsFirst, I had all of my clubs made one-half inch longer than the standard length I had been using.

Longer clubs naturally give a longer swing arc. If you have a longer arc I golf you’re automatically going to hit the ball farther.

Also, with longer clubs it is possible to shorten your grip on the shaft if a shot calls for less distance; with a short club you don’t have enough shaft to grip farther up when you need extra length.

A word of warning: the prospective club buyer who wants more length should consult his professional for advice before investing in longer shafts.

 

capture-20130916-134541A second factor that helped me hit the ball farther was improvement of my weight shift. Like many golfers, I had a problem shifting my weight to my left foot on the downswing. I frequently fell back on my right leg, pulling away from the ball. Your weight should move slightly to the right foot on the backswing and then shift to the left foot immediately at the start of the downswing.

***The one thing I concentrate on during my swing is shifting my weight to the left foot in returning the clubhead to the ball. ***

This weight shift to the left adds distance because it helps delay the uncocking of the wrists on the downswing. This delayed hit uncocks the wrists just before impact so that the speed of the clubhead really accelerates as it meets the ball.

Too many golfers feel they add distance by swinging harder with hands and arms. They start the downswing with their hands and arms before shifting their weight to the left foot. As a result, they uncock their wrists too early, wasting clubhead speed.

***Uncocking the wrists with a delayed hit is the real secret of long drives***, but you shouldn’t be conscious of hands and arms in the golf swing. By immediately shifting your weight forward on the downswing, you will automatically delay unlocking your wrists. Your hands and arms will follow your hip turn naturally and whip the club through.

A proper weight shift brings the big muscles into play and provides a delayed uncocking of the wrists on the downswing. You will find it can do wonders in adding distance.

Paul Harney is an excellent example of a golfer who uses the proper weight shift. Paul is slight, weighing about 140 pounds. Yet, he is one of the longest hitters in golf.

Gary Player tee shot enrouteHere is how I achieve my weight shift on drives:

I close my stance, which means my right foot is pulled back farther than my left from along the target line. In this stance, it is easier for me to get a full body turn on the backswing. By taking a full windup and by using big muscles of my body and legs, I add both rhythm and power to my swing.

Golfers who start the club back with their hands and arms alone have a tendency to swing at the ball with their hands and arms before the weight has shifted forward. Thus, they never fully employ the back and leg muscles that provide maximum power in the golf swing. The legs are about four times as strong as the arms: why waste this potential by swinging solely with hands and arms?

The closed stance also helps me take the club back well inside the line to the target. This prevents me from returning the clubhead to the ball from the outside, thus creating a sliced shot and consequent loss of distance.

I also help my downswing weight shift to the left by addressing the ball with my left toe slightly pointed outward, toward the target. This makes it easier for me to turn my hips ahead of my hands on the downswing.

Gary checks his grip using an imaginary club.

Gary is constantly on player’s mind. He checks his grip using an imaginary club.

Several other features of my address foster this proper weight shift and resulting delayed hit.

I like to imagine my right elbow is against my side at address, although physically it isn’t. I want this elbow tucked into my side as soon as possible on the downswing so that what I’m doing at address is what I hope to duplicate at impact.

This is also true of my right leg, which I bow slightly forward at address, pointing the knee a bit toward the target. As with the right elbow, this merely advances the position I want to be in when I hit the ball.

These actions, the right elbow in tight, and kicking the right knee toward the target, help me transfer my weight to my left foot.

Being relaxed at the address position also makes it easier to shift the weight during my swing I like to take a deep breath and exhale before I start the action, as many baseball pitchers do before they throw. I then make my forward press, kick my right knee and hands a bit more toward target, and follow with the backswing.

gary player yogi routineMaintenance of good physical condition has helped me hit the ball farther. I watch my diet very closely and follow an exercise routine. Playing golf almost every day, year after year, keeping in shape both mentally and physically becomes not only important, it is essential. I really enjoy exercise. Sometimes after a bad day on the course I come home tired and discourage. But if I exercise before going to bed, I feel clean and strong again. This does wonders for me mentally, as well as physically.

A book on yoga has been a big help. It taught me the benefits of standing on my head at least tow minutes each day. This pumps blood to my brain (the most important organ in the body-even for a golfer!) and makes me more alert for the day ahead. I never sleep with a pillow. I believe a pillow only makes it more difficult for my heart to pump blood to my brain.

I refrain from sweets, pastries, and fried foods. On the course I like to eat dried fruits. Like Napoleon, I believe that an army marches on its stomach and that the fruits I eat during a round of golf help me build energy. They give the acids in my stomach something to work on.

Now that I’ve discussed things that have helped me hit the ball farther, I think I’d better point out a few dangers a golfer seeking greater distance must try to avoid.

First, you may find you are going too high on your left toe when you try a full windup on the backswing. I am somewhat guilty of this myself.

However, if you must lift your left heel high on the backswing, be certain you lower it immediately at the start of the downswing. If you don’t, your weight may remain on your right foot and you will automatically fall back, uncocking your wrists too early. You will find yourself throwing the club out with your hands as if you were casting a fly rod; instead of bringing them in close to your body in the delayed hit position.

gary player as finest2

Gary Blast from one of the mammoth traps of Australia’s Royal Melbourne Course, which he rates as one of the world’s finest.

Some people trying for extra distance have a tendency to overswing. They take the club back farther than they should. Guard against opening your left hand at the top of your backswing. You cannot overswing if this hand grips the club firmly throughout the swing. (Reverse for lefthander, of course).

In closing, I’d like to talk about hitting the ball hard. Watching me play, you might say I swing hard. This is true. Actually, I feel that I am swinging as hard as I can.A second pitfall in striving for length is a tendency to swing the shoulders on too level a plane. The left shoulder should tilt slightly on the backswing, and the right shoulder should swing well down and under on the downswing.

It’s a funny thing about golfers. Many won’t admit they swing as hard as they can, within reason. But the truth is that all the players on the pro tour hit that ball as hard as they can and still keep it in play.

 

But swinging hard at the ball doesn’t in itself provide distance. It is the proper weight shift and the delayed hit that gives results as I mentioned earlier.

gary playerYou must also have good timing. To swing at the ball hard and still maintain good timing, take the club back from the ball slowly. Build your swing up slowly, with a full body turn, a firm grip, and then zoom into the ball. From the day I started golf, I’ve always tried to hit the ball as hard as I could; I would advise that any young boy or girl who is beginning golf do the same. It’s simple to go from a hard swing to an easier one. But, if you have been an easy swinger, it’s difficult to suddenly start hitting the ball hard. More often it goes the other way, and an easy swinger develops a lazy stroke when he gets older.

(end of Driving for Distance)

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craig seglHope you enjoyed the article above by Gary Player from his book.

Greens and fairways!

Craig

This is an excerpt from a book in the Online Classics Golf Library,

an ever-expanding collection of golf books. Membership and lifetime access to the OCG library can be yours with your purchase of Break 80 Without Practice, a complete guide to score improvement for those with little time to work on their game AND A TURBOCHARGE for those that do.

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Arnold Palmer Teaches How To Hit The Driver

At his peak, when Palmer put the ball on the golf tees, there was nobody better. In his own words on his shots off the tees:

Arnold Palmer Teaches How To Hit The Driver photoAt the 1958 Masters:

I’ve been telling you to hit the ball hard, but let’s pause for a minute and qualify that.

No good player ever swings as hard as he can; that is, he doesn’t throw everything at the ball. Rather, it’s a matter of timing, not of overpowering the ball off the tees.

Some people can turn farther than others. The bigger the turn, the longer the arc of the club head and the better the chance to speed it up.

Every player has to stop his turn at some point. When further movement back will affect the grip on the club or alter the stance, the limit of the turn has been reached. Each player has to find this point for himself.

With my left foot pointed slightly toward the hole and my right set at a right angle to the intended line of flight and slightly behind the front foot, I have room for the turn. My hips can rotate along with my shoulders, and my head will remain fixed without impairing my vision of the ball. My feet are almost exactly as far apart as my shoulders, and my knees are Hexed slightly, giving the impression I’m about to sit down.

If I can get back to this same position at impact, I know I will hit the ball right off the tee. If I position myself wrong at the start, my chances of hitting the ball properly are reduced, unless there is some compensation in the swing. Compensations create bad habits. You cannot do the same wrong things the same way all the time because they are unnatural. But you can get in the habit of doing the right things most of the time.

Arnold Palmer Teaches How To Hit The Driver photoGolf clubs are constructed for different distances by changing the loft of the club. The face of the driver makes almost a right angle to the ball and propels it the longest distance. The brassie or two-wood is cut with more loft and so on down to the wedge, which lies almost flat on the ground.

The feet are spread farthest apart in the stance for the driver and get closer together as the club loft increases. The stance opens, too, to the point that the wedge is hit with the feet barely apart and the left foot well behind the right.

The ball is positioned from the front toward the back. With the driver, the ball rests on the tee opposite the instep of the left foot. When you get to the five- iron, the ball rests halfway between the feet. And when you reach the wedge, it is opposite the instep of the right foot.

On my drives I concentrate on moving the left shoulder under my chin with a slow, deliberate action until I reach the top of my backswing. Now is the time to turn on the power. I have the feeling that my left hand is pulling the club down.

You should be able to feel the weight leaving the right side before you start thinking about hitting the ball off the tee. This prevents a quick uncocking of the wrists at the top of the swing and the resultant loss of all power. It also helps avert a slice, which takes all the distance from the hit.

Arnold Palmer Teaches How To Hit The Driver photoWhen the swing has started through and the hands are moving down, let the clubhead fly, making certain the effort seems late to insure the last-second break of the wrists.

Few things give a greater feeling of accomplishment than striking the ball with the middle of the clubface and watching it go straight and far. And there are few worse feelings of despair than those when the ball is hit with the heel of the club or with the top half of the clubface and dribbles away or shoots off into places where it was never intended to go.

It’s no disgrace to hit a golf ball crooked. There are so many things that can go wrong off the tee that even the best players have their bad days. Sam Snead, who is recognized as a picture swinger, occasionally hits the ball with a hook that makes a pitcher’s best curve ball look dinky.

Ben Hogan, who holds four Open titles and record scores in both the Open and Masters, was a notorious hooker and ready to quit the game until long hours of labor on the practice tees got the ball moving in the opposite direction-from left to right. With few exceptions, most power hitters produce hooking action, which I believe is the correct way for the ball to fly.

In 1958, when I first won the Masters, I hit a drive on the seventeenth hole that hooked a little too much, smacked into a tree, and almost put me in the land of bogey.

Arnold Palmer Teaches How To Hit The Driver photoFortunately it bounced back into the fairway and I was able to reach the green with an iron and get my par. I was lucky there since all players make mistakes. The idea is to reduce these mistakes to a minimum.

Until you get a slight hooking action, you aren’t coming into the ball right. The average player, I mean.

At most courses, there are four par-five holes and par is 72. When you can hit the long ball consistently off the tee, the par fives are reduced to par fours and par for you is 68. The shorter hitter is at a disadvantage most of the time. When the long-baller is on the green or mighty close, the shorter hitter has almost a full pitch shot.

He’s playing an easy par-five hole with this shot, but the long hitter has only a chip or two putts for his birdie-and is within eagle range.

One of the most important factors in setting yourself up for the long hit is the grip. You must hold the club firm, and use the strong position. That is, have the left thumb alongside the shaft on the right side rather than on top. The right hand will fall in line if you overlap the right pinkie be tween the first two fingers of the left hand and place it firmly in the valley there.

Arnold Palmer Teaches How To Hit The Driver photoI’m convinced that most players who slice take the clubhead back outside the line of flight the first six inches from the ball. Concentrate on moving the clubhead straight back. This will force you into the correct hitting position at the top. There is no breaking of the wrists until the hands pass the right hip.

Use a driver with a medium to soft shaft in the beginning. The softer shaft with more whip will give the ball a longer flight with less physical effort. The stiff-shafted club must be swung much harder to produce an equal amount of force.

The length of the driver is a factor in hitting the long ball, too. The longer the club, the bigger the arc and the more speed. It is harder to control the longer driver but, once you get the feeling of the long ball, it is easy to move back to a club of average length.

Many times I have been accused of swinging so hard that my eyes bulge. No doubt I have slashed at the ball on occasions when the heat was on and my temperature was a few degrees higher than normal. For the most part, though, I think it’s the last-second release of the club as it comes back to the hitting position that gives this impression.

I hit down on the ball more than most because I believe that the club- head and the ball should meet at the bottom of the arc of my swing. The more popular conception is that you hit the ball on the upswing. When you do hit the ball on the upswing, the ball gets a higher flight. This shot is more difficult to control if there is any wind; it does not have as much roll and thus costs you distance.

I have the feeling of starting back to the ball from the top with my left hand. At one time I was a bad hooker, but I always managed good distance and gradually learned to control the amount of hooking action. I still have a tendency to hook because I’m hanging onto the club for dear life with the left hand.

craig seglTry it and see if you don’t get more distance off the tee with your driver..

Craig’s Take:

I love this article by The King, Arnold Palmer. I have always been one to swing hard naturally and then work on accuracy through trusting my unconscious mind. My height is 5′ 5″ and I am able to sometimes hit it 300 yards. More often, it’s about 260-270.  This comes from my fearlessness at going at the ball with most of what I have in this body!  I don’t think you get more accuracy by swinging easy as Arnold says.

This is an excerpt from a book in the Online Classics Golf Library, an ever-expanding collection of golf books. Membership and lifetime access to the OCG library can be yours with your purchase of

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Arnold Palmer teaches how to hit the driver

Improve your swing with your golf driver

If you’ve hit your golf driver perfectly once,
you can do it every time!


Golf swing improvement for the driver for the average joe weekend golfer is an elusive thing.

Picture yourself standing on the teebox of your favorite short 4 par. You’ve got your driver in hand. This hole is designed with risk-reward written all over it. If you hit it long and straight, you can get very near or maybe on the green with your golf driver to set up for an easy birdie. If you mis-hit it, you are looking at hazards or o/b and a balloon score. You know the correct play here is to pull out an iron and lay up for a 100 yard shot to the green, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it. You say to yourself, “What the heck, I’m going for it”.

Because, after all is said and done, the idea behind playing golf is to have fun and if taking chances on the golf course and sometimes beating the odds is your idea of fun, who’s to say that you are wrong about that? Myself, I’m more interested in playing for score than going for broke, but hey, that’s just me. Anytime you just want to GO FOR IT, then I say “bravo” and “You go man (or lady)!

What’s the point to all of that? THE DRIVER IS KING of the golf bag! Driving the golf ball long and straight is the holy grail of almost all amateur golfers. Some will even leave a golf course happier if they were satisfied with the way they hit their driver than if they had a great score. Yet, we are constantly reminded of the old saying:

Drive for show, and putt for dough” Greg Norman disputes this old saw by saying in his book SHARK ATTACK: “Don’t ever sell me on that line. If you can’t put your tee-shot in play, the smoothest stroke in the world won’t help you enough. In my mind, the most important shot in golf is off the tee with the driver”.

Do you feel better now? I do, because he isn’t the only one who has made these types of remarks about driving. Furthermore if you really think about it, the importance of the driver and getting off the tee safely with some distance is probably greater for higher handicappers than the better golfers as the larger portion of their shots are spent in just getting to the green.

So what can we do about it short of another set of golf lessons? Plenty! Start off by getting a new driver, plain and simple. The new technology is light years ahead of the #1 wood of just 3 years ago.

Also, you must be able to direct your mind so that our brain and muscles are in sync and harmony in successfully pulling off this very violent of sports acts with the driving tool. Speaking of violent, don’t forget to stretch a LOT before first swinging and throughout the round to save your back!

Secondly, we need to get educated about the structure and attributes of the driver so that we can make an informed decision as to what to purchase and use to optimize our scoring performance with that club. >

How to do all of that? We must first understand how our DESIRE to hit this little white golf ball is translated into the correct contractions of muscles in a timing sequence that moves the driving club in the direction that will contact the ball squarely and with great force to achieve the outcome we want.

It’s not that complicated. We are beings uniquely capable of original thought which comes from what we call our conscious mind. We create a thought there that is then communicated to our subconscious mind to make the act happen. What? Our subconscious mind makes the driver hit the ball? Yes! Here’s proof:

The last time you rode a bike, did you have to say words to yourself to get your leg to push on the pedal? Did you have to tell yourself that you now have to balance yourself with a thousand small muscles all acting independantly? Did you have to tell your left arm muscles to contract and your right arm muscles to release contraction in order to make a left turn? Of course not! You just thought very quickly with your conscious mind what you wanted to do and then it turned the accomplishment of that desire over to the subconscious mind. The subconscious then made it all happen.

This is no small feat to send a zillion electrical impulses out in a precise order in order to cause another zillion muscle fibers to contract or relax at the perfect time. This is the wonder of our bio-computer called the BRAIN.

So, what about all that golf advice about setup, position at the top, swing checkpoints, follow-through, etc? This is what you probably thought you would be reading about right? Folks, it’s all good, however, it’s sometimes too much for us to handle and causes us “paralysis by analysis”. We need to work a plan that will give us maximum return for minimum effort and time. Most of us just don’t have the time to go practice the multitude of advice we have been given on the swing and that is the only way you are going to improve if using a mechanical approach to improvement. A better, more time-efficient system, is a MENTAL one:

Our subconscious mind controls all of our involuntary (don’t have to think about) functions like breathing and heartrate but it also runs extremely complicated physical motions as long as it has been taught how. Hitting the driver is at the height of complication for the golf swing since we are expecting maximum force and speed coupled with keeping precision. After all, we could have pretty good precision when we have a 1 foot putt right? And we can lift our heaviest weight when we aren’t concerned with whether or not we are going to drop it or not. We intuitively know that the harder we exert force on something, the less precision we have in that act. When using the driver in our golf game, we must realize a few key points in order to maximize our efficiency on the tee box.

1. The subconscious mind is the expert at swinging the driver, not the conscious.

If we have hit a great drive in the past, then our subconscious mind knows how to do it again. It knows the correct number and sequence of muscle contractions and nerve impulses required to repeat that great drive. All that is required is a clear communication of the desire to the subconscious mind. This is achieved with visualization prior to the actual swing.

2. The conscious mind tends to get in the way and must be given something to do to keep busy so that it doesn’t interfere with the subconscious mind’s work.

Once the desire has been communicated, you should think something simple during the swing like maybe singing a song or, a simple count of the actions of the swing as they are happening (ie 1.backswing, 2.top of swing, 3. forward motion, etc.). Or continue with the visualization of the ball flying exactly as you planned it in the middle of the swing. Or, you may be able to utilize self-hypnosis (sign up for the mini-course above and receive a free ebook: “How you can play better golf using self-hypnosis”) and concentrate directly and solely on that ball to put yourself in a zone-like state for the duration of the swing. Many golfers do this without even knowing it but it can be developed further with knowledge and effort in this area. More on that in the mini-course and ezine. 3. There is a point of exertion of force on the driver that if we go beyond it, then our probability of keeping our precision is drastically reduced.

This falls under the Law of Diminishing Returns and is best explained by this analogy : how many cooks can you put in a kitchen before they start bumping into one another and actually start reducing their output as that number is exceeded. This point is different for everyone, but, most importantly: This point is at LESS FORCE than you think for most golfers who have trouble with their driver. In other plain terms…hit it solid first and then harder second. Everything written thus far was with the intent of CONVINCING you of this inescapable fact of hitting the driver. If you aren’t convinced, then you won’t take action. The actions required don’t take any of your time but they do require consistent effort throughout your day. Golf is unforgiving.

So, make every effort this month, or this week if you have an upcoming round you want to get ready for and repeat to yourself (communicate with your subconscious mind) that you are first and foremost going to always hit the driver square and on the sweet spot. Say it to yourself at least one hundred or so times in a week (this is a lot easier to do than you are thinking right now). Picture in your mind what it would look like, how it would feel to have your drives go straight every single time. Zoom in on your driver about to make contact with the ball in your mental movies. Do this everywhere, anytime, but especially before falling asleep. There are many ways to effectively communicate with your subconscious mind. Basic affirmations and visualizations just described is the simplest.

THE GOLF DRIVER as a piece of equipment:

see my

Golf drivers page


golf technique and instruction HOME

Swing tip : How to develop more power and strength

by Sean Cochrane

How can you develop more power in your golf swing? This is probably a question that all of us want an answer to. Most of us go to great lengths to do whatever it takes to get that power into our drives off the tee. I think we probably all have some ideas of where 300-yard drives come from, but I want to give you the answers without any fluff.

Golf swing power is the result of three specific factors. Two out of the three are much more important, but the third does have a bearing on the outcome of how far you hit that ball.

The first and probably most evident of the three is your swing mechanics. I bet you are not surprised by this one.

The second one is probably the least recognized of the three, but for many is the �key� to longer drives and the category that is given the least amount of attention. Number two is what we term golf strength. This is defined as how well your body is conditioned (i.e. fitness) to swing a golf club with maximum power. Probably the least understood of the three, and maybe the most needed by golfers in general. We will talk more about this later. Let us move on to number three in regards to power for your drives.

Number three is your equipment. Yes, equipment does make a difference in how far you drive the ball. The equipment manufacturers have let this fact be known, and I bet we all have gone to the pro shop probably more than twice to pick up a new driver that claims to give us another 20 yards on every drive. That extra 20 yards might not be down the middle of the fairway, but it will give you an extra 20 yards� could be left, could be right, or could be in the center of the fairway. That all depends on points one and two of this article. Equipment and technological advances have definitely lengthened the distance of our drives. But without better swing mechanics and your body in better golf shape, new technology will not help your game. A bad swing will produce a bad result, regardless of what type of �new� driver you may have just purchased.

Swing Mechanics

I think all of us are aware of how important the mechanics of a swing are when it comes to driving the ball down the fairway. It is essential, if you are over the top with your swing or come inside too much, you�ll see that dreaded slice or snap hook. The drives will be short, too low, too high, left, right, or a combination of these if you are putting bad swings on the ball.

It is essential for a golfer to work on the mechanics of their swing, week in and week out, to improve their game. If it weren�t important why would all these tour players have swing coaches that work with them on a consistent basis? The golf swing is such a finite, mechanically complex movement, that requires constant work to keep it highly efficient and in check.

One of the most common mistakes I see amateurs make is probably a lack of instruction. I see amateurs over and over at the driving ranges, week in and week out, pounding balls without any improvement. This, I feel, is a result of one of two things: 1) a lack of instruction or 2) low levels of golf strength. A lack of instruction leads to the development and ingraining of improper swing mechanics. This only results in slices, hooks, topping the ball, and hitting it fat on the course. And we all know that those types of swings lead to frustration and bad rounds of golf. I would suggest to most anyone to find a good instructor and take lessons on a consistent basis. This can only help your game in the long run. Now moving on the second point of how to achieve powerful drives and that is golf strength.

Golf Strength (Golf Fitness)

Golf strength is a term we use to describe the golf fitness level of an individual pertaining to swinging a club. This is much different than how much you can bench press or squat, which I like to refer to as �weight room strength.� Understand that these two terms, golf strength and weight room strength, are very different. If you do not quite understand the difference, ask yourself one question: How many bodybuilders do you see teeing it up on Tour? The answer to that question is quite obvious, none!

It comes down to this idea: the mechanics of a golf swing require specific levels of flexibility, balance, stability, strength, endurance, and power to perform it efficiently. If your body does not have the required capacities of the aforementioned list, then the result will be? Anyone want to guess? Well, let me give you the answer: a less than optimal and less efficient swing than possible. Essentially, your body supports your swing much like a foundation supports the house you build upon it. I am sure that all of you would choose to build a house on a stone foundation rather than a sand foundation, wouldn�t you? I will say that many of you make a different choice when it comes to your golf swing. I quite often see amateurs developing their swing on a �foundation of sand,� not a good thing to do in my book.

Regardless of how much time you work on your swing mechanics, if your body does not have the �golf strength� to support your swing, you are limiting your potential. I have seen it numerous times, people practicing at the range who struggle, not because of trying to get better, but because their bodies are limiting what they can do with their swing. Quite often I see people with limited flexibility, poor balance capabilities, and low levels of strength and power. The bottom line is that your mechanics will not get better until you fix the body that swings the club!

Up to this point we have discussed the two most important ideas when it comes to power on the golf course. A review of the topics tells us that they are optimal swing mechanics and the proper levels of �golf strength� in the body. One without the other is going to leave you short when it comes to your potential in the game.

Again, I probably see point number two, golf strength, being addressed less often than swing mechanics when you get right down to it. The pros are all aware of the importance of golf strength, why not you?

Equipment

We have come to the final point, and that is equipment. I think the majority of golfers are aware of the technological advances that have occurred in golf equipment over the last 20 years. I mean, think about the �80�s when we were still playing with woods that actually had wood club heads! Imagine that for a moment, and now we are using drivers with space age faces that shoot the ball off of them at warp speed. In addition, we have to mention the advances in terms of golf balls. How manufacturers design golf balls today makes a difference in how far they travel. What a lot of people do not realize is that the USGA has set standards on how �hot� driver faces can be and how �fast� balls can come off the face of drivers. Most clubs are reaching this limit, and anything past these USGA rules becomes illegal to play. So what does that tell us? 1) Club manufacturers have done a great, and I mean great, job in the advancement of technology, and 2) to increase the distance on your drives you are now going to have to turn to points one and two of this article.

So what does improving your power really come down to?

It comes down to three simple ideas. Number one is improving your golf swing mechanics. Improved mechanics will improve your driving distance. Number two is improving your golf strength. By improving your body as it pertains to the golf swing you will improve your distance off the tee. Finally, equipment does make a difference, if you hit the ball correctly. Best of luck with your game, and if you need additional information stop by our web site Bio Force Golf

Sean Cochran is one of the most recognized golf fitness instructors in the world today. He travels the PGA Tour regularly with 2004 Masters Champion Phil Mickelson. He has made many of his golf swing tips, golf instruction and golf swing improvement techniques available to amateur golfers on the website Bioforce golf Check out his manual and DVD, “Your Body & Your Swing”

Eastern Philosophies of the Golf Swing

by Sensei Mark Anthony

I’d like to give you an insight into why more and more people are using the Body Golf method to easily learn the golf swing and more importantly, why more and more golf instructors are devising swing training systems after this Eastern teaching model. The Eastern teaching method has been in existence for centuries because it works. Please read on!

The way that I’ve put this system together is the way that martial arts systems are put together. It’s really simple. Please let me explain how a martial arts system is built. On day one, the student is shown something that is needed to build upon for the next lesson. When I say needed, I mean it. The first thing that you learn in a dojo (training hall) is usually how to stand up and move your feet. Why? Because is you can’t stand up and use your feet correctly, you will never learn the rest of the system the way it’s supposed to be learned.

Let me apply a martial arts line of thinking to golf for a second. In the west, most people try to golf at a “black belt” level without ever getting a day-one “white belt” lesson and learning the necessary fundamentals. It’s totally backwards. However, it’s not anybody’s fault. It’s just the way it is.

You see, people get all types of instruction form every kind of source available. There are magazines, tips on TV, buddies putting their two cents in every time you swing, etc, etc. It can get very confusing and before long, you’re so confused, you don’t know who’s telling you the truth, who’s a well-meaning, misguided novice and who really is going to help you. In fact, you’re about ready to give up and resign to the fact that you’ll ALWAYS be a short-hitting hacker, duffer and slicer and never be an ace.

I’ve put Body Golf Full Swing video together the same way that a martial arts system is structured. The very first body movement that you’ll learn (Shoulder Turns) is an absolutely necessary and vital component of a correct golf swing and what you’ll build upon in building your swing throughout the whole program. Without it, you’ll never reach your potential and you’ll never begin to feel what a proper, powerful swing feels like. This exercise is the most vital base movement of the golf swing. Period. At least the way I teach it!

Here’s why I believe the Eastern way to teach golf is superior:
Traditionally in martial arts, there is a formal, disciplined relationship between the student and the sensei (teacher). This relationship is necessary for the students benefit because the reasons that one is doing a certain exercise isn’t always explained to the student. Sometimes, the drills are quite tedious. However, every one of them is considered necessary and has a specific goal.

The sensei tells the student to “do this” and the student does it until he understands why. He doesn’t ask why..that would be very disrespectful. He just does it. Westerners would think this as arrogance. It’s quite the opposite. There are many reasons for this method of teaching.

Here in the West, we’re so wrapped up in wanting to know everything about everything, that we get lost in the “whys” instead of learning the “how-tos.”
If the sensei were to go on and on with an explanation of all of the physics involved in a simple punch, he’d cloud the students mind so badly that he would never learn a most simplest of day-one techniques. This is called information constipation, and is the biggest reason that most amateur golfers can’t hit the ball straight. It’s just more economical to do it the Eastern way. Why confuse the student?

“Wax on, wax off.”
With the Eastern way, the teacher is not wrapped up in needing to explain the deeper meanings and reasons that everything works. Like I said before, the student is told to “do it this way” and he does it. He’ll learn the what’s and why’s later. In the beginning, he needs a foundation in the proper mechanics and there’s only one way to do this…by doing it, not analyzing it. If you remember the old “wax on, wax off” drill from the movie The Karate Kid. You’ll know what I mean here.

My Tai-Chi swing!
The method that I teach is a simple way to “burn in” the necessary mechanics that 99% of amateur golfers have no idea how to use, and, what keeps them from breaking 80, 90 or even 100. The slow deliberate practice of the Tai-Chi swing at the end of the video is borrowed from an ancient Eastern way to train body movement first developed centuries ago by the founders of Tai-Chi Chuan.

Considered the father of all Eastern martial arts, Tai Chi is learned and trained in meticulous slow motion and constantly refined over a lifetime of practice.

Tai Chi uses the same exact technique to generate power in strikes that golfers use to hit long straight shots without big muscles. However, without the proper mechanics and the use of correct body structure, generating effortless power is impossible. Hence the slow, deliberate practice utilized and refined over a lifetime.

My video is a great step-by-step tutorial on how to develop a smooth fluid, effortless swing in 30 days or less and I give you my personal guarantee that you’ll learn what makes a swing powerful and effective in the opening minutes. Give it a try and see why people all over the world are using this system to quickly and easily improve their swing and overall game.

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Mark Anthony, has created the most amazing series of golf videos based on his extensive study and training of golf swing principles and martial arts. Called “Body Golf“, now you can join the Masters in using your body to it’s full effective force and potential.

Click here to view “Body Golf” now.

Why, oh why, is the golf swing SO hard?!

Excerpted from the book Golf Swing Eureka by Jon Barrett


I’ve inserted this section in as I believe it may help you understand why we find the golf swing so hard.

Why do we find a move that seems so easy to the professionals so incredibly difficult to perform?

Recently I discovered that psychologists believe that we learn differently as adults than we do when we were children. And I believe this may be the key to explaining why we have such a difficult time of it.

The large majority of professional golfers will have taken up golf when they were kids – Tiger Woods was swinging a club well at 3!

But, I would imagine the majority of amateur golfers took golf up when either in their late teens, early twenties or even later in life – as adults.

The psychologists believe that as children we learn from repeating the model that we see – we know that kids are very trusting of what they are told. Yes, they ask lots of questions but they trust the answers given. They see, and are told, and DO.

Now as adults we learn differently. We have already formed opinions about how the world is and how things operate. So when we learn something new we actually test it against the rules that we have already built up in our heads as to what is right and wrong.

Unfortunately for us, the golf swing is actually illogical. That’s where the problem stems from. In our heads we can’t actually accept or believe that that is how the golf swing works. We then trust our instinct and test it against our rules and go back to what we believe is logical.

Here is what is illogical about the golf swing:

A Golf Swing without Effort = A Powerful 300 yard drive

It’s been said before that the secret to the pros swing is that it achieves `Power WITHOUT Effort – how illogical is that!

It’s a bit like saying we’re going on a 200 mile car journey, but we’re not going to turn the engine on! No ones going to believe you.

That’s how our brains interpret it – we think there’s no way you can hit a golf ball 300 yards without LOTS of effort.

So next time we coil up on the backswing our brain tells our muscles `right guys we need plenty of effort if we’re going to send this ball long and straight’.

Pro’s do actually put effort into their swings to get the ball to go that far (look at Tiger Woods face just before impact and you’ll see what I mean) BUT they put it in at a completely different point in the swing to amateur golfers. They also know the technique that allows them to produce such great results – and it doesn’t involve power, certainly not how the amateur golfer understands it.

Amateur golfers think you need to start the golf swing powerfully BUT the pro golfers know that you put the effort in at the bottom of the swing.

If you try and take this point on board this will start the process of adjusting your mind.

Over the next few pages I’m going to OPEN your EYES to how the golf swing actually works – much of which us amateurs don’t appreciate.

Understanding is the 1st key to unlocking your golfing potential.

Towards the end of my book I’ll show you where to get a piece of software that will by-pass your conscious mind and reprogram your sub-conscious mind to believe what you will see and start to understand about how the pro golf swing works. How YOU can swing powerfully without effort.

EYE-OPENER No. 2

What part of the body contributes the most to generating the maximum speed of the club head?

This single answer allowed me to make a huge leap in my understanding of the golf swing, and in everything I had seen and read about the golf swing none of it emphasised it enough.

I carried out a survey on the Internet over several weeks and asked visitors to my web site the question:- What part of the body contributes the most to generating the maximum speed of the club head?

Only 20% got the answer correct – That’s only 1 in every 5 golfers! And these golfers had a wide range of handicaps down to single figures.

Interestingly this figure corresponds to another golfing statistic – Did you know that only around 20% of golfers have a handicap of less than 18? It made me wonder whether the misunderstanding of the fundamental aspect could be the one thing that is holding so many golfers back.

Which part of the body do you think creates the maximum speed of the club head?

Is it:
Shoulders Arms
Hands
Hips
Legs
Torso
wrists

(Graphics and explanations ommitted here)

….So the answer to the question that I posed above is that it is the hands (or wrists) that contribute the most to generating the maximum club head speed. The club is moved through over 180 degrees whilst the arms move through less than 60 degrees – all of the rest of the movement of the head of the golf club is generated by the movement of the hands. Unfortunately the large majority of golfers think that it is with the shoulders and arms. I’ll come back to this point later as even when you get everything else right in your swing this can be a real good swing killer!

Find out the details and much more in Jon’s Eye Opening ebook: Golf Swing Eureka

Jon Barrett WAS a frustrated golfer and has studied the golf swing for 5 years in search of the information that would make his scores tumble but without success… UNTIL he discovered what only 1% of amatuer golfers know about the Pro’s golf swing… Read all about his eye opening concepts you won’t find in standard swing advice now, including THE MAGIC MOVE… Golf Swing Eureka

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