Professional Advice on Winning Golf

By: Dave Furnevall

Fundamentals

Stance

A consistent position helps develop a consistent swing. A square stance will encourage a square impact. Keep feet perfectly parallel to the target line. If you imagine standing on a train track your feet are against one rail the ball is next to the other. Develop a comfortable standing position with your feet directly below your shoulders with your toes slightly outward facing.

Position the ball 2-3 inches inside the left heel for most shots. If it is too far forward you will be more likely to slice.

Moving one foot slightly forward will enable either fade (outside to inside) or draw (inside to outside). Experiment with the shot direction on how much you move your foot.

Do's and Don'ts
Do always check the position of the ball using your clubs aligned on the ground.
Do take your time to settle into your stance and get relaxed.
Do be consistent with your stance.

Grip

A good grip is the foundation of your golf swing, enabling greater control and reducing your tendency to slice. A good grip helps keep the club-head square at impact and stops the shaft from rotating in your hands.

The most popular grip used by professional golfers is the Vardon grip.

Place your little finger on the lower hand on the club (right hand for a right-handed player - known as the trailing hand) and place it between the index and middle finger on the top hand (known as the lead hand). The thumb of the lead-hand should fit in the lifeline of the trailing hand (the V). Look to get a relaxed and comfortable feel, a tight grip will hinder your swing. The V's formed by the index finger and thumbs on both hands point between the chin and right shoulder. Turning hands anti-clockwise on the club shaft produces a weak grip, promoting a left-to-right flight of the ball (slice). Turning hands clockwise produces a strong grip, promoting a right-to-left flight of the ball (hook).

Do's and Don'ts
Don't grip the club too tightly
Do keep the rubber grips on your club handles in good condition. Worn grips cause problems by forcing you to hold the club too tightly.
Do get a feel for the grip by practising frequently gripping and re-gripping the club regularly.
Alignment

When you are practising, make sure your use you clubs as alignment. Lay one club on the ground parallel to the target line and another from toe to toe indicating the direction of your stance. To indicate the ball position, lay another club at 90deg's to the target line extending backward from the ball toward your feet. Now check it all. When you are happy with the alignment you can a club across your shoulders, hips and thighs to check everything is aligned parallel to the target!

Do's and Don'ts
Do check, check and check again, it will be invaluable to troubleshoot any problems.
Don't leave the club between your feet longer than necessary but feel free to leave one club on the ground parallel to the target line during practice sessions.

Swing Path

To get a straight shot you require an inside to square i.e. hitting the ball squarely swing-path. An inside to outside swing-path encourages a hook, outside to inside swing-path a slice. Imagine a line extending through the ball to the target, your goal is a swing-path that starts on the inside striking the ball while moving slightly to the outside.

Also you can direct the ball with the club face - straight 90deg to the ball
Clubface open (>90deg) to ball encourages a slice or fade
Clubface closed (<90deg) to ball encourages a hook

Do's and Don'ts
Do take some time and watch golfers practice. If you stand behind a practising golfer you can watch the variations in swing path and club face and see how it affects the shot, note the variations in swing path path and divot direction to see the shots produced..

Your pre shot routine

These tips may seem very time consuming at first but soon they will become second nature. When planning the shot ahead, look from behind the ball. Pick a target a few feet away (e.g. a leaf or divot) is easier and more accurate than aiming at 200 yards away. Stand about a foot behind where you will make your next shot and take a smooth practice swing or two focusing all your attention on the shot. Check the advice you have already learned above and build it into a routine, apply the thoughts and techniques in a particular order. Then and only then, take your final stance and start your shot. It is important to develop your own routine but make sure it is consistent for every shot, it enables the brain and muscles to develop memory.

Do's and Don'ts
Do practice your pre-shot routine on the range you can 'zone in' without too many distractions. It is more difficult to develop when playing with other people or on the course.

Fault Fixing

Do's and Don'ts
Do firstly identify the problem (whether it is slicing, hooking, lack of distance, etc).
Do verify the problem is there by asking another golfer to watch you take a few shots or video'ing yourself.
Don't ignore it, it bad habits can be difficult to shake off over time.
Do find the cause of the problem. Start with the fundamentals of grip, stance, balance, alignment, etc. Take some shots changing each fundamental one at a time.
Do plan your course of action.
Do practice it again and again, repetition will help you build confidence.
Do try to give it enough time to fix.
Don't be afraid of taking further advice.
Do look at the best golfer you are with and observe carefully. Check out for body position, stance, how high they lift the club and the motion used when they swing the club. Then apply it to your own game.

Golf swing
You really do need to have a handle on the fundamentals before you will be able to move to perfecting your swing. Although there is no such thing as a perfect swing, every golfer does it slightly differently. Once you have read the tips and advice, you need to put those techniques to work. Practice as often as you can until your you have found what works for you and best swing has become second nature. You can never practice too much!
Observation
Observe other players whether on the range, course or TV, you can always buy an instructional video. What are they doing that you are not?

Do's and Don'ts
Do speak to other players, they will usually be happy to share some tips with you.
Do video tape golf on tv and watch them in slow motion.
The Mirror
Practice your own swing in a mirror or video yourself so you can see the differences between what you think you are doing and what you are actually doing, you may be surprised!

Do's and Don'ts
Do check back on a regular basis to see if any bad habits have developed over time.
Head Position
Keep your head still and look straight at the ball. The position of your head should be straight in line with your spine, and your nose should be raised up a bit so that when you start to swing, your left shoulder fits under your chin. Don't tuck your head into your chest as you will not be able to perform a proper swing.

Do's and Don'ts
Do try to lean your body slightly forward to try to find the best place to keep your head so it doesn't impede your swing but you can see the ball clearly.
Relax
A very basic step but crucial to your swing and your game in general, easier said than done I know, especially when tee-ing off with an audience. However, relaxing your muscles will enable your body to perform exactly as it needs to perform a great golf swing. When you have lined up your shot and taken your stance, systematically think about relaxing every muscle group in turn from your feet, lower legs, upper legs, lower back... all the way to your head. Continue this flexibility through your swing and it will work wonders.

Do's and Don'ts
Do try on and off course techniques, consider cardio exercise, yoga or meditation.
Balance
Balance is very important through the whole duration of your swing, just like everything else it needs to be practiced. A good way to practice improving your balance is to get in the address position with your club (in stance with the club out in front behind the ball), relax your body and try holding it completely still for about 30 seconds (closing your eyes may help). Does it feel unbalanced like you have more weight on one foot or the other? Is one part of your body tighter or more tense than another? Adjust your balance accordingly so everything feels balanced.

Do's and Don'ts
Do try slow practice swings to see if you get off-balance at any point during the swing.
Wrist Strength
The wrists play several roles the wrists in your golf swing, but the two most important are:

Controlling throughout the swing and with the proper clubface alignment.
Adding extra power at the point of impact.

You need to resist temptation to tighten your grip, so your wrists need to be strong to control the club throughout your swing. A simple exercise to improve wrist strength:

?Stand with a club at your side
?Lift the club up to 90deg by keeping your arm by your side, only using your wrist.
?You should feel the wrist and forearms taking the pressure, repeat 15-20 times as often as possible. Try longer clubs for more difficulty.

Do's and Don'ts
Do try other gym based exercises to maximise your wrist, arm and torso strength.
Try reducing your backswing
There is a tendency for inexperienced players to have too long a backswing. You may lose accuracy or balance by swinging too far. Try varying your backswing from very short to very long to see what suits you best. Twist your shoulders until you feel tight, this should be the place to start, don't rotate your hips to try to lift the club further. You can increase power by hinging your wrist up to 90deg to make them more flexible rather than keeping them locked. Keep it relaxed and you will notice the difference.

Do's and Don'ts
Do experiment with different combinations of backswing and wrist flex.
Slow it down!
If you swing your arms too fast, your body can't keep up, therefore you do not get the full power of your trunk and legs. You will also have difficulty keeping your club straight as it swings through impact.

Try this technique: hold the club at about waist height and swing the club, do it a few times and note how your body feels while doing it. As you swing, the club makes that sweet swishing sound, make a note of how it sounds. Now the challenge is to make the club swing faster, shift your body weight during the swing from the right leg to the left leg allowing your body to turn. By letting your arms swing freely you will notice the swishing sound is faster as you increase the speed of your body. Apply this now to your actual hitting swing, by increasing your trunk rotation but keeping your arms free.

Do's and Don'ts
Do keep trying this until the swing becomes second nature.
Don't think about putting power into the ball, this will only speed your arms up again. Just think about body rotation and shifting body weight your arms will follow your body through. The body is where the real power comes from.

Trying too hard - topping the ball
You really want to whack this next ball 100s of yards, but all you do is 'top' it and send it dribbling down the fairway. Why does this happen? It is usually one of two reasons. The first is down to poor stance (see above) because your body was not balanced when you assumed your stance position, leaning over too much. Your body instinctively tries to re-balance, raising up mid swing, your club comes down off the ground higher than you started, causing you to hit the top of the ball.

Another reason is because you set up with your arms extended, then bending your arms during the swing.

To stop this from happening, don't try so hard, stop trying to get too much power in the shot. Focus on getting the ball in the air rather than power. If you get every ball airborne, rather than on the ground, you will be consistently hitting shots correctly, this will give you more confidence.

Do's and Don'ts
Do try to get it up in the air before concentrating on extending the distance.
Do keep your arm extension the same throughout the swing.

Download Part 2 of this report - Short Game and Putting Tips at http://winning-golf-tips.freehostia.com

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