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Source: GolfDigest
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Over time, a simple method for getting the ball from off the green to the flagstick fell out of favor.

I rarely see anyone chip like the late Hall of Fame golfer Paul Runyan. That’s a shame because this technique will make you more accurate around the greens with a lot less practice. Once you master the setup and learn to make a rhythmic stroke—like putting—you’ll start getting up and down more often. Let me show you how to chip old school. —With Ron Kaspriske


SCENARIO + SELECTION
Although you can use this shot in a lot of spots, it’s not all-purpose. Use this technique when you are no more than five yards from the green in the fringe or rough. Because this shot requires a stroke of consistent length and speed, the only thing you need to judge is which club to use to get the ball pin high. Visualize a small spot on the green where you think the ball should land to roll out to the hole. Then read the rest of the distance like a putt.

So which club to use? Take a little time on a practice green with your pitching wedge, 9-iron and 8-iron to see how far the ball carries and rolls using a stroke of the same length and speed. You can experiment with other clubs, too, but I’ve found sticking to these three brings about the most consistency.

SETUP + STROKE
Start by aiming the clubface at the small target where you want the ball to land. Remember, you have to read the green like a putt. That means if there is a slope, you might be playing the shot away from the cup. Now hold the club with medium grip pressure with its heel just off the ground (above). That’s really important to ensuring the club glides along the turf instead of digging into it.

You’ll notice the shaft is nearly vertical, with the handle leaning slightly toward the target and your weight favoring the left foot. Your arms should be relaxed, slightly bent and aligned parallel to the target. Ball position normally is just right of center in your stance, although you can alter it slightly as you experiment with how that changes the amount of carry and roll.

The stroke is as simple as it gets. It’s like a putting motion—the shoulders and arms do most of the work, and there’s no wristy movements. Focus on swinging the club with the same rhythm and force. The handle of the club should be swung no farther than the distance between your thighs. It’s a short swing equal in length on the backswing and follow-through.

The stroke should be aggressive or slightly accelerated, and always hold your finish to ensure a steady pace. If you’re struggling with that, say any two-word phrase with the first word coming on the backswing and the second word on the follow-through. A suggestion? Tick-Tock. Even better? Great-Chip or Hole-Out. I think you get the idea.

A.J. Avoli is one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers. He is director of instruction at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.

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Source: GolfDigest
By Butch Harmon

My dad used to say you can always tell great putters because all their putts have that “going in” look. I love that phrase, and it makes sense when you watch players who can really putt. They give their full effort every time, and they never talk themselves out of a putt. Look at it this way, there are only two things that can happen—you make it, or you miss it—and I can tell you, the best putters only think about one.

There’s no reason you can’t improve your putting. It’s the simplest swing you make; there are no bunkers, no out-of-bounds, no rough; you’re on a perfectly smooth surface; and the target is right there. Still, most golfers have a negative attitude, which I never understand. All you have to do is read the break, aim the face and start the ball on line. And, most important, decide to be positive.

Let’s look at a few things I’ve learned from great putters I’ve worked with—and get you dropping more putts. — With Peter Morrice

Here’s a drill I’ve watched Phil do over the years to hit putts with great speed. He finds a hole on the practice green and sticks three tees in the ground, at 30, 40 and 50 feet out. His goal is to roll three putts in a row from each tee into an imaginary three-foot circle around the hole. He starts at 40 feet and putts from there until he gets three in a row. Then he goes to 30, then 50—going out of order like this means you can’t just get in a groove.

Distance control is the big thing on long putts. If you judge the speed right, you’ll almost always have a simple second putt. But if you judge it wrong, you might leave yourself 10 or 12 feet. On long putts, I like the stroke to be a little longer and slower, so you can put some hit on the ball. When most golfers try to hit it harder, they get quick and jabby, which usually causes a mis-hit. You want the putterhead to accelerate through the ball, so think long and smooth.

Phil’s drill is a great test. And don’t just practice from one angle.

If you start with downhill, right-to-left putts, next time go uphill, left to right. Any 50-foot space will do—even use a water bottle for the hole (above). You’ll quickly see a difference in your distance control.

‘This is Phil’s 30-40-50 drill. Use it to learn distance control, and you’ll stop three-putting.’

Sneds is a great putter for the average golfer to copy because he gets on with it. Once he knows what he wants to do with a putt, he doesn’t waste any time. Taking longer only ups your stress level and invites you to start doubting what you’re doing.

If you watch Brandt, you’ll see when he’s reading a putt from behind the ball, he’s often making little air strokes with the right hand. Then, when he steps in, he makes three or four short practice strokes, always looking at the hole. He’s fine-tuning his feel.

His stroke is more of a pop action than what we normally see on the PGA Tour. It has a quicker pace and very little follow-through. I putt like that, too, because it helps me hit the ball on the right line. That’s what good putting is all about.

The best lesson here is to keep your focus simple. As you read your putt, imagine a three- or four-inch trough from your ball to the hole. You want to roll your ball down that trough, and that means getting it started on line. So instead of staring at the ball, track your eyes down your intended line, especially the first foot or two (below). Then give it a good, firm rap down that line—just like Sneds.

Rickie has become very competent with shorter putts. He ranks fourth on tour from a range of four to eight feet, making 82 percent. The best thing he does to hole these is simple enough for any golfer to adopt: He lifts his putterhead off the ground right before he putts (below).

Let’s back up a minute and look at Rickie’s overall approach.

I like that he steps into these putts with the clear purpose of getting the putterface aimed precisely. He’s deliberate about that. In fact, he sets the face with only his right hand, and completes his grip when the face is perfect. Then he takes one look at the hole and raises the putterhead fractionally off the ground before he starts back.

I want you to try this for two reasons: First, it’ll help take the tension out of your hands and arms, and we all know that tension is a killer on these short ones. Second, it sets up a smooth, even backstroke with no risk of the club getting stuck on the grass. Very clever little move. And just like these other tips, it’ll help you putt like a pro.

 

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The 2014 U.S. Women’s Open champ is known as a power hitter. She can also pound greens. Here are four moves to make knocking it close extra Wie-sy.

1. PLAY A HEAD GAME
Wie’s head is behind the ball at impact, with her eye line parallel to the ground. This combination allows her arms and right shoulder to work under her instead of working too much around. The result? Ultra-pure impact.

2. GET A LEG UP
Wie committed to strengthening her lower body a few years back, and it paid off with a U.S. Open trophy. Swings need leg power. Even doing simple squats while watching television will strengthen your legs and improve your swing.

3. LET’S KICK IT
This perfect divot indicates ball-first contact. To turn your mis-hits into pure strikes, copy Wie: Kick your right knee toward your left foot on your downswing. It’s a Hogan move that still works wonders.

4. START AT THE BOTTOM
Wie’s feet trigger her downswing. She shifts her weight to her left side, keeping her left foot rooted to the turf. Engage your lower body first. It helps your entire motion fall into place, almost by magic.

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