Golf Tips – 10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Game
Golf Tip #1 – Plan to Play Well
Everyone wants to play well. A good round of golf doesn’t just happen—there are many factors that influence your performance.
The first thing most people are concerned with is their swing, which is a very important component. How technically sound is it? Do you practice between rounds? One bucket of balls at the driving range every week will help your game. Start with your short clubs and work up to your long clubs—it’s gentler on your body.
When you go out to play try to get to the golf course early enough to hit some balls before you tee off. At the very least do some stretching exercises before you hit balls or before you tee off. Golf is a full body sport—you need to warm your body up to perform well.
Which set of tee blocks do you play? Wind, temperature and dampness affect how a course plays. Playing from the ‘tips’ is an option but not a necessity.
Your golf bag should include an umbrella and rain shirt. You should also have some water and snacks. Most golf courses don’t have water coolers anymore. Staying hydrated is important as is keeping your blood sugar up.
Playing a course is a lot like playing chess. You need to plan where you want your shots to finish so that the next one is the easiest possible. Take for example Zach Johnson who won at Augusta by playing wedges into the Par 5’s instead of going for them in two. He was confident in his wedge play and made that part of his game plan.
Clean golf clubs impart more spin on the ball as the grooves work better so keep your clubs clean.
Golf Tip #2 – Feeling at Home on the Range
Spending time on the driving range is a great way to help your game. Here are some suggestions for your next visit:
Start hitting balls with your shorter clubs (W-7) and then gradually move to the longer ones – then work back down to the shorter ones. This helps your muscles warm up and then cool down.
Pick a target – just like you do when you’re on the golf ourse. Periodically align a club with your feet to double-check where you are aiming. Right-handed golfers will want to aim slightly left of the target, left-handed golfers slightly right. By doing this it makes it a little easier to shift your weight from your back foot to your front foot during your swing.
Golf Tip #3 – Get “in line” Before Your Next Swing
During a round of golf we are constantly picking targets as to where we want our next shot to land. To increase your chances of success when you play your shot (assuming you’re playing from a reasonably level lie) make sure your shoulders, hips and feet are all “in line” with where you want the ball to go. This will make your backswing easier and then you can follow through directly towards your target.
Golf Tip #4 – Get Moving!
As spring arrives, golf courses will be opening and we will be back on the fairways again.
As the temperature warms up you can start thinking about how to warm up your body – by stretching, walking, yoga, stair climbing or whatever you enjoy. It’s time to get moving and wake your body up from the winter doldrums. Golf is a full-body experience and to enjoy the game and prevent early season injuries you need to prepare yourself before you take that first swing!
Golf Tip #5 – “Tee Time”
During an 18-hole round a player will use their driver approximately 14 times. The Tee Shot sets up the way a hole is played so it is very important. When teeing up your ball make sure you have half the ball above the club head when using a wood. Also, take a good look at the teeing area (keeping in mind you may go two club lengths behind the tee markers) and find a level spot to hit from. The ball should be played off the heel of your front foot.
Golf Tip #6 – Timing Is Everything
When you swing a golf club your whole body is involved. As your shoulders turn your legs are also working in that the weight is shifting from the front leg (nearest the target) to your back one. Don’t be in a hurry on your backswing – your body needs time to fully coil and prepare for the reverse move through the ball. The longer the club you are using, the more important this becomes.
Golf Tip #7 – Winter Hibernation and Your Golf Swing
As temperatures drop and snow makes its appearance for the most part golf is over the next few months unless it’s of the simulated variety. Here are a few things you can do throughout the winter months to get ready for when courses open in the spring.
- Keep moving! Flexibility is very important in your golf swing. Do what appeals to you – skiing, curling, walking, yoga – anything that works your muscles.
- If you’re watching golf on TV, note the tempo and footwork in each player’s swing. Check to see if they maintain their balance on their follow through.
- Max’s Golf Centre in Waterloo operates its driving range year-round giving you ample opportunity to keep your game up. You can also contact Connie Deckert, LPGA golf pro to book a few lessons.
- Visualize! You can practice at the various facilities in the area or anywhere you are, as you envision how you want to swing the club once you get back on the golf course next spring!
Golf Tip #8 – Don’t Look
When we play golf most of us are more concerned with what the ball does after we hit it rather than finishing our swings. Simply put—don’t look and your shot will automatically be better! As you finish your follow-through your shoulders will pull your head up and you’ll see the ball’s flight —honest. Trust that it will.
Golf Tip #9 – Rotate to Hit the Ball Well
Your golf swing requires body rotation above and below the waist. In your backswing it would be wonderful if you could rotate your shoulders so that your back faces the target at the finish of your backswing. Not all of us can get that far but please turn as much as you can. Your upper body turning away from the target initiates your backswing. Your downswing is initiated by turning your lower body towards the target. Once you have completed your follow-through your belt and chest should be facing the target.
A common error is starting the downswing with your arms and hands—let your legs lead the way! Try to keep the leg that is farther from the target steady during the backswing so that you turn against a solid base. Your knee flex cannot change until after you have hit the ball so be careful not to straighten the knee closer to the target until after impact. Don’t look to see where the ball is—wait for your trailing shoulder to pull your head up. If you finish your swing and are in balance on the foot closer to the target you have probably hit a good shot!
Golf Tip #10 – Prep from Head to Toe
Golf is a full body sport. When you’re watching the Tour players on TV you don’t see all the physical preparation they have gone through before they start their round. Most of us arrive at the golf course and head directly to the tee.
Before your round or before warming up on the driving range prior to your tee time you need to do some stretching. Take your normal golf stance but instead of holding the club like you would if you were going to hit the ball, bend your arms and slide the club through your elbows behind your back and rotate your upper body. Turn slightly at first and then see if you can turn a full 90 degrees. Next bend as far forward as you comfortably can and then as far back as you can to wake up the muscles in your legs. Then take the club in your left and then your right hand and rotate the club from each shoulder in a circular motion. If you’re comfortable standing on one foot you can add some ankle rotations to finish off your routine. This stretching will get you into your body and grounded so that you’ll be able to make a solid swing.
Likewise when heading out to the driving range you need to stretch before you hit balls. You can use what I have suggested or come up with your own variation but please make an effort to do it. Your body will thank you and you will lessen your chance of injury.
When you hit balls before you play or at the driving range start with your short clubs—wedge or 9 iron and work up to your driver and then back down. Your body will appreciate it and you’ll see much better results!
LPGA and CGTF Professional
PS Contact me if you want to book a lesson – private, group, playing lessons and golf clinics.
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