in Wrightstown, Wisconsin
* PGA Professional Elected To Membership 2003
* Owner of Royal St. Patrick's Golf Links Since 2012, Faithful Employee Since 2003
* Teaching / Coaching Golf for 20+ Years
Anyone who knows me knows my affinity for the short game. One of the best tips I can give is regarding your belly button on pitch shots. All too often, players when faced with a 20 or 30 yard pitch shot will simply set their wrists, lift their arms and allow the club to fall on the ball in a decelerating manner. Some end the action with a scoop of the wrists; others just bury the head in the ground. Can you picture this move? What you need to visualize is body or trunk rotation. The body turning is what actually moves the club in the backswing. The unwinding of the core is what powers the club through impact. When you finish the action, the club should be in front of your chest and your belly button will be facing the target. The great by-product of this move is that it shallows out your divot and allows the club to accelerate. Acceleration is how you generate spin. Want to learn more about short game, I hope to see you on the tee.
Belly Button To Target
There is a lot of interest and concern these days about spin, roll, and direction. One of the ways golf club manufacturers improve club head control of ball spin is to mill or score the grooves. The USGA ensures club conformity within the club industry and has set manufacturing limits of 0.020 inch and no wider then 0.035 inch, and the flat area between grooves must be at least three times the groove width or 0.075 inch, whichever is smaller. Acceptable groove designs are V or U shaped. The sides of the V groove intersect at the bottom of the groove, and the U shaped grooves can have rounded corners or sharp corners at the bottom of channel. U Shaped grooves typically contain one stepped cut on one side of the groove wall. When the ball is struck by the club face the ball flattens under compressive forces which impart back spin. Back spin controls the trajectory, distance and influences the forward roll of the ball on landing. Most of the back spin is controlled by the loft of the club at impact. When are clean grooves most important? During a shot hit from rough or under wet conditions, the grooves channel these factors away from the club face assisting in a cleaner strike. Clean these grooves, and you'll hit better golf shots.
Picture this, you slice the ball into a heavily wooded area. You have a few openings to knock the ball through, but you must avoid the obstacles on the way out. You are looking at a place you want to start the ball, but you question whether you ever start the ball where you are looking. You make your swing, it hits the tree and ricochets back grazing your dome. One tip might be, don’t hit it in the trees, the better tip is, learn to start the ball at the target you are aiming at. How do you accomplish this? I make it a point to go into the woods and I try to hit the trees that are in front of me. If my ball is starting a little left or right, it can be a ball position issue, if it’s curving to much it can be a face angle issue. Once you master hitting your target, you can be very sure your ball is starting on line. This should help a lot when you’re in the middle of the fairway and your target is not as well defined. Want to learn more about alignment, I hope to see you on the tee.
In order to play Royal St. Patrick’s Golf Links effectively, you must find a way to keep the ball low and under the wind. The key to an effective knockdown is understanding the physics of what causes a ball to rise. The harder you swing, the more the ball spins, and the higher it goes. All good knockdown shots have less spin than your standard strike. Choose one or two more clubs than you would typically use from your given distance. This subconsciously forces you to make a more gentle swing. Choke down slightly and position the ball towards the back of your stance. This naturally puts less loft on the clubface at impact, which assists with a lower trajectory. Now make a three quarter swing, with 75% effort. The result should be a low running shot, void of the usual backspin that would cause the ball to rise. Controlling trajectory and spin are the keys to shooting good scores.
As with the start of any instruction, a teacher must gain an understanding of how the pupil thinks in regard to the task at hand. It is not uncommon for me to ask a new student to assess his or her game. More often than not, I'm given a dissertation that sounds like this, "My 9 -iron goes too high, my 8 I hit off the toe, I love my 7, I never use my 6, I hit my 5 thin, I don't like my 4, and I tee off with my 3 cause I can't use my woods." This particular student is in trouble before he or she takes the clubs out of the trunk. Golf can be a physically hard game, it gets twice as hard when your mind inhibits your body from executing the shot. My simple advice is to take a long hard look at your golf clubs, remind yourself that you are not seeing favorites or enemies, you simply have 14 friends. You will refuse to get too high with one club and hit rock bottom with others. You will make the same swing with each club, and consistent results will be the byproduct. Great golfers do not treat their clubs emotionally, they are JUST clubs.
Tips From the Pro-wner
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