Golf Lessons & Classes in Miami with a PGA Professional

Instructional Tips for Playing Better Golf.

Golf Class #1- How to hit the ball farther.

Many of my students, especially seniors, ask me, to help them hit the golf ball farther. “I’ve lost so much distance, I just don’t hit the ball far enough,” is a common complaint. Golf companies every year at the beginning of the season try to come to the rescue, offering five to ten more yards with their new drivers.  Distances have increased over the past ten years on the PGA tour with the pros swinging at high club head speeds.  

Unfortunately for the average golfer that new $500.00 driver with the ultra-light graphite shaft is usually not the answer.  The answer is, to try and make sure your torso (that is the area of the body between your sternum and the naval) turn on the backswing and unwind on the follow through as the hands and arms swing the golf club to hit the ball. Coordinating this motion of the hands and arms with the bodies rotation produces clubhead speed in the swing. Unfortunalty, the average golfer sometimes just swings with their hands and arms without coordinating the body's rotation. Also make sure you are swinging the golf club. Sometimes when making the swing golfers become anxious and this creates tension in the hands and body. Golfers then hold the fingers too tightly on the handle of the club. This retards the swinging motion and clubhead speed is reduced.  

Golf Class #2- Chip Shots and Putts

Do you ever hit your golf shots consistently short of the target?   One of the reasons could be that you tighten your fingers on the golf club and change the grip pressure when you swing the club.  The ball then does not go as far as it should.  This can happen on all kinds of shots, putts and chips and pitches to full iron shots and drives.  Everyone does it, even the pros on the PGA tour. 

It’s much more evident on shorter shots, putts never get to the hole, and on chips and pitches, the ball is usually short of the target.  Sometimes on longer full shots the clubface does not square up and the ball goes to the right of its target. You correct this by maintaining the same light grip pressure throughout your swing. 

A good test is for you to grip the golf club and extend your arms in front of you at waist height.  You should be able to hinge your wrists upward without letting go of your fingers on the club. Remember to maintain this same pressure throughout the swing.  If your fingers come loose, their holding the club too tightly and are not flexible enough.

Golf Class #3- Putting Tips

Before I give my students a putting lesson, I ask them to stroke a few short putts.  Most of them do not have a set-up routine before they putt; that is a way of sighting their aim-line and positioning their body.  Usually their putting stroke is a wristy movement with their hands with little motion with their arms.  There have been many books written just on putting.  Probably the best book ever written in my opinion is by a space scientist Dave Pelz; his “Dave Pelz Putting Bible” is the most complete and the best one I have ever read. 

Today I am giving you just a few tips for better putting.  So let’s get back to a few basic fundamentals.  Before you can think about putting you have to have a setup routine: how to aim, how to align your body and how to grip the club.  You aim the same for all golf shots, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a driver, an iron shot or the putter. What you do is stand behind the ball at least three feet or farther. 

If you are too close to the ball you don’t have a good perspective to find your line.  Now sight an imaginary line that runs through the center of the ball to the center of the cup on the green.  This is called the aim-line.  On full shots it’s called the target line.  Now place the ball on the green with the name of the ball to serve as your aim-line.  Most good golfers use a “Sharpie” to draw a line on their golf balls.

Next place your hands on the putter grip with both of your thumbs on the flat part of the putter grip.  The fingers wrap around the grip with your hands close together.  The forefinger of the left hand wraps over the little finger of your right hand.  This is called the reverse overlapping grip. 

Now place the putter head behind the ball with the sight line on your putter lined up with the name on the ball or line on your golf ball.  The putter’s face should be perpendicular to the aim-line.  This is a square clubface. Once you have placed the putter head behind the ball, bend from your hips with your backside out.  Do not stand up straight. Position your shoulders, hips and feet parallel to the aim-line. The feet should be shoulder width apart with the ball inside your left heel.

Some of my students ask me how far they should stand from the ball. The answer is when you set up you should be able to drop a ball from the base of your nose on top of the ball you are setting up to. If you are standing too close to the ball, the ball when dropped will fall outside the ball.  If you stand too far from the ball, it will fall inside the ball. 
The idea now is for you to move the putter with your forearms and hands back on the aim-line low to the ground and through to hit the back of the ball.  It’s important that you try to putt the ball always on the aim-line.  It’s a mistake to putt at the cup.  That’s not as good.  Most of my beginners have a difficult time knowing how hard to hit the ball.  They are either long or short on their putts.  This takes practice to be able to feel how hard to hit the ball. 

To learn to putt the ball straight, it’s best to practice putting short putts three to five feet. It’s helpful to try rolling the ball on the aim-line to the cup.  A good hardware store sells a device that makes straight chalk lines.  You can put this chalk line on the green and practice rolling the ball on this line to the cup.  On longer putts the putter head as it is taken back comes slightly inside the aim-line. 

I hope these tips have been helpful.  Good luck with your putting.  If you have any questions call me at 305 609-4968 or take a golf lesson from Richard Metz, PGA golf professional.

 

Golf Class #4- Lesson with Jim

A couple of summers ago, I went to Minnesota for a vacation to visit my good friend Jim and his family. While I was there, of course the word "golf" came up. Jim told me he played, but never had a golf lesson from a PGA professional. So off we went to his local golf course. The reason I am telling you this is because Jim's fault is a common one among many golfers. I watched as he hit a few balls on the practice range. Some of Jim's shots were either to the left or to the right of his target. Once in a while he hit the ball straight, he wasn't consistent. The problem is that his arms and hands were not rotating with his body on the downswing. As a result of this his clubface was open at impact and the ball went to the right. Sometimes unconsciously he corrected this by closing the clubface with his hands, this closed clubface made the ball go to the left of his intended target. How do we correct this? What you do is to start and hit balls with a half swing. It is best to use a short iron like a pitching wedge. When your torso turns on the backswing your arms and hands should also move with your hands cocking your wrists upward. Your left arm should be parallel to the target line with the right arm slightly bent and the toe of the clubhead facing the sky. This is the square clubface. When you start your downswing as your torso turns back to hit the ball, you have to allow both your arms and hands to turn back with the body. At the completion of this half swing, again, the toe of the clubhead faces the sky and the clubface is square. Both of your arms should be extended with your wrists cocking the clubhead upward with your left arm slightly bent. This swinging motion of the clubhead allows the clubface to stay square throughout the swing and the ball should go straight. The problem arises when the left arm does not rotate and extend as the ball is hit. This is called a "chicken wing", a golf term for a bent left arm at impact with the left elbow sticking out and a collapsed left wrist. This causes the clubface to be open at impact. A good exercise to give you the feel of how your left arm works in the swing is to grip down on a short iron and grip the club with just your left hand and arm. Place your right palm on your left bicep and practice swinging the club halfway back and halfway through, looking to see if you keep your left hand and arm extended. Again the toe of the clubhead faces the sky on the half backswing and the half followthrough. If the golf club is held too tightly in the fingers it's harder to coordinate this arm and hand swing with the turning of the torso. Now put both hands on the club and start to hit balls with this halfswing. Remember to take practice swings watching to see if you can make the correct movement. Look at it and get the feel for it. Once you learn to do this with the halfswing you should extend this motion into a full swing. By this I mean a fuller rotation of your torso and a longer backswing with the hands and arms into a full follow-through and finish. Toward the end of Jim's lesson he started to be more consistent. It was fun working with Jim and I hope on my next visit to play golf with him. Remember a good golf swing involves coordinating the body's rotation with the correct arm and hand motion.