Many of my students, especially seniors, ask me to help them to hit the golf ball farther. “I’ve lost so much distance, I just don’t hit the ball far enough,” is a common complaint. The 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 $400.00 driver with the ultra-light graphite shaft is usually not the answer. The answer is to improve the way your lower body (hips and legs) function in the swing. They are the engine that drives the shoulders and arms down to hit the ball on the downswing. In order to do this, the lower body has to be strong. As we all get older the muscles of the hips and legs lose their strength and flexibility.
I know you probably don’t want to hear this but the key is for you to do exercises to make them stronger and quicker. Sorry, there is no quick fix. If you are not a member of a health club where you can use a Stairmaster or treadmill, go on line and you will see many exercises to strengthen your lower body at home.
If you stay with this you should notice a big difference in about three months. It really works. Lastly walk the golf course and let your partner drive the electric cart.
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.
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.
The absolute best price in Miami for private golf lessons and golf classes.
Group and playing lessons available.
Richard teaches at Costa Del Sol Golf Club in Doral, FL.
MAPS AND DIRECTIONS
Costa Del Sol Golf Club is conveniently located to all areas of Miami-Dade and Southwest Broward just one mile east of the Florida Turnpike Extension exit at NW 41 Street. Travel east one mile and turn right into entrance at NW 102 Avenue
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