Monday, August 22, 2011

Fast Track to Lower Scores

As the season progresses, have you played the quality of golf you had hoped at the season’s start? This is typically the time of year, at the United States Golf Academy, we hear from those who haven’t. I call them the desperation calls. How can I get better fast?

Start with your sand wedge. Hit the first 5 balls, to carry 5 yards in the air. Now hit 5 more twice as far – 10 yards. Then hit 5 more twice as far again or 20 yards. Then hit some 40, then 80, stopping when you get close to the full distance of your wedge. Do not make a full swing with your wedge! This “not quite” full swing is exactly what you need to control every other club in the bag! Now grab your driver. Picture a fairway on the range, go through your complete routine, and try to get the ball in the fairway. Hit 5 drives, using the same routine and set up for each one. Do not change based on one result. After the 5th drive, analyze the results. Did the ball do the same thing for all 5 drives? If not go back and make 5 swings until the results are the same, good or bad. Once the results are consistent, finding a fix is much easier. We can’t permanently fix random results. At this point we have worked on our iron game by using the wedge, improved our full swings by working with the driver and with that we have learned the importance of consistence.

Next take your putter and head for the practice green. Take a very short stroke and see how far the ball rolls. Then take the next ball and with a little longer stroke see how far it goes. Make each stroke progressively longer. Remember no target, just judge the length of the stroke and watch the results. If you get good at this drill you have five balls on a line, each going about 5 feet farther than the previous one. Now go to the opposite side of the green and do the same thing coming back. This drill gives you a better feel for the mechanics of creating distance. Finally take the five golf balls and put them in a circle five feet from one of the cups on the green. Try to make all 5 putts. If you are very good see how many you can make in a row. Finally take the five balls and throw them scattered around the green. Try to get each of the five balls up and down in two strokes without any “do overs” or mulligan’s.
In the end you have worked on everything you will need to play better. Improved wedge play, better control and tempo for your irons, more fairways and better overall swing mechanics by working with the driver and lower scores because of your focus on the short game.

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