There are several Golf Tips below.  You are welcome to use these in any publication as long as credit is given to the author, Dale Samar, PGA and Courtesy of GolfCourseWebPages.com is mentioned as well.  Dale is the General Manager of Rancho Manana Golf Club in Cave Creek, Arizona.

 

 

Golf Ball Set-Up Position

 

I’ve always had a lot of questions about proper ball position in relation to a player’s stance.  While there are several theories on the proper ball position, one thing is certain – you need to be consistent.  In fact, several years ago while standing in front of the 4th tee box at the Scottsdale TPC during the Phoenix open, I saw three well known players play the 133 yard par-three with three completely different ball positions.  One player played it off his left heel, one in the exact center of his stance, and one played the ball off his right heel.  While I can’t be certain of which club each player used, I can only assume be the distance that it was a PW or SW.  I always go with Ben Hogan’s recommendation – short irons in the middle of your stance, mid-irons slightly ahead of middle and long-irons/woods are more toward your left heel. Oh, if you’re wondering which three tour players would have such a different ball position, John Daly, Nick Faldo, and Nick Price.

 

 

Know Your “Lie” and Keep Yourself Honest   A common question to golf professionals is:  why am I so inconsistent?  While there can be dozens of legitimate reasons, one common denominator that I see is that the lie of a ball is very inconsistent.  Let’s face it, golf courses are not always very flat.  Because the ball is only about 1.75  inches thick, a subtle change in topography can have dramatic effects on the shot. If the ball is even a half an inch above your feet, you may hit it “fat” if the ball is a half an inch below your feet you may hit it “thin”.

A good pre-shot routine should include evaluating the slight variations in slope that are standard on even the flattest of golf courses.  By making yourself aware of these variations and slopes, you can make the proper adjustments to hit better shots.  For tips on how to make the proper adjustments, visit your local PGA Professional.

 

 

Quick Tip – Above or Below

 

Because the ball is only about 1.75 inches thick, a subtle change in topography can have dramatic effects on the shot. f the ball is even a half an inch above your feet, you may hit it “fat” or a half an inch below your feet you may hit it “thin”.

Always evaluate the slight variations in slope that are standard on even the flattest of golf courses.  By making yourself aware of these variations and slopes, you can make the proper adjustments to hit better shots.

 

 

 

Developing Feel on the Putting Green

 

I get a lot of questions about developing “feel” on the putting green.  Feel simply means properly reading greens and controlling distance.  Developing proper distance control can start on the practice green prior to your round.  A good way to measure green speed and subsequently control distance is to find a relatively flat part of the green.  Take your backswing along the aiming line so your putter lines up with the inside of your back foot and complete the putt.  Do this twice more – all three of the putts should go about the same distance (distance for individuals will vary depending on greens and your unique tempo).  Next, take your backswing a little further back so the putter heel lines up with the outside of your back foot and complete the putt.  Again, do this twice more – all of these putts should go a little further than the first three but again should be somewhat equal in length.  For the final three putts, go three or four inches beyond your back foot..  If your putts went 6, 12, and 18 feet, you’ll know exactly which backswing you should use for putts of similar lengths on the course.  You can also try this same drill on an uphill putt and a downhill putt to better know how to adjust during your round.  For tips on reading greens, please see your local PGA Golf Professional or sign up for a Short Game Scoring Clinic at any SunCor Golf Facility.

 

 

Improving Long Iron Consistency

 

For many players, hitting long irons with consistency can be a challenge.  Direction, distance, and ball flight shape can all vary widely with long irons even among above average players.  There are several reasons for this.  The shaft is longer which can amplify minor swing variations that change your impact position or swing path.   So by design, the club can be more of a challenge than a shorter club.  However, there are ways to increase your consistency.  One of the most common problems that occurs with these clubs is the slice.   A common mistake I see for players that struggle with long irons is they reach too far away from their body with their hands.  This can promote a flat swing path and as the hands reach away from the body, they also rise.  As they rise, the clubface points away from the player causing a left to right shot even if the swing path is otherwise correct.  By lowering the hands and maintaining the correct distance between the grip and legs at impact, you can ensure the clubface is at the correct angle before and at impact.  Properly gripping the club can also help alleviate this problem- make sure you grip the club in your fingers and not in the palm of your hand.  The end of the grip should stick out the back of your upper hand by at least a half an inch.  With a proper grip, setting up too far from the ball will be more difficult.

 

 

Chipping is as Simple as Putting

 

Controlling the distance of a chip can be a mystery for many players but it can actually be very easy especially from within 10 feet of the green.  Using a 7 or 8 iron, grip down to the lower part of the grip and make the same putting stroke you would for a putt of equal distance.  The club will pop the ball in the air and the ball will roll most of the way to the hole.

 

 

 

Look for the Drainage and the Big Picture

 

Putting greens and golf courses are designed to allow water to drain.  Greens often drain (and putts break) towards lakes, creeks, washes, or away from hills and mountains. Putts also generally break more on downhill than uphill putts.  You should evaluate these types of landmarks as part of your green reading routine as looking at the bigger picture can be as important as looking at the green itself.

 

Golf Instruction Tips