Understanding Shot Shaping

Have you ever been on the golf course and wondered to yourself “I’d love to be able to hit a nice high draw shot” or “A low cut around the tree here would be perfect”. In this blog, I’m going to give a simple guide to help you control your trajectory and get you hitting the desired shape on your golf ball. Shaping your golf ball can be quite tough to understand at first take, but once you get your head around the theories involved it can be pretty easy to do. There are 9 different shot shapes a golfer can hit by making changes to their set-up position, and this will give them a fantastic number of options when out on the golf course tackling the weather conditions or course challenges presented! These consist of high, low, straight, fade, draw shots which are all produced by making changes to the set-up position, which then intern change the golfers swing path. Remember that swing path (the direction the club travels before, during, and after impact) controls what happens to the curvature on the golf ball, and the initial starting direction is dictated by the relative position of the clubs face angle at impact. Below are tips on what to do in order to hit a fade and draw shot.

Hitting a Fade: In order to shape the ball left to right (for right-handers) you will need to swing the club with an out-to-in swing path. As you set up to the ball, you will need to aim your feet, body, and shoulders left of the intended target. Aim the clubface slightly left of the target to mark the starting point of the shot. Alignment sticks are a great aid in helping you get into the right position when practicing, and are not expensive to purchase. Then simply swing down the line of your feet and body, and providing the clubface is still in the same position at impact as when setting up to the ball, the shot will fade nicely back to the target.

Hitting a Draw: In order to hit a draw, you will simply need to do the complete opposite of what I have said about hitting a fade. For you to shape the ball right to left (for right-handers) you will need to swing the club with an in-to-out swing path. As you set up to the ball, you will need to aim your feet, body, and shoulders right of the intended target. Aim the clubface slightly right of the target to mark the starting point of the shot. Then simply swing down line of your feet and body, and again providing the clubface is still in the same position at impact as when setting up to the ball, the shot will draw nicely back to the target.

 

If you would like to book a lesson with me and learn about this in more detail, Please call 613131. Thank you

 

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre

How To Drive Long Off The Tee!

There is one thing every golfer wants and that is distance off the tee! Anyone who says they are not bothered about how far they hit the ball is either lying, or they have just excepted the fact they will never be a bomber off the tee. Learning how to increase your driver distance not only makes you look awesome in front of your regular playing partners, but providing your still hitting it straight, makes the game a whole lot easier. There is nothing better than stepping up to the tee box knowing that you’ve got the confidence to hit it long and straight down the middle, and this is a skill that every golfer should try and develop. If you can learn to hit it longer off the tee, this will lead to shorter approach shots into the green, more greens in regulation, and more importantly better golf scores. So what are the key factors to hitting long drives? In this blog I will give tips which will show you a step by step process on how to increase your driving distance.

1.Ball Height: The primary goal when using a driver is to make sure that your  “Hitting Up” on the golf ball through impact. By teeing the ball high this will encourage an upward strike and better drives. As a general rule I tell people the equator of the golf ball should be directly in line with the top of the clubface at address.

2.Wide Stance: The driver is the longest club in the bag that you will have, therefore it is the it is the also the club you can swing the fastest. If you are going to swinging with increased club speed, you need to make sure you have the correct width of stance and solid base to maintain balance. I see far too often amateurs setting up with narrow stances which leads to sloppy unbalanced swings. To ensure you have a solid base at address, set up with outside of your shoulders extended down to the inside of your feet.

3.Forward Ball Position: Many amateurs make the common mistake of placing the ball too close to the middle of their stance as if they are preparing to hit a medium iron shot. When this happens the hands get in front of the ball and the clubhead becomes de-lofted as a result of the improper set up position. When the ball is placed in the wrong ball position it affects how a players shoulders are also set at address, which therefore can have an effect on the path of the club through impact. Players tend to strike down on the ball at impact which is the exact opposite of what you should be trying to achieve. This causes excess spin on the ball resulting in ballooning drives especially into the wind, which makes the ball go very high, but not very far in distance. In order to maximise your distance you must strike up on the ball! To do this simply place the ball in line with your left heel to ensure the clubs bottoms out earlier in the swing, meaning the club connects with the ball on the upswing.

4.Spine Angle: At set up your upper body specifically your spine should be tilted away from the target. This means for a right handed player, their left shoulder should be slightly higher than their right shoulder at address. Making sure your spine is tilted the correct amount at address is important because it puts your body in a powerful position to strike up on the golf ball.

Obviously, things such as swinging in balance and how centred your strike is on the clubface will also determine how long and straight you hit your drives. But hopefully, these short tips in this blog will enable you to see instant changes and hopefully positive results! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, to book a lesson with me please call 613131

 

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre

 

Importance Of Deliberate Practice

I work 40 hours a week here at Westridge Golf Centre, and on top of that practice working to improve my own game in my free time. Whilst working or practicing, I see lots of members and non members come up to hit balls on the driving range to work on their swing, trying to get themselves hitting the ball better in preparation for next week’s skins match amongst their mates, or the club monthly medal. It’s all very good hitting 150 balls on the range twice a week, and saying that you have put lots of work hard work into to improving your game…….but have you???

 

This is where the phrase “deliberate practice” comes into the conversation. This term was used by psychologist K. Anders Ericsson where his research talks about how humans achieve mastery in a certain skill. In relation to golf, deliberate practice is about improving by pushing your practice beyond your comfort zone. This doesn’t mean just turning up at the range and smashing loads of balls in the hope that you might just start hitting the ball better! Only by practicing with purpose and a bit of pain will you improve. I’m now 29 and have been a Professional for 7 years and have won 4 events in this time, but my last victory was 3 years ago. Over this time I have realised what separates me and everybody else from world class performers is how they approach every day trying to get better! My practice sessions were pathetic, I would get a bucket of balls and start with a short iron working my way up to the driver, not trying to accomplish anything but figure out why the good shots were good and the bad shots were bad! I would have my reasons as to why these were happening, and how I would go about trying to replicate the good shots and eliminate the bad without having any real evidence to support my theories. Soon 1 hour passes by, I had run out of balls and I wouldn’t have achieved anything during the session. This is when I realised that something had to change during my practice in order for me to get better! I analysed my game and now practice specific things in order for me to improve.

When you practice, you need to work on things that are unique to you. Don’t get fooled into trying the latest tip that you read in a golf magazine or see on the internet! You need a personalised plan that stretches you out from your comfort zone. Only you and your coach (If you have one) will know what this is. So when you next go up the range to practice ask yourself, what shots and situations on the golf course make you uncomfortable? What you would like to do well on the golf course? Once you have figured these out, devise a plan to practice specifically on those areas. These can be anything from trying to get the ball closer from 120 yards away, to driving it straighter, or just hitting punch shots with a 7iron in order to control your ball flight for windy conditions. But remember the practice is specific to what you want to achieve in order for your game to improve! Don’t get frustrated if your hitting a lot of bad shots during the practice session, this is a good sign your achieving deliberate practice and not just falling back into old habits and achieving nothing! When trying to get better sometimes you have to take 1 step backwards in order to take two steps forward as they say.

During a lesson I will tell you the areas of your game that you need to improve, and give you technical instruction on how to improve these through deliberate practice on the range. If this is something that interests you and you would like to book please call 613131 and we can discuss this, as well as my new coaching packages for 2019, which offer you monthly lesson prices with daily free range credit included!!! Thank you for taking the time to read my latest blog and I hope to see you soon.

 

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre

Tips to make playing Golf in the Winter more Fun!

Playing golf during the winter is not everyone’s cup of tea! Weather is often horrible with lots of rain, cold winds, poor visibility, and the condition of the course itself is……..let’s just say it can be a challenge to shoot your best scores with these issues presented when playing. Regardless though of all these things, there are plenty of people who choose to brave the elements in order to practice the game they love. If you’re going to master the course and keep your handicap coming down over winter you will need help to do this. Having a lesson on a regular basis will help you to play better consistent golf, but also having the right equipment will give you the edge you need to beat the elements and play better golf. Below is a list of things that will help you to achieve this:

  • Beanie Hat: It is crucial to stay warm and dry when playing golf in the winter. If you’re too cold you can’t think straight let alone swing straight. Because you lose a great deal of heat through your head, it makes sense to keep it covered with a soft warm beanie or bobble hat.

  • Mittens: Hitting a shot with cold hands can not only be very painful, but your overall feel of a golf shot will be affected therefore affecting performance. Mittens are easy to put on and take off, and are used when walking between shots from tee to green. Most have Velcro cuffs stopping the wind and rain getting inside meaning your hands will be nice and warm when playing your next shot.

  • Rain Grip: Playing in the rain provides plenty of issues, but the most frustrating thing is losing grip on the club because it’s too slippery and because of this your shot becomes affected. Rain grips have a waterproof coating to keep your hands dry and a suede palm to help with grip.

  • Umbrella: The most crucial piece of equipment to have in the rain! Not only will the umbrella keep you dry when striding down the fairway to your next shot, it will also keep your clubs dry whilst you are hitting a shot. Without one of these playing in the rain will be made even harder than it is already!

 

 

We have all these accessories in stock plus many more available which would come in handy for this time of year, starting from £1.75p. So feel free to pop in and start to see an improvement in your game this winter! If you would like to book a lesson with myself please call 01983 613131. Thank you

 

 

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre

Important Of Knowing Your Yardages

If you are like most amateur golfers, you probably have a rough idea of how far you hit each one of your clubs, but you’re not 100% sure on exactly how far each one actually goes. I hear all the time people saying “I hit a 7iron 190 yards once” and then every time they have a shot that is 190 yards to the green, they use a 7iron without taking into account things such as wind direction. Just because you have hit a certain yardage once, doesn’t mean that is how far you will hit the ball every time you use that particular club. This will cause inconsistency in your golf game which ultimately leads you to second guess yourself, and we all know that bad things tend to happen when you start to do this!

Tour players are truly great at knowing just how far each club in their bag actually goes. They know it down to the exact yard! So you’re probably thinking “Why is this important or relevant to me?”. There are a number of reasons as to why this is important, the main one being that your scores will dramatically improve if you do! The better you know your distances, the better you will be able to plot your way round a golf course and avoid all the trouble in doing so. Avoiding water hazards, water, out of bounds is how you’ll stop making those big numbers on holes which ruin your scorecard.

 

Once you have figured out what average distance you hit each club on a regular basis, you’ll have a much better chance of hitting more greens per round. Being short or long to a green is most of the time much more detrimental than being left or right with the correct distance.

 

Another reason for knowing how far each club goes is to make sure the distance gaps in your set are correct. If for example you are hitting a 7iron a similar distance to your 6iron, then maybe you need to get a different set of clubs fitted to your swing. Having gaps that are too small between clubs is especially common when it comes to longer irons, hybrids, and fairway woods. Most amateurs think that switching between brands is the answer, but most of the time it’s not.

When it comes to actually knowing your distances, your short game is where you will notice the most benefit. Once you get inside 150 yards, sticking it close to the flag rather than always going long or short will certainly lower your scores. So how do you know how far each club goes? There are a variety of ways you can do this, and by far the best way is to use the help of technology! Here at Westridge we have the Trackman system which gives you great information regarding exactly how far you have hit the ball, and all the relevant information regarding spin rate, carry, roll, and total distance. Also Toptracer in each bay on the range will give you the relevant information required to determine just how far each shot has carried in the air and what the total distance of the shot is. The more low tech and less time efficient way would be to go out on the golf course and hit a number of shots with each club and try to get a average distance for each club.  

Whichever method you choose, make sure to be honest with yourself and don’t let pride get in your way. If your friend is hitting a 8iron to the green, don’t be afraid to take a 7 or 6 iron if that is what is required. It doesn’t matter what club you take if the end result of the shot is better! The better you know your game, the better you will score on a round and ultimately this is what will increase your enjoyment!

Thank you for reading my latest blog, if you would like to book a lesson with me please call 613131 to do so 

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre