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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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 myself please call 613131

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre                            

How Often Should You Change Your Grips?

There are three pieces of equipment that golfers use on every shot, a golf ball, golf shoes, and a golf grip. A glove could be used but most golfers don’t wear gloves on every shot if sometimes atoll. We think about what golf ball we need to use, trying to get the right combination of maximized distance and ideal spin on every shot. But golfers don’t think about their grips much, even though it is used on every shot and is very important. The golf grip is what keeps our hands on the club, allows us to comfortably hit long drives, and also play those delicate touch shots alike. Also, they allow golfers to play in all kinds of weather conditions and feel comfortable in doing so.

When Should Golfers Replace Their Grips: Just like a golf ball does, a golf grip loses efficiency over time and use. Instead of being somewhat tacky and comfortable to touch, weathered old grips feel slicker, worn down and just frankly old! Golf grips need to be replaced every so often restoring the tacky and comfortable feel. The question is though, how often should a golfer replace their grips? The general rule of thumb is a golfer should replace their golf grips every 6 months or so, that is if you’re playing at least 3-4 times per week in conditions exposing your grips to heat and humidity. So, basically, if you live in the South of the United States, like Florida, Texas or Arizona, and you’re retired or super rich, then replace your grips every six months. For most golfers, they don’t need to change their grips every 6 months. They need to change them either once per year or approximately every 40 rounds. Since most golfers don’t play 40 rounds of golf per year, once per year is perfect. It’s usually a good idea to get them changed in the winter months like November, December and January when you’re not playing as much. This is so you can get used to the particular feel of the grips, and also so they won’t get too worn out before the summer months start. The bottom line is if your grips feel firmer or less tacky than normal, you need to look at getting your grips changed sooner rather than later.

Which Size Grip Should You Buy: Most golfers don’t really think about the proper sizing of their golf grips, but a golfer should ideally have a grip that doesn’t allow them to over grip the club. By that, I mean a golf grip shouldn’t allow you to dig your fingers into your palms on your bottom hand. If you can, then your grip is too small. Likewise, if the gap is too big between your fingers and palms, then the grip is too large.

The most important thing in a grip is the comfort on all types of shots. That might mean having different grips on different clubs although this is very rare to do. It could also mean finding a grip, more common these days, which has a variety of surfaces on a single grip, depending on where you grip the club. Those multi-purpose grips give you the most value for money, offering smooth and rougher surfaces which can be useful in any situation such as weather conditions.

Thank you for reading my latest blog. To book yourself in for a lesson with me, please call 01983 613131

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre               

 

Is It Time To Upgrade Your Wedges?

Most golfers change their driver and irons like they do a pair of socks! But chances are if you have a certain wedge or putter which you like the look and feel of, then it stays in the bag forever! This is not a bad thing when it comes to the putter, as this is a club that changing often is not the greatest move! With wedges though a frequent change is actually a good thing. This is something that is tough to do if you know it works well for you! There’s also a good chance that the grooves have practically worn away due the years of ball striking during playing or practising!

Which leads to the question, does worn grooves on a wedge actually affect your game? The answer is a very simple yes! A brand new wedge with new grooves produces twice the amount of backspin and loads more control! In addition to this, the ball will slide up the face of a wedge with worn out grooves, and launch higher rather than being grabbed by the grooves which reduces spin!

So when exactly should you start thinking about replacing your wedges? How many rounds before you make your next purchase? Titleist’s Vokey R&D team took to its Manchester facility to experiment on this very dilemma, and provide the necessary answers. They found that groove wear begins to affect performance after about 75 rounds. It continues to worsen around 125 rounds. For the casual golfer looking to improve, that means making a difficult decision. Do you want to upgrade wedges and deal with the cost and a potential learning curve, or do you want to stick with the worn-out wedge in your bag and deal with the performance drop?

Click on the link below and watch the short video to see just how much grooves can affect the performance of a wedge and if it’s time to upgrade yours:

At Westridge we stock a variety of wedges from Titleist, Taylormade, Ping, Mizuno, and Callaway and more. If you require any more information, or if you would like to book a lesson with me, please call 01983 613131

 

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, bunkers, and 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 an average distance for each of them. 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 an 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

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre 

 

 

A View from the Shed

I hope you all enjoyed the Easter break. Can you believe it was wall to wall sunshine, for a British Bank Holiday!

This week the greens have been micro tined, to allow much needed air into the surface. This operation causes little or no disruption to the surface. However, weather permitting, a light top dressing will be applied next week.

This week has seen the return of the Barnacle Geese. Some would say, its the only birdie some of you will see on a golf course!

They obviously like vacating here at Westridge that much, they have brought a couple of friends with them this year.

Keep It Simple and Keep It Fun

Back when I was an amateur, I remember playing golf with my friend on a lovely sunny afternoon and watching him really struggle with his game and he wasn’t enjoying being out on the course. I gave him a quick tip and immediately this made a massive difference and his golf improved, and his enjoyment! This was the time I realised how rewarding it was to help someone with their golf swing and see their face light up after hitting a good shot.

Now I’m a Professional, it has got to the stage where I actually enjoy helping people hit great shots more so than when I do myself (Not that I hit many!). The game of golf has been so good to me, and now I want to do everything I can in order to help as many people as possible achieve their goals. Golf is supposed to be fun, but the amount of fun a player experiences quickly diminishes as soon as they make things more complicated for themselves. Whether you are a very keen golfer, someone who is not able to play as often as you would like to, or someone who is starting out and thinking of taking up the game, the key to enjoying the game on a higher level is “SIMPLIFY”!

Simplifying your swing thoughts will not only speed up the rate at which your swing improves, you will also improve your confidence and therefore enjoy the game a lot more! For example, many players who come to see me for a lesson are quick to blame their bad shots that go left and right on certain flaws in their golf swing. They immediately start to change things in their swing when the problem might actually be taking place before the swing even begins. If the shots are not going where you want them to, first check your grip, stance, and set up to ensure that you are setting yourself up properly for a good shot. Many of my lessons come to me complaining about consistently hitting the ball left or right of their intended target, yet as I watch them hit the shots, it is clear they are consistently aiming exactly where the ball goes. They do not realise that they are aiming in the wrong direction, so when the ball doesn’t go where they want it to, they automatically assume there is a fault in their golf swing.

Another way to enjoy the game of golf more is to have realistic expectations. Golf is not how good your good shots are, it’s how good your bad shots are during a round. We need to expect that we are going to hit some bad shots during the course of the round and not every shot is going to be perfect. Many amateurs always come up short when hitting a shot to the green, because they choose a club which needs a perfect strike in order for it to go the required distance. They swing the club as hard as they can and then wonder why the consistency suffers. Instead choose a club which goes a little further than the intended distance and swing easier and more within yourself. This will make it possible to incorporate proper swing mechanics which will automatically improve your consistency, and improve the odds that your ball ends up on the green. (Of course you need to access the trouble surrounding the green for example, if there is water behind the green, you might want to stick with the original club to make sure you have no chance of going over the green and long). Since “feel” is so important in the golf swing (long and short shots) the less technical you can make things, the easier it will be to incorporate good rhythm, timing, and tempo.

The game of golf has so much to offer people of all levels, and we can enjoy the benefits of the game to its fullest if we just don’t over think things and simplify our overall approach.

I hope this blog has been helpful to you. Please call 613131 to book lessons with myself. Thank you

Christopher Reed

PGA Professional

Westridge Golf Centre