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
Westridge Golf Centre
Almost all of you who reads this blog would have heard the saying “drive for show, putt for dough”? Well, this is definitely the case! Think about a normal round of golf that you play, if you happen to miss a green its almost guaranteed that you will make bogey. If you miss a green but hit a good chip shot to within a few feet of the hole, you have a very good chance of saving your par. So ask yourself how many greens do you miss on average during a round? A good amateur player is going to hit about half the greens, and a higher handicap player is going to miss a few more during a round. For example, let’s say you miss 10 greens on average in a round and are a poor chipper, you may get up and down just twice. If you were to just improve your chipping, you could get up and down six times rather than two, which would improve your score by 4 shots!
No matter how long you stand on the driving range smashing drivers, you will never save four shots as quickly from your game as you would with better chipping. The following are five key chipping tips that should quickly help you to see improvement out on the golf course:
- Use Your Hands: The worst thing I hear from amateurs when giving a chipping lesson is that they were told by a friend to chip using a putting motion. Nothing could be further from the truth, because to chip effectively you need to engage your hands and let them work for you. A correct putting stroke uses no hand movement and therefore gets no hinge in the wrists. Hinging the wrists is critical to hitting a good chip shot because it allows the club to get up above the grass level and hit down on the ball with a descending strike.
- Use One Club: Have you got endless amounts of time to practice working on your game? For most people they only get to practice once or twice a week and for only a short amount of time due to other commitments. Because of this, why try to achieve perfect chipping with several different clubs. Choose one club, preferably a sand wedge or lob wedge and get really good chipping with it. With proper technique, and understanding ball position and weight distribution, you will be able to hit a wide range of shots with the same club. You will also develop confidence in this club the more times you use it over and over again.
- Make Sure You Get On Green: Not all chips shots are the same, some are from short rough just off the edge of the green with a generous hole position, and others are hit from deep rough off a downslope with no green to work with. When you are setting up to hit the shot your faced with, make sure you evaluate the situation and choose a smart type of shot. There should be one main goal that outweighs all others, and that is to make sure the next shot is a putt. Don’t try to pull off the miracle shot and leave the ball in the same horrid position as before. Even if you leave yourself a long putt, it’s better to be putting from 30 feet than chipping still.
- Decide Where You Want To Putt From: Unless you actually whole the chip shot your faced with, you are going to have to whole a putt in order to complete the up and down par save. Before you chip, walk around the hole and look at the slope of the putting surface in order to decide exactly where the easiest place will be to putt from. For example if the hole is cut on a flat section of the green, you can take dead aim at the hole and try to chip it as close as possible or inn. However if the hole is cut on a slope you are ideally wanting to make sure your putting uphill as a 10 foot uphill putt is easier than a 5 foot downhill putt. A good leave for par will give you the confidence to knock the putt in and walk off with your par save.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope these tips have been helpful to you and your scores will lower as a result. The short game is a neglected part of the game and I guarantee if you can improve this part of your game only a fraction, you will see big results! If you would like to book a lesson with me please call 613131
Westridge Golf Centre
Golfers are generally hardy souls and there are a number of people who will play regardless of how bad the weather is, they will play all year round regardless! These dedicated people are the ones you see out on the course with umbrella’s in hand whilst it’s raining and blowing a gale, still cheerful and still enjoying their game of golf, not everyone is like this though. Some people take a break from the game and go into hibernation mode during the winter because they just don’t like playing in the cold, or because the climate conditions make it impossible to play (Course Closure). Dragging the clubs out of storage and driving straight to the first tee isn’t a great idea if you have had four months off from playing and need to get rid of the rust. So to get yourself ready to restart playing again, here are some tips listed below to get you back to your best as quickly as possible.
- Check Your Gear: If it’s been a good few months since you last used your clubs and golf equipment, now is a good time to give it a once over. I’m not meaning just give them a clean, I saying you need to check the grips are ok, the shafts are in good condition, and if the grooves are also in good working order especially on your wedges.
- Start To Work Your Golfing Muscles: I’m not saying that you need to join the gym and start going there five times a week. But if you haven’t played for a few months or kept particular active, you’ll need to get the muscles working again. The effects of eating too many Christmas puddings will of had an effect over the winter, so it is particularly important to take part in some sort of exercise just to get you back into the groove before jumping straight in at the deep end.
- Hit The Range: As tempting as it may be to again jump straight onto the golf course and play a game of golf, the likelihood is unless you are a very established golfer (low handicap) there’s likely to be lots of rust in your swing which needs to be ironed out through practice or a lesson. The key isn’t just to smash balls nonstop until you run out, but to work hard on the things in your swing which you know need to be looked at. For example hit a range of shots with all the clubs in your bag working on the swing thoughts which you and your coach have talked about in the past. This is a good way to see where you’re at in regards to ball striking and whether you may need to book a lesson to get yourself back onto the right track.
- Talk To A PGA Professional: If there is something that you are not happy with regarding your swing or your golf clubs, don’t try to self diagnose the problem yourself as this could be more detrimental and course more problems going forward in the long term. Seek advice from us Professionals, as a short 45-minute lesson can end up costing a lot less than what it will if you buy a new driver and see no change in your game. We can diagnose the problem and tell you exactly what you should be working on in order to improve.
- Once You Start Then Don’t Stop: There is very little point going out on the course, shooting a bad round, then leaving the clubs in the locker room for another two months. Once you commit, it’s always a good idea to follow through with getting out on the course regularly and not let a bad round put you off.
Thank you for taking the time to read my latest blog, I hope this has been helpful for you. To book a lesson with me, please call the shop on 01983 613131
Westridge Golf Centre
When I first started playing golf in 1999 at the age of 10, my first set of golf clubs consisted of a second hand set of Ben Sayers irons, coupled with a battered and bruised Howson 3wood. This club had more sky marks on it than the average 28 handicappers driver, but I didn’t care because I was just happy to be out playing golf in the sunshine! These clubs were great to get me started, but……..as I progressed and got better in terms of ability and technique, I needed another set of clubs which were suited to these traits. Around 2002 my coach Peter told my mum that a particular set of clubs had been traded into the shop and that they would be perfect for me. These clubs were a set of TaylorMade 320 irons and as you can imagine I jumped at the chance to change! From this point onwards I only used TaylorMade clubs and no other brand, and continue to do so today. This brand has been very good to me over the years in terms of support and I love the way the equipment looks and feels when playing it. I feel TaylorMade equipment gives me an edge in terms of performance over other brands which is the most important reason why it is in my bag today! In the remainder of this blog, I am going to list the clubs I will be using for 2019 and the performance based reasons behind the decision.
- TaylorMade M6 Driver / 10.5 Degrees / Aldila Rogue Silver 60 Stiff Shaft
Every TaylorMade M6 driver head has been individually calibrated and injected to reach the threshold of the legal limit of ball speed. I can step up to the tee with the confidence of having a driver that’s engineered to make me faster, which is a result of the power from speed injected technology.Twist Face features a revolutionary face curvature that TaylorMade have engineered to reduce sidespin and deliver straighter shots on my off centre strikes. The aerodynamic, all-carbon sole creates discretionary weight to allow for 46 grams of mass to be placed low and back to increase MOI and lower CG. This Inertia Generator creates more forgiveness with higher launch and lower spin on my drives, creating more distance. These drivers are available in a range of lofts from 9 - 12 degrees and retail at £399
- TaylorMade M6 Fairway / 15 Degrees / Aldila Rogue Silver 70 Stiff Shaft
For the first time ever, Twist Face has been engineered into TaylorMade fairway clubs. Unique Twist Face geometry specifically designed for the inertia properties of the M6 fairway wood helps increase my accuracy from off centre hits, from the tee or from the turf. Discretionary mass is concentrated low in the head to optimize CG while maintaining high MOI. The Improved slot flexibility gives a larger COR area, which again helps me better when I miss hit the ball, especially on low-face strikes. These fairways are available in a range of lofts from 14 - 24 degrees and retail at £229
- TaylorMade M6 Hybrid / 19 & 22 Degrees / Fujikura Atmos Orange Stiff Shaft
Like the fairways, for the first time ever, Twist Face has been engineered into TaylorMade hybrids clubs. The steel body construction allows for a thin fast face, for improved ball speed and overall distance. Again like the fairways, the improved slot flexibility gives a larger COR area, which helps on off centre hits, especially on low-face strikes. These hybrids are available in a range of lofts from 19-31 degrees and retail at £189
- TaylorMade P790 Irons / 4 - PW / Nippon Modus 105 Stiff Shafts
TaylorMade’s engineers have answered the challenge wanted by most players - create a forged iron that delivers remarkable distance as well as enhanced playability and feel, all in a refined shape preferred by discerning players. The P790’s hollow cavity uses SpeedFoam Technology, which serves a dual purpose of generating ball speed as well as optimizing sound and feel. Injected into the clubhead, this provides the face support and sound damping properties that make the performance of the P790 unlike any other iron! The P790 also features an ultra thin 1.75mm face thickness with re engineered Inverted Cone Technology optimized for the slightly smaller face area. The new, smaller Inverted Cone allows for reduced thickness at the edges of the face, therefore increasing flexibility from heel to toe and low on the clubface, resulting in more ball speed across the entire face even when I miss hit the ball. These irons are available in a range of spec and shaft options, and 4 - PW retails at £910
- TaylorMade Milled Grind Wedges / 50, 54, 60 Degrees / Nippon Modus 105 Stiff Shafts
Drawing inspiration for the world’s best golfers, Milled Grind wedges use advanced surface milling techniques to ensure precise sole geometry, leading edges, and score lines. The result is a precisely crafted grind on each and every wedge that produces optimal turf interaction and consistent performance. A new and improved groove configuration is also incorporated into the faces of each new wedge. TaylorMade say these soft carbon steel wedges promise to be there most precise, best balanced, and best feeling wedge they have ever produced. These wedges are available in a range of spec and shaft options, and retail at £129
If you are thinking about getting a new set of clubs, then why not book in to have a custom fit with myself. With the use of Trackman 4, I can make sure that the set of clubs you are purchasing are of the correct set make up and spec suited for you. Thank you for taking the time to read my latest blog, if you would like to book a lesson or fitting with me please call 01983 613131. Thank you
Westridge Golf Centre
How frustrating is it when you hit your drive with a good strike, only to look up and see the ball tailing off towards the trees and into a bush with an unplayable lie, or even worse out of bounds! This shot is the most common amongst amateur golfers, and in this blog, I’m going to give you some tips on how to stop this shot from happening. Below is a list of reasons as to why the ball could be slicing offline:
- Grip too weak: Make sure that your grip is in the correct position and not too weak at address. A simple way of checking this is to make sure that on your left hand you can see two/three knuckles. Your right hand should naturally be in the correct position and not too far around the grip.
- Ball position too far forward: At address, the ball position could be too far forward in your stance, which means the natural swing path the club takes will be out-to-in. This means that the club will come across the ball at impact. By putting the ball further back in the stance, this will help you to create a better club path into the ball.
- Alignment: A common fault for golfers will be to aim further and further left after every slice into the trees in the hope that this stops the ball from finishing into trouble. This doesn’t actually solve the problem, it makes it worse because by aiming further left, your creating more of an out-to-in club path, therefore, enhancing the slice spin created on the ball.
- Distance from the ball at address: Make sure that you are not setting up standing too far from the ball. This will cause you to reach for the ball, therefore making you swing too much with your shoulders. By swinging too much with your shoulders and not your body, this will make you too steep into the ball and come across it. Again this will make the ball slice spin and cause it to curve to the right during flight.
Thank you for taking the time to read my latest blog, I hope these tips have been helpful. When you are next on the range give them a try and see how they can help with your game! For any advice or a lesson with me, please call 01983 613131
Westridge Golf Centre
3 Simple Ways To Improve The Strike With Your Chipping
Take It Back To Basics
Getting a consistently clean contact on delicate chip shots feels almost impossible at times. With so many moving parts in your technique, things can easily be miss timed and the results can be disastrous at best.
If you fall into this category, then take yourself back to the basics of chipping and use a simple putting technique. Use a less lofted club like a 7/8 iron and take your putting grip. Address the golf ball as if you are holding your. If you notice, the heel of the club will be up in the air slightly more than usual. Now, all you need to do is make a smooth, simple putting stroke.
These slight changes will help simplify the movement and allow you to focus on the strike, which will make you be more confident with the stroke. The ball should pop up into the air lovely before rolling out towards the hole.
Tempo Is Key
During my time teaching, the one thing that most golfers who struggle with their chipping have in common is the tempo of their chipping action. For instance, they rush back to the ball from the top of the backswing. This quite commonly comes from the anxiety that builds up by over-thinking too much about the specifics of the chipping action. Adopting a simple putting method will certainly help with this.
At address, soften your grip pressure and feel the tension leaving your muscles. In practice, count in your mind 1 - 2 and whilst your counting you should start your golf swing on 1 and finish on 2! If you finish before 2, then slow the acceleration down even more.
The Destroying Hinge
During your takeaway, try to avoid the long takeaway and the big wrist hinge, as this can cause an excessive amount of speed if it’s not controlled and the hinge can create a very steep angle of attack which can be detrimental for other reasons that I will go into on another “Top Tip Blog”. So just make sure that when you are adopting the putting grip technique, keep your wrists firm and backswing a little shorter. This will give you greater control of the speed.
If you would like any more tips on chipping or you want to develop your technique to a more advanced level, then call me on 01983 613131 and we can get a lesson booked in.
Assistant PGA Professional