The PGA National Golf Academy at Gleneagles - Pro-Tips
We are delighted to welcome aboard The PGA National Golf Academy at Gleneagles this season, and their team of pros. Each month they will provide a tuition tip to help our Swingers reach their full potential this season.
To find out more about The PGA National Golf Academy at Gleneagles click here.
To pose a question to The PGA National Golf Academy team, click here
Shape Your Shots
When on the course, the last thing that you want to do is over-think things! That being said, there are times when you need to influence the ball flight from the tee, either because a hole design dictates it, or because you're "fighting" a certain shot on a given day. When that's the case, there's a simple way to make a change, without getting too technical.
By varying the tee height you can assist how easy it is to implement a draw or fade. When the ball is teed lower, you naturally need to "squeeze" the ball off the tee a little more, which means the tendency is to get a little steeper, which promotes that gentle left to right ball flight – perfect for when the whole dog-legs that way or if you've been struggling with a bit of a hook during the previous holes/rounds!
Similarly, if you're looking to hit the ball a little more right to left – tee it up higher, which will encourage you to "sweep" the ball off the tee via a more shallow, upward moving swing path which will equally afford you a better release through the ball & allow you to deliver that power-draw!
Give it a try and see how something as simple as tee height, can help you shape your tee shots like the greats!
Bunker Play Made Easy
PGA golf professionals have a lot to answer for – I should know being one! Over a long period of time, we've managed to instil some serious misgivings into the technique of certain shots, so much so that it becomes folklore to an extent, while making things far more complicated than they need to be.
Take bunker shots as an example, there is definitely no need to overcomplicate them and that comment about an inch of sand before the ball – load of rubbish! Think of it this way – what gives a golf shot height? Quality of contact, spin, speed – what assists with the first two of these things – the grooves on a clubface! What use are they if there is an inch of sand positioned between them and the ball? Answer – no use at all!
By following these simple steps – it will make your bunker pay far more consistent and effective than ever before. All the alterations are simply in the set-up. Most sand wedges will have 56+ degrees of loft, more than enough to escape the majority of bunkers, so no need to open the face and adjust your alignment as a consequence.
All I would suggest is to shuffle your feet into the sand, make sure the ball position is slightly forward & have 60% of your weight on your front foot. If you apply this at set-up and make a natural pitching action, "trying" to strike the ball first as you would off the grass, you'll naturally contact the sand first as a result of you being at a lower level than the ball (because you shuffled your feet in); and because the ball is slightly forward of centre – this will allow the ball to naturally come out on a soft/thin cushion of sand – landing like a butterfly wit sore feet.
No new technique. No helping the ball out of the bunker. No contortion at set-up. A natural pitching action, with the same focus as on the grass, with three simple set-up changes – how easy is that? Give it a try and see how many up and down's you can generate in your next round? Enjoy...
Eliminate That Slice
Slicing the ball is one of the most common faults we see in amateur golf, often stemming from an over the top movement in the downswing that promotes an out to in swing path. This tends to be when the club gets disconnected from the body and attacks the ball from outside the intended target line on the way down, wipes across the ball through impact and then works inside the target line on the way through.
Depending on the clubface position, which is ultimately most responsible for the amount of spin imparted on the ball, it is possible to hit a number of shots from this swing path, most commonly the slice.
Try this drill to help put the club in a better position on the way down, allowing you to attack the ball from a more in to out swing path, which when combined with a more neutral clubface will help eliminate the slice and begin promoting a controlled draw.
Two Ball Drill:
Place a ball approximately two feet behind the object ball and one the same distance in-front, in line with the target. Swing from inside the back ball to outside the front ball to help reduce the slice & deliver a more neutral shot shape – nice an easy to integrate into a basic practice session.
Perfect Your Grip
The grip has arguably the strongest influence over the ball flight of all the fundamentals – after all, it is our only connection with the club! The hands should be placed on the club as naturally as possible, which is defined by the palms facing inward and toward each other, as they would when the arms hang freely from your side.
As a check-point, the "v" created between the thumb & forefinger on both hands should run parallel with each other & aim somewhere between the right ear & right shoulder for a right handed golfer. This will allow the hands to naturally return to their default position at impact & match up with a square clubface.
Should you struggle with the ball spinning to the right, by strengthening the grip slightly, it will be easier to square the clubface at impact and reduce the slice spin. Allow both hands to sit further to the right on the grip so that you can see two knuckles plus on the left hand and the right hand is more under the club. When the hands return to their neutral position at impact, the clubface will automatically square up/release more easily and provide a more neutral ball flight with vastly reduced side spin.
Vice versa for consistent shots spinning to the left, where a weaker grip, with both hands further to the left, will help neutralise the ball flight.
|Palms naturally facing inward & toward each other - as they should be placed on the club.||Neutral grip to all full control over the clubface.||Weaker grip with both hands around to the left on the club.||Strong grip with both hands further around to the right on the club.|