Chalk Line Drill to Improve Putting Stroke
I tried my best to take a good picture so you could see the blue chalk line. This is my favorite drill for checking your putting stroke. First go to a home improvement store/ hardware store to purchase one. Buy the one with the lighter color so the line isn’t so bold. You want the line to be faint so you don’t rely on it totally. The chalk line will not harm the grass.
This drill is for is meant for a straight putt…practice first with a ball and then make the chalk line. Then you are all set. Take your putter back on the line and follow through on the line. If you aren’t staying on the line practice making sure you are using your shoulders to putt and not your hands/wrists. Also, note, this line is also helpful to identify your alignment. Feet should be parallel to chalk line. (Check alignment for more info)
One of the easiest ways to understand your own putting stroke is by holding your finish when you are done. If you look at the picture above, Avery (yes he is a lefty), has held his finish after his putting stroke. He can now check to see if his stroke finished well. Yes – he did! His putter has finished at his target. Now he can look at the ball and make sure his ball is rolling at his target.
**Remember, make sure your putter is finishing at your target. If you are intending to play break, your putter should finish at your target to let the ball break into the hole and not at the hole!
Just by holding your finish, anyone can check to make sure their putter is going in the correct direction. If it is not, then you might want to take out your chalk line and practice swinging back and forth.
(see next post for chalk line drill)
In a past blog, I discussed how to properly aim your club and body to the target. Now it is time to add a component in your setup to help ensure you are aimed correctly every time. In the picture above, I have centered the camera behind the ball aiming at the red flag – which is my target. I circled a divot in front of my ball in red. This is what I am using as my intermediate target. Intermediate to me means halfway between my ball and my target, which is why I actually like to name it a “close” target. The closer it is to my ball the easier it is for me to aim. On the golf course you can pick anything: divots, grass, leaves (just make sure it doesn’t blow away!)
How to use this target: Now that I have this target I can stand beside my ball and aim my club at the divot (close target). This is a lot easier for me to see if my clubface is aligned then trying to look all the way out to the flag. Next I will try to draw an imaginary line from the divot to my ball and align my feet parallel to this imaginary line. Lastly, after this I turn my head a little bit and the flag should be right there if I did this appropriately. This takes some practice but this allows me to see my alignment much easier than having to look out towards the flag all the time.
If you do this with your irons, you need to do this with your woods, short game, putting etc. Basically it should be part of your pre shot routine for all shots: tee to green. The more you use a “close” target, the better you will become at aiming. As a result you will hit more shots closer to your target!
Oh the Winter!
Whether you are in the North or South, golf takes a little break for all of us. This is my all time favorite excercise to help your body stay active anytime anywhere.
Take a ball, any ball. My favorite is a medicine ball because it turns into not only a golf drill but a great excercise for your core. Set up like a golfer holding the ball between your hands, just like holding a club. Swing back about halfway then turn your hips forward and throw the ball towards your target. If your body moved properly the ball should go towards your target. If it didn’t move properly the ball is not going towards your target and you should feel like your arms/wrists/hands interfered.
You can do this drill 10-20 times in a row. If you are using a medicine ball your core should feel a great workout….not your arms and hands!
Let’s start first with what is loft. Loft is the angle of your club face. This angle determines how high your ball flies therefore helps provide how far your golf ball will go. If it was up to me, all the golf clubs would have the degree of loft on the top of the clubs and not a number. The number of the clubs really does not have a purpose. The loft is the most important.
As a golfer, you should first start by writing down the clubs you have in your bag. Then go online and look up your manufacturer’s specifications. Write down the lofts shown in the specifications that correspond to the club in your bag. Make sure you are looking up the brand and model of your club as some manufacturers use different lofts. Next, look to see what or if you have any gaps in your lofts or possibly the duplications. This will help determine if you need to start looking at purchasing a club to fill a gap or eliminate a club.
When you play a golf course it is always good to know how they mark the yardage’s on the golf courses. Players have chosen for helping determine a holes yardage’s. Some golf courses uses stones to mark 100, 150, 200 etc. Other golf courses just mark 150 yards with a stick. While others go and mark the sprinkler heads. Another option is using a range finder or gps. When you know how the golf courses are marked then you can start to determine where you are on each hole and what club to choose.
Now, depending on the type of player you are the yardage can mean different things. If you look at the picture above, I marked an X where the ball has landed and written the yardage to the hole: 50 yards. Most of us would take out our 50 yard shot and hit the ball. But what we are not accounting for is including the yardage of the ball after it hits the ground. When I am teaching a player on the golf course, I am noticing the students are hitting a 50 yard shot but when the ball lands it will roll more and either roll to far past the hole or even over the green. Then they look at me and said I hit the right shot but it didn’t work. While, they are not accounting for the extra distance when the ball lands. Therefore, if they took a PW and hit a 50 yard shot, the ball will roll at least 10-20 more feet if not more. Therefore they should be landing the ball either in the front of the green or the middle of the green. Therefore the player should be landing the ball at 30 or 40 yards and letting the ball roll to the hole. Each player has to determine their own yardage by including these three factors: the performance of the club, how the ball will react, and the condition of the golf course.
First of all, you need to practice your sand shot. Yes, I understand if you don’t go in the bunker, you don’t need to practice it. But if you practice your bunker shot and learn to enjoy it, you won’t have to worry about being in the bunker….you might even like to be in the bunker.
How to practice: The above picture shows and line going vertical from the inside of my left foot out behind the ball. This line signifies where to hit the sand. Now, the top divot is a correct divot, a couple inches behind the ball. The bottom divot is a common divot but a wrong divot – taking too much sand therefore not getting the ball out of the bunker. Instead of thinking where to hit the sand, think about moving your hips through to the target, just like a pitch shot or a full swing shot. If you don’t clear your hips, you won’t get the ball out and you will take the bottom divot every time. If you clear your hip by transferring your weight, your divot will be closer to the ball and your ball will get out of the bunker.
If you have ever taken a lesson with me you will understand that knowing the difference between a chip and a pitch is very important. When my students are playing golf I stress the importance of knowing which shot you are going to execute. There is no such thing as a “chitch” (doing a pitch and a chip in the same swing)….this will not be a produce a consistent shot.
A Chip shot is a shot that has little loft and more roll **(similar to a chipmunk: he hops and runs)
A Pitch shot is a shot that has more loft and little roll **(similar to a softball pitch where the ball has to get to home plate in the air)
Now as far as the swing:
A Chip shot you use just your shoulders to move your arms, your lower body does not move. It is just like a putt, but you are using a different club!
A Pitch shot you use your shoulders (just like a chip) but you add your hips. It is just like your full swing but shortened in your back swing.
As far as distance control:
A Chip Shot is anywhere from the ball to a 1/4 swing because you can only swing that far with your shoulders. If you look at the picture above, you can reference the times on a clock to help determine exactly where to take it back. No farther than 8 on a clock.
A Pitch Shot is taking you club back with your shoulders/ arms to 1/4 swing (8 o’clock) all the way to a 3/4 swing (10/11 o’clock). Basically it is just like a mini version of your full swing, using your shoulders and hips to obtain distance. If you look at the picture above, you can reference the times on a clock to help determine exactly where to take it back.
I can talk about both of these shots for hours and go over many other things, but this is where the process of understanding your short begins. I look forward to posting a lot more blogs on the building of the difference between chipping and pitching.
Many people are confused or unsure why a golfer plays a ball back in their stance. I always want my students to know the reason why to do something not just that they are suppose to do it. The main reason to play the ball back in your stance is to produce lower loft. As you can see in my picture, I have taken a 56 degree Sand Wedge and place it back in my stance. Therefore I bring my hands forward and this changes the loft of the club. Now it will act more like a 9 iron or even 8 iron. This is great to use for a chip shot other, basically called a bump and run because you are producing less loft and more run. Remember to make sure you use your shoulders to swing so you keep the club delofted. This ball position is also an excellent choice for a punch shot to get out of trouble….stay tuned to a future blog on just what a punch shot is. It will keep the ball low and produce more roll to ensure you get out of the trouble. This is definitely something to practice and tryout. More ball position blogs to come to discuss even more options!