3 Key Drills for Great Wedge Play

Far too many golfers struggle with their wedge play. I see it all the time! In this article and video I have dug deep and come up with my three favorite drills for you to practice if you'd like to get better from close range. Take a look...

Impact Drag Drill

  • Using an alignment rod in lieu of a club take your normal pitching address position
  • Place the tip of the rod on the ground about 3 feet behind where the ball would be
  • Keeping the arms extended, rotate and elevate the lead shoulder to get the rod through impact

Pitching Draw Drill

  • Tee the ball up and place an alignment rod between the ball and the target
  • The objective is to get the ball to draw around the rod
  • Have the handle traveling up and in while the clubhead travel down and out for draws

9 Ball Trajectory Drill

  • Using nine balls to develop skill and adaptability
  • Hit the first three balls to three different targets with your stock trajectory
  • The second three balls are hit with a slightly higher trajectory to different targets
  • The final three are hit with a lower trajectory to different targets as well

My hope is that these drills will help to upgrade your technique, develop your skill around the greens and ultimately help you become a more well-rounded golfer.

Thanks for reading/watching and if you enjoyed this article please share it with a friend who you feel might benefit.

A Drill For Better Compression

There is so much information out there regarding the golf swing that it's nearly impossible for anybody to sift through it all and decide what could be a game-changer for their game. In this article I've done the heavy lifting for you and trust me, improved wrist angles (particularly in the downswing) can make a massive difference in your ball striking.

In the wrist-centric Laser Beam drill I'd like to see the following:

  • a tee in your glove pointing away from your the back of your hand
  • curl the wrists under, bowing the lead wrist slightly, as you start the swing
  • sense a flat or slightly bowed wrist throughout the back and downswing
  • save your eyes! Point the tee away from your face all the way through impact

If you do this correctly you will sense an improved ability to hit draws and the additional compression will have the ball jumping off the clubface. Give this one a go!

An explanation of Compression 

A Sample Golf Lesson

I wanted to share a recent lesson I did. Keep in mind that that this lesson went completely as intended - it doesn't always work that way. My objective for Halle, who is a promising young high school golfer, is to improve the quality of her ball striking. Watch...

She improved her posture by not extending her lower back as much and her swing notes were:

  • Feel the hips working more up and down vs level - Sam Snead image. This would serve to improve body motion and discourage the arms from working behind her too much.
  • Consciously keep her arms more in front of her. A drill was to make back swings while backed up against a wall. This would keep her arms from getting deep and allow them to work in front of her on the way down.
  • Sense the hands tracking left of the target through impact. She has worked on the dispersion drill in the past and has had good success with it.

Hand path is often over looked and is an important part of what I teach on a daily basis. Thanks for watching!

This free website's biggest source of support is when you decide to book a lesson or golf school. You can contact me HERE. If you live in another state or country please consider making a purchase HERE or  HERE. It will help your game in addition to helping me to keep adding to this free website. Thanks again for your support! Andrew.

The Truth about Divots

Demonstrating the Impact Drag Drill

Demonstrating the Impact Drag Drill

I think divots are over-rated. They are not integral to great ball striking and they certainly don't give us as much information pertaining to the swing that led to the divot as we have been led to think. And to think that I used to love them, I used to encourage all my students, even ladies, to hit down and take divots...

Times have changed! TrackMan has shown me that far more golfers hit down too much than those who don't hit down enough. The "hit down" mantra has been flogged to death.

This video I filmed in conjunction with Revolution Golf will give you some idea as to what to look for as you work towards an improved and shallower strike on the ball.

As Martin Chuck so aptly said in this very good follow up video, "We're looking for bacon strips, not pork chops!" A shallow strike will improve the crispness of your strike - give it a try.

Thanks for reading along.

The Impact-Driven Golf Swing

There are many ways to swing a golf club, but only one way to hit a golf ball correctly. The whole idea behind my philosophy is the above statement. When looking at the top players of all time, there are no two golfers that swing the club the same way, however they all manage to impact and strike the ball in a similar fashion. How is it possible that Lee Trevino, Ray Floyd and Nancy Lopez can make the ball get to the target the same way that Ben Hogan, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods do? The only answer can be impact. A position where the weight is well on the front foot, the handle leads the clubhead into the ball (with irons) while the head remains over or slightly behind the ball.

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Driver Test: Old vs. New

My wife encouraged me to clean out the garage the other day and I happened upon an old driver I used in college. I still remember how cool this driver was - it was the latest and greatest and even had a titanium shaft! When was the last time you saw one of those? Just for kicks I placed it up alongside my current Titleist driver and was shocked at the massive difference between the two - the older club looked smaller than my current three wood! How could I have possibly played well with this mini club? This got me thinking about a TrackMan test.

For the record the smaller club was a TaylorMade Burner Plus 9.5 degree with a titanium X flex shaft and my current club is a Titleist D3 8.5 with a Motore F3 70 gram graphite S flex shaft. There is a fairly substantial 1.5 inch difference even though both clubs were standard length in their day. I am not sure about the weight or the true frequency/flex of each club as I did not have the appropriate equipment to check those measurements.

For the TrackMan test I hit 12 shots with each club and deleted the data for the two worst shots. I noted that the attack angle, club path, swing direction and plane were very similar from club to club.

The primary differences seemed to be:

  • Club speed 99.7mph vs 101.8mph - I believed that this difference would be greater due to the large difference in length of shafts.
  • Ball Speed 145.7mph vs 152.4mph - I put this down to the fact that the smaller head led to more off-center hits and thus a decreased average ball speed and smash factor.
  • Point of contact - there was a noticeable tendency for me to strike the bigger club in the heel. This led to more shots missed to the right due to gear effect and an increase in the spin rate 2455rpm vs 2895rpm.
  • Height - even though the smaller club launched the ball slightly higher the apex height was lower due to less spin and ball speed.
  • Carry and total distance - the smaller club carried the ball almost 17yards shorter, but with less spin and a flatter land angle rolled further to only finish just over 10 yards short of the bigger club.
  • Dispersion - the smaller club had more shots finish further from the center line due to a much smaller clubface and substantially lower MOI.

Here are the TrackMan generated dispersion charts (yellow is the smaller club) and averages:

(click to enlarge)

I was amazed at how small the difference between the two drivers, total distance wise, there was. Going in to the test I would have thought that there would be a 15 yard difference at least. I expected the smaller club to spin the ball less and lower the apex which it did, but I was truly amazed at how little distance I lost with it. I did notice a much greater tendency to hit the ball outside the sweet spot with the smaller club and that led to some fairly aggressive gear effect draws and fades.

Driving is not my strong suit and I am always looking to keep the ball in play off the tee. Armed with this new knowledge I am going to try a shorter shaft in my current driver head and see what that does for my fairways hit statistic. I also plan on practicing with the older club - I think it is vital in improving ball striking to practice with smaller headed clubs.

I also think this test might also illustrate that the majority of the distance gains we see on the PGATour today are not equipment based, but primarily due to the ball.....your thoughts?

Clubs Too Upright, Too Light?

Thanks to reader Chuck for this enlightening article posted by Bradley Hughes from www.bradleyhughesgolf.com:

 FLAT LIE ANGLES -            The Reason and Logic Of The Greats

I know from personal experience in a question asked directly to Lee Trevino that he used clubs that were at least 3 degrees flat in lie angle from the old standard. Doug Sanders also informed me in the interview I recently did with him (on page 2) that he had his clubs flattened down so the toe sat down and the heel would never strike the ground first. If we look at Ben Hogan's club that is in USGA Golf House Museum it is close to 6 or 7 degrees flat in lie angle when compared to clubs of the same length and loft of today.

If flat lie angles were the choice of the game's best ball strikers throughout history then WHY do manufacturers insist on putting upright lie angled clubs in the hands of golfer's today?

  • The upright clubs make the player come steeply into the ball on descent.
  • The upright clubs tell the body stall and insist that the hands flip through impact to try and square that upright lie angled club with the ground.
  • The upright club straightens the right arm away from the body and increases clubface roll throughout the shot making timing a huge problem.
  • Upright lie angles deteriorate the swing by not stressing the importance of swinging the golf club behind and around the body and rotating through impact with the correct body effort and sequence.

Too often we now see golfers throwing the club through impact - pushing the club head off to the right of the target or throwing the clubhead left of the target with their hand roll - flipping the club face over by hand action trying to correct the mistake. Today's clubs should all come with a warning label:     "Swing Deterioration And Poor Mechanics Possible By Using This Club"

 Add the fact that the shafts are too long and the swingweights and overall club weights are too light and it is little wonder we don't see ball striking mastery on any level any longer. Remember: Feedback of the club and the swing is necessary for improvement to take place. That's why golfers are not improving. They don't know the difference between a good strike or a bad strike of the ball because the permieter weighting and large sweet spots don't allow such reference. The equipment golfers are using is NOT designed to help them adjust their swing to the correct efficient motion.

Bradley Hughes

Very well said Mr. Hughes. I have an inkling as to why manufactureres insist on making clubs lighter and more upright...... Firstly, the clubs are more upright as it causes the faders, who happen to be the majority of golfers, to reduce the amount of curvature of their shots. Notice I never said anything about improving their swings - the upright lies in fact encourage these golfers to continue swinging the way they always have. And secondly, the light weight leads to more speed which creates a Wow! factor when they first hit the clubs. The lighter the club the faster you can swing it. You also, however, relinquish a measure of control over the clubhead and a feel for the club.

So the slicer who tries his buddies new 7-iron and hits a straight bomb over the green is amazed as he has never hit the ball that straight and that far before - he simply must have a set!

As with most things it comes down to $$$$! Don't get sucked in and allow yourself to be enticed with new gimmicks. Know your numbers (length and lie) and play something you like the look of and can feel.

Crisp Holiday Bargains for Every Golfer

Here are a few offers that are sure to please either yourself or the avid linkster on your Christmas list.

It's All About Impact

I received my copy of "It's all about Impact" yesterday. What a great book! You have verified what I have thought for years but was unable to put into words. This book is well worth the money because not only do you explain the 84 degree "secret", You also get into basic shot skills needed by most amateurs, myself included.

Thanks for a well put together book that is easy to read & understand, has great photos and again, is a super value.

Best regards,

JH

  • The eBook and hardcover version will both be 20% off from today through Christmas
  • All hardcover books will be autographed by yours truly - bonus!
  • Purchase either version and receive a certificate for a one hour golf lesson from Andrew for $80 (valid for 3 months from date of purchase)
  • There is also free shipping for anybody residing in the state of South Carolina
  • If you would like to place a bulk (5+) order please contact me at (843)247-4688 or andrew (at) andrewricegolf.com for special pricing

Purchase your copy HERE

This is what BH had to say after reading the book and working with the drills:

What an unbelievable difference! Balls are jumping off the club and my confidence has soared. Thanks for studying these world class golfers and sharing their success with your readers.

While I did not play particularly well this weekend, I am very excited about my ball striking.

I have picked up at least 20 yards on my drive and a good club with my irons. I hit 15 quality iron shots, and drove it very straight most of the time.

Thank you, I now feel like I can play golf again!

JL

Golf Lessons

From today through Christmas I will be offering the following packages on lessons at Berkeley Hall:

  • Purchase six thirty minute lessons for $300 - thats $50 each and the regular price is $75!
  • Purchase six one hour lessons for $600 - thats $100 each and the regular price is $150!
  • All lessons packages include high speed video analysis and a V1 video lesson emailed to your inbox
  • These lesson packages are perfect for the crazed golfer in your family and are all available as Gift Certificates (valid for one year from original date of purchase)
  • If you would like to purchase or discuss a package please contact me at (843)247-4688 or andrew (at) andrewricegolf.com

Group Lessons

During the spring season I will be offering a limited number of group sessions at Berkeley Hall:

  • Group sessions are limited to three golfers (minimum of two required) and will run from 3PM to 5PM on Wednesdays
  • The sessions include high speed video analysis and a V1 video lesson emailed to your inbox along with 30 minutes spent on the shortgame
  • I will be offering a total of six sessions on the following dates: Feb. 2 and 16, March 9 and 23 and April 6 and 20
  • The cost is $120 per session and the session package (all six) is available for $600 - a savings of $120! Also available as a Gift Certificate
  • Should you wish to purchase a package or sign up for any lessons please contact me at (843)247-4688 or at andrew (at) andrewricegolf.com

Thank you all so much for your support this year - I could not do what I do without you.  Merry Christmas!

Shaft Angle at Impact

All I can say after doing the research for this post is WOW! This is something that is really interesting and I've never really delved into it before. In looking at the illustrations above and the photos below you will see what I am referring to - it is very rare for any golfer to return the shaft/club at impact to the same position it occupied at address (when viewed from down the line).
In fact so rare, that I have only found four golfers who do it more often than not. The amazing thing is that this group of golfers is a collection of some of the finest ball strikers that ever played the game. They are Lee Trevino, who Jack Nicklaus claims is the best hitter he ever saw, Ben Hogan, Nick Price and Sergio Garcia.

I have included the picture of Tiger Woods from 2000 below to illustrate where most PGA Tour caliber players return the shaft to at impact. Notice how his handle is above where it started (on the red line) at address.

Out of the four golfers I have found to get the shaft completely back to the line it appears that Sergio might be the least consistent at always returning the shaft back to the line, but as noted above, he does so more often than not.

Another interesting point to note is the golfers who are very close to returning the club to the line: Vijay Singh and Joe Durant (who has led the Tour in GIR stats 4 times and finished in the top 12 for the last dozen years!). In fact looking at the stats Joe Durant is a much better hitter than Tiger Woods - and consistently so!

Two additional golfers who may get the club onto the line but I was not able to find enough quality footage on were Sam Snead and Moe Norman (I found these images on Moe HERE and it looks pretty close). Certainly no slouches in the ball striking department either!

So, the next time you are reviewing your swing, pay particular attention to your impact position, but more specifically where your shaft is at impact relative to where you had it at address. There's a good chance you'll be above the line (and zero chance you'll be below it!) but do what you can to lower the shaft angle at impact in order to dramatically improve your ball striking and accuracy. Plase check back soon as I will be filming a few drills soon to help you get closer to a truly great impact.

Read Part II of this article HERE

Any thoughts? Any other golfers who you think might get the club to the line? Evidence? Please chime in.

To learn more about better ball striking check out THIS

Impact Drill: How to Stop Scooping

This is a version of a drill that I have presented many times, but each time I use it, it impresses upon me the importance of a proper strike on the golf ball. In using Trackman I have come to learn that the correct attack angle (an upward or downward hit) with an iron should be anywhere between 2 and 5 degrees down. If you have ever topped shots or alternated between thin and heavy strikes, you are more than likely getting scoopy through impact and this drill is right up your alley.

This drill will get you to do the following through impact:

  • Get the weight shifted onto the front foot
  • Lead the hands ahead of the clubhead
  • Hit down on the ball
  • Take divots in the right place - after the ball!

All you need is a small piece of one of those swim noodles that all the kids like to use in the pool. Secure the strip of noodle into the ground by pressing tees through the center as illustrated. It may take a little experimenting, but eventually you'll find the appropriate distance to line the balls up from the noodle. Before long you should start to see a consistent line of divots occurring on the target side of the golf ball - a positive sign! If you find yourself hitting a few of the dreaded "hosel rockets" your grip is too weak; Essentially you now need to scoop the face in order to square the clubface through impact. Get it stronger!

Some additional drills to help with impact:

Hip Slide: Good or Bad?

The hip slide, weight shift, hip drive or whatever you want to call it is one of the most important, yet overlooked elements in the golf swing. Golfers have become so brainwashed against any form of lateral movement that I believe the vast majority of us are trying to stay as quiet and centered as we possibly can. Here are a few interesting points about hip action:

The downswing does not mirror the backswing. There should be no lateral hip motion in the back swing, while the downswing must have a good measure of shift towards the target. The weight shift to the front foot is entirely attributable to the hips gliding towards the target in the downswing. The head and upper body must remain over or slightly behind the ball as the hips shift, thus creating body curve. Hip slide creates the room necessary in the downswing for the arms and club to drop to the inside. Too much spin or rotation from the top and you can only come over the top. Not only does the hip slide create room for the arms to get to the inside, but it also positions the weight so that the ball can be struck with a descending blow. The weight must be on the front foot for any golfer to consistently hit down on the ball. This video from my

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Staying Centered over the Ball

This is one of the most integral elements of the golf swing - the upper body must stay centered over the ball. By doing so, you will increase your ability to get that weight on the front foot at impact and deliver a downward, compressing blow to the back of the ball.

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The 84 Degree Secret

The manner in which the body works through the swing is integral to achieving a proper and productive impact position.In fact, body motion is the prime fundamental for striking a golf ball correctly.By pivoting and loading the body correctly in the backswing, you set off a chain reaction that automatically directs your body to where it should be at the moment of truth: impact!

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It's All About Impact - The Book

This book has been written to show all golfers' what style elements they can do without and what functional elements are integral to soundly struck golf shots. What is pretty and what works? Forget about form and focus all your attention on two simple keys that make all the difference in the world.

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Golf Impact Drills

In order for a golfer to improve their ball striking they must get into a better impact position.  Here are a few tried and trusted impact drills to help you get to where you need to be: (Use a seven or eight iron when a club is required in all of the drills below)

  • The first drill is the down slope drill.  Simple enough!  Just watch for allowing your upper body to sneak down the hill as well - try to ensure your head remains over the ball.  At address, make sure you maintain a regular ball position.

Downslope Drill

  • The impact bag drill.  Another fairly straightforward exercise here, but the benefit lies in the details.  When the club impacts the bag be sure to get the shaft to contact the upper part of the bag before the club head gets there.  This will ensure that the handle leads the clubhead.  Also, save your joints, club and impact bag by not whaling away at the bag too hard.  You just want a feel to carry over to the real deal.

Impact Bag Drill done Correctly

  • The 'hip press' drill.  This is a great drill that will give you a very good sense of body position at impact and also provide you with an amazing stretch.  If you slice or fade the ball this is for you! Set up to a ball without a club and your hands on your hips.  While maintaining your head position over the ball drive your hips as far toward the target as your body will allow.  Your back heel should come off the ground slightly as you feel the back leg straighten.  It will feel like you are pointing at the ground with the big toe on your back foot!  Hold for five seconds and release.  Afterwards try this with a club in your hands.

Hip Press Drill

  • The towel/line drill works wonders for compressing the ball and taking those ideal 'bacon strip' divots.  It ensures that the golfer shifts the weight onto the front foot at impact.  Practice as pictured, making sure the towel provides a slight amount of elevation and all the ensuing divots occur forward of the line of golf balls. 

The Towel/Line Drill in Action

To get a little more sizzle on your shots, irons or woods, try the above drills!

I look forward to the Open Championship tomorrow.  Golfweek has a great slideshow that captures the vibe.  The weather looks good and the rough looks brutal.

It seems that the two Scottish greats, Monty and Sandy Lyle are feuding over who should be Ryder Cup captain first and who cheated! Shame on ya wee laddies!

I look for Padraig and Rory to perform nicely! Here are the latest odds. 

Enjoy!

Release the Putter

Tiger Woods A pendulum swings around a fixed point and in order to release the face of the putter correctly, so should your putting stroke.

Jim Hardy, the noted 'One-Plane' teacher, has gone on record as stating that the majority of great putters are invariably 'hookers' of the golf ball in their full swing.  They all release the putter face the same way they release their club face - aggresively! And when looking at a sampling of the greatest of all time; Faxon, Crenshaw, Locke (as in Bobby!), George Archer and Ballesteros;  I certainly can concur with his reasoning.  Of course Jack and Tiger aren't too bad but let's just stick with the formula for now!

In order for the face to release the stroke needs to work like a pendulum.  Notice in the pictures of Tiger Woods above how the butt end of the putter in each frame points at the same spot on his torso.  So often I see golfers, in an attempt to not use their wrists, push the hands through the stroke, thus discouraging the wrists, hands and face to release freely.  This leads not only to poor direction and ball striking, but most importantly decreased distance control.

An excellent little teaching aid to overcome this common flaw is the Perfect PendulumThis device attaches to your own putter and telescopes up into your belly. (Unless your belly happens to telescope into it!)  Once it's anchored make a few strokes to get a sense of the putter head swinging beyond the hands into the follow through.  It ensures a correct release.

I love simple teaching aids that convey the correct feel while using your own club and this one takes care of everything for you!

Here are a few keys to remember:

  • Assume your normal address position and note where the butt end of the putter points.
  • As you stroke try to sense the butt end pointing at the same spot on your upper body.  This should be maintainted from address to the back of the stroke and on into the follow through.
  • Feel the putter head SWING to either side of your center.
  • A light, soft grip will aid in the putter face releasing freely.
  • Roll a few putts with your dominant hand only to feel the correct rhythm of the stroke.

For better distance and direction (is there anything else?) with your putting try these ideas.  They will help!

Things to Ponder:

  • John Daly's career can be marked by either upward or downward trends.  Over the past few years the lows are lower and the highs are not quite where they once were.  He is clearly on an upward trend at the moment, I just hope he has the sense to survive the next low.
  • I have had a few responses to my All-time Heart List.  After reconsideration, I must add Lee Trevino and Tiger Woods to the list.  Tom Watson is waiting in the wings.
  • Why do Davis Love and Ben Crane have to qualify for the British Open?  They are both in the top 60 players in the world and are both having relatively good seasons.
  • It's about time Vijay Singh has showed up again on a leaderboard!  Where has he been?

Thanks for reading and please feel free to make abusive comments about the author.