Golf Has Only Nine Shots!

I've got all the shots I'm just not sure when I'm going to hit them!

Control Your Ball!

Or what about a shank, a top, a blade, a whiff?  Okay, there are only nine proper shots that a golfer needs to master.  They are the low draw, straight one and fade; the regular height draw, straight one and fade and the high version of each option.  Tiger Woods incorporates all of the above shots into his practice sessions - shouldn't you?

Try this fun and challenging exercise in your next practice session:

  • Be sure to use an alignment string that is set up to a target within range of a 7 iron.
  • Keep the size and pace of your swing at around 75%.
  • Start on the 'ground' floor (low) with the shot shape that is most comfortable for you (draw or fade)
  • Stick with the low shots until you have hit one of each.  Keep in mind the draws/fades should start at the target and curve away from it.
  • Work up to the medium and high trajectory shots until you have also hit one of each.
  • Keep track of the number shots required to complete the SLAM (all nine shots) and set yourself a target score for the next time you practice.  The fewer shots, the better.

This exercise will illustrate to you the type of shot that is most difficult for you to hit. (Hey, some golfers just don't know!)  Practice the most difficult shot until you can pull it off on the course.  This will serve to neutralize your swing and allow you to ultimately hit the ball straighter.

If you struggle with slicing the ball, practice hooking the ball!  If you hit the ball inordinately high, practice hitting low punch shots all day long until you can hit it at a regular trajectory.  Get to a point where your extreme misses are less extreme than before and the ball will stay closer to the intended target and your scores will do the same!

Over the upcoming week I'll address the techniques required to hit the ball low or high and with a draw or fade.  Check back!

Things to Ponder:

  • At the Texas Open this Lance Ten Broeck, both caddied for Jesper Parnevik and played in the event. They both missed the cut but what must it feel like as a player when your caddie beats you! (Ten Broeck 141 vs. Parnevik 144)
  • The PGA Tour must be struggling to find players.  I can think of 20 golfers better than a caddie and a dozen washed up golfers from the 80's to play in a PGA Tour event!
  • And this little interesting snippet from

John Huggan with this nugget from last week's Players:

Not only did the diminutive leader of the world's richest circuit manage to mangle the champion's name, calling him "Heinrik" more than once, Finchem's minions were apparently hard at work pressuring host broadcaster NBC into not mentioning just how many Fed-Ex Cup points the Swede picked up along with the $1.7million first place cheque. Embarrassingly, that number is nil, due to the fact that Stenson (who will no doubt have welcomed the sizeable boost to his bank balance in the wake of losing a goodly chunk of his fortune amidst the recent Stanford fiasco) thinks he can muddle by without being a PGA Tour member.

  • Don't think the PGA Tour does not go out of their way to censor what information we get during the broadcast of their beloved 5th major!
  • Zach Johnson is quietly becoming a top five player in the world.  Gutsy!

The Driver: Hit Up or Hit Down?

henrik-stenson-getty1For many years I have believed that the irons are struck with a descending blow, the fairway woods and hybrids are swept off the ground and the driver is hit with a slightly upward hitTee it high and let it fly! In recent months it has come to my attention that that is not necessarily the case; certainly amongst the top golfers in the world. Trackman is a company that collects a tremendous amount of data on the tour golfers and their shots. Essentially everything you did not need to know about your club and ball in the swing, but importantly, a few things that are very important.  Trackman, in their January newsletter, stated that the PGA Tour average for attack angle with the driver  (up or down at the moment of impact) is -1.3 degrees.  That means that a collection of the greatest drivers on the planet actually average out with a downward hit on the big stick! Pay attention to how high tour golfers do not tee their ball.  It is almost always medium to low height.  As I researched further I found that long drive champions tended to have an attack angle of anywhere from +7 to +12 degrees.  Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes, two of the tours longest, regularly measure out at around +6 degrees.

The primary reason why all these top golfers hit down is because they hit the ball so far already that they have no need to learn how to hit up.  If you drive the ball less than 250 yards on average then you need to learn how to hit up on the ball. If any of you watched Henrik Stenson's magnificent round yesterday at the very major-like TPC Sawgrass you will have noticed how often he took a divot while hitting three wood off just about every tee.  There is only way way to take a divot after impact and that is to hit down.

There is nothing in physics that indicates a downward hit is more accurate than an ascending hit other than that the generally lower trajectory will get on the ground sooner and thus stay more on line.....

Make sense?

Things to Ponder:

  • In my book Henrik Stenson played the round of the year yesterday. Congratulations!
  • I like Ian Poulter a lot and I find myself rooting for him to break through more and more.  Great outfits too!ian-poulter
  • How about my two picks for the week; Boo Weekley WD and Brian Gay WD. Sensational selecting there....
  • Jim Hardy, of One-Plane fame, believes that most of the great putters of all time were hookers of the ball; Crenshaw, Ballesteros, Watson (in his day), Locke, Archer.  The one exception is Nicklaus.  Release the face of the putter.....
  • I thought that TPC Sawgrass showed some much needed teeth, but it was a little tricked up in places.  I thought the 13th was a joke!  You had to land it front right to have chance to get close, well Goosen did that and his ball rolled into the water?!
  • Did anyone notice that four out of the top five finishers at the Players played in sunglasses?  Stenson, Poulter, Na and Davis!
  • I remember when Strange and Kite had a Monday playoff for the Tour Championship many years ago and the winner would be the first player to break the $1million mark for the season.  Ian Poulter did that yesterday, by finishing second!