Posts Tagged ‘Pro Tips’

Pro Tips – Psychology of Golf…

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Psychology of Golf

As we approach the new season, we start with the year discussing the  ‘Psychology of Golf’ and how to prepare yourself mentally for the season ahead.

Psychology of Golf – The basics…

I’m not going to give a lesson in ‘winning‘ or ‘how to get in the zone‘ here (although if you would like to improve that side of your game, I can help!).

Here I am going to give you some ideas about playing smart – i.e. course management.

Golf being the frustrating, euphoric, and mind boggling game it is, (and that’s just one hole!) you will find yourself in many different situations.

Too many to cover in this blog, but I will cover some common scenarios you may find yourself in.

Psychology of Golf – Thick Rough…

This can be your friend or your foe, all depending on your lie.

If the ball is sitting up and the grass around you isn’t too long, you may want to hit a wood or hybrid and get the ball as far up the hole as possible, as it is effectively sitting on a tee.

This assumes you are far enough away from the green that you need a fairway wood.

If the grass is really thick and/or long (think, The Open) and you have a bad lie, your first point of call is to look for the fairway and the shortest possible route to the fairway.

Sometimes this may be backwards or even onto another fairway, an option I see few amateurs use. In terms of club selection, get some loft in your hands; use a sand wedge or pitching wedge.

If your lie is average you need to assess how much thick rough you can go over and get up the hole and still get the ball on the fairway – but DO NOT bite off more than you can chew.

Your goal here is to make sure your next shot, IS from the short grass!

Psychology of Golf – Trees…

Vila Sol

Anytime you go in the trees, look up, you may find an apple to eat.

You may also see a gap in the trees to hit through! It is time to assess your situation, can you punt the ball up the fairway (or even reach the green)?

And if so, how big is the gap?

You need to be very honest with yourself in this situation, can you see yourself being able to hit the ball through the gap?

If there is any hesitation in your answer or a hint of a no, it is onto option 2.

Option 2, is chip the ball out sideways, it is rare you cannot find a big enough gap you feel confident chipping the ball through and back onto the fairway, but there are times there isn’t.

You need to look at maybe hitting onto another fairway or going slightly backwards.

Club selection in the trees is important, more than likely you want to keep the ball low under the branches (including chipping out).

So make sure you take a longer, lower lofted club to make sure your ball flies out the trees untouched.

Psychology of Golf – Fairway Bunkers…

Course designers like to play with our emotions and see our high soaring drives take a dodgy bounce and end in a bunker.

If this happens to you, make sure you get the ball back in the fairway.

As with all these shots, it is about ensuring you do not have the same shot again. So get your sand wedge out and play it like a greenside bunker shot so you are back on the fairway, ready to hit the green.

So there you have it, thinking about the game or the ‘Psychology of Golf’ before you start the season –  the mental part of the game is just as important as your swing!


Andy Clissold - TSG Head Pro

Andy Clissold – TSG Head Pro

 

By Andy Clissold – Head TSG Pro.

If you have a specific shot you struggle with contact Andy at andrew_clissold@hotmail.com

 

Pro Tips – Fix Your Swing…

Saturday, October 10th, 2015
Fix Your Swing 1

Fix Your Swing fig.1

Has your playing partner ever said after a bad shot, “You need to fix your swing! You’re bending your left arm!”?

Well, the good thing about this swing fault is,  it’s very easy to see! So if you heard it, there is a strong possibility you did it. (Note: This is for right handers. If you’re a lefty, it will be your right arm)

Fix Your Swing – What causes it…

The left arm bending can cause a whole host of shots, but mostly I see either a topped shot or a slice.

Why does this happen? Above Right, I’ve ‘set-up’ to the ball and bent my left arm. As you can see the club has raised and therefore, I am going to hit the top of the ball from the bottom of the club.

Great! We now know why we ‘top’ it, but how can the left arm cause a slice?

Fix Your Swing – The Set-up…

Fix Your Swing 2

Fix Your Swing fig.2

If you bend the left arm in the backswing, after a few missed shots or topped shots, your brain will react and find a way to get the club to the bottom of the ball.

The brain’s fix is to get you to dip the upper body down to the ball. When the body does this in motion, it make the shoulder plane steep and throws the club over plane.

Apologies, some technical jargon there but below you can see from a good set up, I’ve dipped the upper body.

I’ve also lost my height, and you can see the club has moved well out in front of my body. The only place to go from here is to swing across the ball.

Fix Your Swing – How do I send it straight…

Fix Your Swing 3

Fix Your Swing fig.3

The Grip…

  • Firstly ensure the grip is in the fingers of the left hand
  • Have a look at the thumb on your left hand – make sure it is “short” i.e. tucked up close – as shown right.
  • Both of these will help engage the muscles in the forearm effectively, allowing you to hold the weight of the club in the swing easier

The Swing…

  • From waist high in the swing, we need to make sure the wrists hinge (and not the elbow). A thought that works well is to feel yourself push down on the handle of the club.
  • This will push the clubhead up and cause the wrists to hinge. Pushing down on the handle engages triceps which will keep that left arm straight!
  • Fix Your Swing 4

    Fix Your Swing fig.4

    As you swing to the top, keep pushing down on the handle and turn the right shoulder behind you

The swing section today is quite detailed as failing to hinge the wrists and failing to turn will both cause the left arm to bend.

Fix Your Swing – Practice makes perfect…

Work on this, one swing at a time! Practice the wrist hinge, until you’ve got it and it feels less of a conscious thought.

Make a lot of half swings doing this, so the arm stays straight…..

Then get the shoulders turning!

—————————————–

By Andy Clissold – TSG Head Pro

Pro Tips – Cure your shank and topped shots….

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

Ever topped your shots or suffered from not hitting the ball flush on the sweet spot? Well let’s discuss how we can cure your shank.. however, don’t despair, it’s something we have all done, especially when we first start playing the game, I know I did!

There are many reasons why you could shank the ball but let’s go through the most common reason and something that you can easily fix yourself at the range.

Cure your shank – The Problem…

At some point in your swing, you stand up. People will often say “you lifted your head” or “you looked up” and to some degree they are right.

However, when you hear someone say this, they actually mean you looked at the target before you struck the ball – which does not have a direct link to hitting these horrible shots.

Cure your shank

Cure your shank – are you standing up?

Cure your shank – What do I mean by “standing up”?

During your swing, your hips push forward towards the ball.

As you do this it straightens your spine angle, you come out of your posture and “stand up”.

To the right,  I’ve shown the address position and what I mean by standing up.

If you do this in the swing, you are moving towards the ball and often you find the hands (therefore the club) move towards the ball, causing the hosel of the club to contact the ball.

By going towards the ball and lifting up, you are effectively not allowing the club to bottom out at the ball, and this can mean you hit the ball from the bottom of the face and/ or the top of the ball.

Cure your shank – How do we fix it?

To fix the problem, we need to maintain our posture in the swing so that we do not move towards the ball. As I mentioned earlier – the reason you come out of posture is because the hips move forwards towards the ball. This is the root of the problem.

cure your shank and stop topping the ball

Cure your shank and stop topping the ball!

To keep the hips back, get your golf bag and place it against your bum. Make some swings and keep your bum back on the bag throughout – as shown right.

To start with just do this without the ball.

Once you start feeling your bum staying back, hit some shots. But when you hit some shots, feel the right bum cheek stay on the bag on the backswing, and the left bum cheek stay on the bag on the way through.

I’ve changed the thought slightly when you hit the ball just to make sure you still keep the hips turning whilst keeping the bum back.

Cure your shank  – Other things to consider…

Often when a golfer makes this movement, it is because they have a weak core and/ or their hamstrings are tight.

Nowadays, many of the tour players are doing Pilates or Yoga to strengthen their core muscles and help maintain posture when they practice and play for hours on end.

I think this just shows the importance of maintaining posture and may be something worth considering to help your golf. Speak to a personal trainer before undertaking any exercises yourself!

Now read about how to cure that slice

By Andy Clissold – TSG Head Pro

Pro Tips – Cure that Slice…

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Fed up with wayward drives? Need to cure that slice? How about we get it fixed then…

In this month TSG Pro Tips,  I am going to cover a common lesson I give to all my students. Often when I see a golfer slice the ball, the clubface is wide open at impact (pointing right).

So today, let’s get that clubface pointing more at the target and stop that ball going right and cure that slice.

The good thing about what I’m going to cover here is that the fault comes from the takeaway – the reason I say this is, is that is often easier to fix, than breaking down the swing bit by bit and rebuilding.

Pro Tips - Cure That Slice 1

Pro Tips – Cure That Slice fig.1

Part One – How to cure that slice…

OK, let’s make some ‘takeaways’ checking the arc you make in the mirror behind you at your driving range. Whether you’re driving or playing your irons, swing the club to waist high and see what the club looks like.

Is it “open” where the toe end of the club is pointing behind you? (See right)

I’m going to give a quick explanation of how this causes your slice and then we will get it fixed!

When the clubface gets in this open position it will often stay open to the top. Now from here, you will often find the golfer tries to square the face with the shoulders.

What they in fact do, is make the club swing left and the face stays open. This club swinging left, face open combination is always going to give a horrible slice.

Part Two – How to cure that slice…

If we can get the club face in a better position as you swing back, then you won’t want to make the reaction where the shoulders swing the club down, therefore swinging the club left….

Pro Tips - Cure That Slice 2

Pro Tips – Cure That Slice 2

So how do we fix it?

When you take the club away, I’d like you to swing to waist high and have the leading edge of the club parallel to your spine angle (See right)

A simple feel to get the is to imagine the club face is looking at the ball as you swing the club back.

Do this till you get the feel for it and the face in a better position, then try hitting some half shots (waist high to waist high). If you do it correctly you should see the ball fly straighter.

Once you’ve hit a few half shots, take the ball away and create the same feeling into a full swing. If it feels different or odd – it’s probably correct!!

Now you have a feel for the full swing, hit some full shots, practice as much as you can at the range, and watch that ball fly straight…..and that’s how you cure that slice!

————————————————————-

By Andy Clissold – TSG Head PRO

Pro Tips – Chip like Seve…

Saturday, July 18th, 2015
Chip like Seve

The set-up…

Your driving well, your fairway play is coming on but your short game needs help? It’s time to improve the game from 150 yards and in and learn here how to ‘Chip like Seve‘… are you lacking that magical touch around the greens?

Let’s look at the basics of chipping along with something 90% of golfers do. (and I’ve seen this in some very low handicap players I’ve taught!)

Chip like Seve – The Grip…

– As normal (refer to “Pro tips – Summer golf” for a refresher)

– Hold half way down the grip to give more control and feel to the shot

Chip like Seve – Stance, Ball Position, and Posture…

– Firstly – make sure you do this in the order set out here

– Stance width will be approx. 1 foot apart and I’d like you to pull your left foot back a couple of inches – as shown right

– Position the ball opposite your sternum

– Now lean slightly to your left with your upper body – once you have moved, the ball should now be just behind your sternum – as shown below. This will allow us to make a slightly downward blow onto the ball giving you that crisp, spinning chip.

Chip like Seve – Swing Technique…

Chip like Seve

Swing technique…

When we chip the ball we want a consistent strike and consistent loft. Both of these help to judge distances as if you get these the same every time, all you have to do is vary the length of your swing to hit the ball different distances.

A big fault I see when I give a chipping lesson is the golfer will try to help the ball into the air, destroying the strike and giving very inconsistent loft. In the finish and through impact you will see the club get ahead of the hands – as shown right

Often this is because the golfer is trying to use the hands and wrists to control the distance of the shot. Not only does this make it incredibly difficult to strike the ball consistently and create consistent loft, but also makes it very hard to get a consistent speed through impact.

This happens, as our hands have fast twitching muscle fibres which are difficult to control – especially under pressure!

Chip like Seve – Feeling it….

I’d like you to feel like the shaft of the club moves in line with the sternum as you swing the club back. To give an example I’m going to use Luke Donald – sure you will agree – not a bad chipper!!

Luke Donald Chippin

Luke Donald Chipping…

See how the hands and sternum are pointing parallel to each other.

This shows the body is more in control of the swing and allows him from here to keep the hands very passive and let the chest turn the club through the shot.

Below we can see the finish position where the sternum, club, and hands are all pointing in the same direction. No flip, just a swing controlled from the chest!

Chip like Seve –  And finally…

– Feel the sternum move the club shaft back and through, and FEEL as though they stay in line through out.

So there you have it, get down the range and add some ‘Seve Magic’ to your game!

————————————————————————-

By Andy Clissold – TSG Head PRO

Pro Tips – Putting like a Pro…

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

If you struggle to hole your putts, specifically short putts (by this I mean 5 foot or less), this will be costing you a lot of shots and there’s no reason why you can’t be as good as Rory from these distances, here’s a few tips that will get you Putting like a Pro….

Putting Like a Pro 1

Putting Like a Pro…

Often golfers will move their body when making short putts, and in doing so it makes it very difficult to manipulate the face to point at your target. Often it is the lower body moving that means the upper body moves as a result.

So what I’d like to see is you try and stay still while you putt!

The thought, and the feel I’d like you to have, is that you keep the knees still and don’t watch your putt until you can see the grass under the ball.

Practice those Putting Drills…

To help you with those short putts under pressure – whether its to save par or win a match. Here’s a drill to help you cope with the nerves.

– Set yourself up 3 feet from a hole and try to hole 10 putts in a row. If you miss – start again. Once you get up to the 8th or 9th putt, the nerves will start to kick in!

– Once you have holed 10 putts from 3 feet, do the same from 4 feet

– Then repeat for 5 feet

Putting Like a Pro 2

But what about distance Putting….

Long putting is all about ‘feel’.

Trying to hit the ball the correct distance so if you don’t hole it, you can make the next one.

Similar to chipping, I see golfers try and putt with their hands and wrists. Why is this a problem?

Well, the hands contain fast twitch muscle fibres, and these are very hard to control to power and speed of consistently – especially under pressure.

The bigger muscles i.e. our shoulders and chest have slower twitch fibres which makes them much easier to control the speed of.

Putting Like a Pro 3

So it would make sense to use these muscles to control the speed….

– Get a good set up where your eyes are over the ball and the arms hang naturally

– Maintain the “Y” shape formed from the arms and putter shaft from set up and throughout the stroke

– You should feel as though the shoulders and chest are controlling the stroke and maintain a smooth stroke throughout

More ideas to get your Putting like a Pro…

– Putt from anywhere on the green to the fringe – you are trying to get the ball to rest against the fringe

– Hit some putts and try to do this, 3 balls max from any one spot – it is important you keep moving around hitting different distance putts

– Once you can get the ball resting up against the fringe from different spots, do the same thing but before you watch the ball, make a judgement on whether you think the ball is short, long, or on the fringe

When you can judge whether your ball is against the fringe, long, or short – you have tour level feel and to you’ll be Putting liek a Pro!

By Andy Clissold

Pro Tips – Summer Golf…

Sunday, May 17th, 2015
The Golf Grip

The Golf Grip

With the golf season now underway and the days getting longer, now is the time to start thinking about how you are going to prepare for your Summer Golf…

A great way to get back into the swing of things and get the rust off is to start with the basics. So lets go through them, along with some things you can do at the range to nail those shots….

Summer Golf – The Grip

Firstly, place your left hand (for a right handed golfer) near the top of the club. Let the club run diagonally across the fingers from the middle of your index finger, through to just above the little finger – as demonstrated above.

Summer Golf - The Golf Grip

The Golf Grip

N.B. Be careful not to let the club run into the palm!! Then wrap the hand round the club, and we should see 2 knuckles showing – as pictured right.

With the right hand, place this in the fingers, again at a slight diagonal and wrap the hand around the club. We should see the “V” formed by the right index finger and thumb point to the right ear.

Now – here’s the choice for you. Either interlock the index finger on the left hand, with the little finger on the right hand. Or let the little finger of the right hand rest on the index finger of the left hand…

Summer Golf – The Stance & Ball Position…

Summer Golf - Ball Position

Summer Golf – Ball Position

Stance should be shoulder with. If down the range, face the mirror and check how wide your stance is.This will help to give a good leg action in the swing and maintain balance.

For an iron, place the ball just on the left side of your sternum – as shown below. For a driver, place the ball in line with your left pec.

Again when down the range, have a look in the mirror to make sure your ball position is perfect to stripe it!

Summer Golf – The Posture…

This is one of the most important parts of the set up for me as I see so many poor golf shots come from poor posture. So make sure you nail this one!

Firstly, get the above three points good then, stand bolt upright with both your arms straight and the hands around waist high. The club should be parallel to the ground – as shown below.

Summer Golf - The Posture

Summer Golf – The Posture

From here keep your back straight (very important) and bend from the hips till the club touches the floor. Imagine your belly button is pointing more towards the floor. Now put a touch of knee flex in. Be careful with this bit – the knees should be bent but the thighs should still feel “lively”.

A checkpoint to get the correct amount of knee bend is to have the knees over the middle on your feet – as shown right. N.B. This isn’t an absolute checkpoint as it will depend on your height and leg length but will certainly most of you a good guide.

Summer Golf –  The Alignment…

I see many swing faults again develop from poor alignment and poor alignment often results in offline shots (and not always the direction you are aiming!) So firstly get the face of the club pointing where you want the ball to finish.

Next you want to get your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders parallel left of this (as above). A good routine to get this good is when you do the posture routine (above) when you stand bolt upright, start with your feet together and point your feet at the ball. Now imagine a straight line across your toes and step your feet along this line. Hey presto! Your alignment is perfect!

Summer Golf – Putting this into practice…

Now that is a lot of information to take in all at once but re-read this a few times until it sinks in. And next time you go to the range, just concentrate on a maximum two of these at a time (i.e. grip and stance).

Each time you go to the range. Three practice sessions through the month and the basics should be feeling comfortable and natural and you’ll be enjoying your Summer Golf even more this year and who knows it may even improve your nerves on the first tee!

#Good Luck

By Andy Clissold