Useful Golf Advice from PGA Tour Professionals
We all have a golf buddy who shows up to the first tee boasting a new golf tip seen on youtube…this is nothing new, there has never been a shortage of golf tips in the world of instruction.
Some are very useful, some are great as you progress and some are just downright madness.
We’ve all heard the old adage, “You just need to keep your head down!” but this useless, mythical golf tip, actually restricts the golf swing, prevents a proper weight shift, and hampers a good release of the club head.
However, these ‘5 Best Golf Tips’ could be the difference between enjoying the game every time you play or giving up the game entirely!
You are not alone…
PGA Tour pros aren’t immune to the constant barrage of golf tips either.
In addition, it takes real knowledge and skill to cut through the noise and figure out which tips are worth implementing and which to leave in the locker room.
Listed below are 5 golf tips from top PGA Tour pros, that, you can take to the practice tee or the first tee and you’ll see an immediate improvement in your game.
5 Best Golf Tips from Top PGA Tour Pros...
Tip 1: Have a swing trigger
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched an average golfer take a few beautiful, languid practice swings before approaching the ball, tensing up, freezing for 3-4 seconds, and executing a stilted, jerky swing that looks nothing like their practice swing.
It’s clear that the body understands what it takes to hit a ball properly, but when it comes to actually doing it, the mind takes over and screws everything up.
Tour pros are subject to this type of tension as well: imagine standing over a putt to win 11 million dollars and tell me you wouldn’t feel a little jittery! But pros counter this by having a swing trigger.
While a full pre-shot routine is a well-known recommendation from mental coaches, a swing trigger is a smaller, less noticeable aspect of the pre-shot routine.
It’s the final step before taking a swing or hitting a putt and prevents tension by avoiding an extended static period.
- Dustin Johnson starts his swing with a slight forward press of the hands.
- Matt Kuchar lifts the club up from behind the ball and hovers it ever so slightly before starting his swing.
- Rickie Fowler’s amazing putting stroke starts with a similar hover.
- Henrik Stenson, perhaps the best ball striker in the world, has a very distinctive trigger where he sets his weight on his back foot and changes his shoulder angle to get his swing going.
- Starting your swing from a point of movement (even a tiny barely-noticeable motion) instead of several seconds of stasis will help you release tension and swing your club or putter more freely.
Photo courtesy of lpga.com
Tip 2: Keep your hands low
When I was young, I used to hear the advice “hit down on the ball to make it go up”. I’m not a big fan of this adage, because while it comes from a good place, it leads to golfers driving the club straight down into the ground and hitting fat shots.
Keep your hands low forces you to create lag in your downswing, and to drive your legs up at impact to deliver the clubface to the ball.
This ensures that you’ll hit the ball first, and then take a nice tidy divot while you watch your shot soar right at your target. Keeping your hands low keeps the clubface square for as long as possible through the hitting zone.
No matter how you get it there, a square clubface is a must for a good golf shot.
Tip 3: Align your body to the starting line, not the target line
The setup is the most under-practiced, underrated aspect of the golf swing. While a good setup won’t guarantee a good shot, a poor setup will all but ensure a bad shot. The most basic part of the setup is where you’re aimed.
If you watch tour players at the driving range, you’ll see that many of them have alignment sticks on the ground and sticking in the air to make sure their setup is good and their swing is getting off to a proper start.
But when I watch amateur golfers at the range, rarely do they ever have an alignment stick on the ground.
So let’s get to the point: use the Jack Nicklaus method of alignment and train yourself to aim your feet and body along the line you want the ball to start.
Your natural instinct might be to aim at the target, but chances are you’ve got a natural curve to your shot shape.
So take advantage of that! If you’re looking to start the ball to the right and draw it to the pin, pick a treetop on the horizon right of the pin and aim at that.
Focus only on starting the ball online; your swing will take care of the rest.
Tip 4: Focus your mind on your target
What’s the last thing your brain hears when you step onto the tee and think to yourself, don’t hit it in the water? Well, that would be “hit it in the water.”
Your body is all too happy to oblige your brain’s thoughts, so you need to find a way to train your brain to think only of the target.
There are a million distractions on the golf course, from hazards lining the fairway to playing partners annoying multiple practice swings, to smartphones begging you to check your notifications. And on top of that, you have to keep an eye on your golf bag.
Keeping your mind clear before each shot is paramount.
Once you’re standing over the ball, do what two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson says.
“You have to think about your target, not your swing.”
Having a good pre-shot routine should help you focus your mind not on the technical aspects of the golf swing, but on your target.
When you approach the ball, look hard at your target. Burn that image into your mind. There’s nothing else: just you and that target.
When you approach the ball, look hard at your target. Burn that image into your mind. There’s nothing else: just you and that target…
As we discussed above, your target should rarely be the flagstick on a full swing – you should be thinking about that aiming point where you want the ball to start.
The golf swing happens too fast to make any changes in the midst of it, so once you’re over the ball and ready to swing, your goal is to make a tension-free swing and get your ball going at the target.
Once you’ve implemented your swing trigger, it’ll become part of your routine and you won’t even have to think about it. Your brain will be freed up to focus only on the target. You can use a golf swing analyzer to keep track of your progress.
And when you’re on the putting green, your only thought should be the ball entering the hole.
Visualize the ball entering the cup at the proper angle and make it happen.
With practice, you’ll learn to play golf instead of playing golf swing.
Tip 5: Grip the putter in your palm, not your fingers
The last of our 5 Best Golf Tips comes from Steve Stricker, one of the few players who is still competitive on the PGA Tour, despite being of age to compete on the Champions Tour.
The part of his game that keeps him on leaderboards with younger, longer hitters is his out-of-this-world putting. He always starts the putt on its intended line.
While his stroke is his own and not one I’d necessarily teach (especially how he hovers the heel off the ground and leads with the toe of the putter), his tip on how to grip the putter is a potential game-changer.
Most golfers grip the putter much like the rest of their clubs, grabbing the grip with their fingers.
While this is necessary to create clubhead speed on a full swing, it creates too much opportunity for the putter face to rotate and either push or pull the ball offline.
For more stability in the stroke, position your putter grip in the palm of your left hand (or your right hand for left-handed golfers), running along your lifeline.
This grip makes the club essentially an extension of your left arm and effectively removes the small hand motions that are the Achilles heel of many a putting stroke.
This tip even works if you putt cross-handed; in fact, it’s even more important if you’re a left-hand-low putter. Jordan Spieth, one of the best putters on tour, holds the shaft in the lifeline of his palms.
You can see that the line of the putter shaft is a straight extension of his forearms as a result, and this keeps his putter face square throughout his stroke.
The palm grip feels odd to a golfer who’s always grabbed a putter with his fingers, but watching more putts drop will make it feel more and more comfortable every time.
So there you have it, the 5 Best Golf Tips from PGA Tour Pros, to get you enjoying your game more!
By Ian Mullins
Other recent articles from The Social Golfer Blog...