Firstly let me introduce myself, I am an amateur golfer who has played this wonderful game for the past twenty years. As with all golfers I've had good, bad and ugly rounds of golf, so I just thought I would share with you some things that have helped me over the years.
I have read loads of books and watched all the video's and spent a fortune on golf lessons, and I have come to the conclusion that unless you are a natural golfer of which there are very few your best chance of creating a reasonable golf swing is to practice alot and build on what you do have. My reasons for thinking this are as follows: 1, watch the Pro's playing and you will see any number of different swings, but they all hit the ball very well. 2, read the books they all tell you slightly different methods of what you should be doing. 3, watch the video's and again each teaching Pro has his own idea on how to swing a golf club.
So as I said before practice and build on what you have, to me is the only way forward, but remember some golden rules, 1, don't try to hit the skin off the ball. 2. the ball will go in the direction that the clubhead is facing at the moment of impact. 3. golf is a game of timing and technique not power. The best I have ever had the swing explained to me was by a Pro that I was having lesson's from and he said " the golf swing is a circular downward motion and thats it" the more I think about it thats all it is really. Although thinking about it thats not quite true, because there is also some hand action required for you to make a really good swing and this requires you to learn to rotate your forearms through the impact zone so that you are hitting the back of the ball with a square to squaring club face. And of coarse there is some weight transfer required as well, I've always found that if you roll your weight on your ankles you stand a good chance of transferring your weight correctly. In all the golf swing should be a free flowing movement from start to finish, so forget left arm straight, eye on the ball, head still, because it just don't work. You need to relaxed and athletic to make a good swing not full of tension, you need to be focused but not have a million swing thoughts in your head, but most importantly you need to practice.
To build proper technique into your swing you will need to follow some golden rules, as 90% of golfers swing with an over the top action causing the club to travel from out to in which in turn cause's the ball to fade or worse slice. You need to learn to turn around your right leg which will load the body with power a bit like winding up a spring, then you need to learn not to power the down swing with your shoulders, but learn to drop your hands first to create seperation between your arms and shoulders. Remember the speed builds up in the down swing from midway down and accelerates through the ball to a balanced follow through. The best way to learn how to drop your hands is to make a slow back swing hold the position then move your hips slightly left this will automatically drop your hands, now swing through and it should give you a feeling of attacking the ball from an inside path as you carry on to follow through. Practice this very slowly at first and as you feel more comfortable with it you can speed it all up, and you should end up swinging it a bit like a pro.
Golden rules of the swing:
1 Keep your swing very compact and eliminate all sloppy movement.
2 Learn to drop your hands before you turn your shoulders on the down swing
3 Build up speed from halfway down and accelerate through the ball to follow through
4 Shift your hips to the left slightly to start the downswing
5 Remember the fastest moving part of your body in the swing has to be you hands
Practice these rules on the driving range and you should be hitting the ball much better and eventually it will become second nature to you. Do not try using this method on the course untill you are very happy with what you are doing on the practice range or you will become bogged down with swing thoughts when playing.
So don't fill your head with loads of swing thoughts when your stood on the tee, because all that does it confuse you and golf is hard enough when you are thinking straight, but impossible if your confused!. When I stand on the tee ready to hit the ball my only thought is to follow through and look good at the finish of the swing. This way you tend not to rush at the ball and get good contact, and at least you look in good position even if you hit a rubbish shot. One really good tip I was given by a scratch golfer was "play with what you have on the day", in other words if you are slicing the ball, play the coarse with your slice ie: set up on the right hand side of the tee box so that you have more room down left to start your shot because you know your slicing today it will come back to the right and hopefully end up on the fairway, and of coarse if you are hooking then set up on the left to give you more room down the right, but most importantly don't fiddle about with your swing trying to correct your hook or slice as doing so will only make matters worse, and you will not enjoy your round at all.
If you want to see how not to swing a golf club, click on my ME icon at the top of the page to go to my about me page then click on Crazy Golf Instruction and have a good giggle, if your pro teaches you like this change him asap.
The golf coarse is a beautiful place to be, so take the time to look at the surroundings and take notice of what is around you. Most people are so intent on hitting golf shots and shooting a better score than last week that they forget to really look at the coarse and what is around them, this really will help you game as you will see things and place's where you don't want your ball to go, another word for this is coarse management. I see so many golfers blasting there ball into the trees and then saying how did that happen?, simple really they were not looking at all of the coarse and hidden dangers it holds, they were just looking 300 yards into the distance in a straight line so they did not see the trees on the left.
You must take in all the coarse has to offer because all the parts of the coarse you have not seen before will one day turn round and bite you on the bum. If you are unlucky enough to find yourself hitting your next shot from the trees remember how it got there, and the only sensible thing to do now is to play a little punch shot and GET YOUR BALL BACK IN PLAY, do not think you can do what TIGER can do, YOU CAN'T!!!! If you want to play better just relax a little and enjoy the game no matter what happens just put the bad bits to the back of your mind and play your next as if it were you best shot. Below are 2 pictures of the same hole but they look totally different, showing the dangers from more than one view.
Training Aids are abundant in most golf shops but not all do what they claim so don't go blowing your hard earned cash on something because the sales man says it works wonders. Most training aids like most advise on the swing are only quick fix's that don't last very long, but saying that I have found one that really does help and it is called "The inside approach", pictured below it actually makes you concentrate on attacking the ball from an inside path and produce a very powerful shot. Not cheap to buy very easy make out of a bit of plastic tube, the idea is to hit the ball from under the aid without knocking off the arm. A cheap way to achieve the same thing is to get a sports bag about 1 foot high and ballance a club on it pointed towards you, place the ball under the club about 3 inches in and try hitting the ball without hitting the club, with practice you will achieve a solid swing and maybe some lower scores.
The Short Game:
The short game has to be most important part of any golfers game. The shot from 50 yards and in is the shot where you can knock alot of shots off your score card. This is a part of the game I really used to struggle with as I just could not judge distance that well, then one day whilst on the driving range it came to me, I knew why I could not hit that 50 yard shot. Simple really I had never practiced the shot so what chance did I have of hitting it, well once the penny had dropped I started to practice the shot, I picked out the 50 yard marker and tried to land the ball as close to it as possible, and to put it bluntly I was CRAP. Why I asked myself can I hit good iron shots, and hit the driver well but I cannot hit a little 50 yard shot. This made me determined to master this shot and it took about six months, and alot of time and money at my local driving range but I mastered the shot and can now confidently hit the ball well from 50 yards and in.
This has changed my golf game dramatically and I now expect to break "90" every time I play, and my best score to date is "76", but I did not take any lesson's on the short game I simply found a movement with the club that works for me and now I do not think about distance as in how far do I need to hit, I simply choose a club that I know will hit the ball close to the flag.
I will explain to you what I do but that is not to say it will work for you as you may need to find your own move. Firstly for the 50 yard shot I play the ball off the back foot and keep 70% of my weight on the front foot, hands slightly forward. I must say at this point if you do this set up looking in the mirror it isn't pretty to look at. The next part of my move is to move the hands slightly forward to start the swing then simply take the club back to a third of full swing and then think follow through as I start the downswing. I use a pitching wedge for 50 yards to 30 yards and a Sand wedge from 20 yards and in, I find this shot is of low flight but bites when it hits the green, try it just might work for you to.
If you want to play in the sand go to the beach, these words ring in my ears every time I find myself in a bunker because my playing partner who never goes in bunkers is always using this phrase. The biggest reason we find ourselves in the sand is not taking enough club on that long approach shot ie: 155 yards out we think I can hit a 7 iron 150 I'm sure I can force it 155. What we should do is say 155 yards is a smooth 6 iron and we would be in the middle of the green no problem.
Playing sand shots is easy enough as long as you remember to hit 1 inch behind the ball and take a full smooth swing, the ball should pop out and land soft. If you are in wet or compacted sand it becomes a little more difficult and you need to clip the ball off the top of the sand, when doing this remember the ball will roll out alot further.
Chipping around the green:
The chip shot is rather like the pitch shot to me and I use the same method ie: ball back in the stance weight on the front foot and strike down on the ball. I use a sand wedge for all my shots around the green because I find that the way I hit the ball lands soft and has very little roll on it so I can be bold and try and land the ball close to the hole. Most books however will tell you to use any thing up to a 6 iron and use a chip and run shot where the ball will run out to the hole, if this works for you then use it, because that is what golf is all about find something that works and work on it.
Putting really is a game within a game and the only way to improve is yes you've guest PRACTICE, on the putting green at home on the lounge carpet, there is no substitute and you will only get better by long practice sessions. Of coarse the greens you putt on will differ from your carpet and hopefully your lounge does'nt have any slopes in it but where putting is concerned all practice is good practice. A good tip for putting is once you have decided on your line and set up, just take one look at the hole then hit it. You will find using this method you will get the ball alot closer to the hole, and maybe sink a few long ones.
Things to remember:
1, Arrive at the coarse 30 mins before your Tee time, this gives you time for practice putts, and to hit a few shots in the nets to warm up. NEVER START the game COLD it don't work.
2, Don't get into a driving competition with your opponent unless you can laugh at yourself.
3, More Power Means Poor Direction.
4, When in trouble always take the safe option. Punch it out of the trees and get it on the fairway.
5, Play with what you have on the day.
6, Learn to roll your forearms through the impact zone
7, Practice makes permanent not perfect
8, Have Fun it's only a Game.
I do hope I have not sent you to sleep with this guide but I am quite passionate about golf and if any of this has helped you in anyway then I've done what I set out to do.