“The secret of golf is to turn three shots into two.” -- 13-Time Major Winner Bobby Jones (1902 to 1971)
I have a tendency to let my thoughts about golf go toward the light. I think about impending chunks, toe jobs and hooks instead of arrow-straight drives, worthy second shots and pure putts. My golf mind is a jumbled patchwork of conflicting options, sad memories and wishful thinking.
I have mental issues, which all of my friends will attest to. I really do realize that if I am ever going to lower my handicap from 12 back down to 10, then I must change my thinking. It is time to simplify and concentrate on specific assignments for specific shots. From now on, I am going to be a micro thinker. I must also become a realist. I am relatively short off the tee, so it only makes sense for me to look for improvement in my short game and on the green. In other words, turn three shots into two. To that end, I found the lessons below to be specifically on point. I am ready to embrace the new me.
Out of the Rough
“You will vastly improve your shots out of the rough if you will remember to hold the club with the normal secure grip (but only that), so that it is held firmly against the possibility of twisting.” – Tommy Armour, from his book, How To Play Your Best Golf All The Time (Simon and Schuster, 1953)
Don’t Go To Fat City
”After hitting a fat shot, most golfers say they got too anxious and “looked up” to see where the ball was going. Not only do they say that, they believe it. But when I measure their swings and ball positions, I usually find that the ball is too far forward and that they are making swing compensations with their hands in an attempt to hit the ball cleanly from that incorrect spot.” – From the book, Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible (Broadway Books, 1999)
“The chipping stroke is simple . It’s an easy one-two action controlled by the shoulders more than the arms and hands. You don’t need much force. My goal is to hit the ball solidly, making sure the clubhead is traveling downward at the moment it strikes the ball.
“I keep my eyes focused on the back of the ball. After impact, my eyes stay focused on that same point.” – Tiger Woods, from his book, How I Play Golf (Warner Books, 2001)
The Perfect Bunker Shot
“An ideal divot for a normal sand shot is long and shallow – longer and shallower than most players ever envision … Picture a long and shallow divot on uphill and downhill bunker shots as well as on a level lie. A good practice idea is to go into the bunker without a ball and just work on taking long, shallow swaths out of the sand. Watch, by the way, the spot at which you want the club to enter the sand – not the ball. – Eight-time Major winner Tom Watson, from his book,Getting Up and Down (Random House, 1983)
(Photo credit: tomwatson.com)
Low Hands For High Shots
“No matter how tall or steep the lip of a greenside bunker, as long as my lie is half-decent, I know I can clear it. The trick to making the ball come out high is simple: I set my hands low at address.
“To get into this setup means dropping my hands to about the level of my knees. The butt of the grip, instead of pointing at my belt buckle, now points to my mid-thighs. This makes my arms hang significantly lower, so to get myself comfortable, I take a wider stance and flex my knees more.
“Like a normal bunker shot, I keep my weight left and focus on releasing my right wrist as the club skims through the sand. I finish with the clubface looking at the sky, which is where the ball is heading ,too.” – PGA touring pro Chris Kirk
Two Short Putt Secrets
1) “Don’t focus on the club face; focus on the handle. Feel the handle work back and forward. The face of your putter is an extension of the handle. It’s also easier to control because it moves a shorter distance. But remember, consciously accelerating the putter can leave the face of the putter open, leading to poor direction and inconsistent distance control.”
2) “Keep your head down. Listen for the ball to go into the hole.” -- Bill Moretti, A Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher
Allan (a 12)