Some golf tips are universal – boasting the ability to positively impact everyone’s game, from beginning players to seasoned golfers alike. Others address the two most common golf swing faults – the hook and the slice. Still others address problems with the short game. It’s virtually impossible to find something that hasn’t been said before, so we humbly offer the following tips as a review of golf instruction fundamentals.
These 15 tips will help you get warmed up, strike the perfect drive, get out of tough spots and stroke putts with more confidence. They are especially tried & true for golfers who want to nip any bad habits in the bud.
- Find the right grip for you. Options include an interlocking grip (with fingers locked together), the Vardon grip (where your hands overlap; most popular) and the 10 finger grip (similar to a baseball grip; ideal for beginners). Jack Nicklaus advises that it is most important that the hands don’t fight each other during the swing and that they work together in total harmony Jack as well as Tiger use the interlocking grip. Whatever grip you choose should allow you to keep your fingers as comfortably close together as possible.
- The importance of warming up. For a quick warm up when you arrive at the first tee with no time to spare, swing two clubs together 20 times. Better yet, allow enough time to swing two clubs 20 times and head to the driving range. Even better, allow for some time on the putting green so that your first putt on the first hole isn’t your warm up.
- Practice perfect posture. The ideal golf stance has your club lining up with the ball perfectly while your arms are fully extended and relaxed. Because we play with the ball on the ground, our bodies will be inclined as we address the ball. One of the hardest skills to achieve is maintaining that same angle of inclination throughout the swing. Jack Nicklaus advises to set up to the ball with your butt shoved back & out and use the thought “butt stays back and out” throughout the swing to retain the proper angle.
- Tee it higher: If you’re not getting the loft or distance from your large-headed driver, make sure you tee the ball so at least half of it is higher than the top edge of the clubface and move the ball forward in your stance allowing a sweeping delivery of the clubhead to the ball.
- Fix your slice: Don’t be afraid to hook the ball. Any further explanation should involve golf lessons with your local pro.
- Fix your hook: Turn, turn turn. Turn your hips sooner and your shoulders farther on the downswing. See above!
- Keep your eye on the ball: probably the most commonly heard tip of all. Try thinking about it this way instead; keep your head steady through impact – Jack Nicklaus’ lifelong No. 1 swing fundamental.
- Get the tempo right: go ahead and swing hard at the ball, you’ll stay in better balance. Tempo is more about allowing the proper sequence of the swing motion to happen in an unhurried manner. See your local pro for more on this fundamental of golf instruction.
- Master the knee knockers: Four-foot putts still test the nerves of even the most seasoned golfers. Try hitting the practice green with the sun overhead and use the shadow cast by the pin to lineup your putt. Stroking the putt along a visual line will help build confidence for those real knee knocker putts.
- Digging out of the sand: When you’re stuck in the bunker, keep these golf tips in mind; open stance, feet planted firmly slightly below the ball, weight on your front foot and swing through the sand to a high finish. Jack Nicklaus advises that he likes to visualize removing a rectangle of sand.
- Make your short game a priority: It’s fun to go to the driving range but be sure to also practice your short game shots as 60 percent of all golf shots take place from 100 yards in or closer.
- Favor speed over direction when putting from a distance: Speed, speed, speed is most important. The key to lagging long putts close to the hole lies more with nailing the proper pace than hitting the exact line.
- Know how to rough it: When hitting out of the rough, follow these tips and par can still be a possibility. Take the safest route possible back to the fairway, use a 5 iron or more loft depending on the thickness of the rough, position the ball more back in your stance than normal, grip the club more tightly and hit the ball with a descending blow.
- Handle short chips like putts: Grab a 9 or 8 iron and simply swing away the same way you would with your putter i.e. a smooth stroke using arms & shoulders instead of hands & wrists.
- Take lessons & learn from reading: there is a myriad of sources for golfing tips – golf magazines, videos by pros, books by pros, Golf Channel content, but nothing will substitute for a visit to your favorite golf pro for golf lessons. You can find golf lessons across Northern NJ; from driving range practice facilities & golf merchandise mega stores to public (and private) golf courses to full on golf resort schools.
Everyone has golfing tips from your local pro (make that even the Tour pros) to your neighbor who’s a max- out handicapper. Remember to consider the source. You can often find a gem of truth in just about any tip. Sometimes hearing a tip voiced from another perspective will suddenly click for you. Reading & watching golf instruction can be a great supplement but not a substitute for golf lessons with a pro like Derek Bishop, the Golf Professional at Bowling Green Golf Club in Oak Ridge.