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Women Pro Tips

By on June 8, 2013
Golf - women

Tips from our contributing pros:

  1. A mental tip
  2. Keep that angle!
  3. Bunkers Play
  4. Golfers back and other ailments
  5. Misconceptions and Untruths In Golf
  6. Beginners and Club Selection
  7. Always want to take up golf, but not sure where to start?
  8. Clean That Grip
  9. Having trouble with your chipping and pitching?
  10. Use of your body in golf swing
  11. Drills for better chipping
  12. Posture

1. A mental tip

By Anne Rollo

Here is a mental tip to help you if you find yourself getting nervous when you play. Next time you have a moment to yourself sit somewhere quiet, close you eyes and imagine that you are on the first tee at your golf club (this is when most people feel their most nervous). You are probably starting to feel all those usual nervous feelings right now. Now imagine that you are watching yourself from someone else’s perspective, say another golfer waiting to hit or even a bird flying around above you.

What do you see? Or feel?
It somehow feels as if it isn’t as important as you think doesn’t it? It’s just someone else about to hit a shot, why should she be worried right?

Try this technique of putting yourself into the third person and things will seem a lot less daunting.

2. Keep that angle!

By Dennise Hutton

Golf, just like most sports, is all about consistency. Whether it be our swing or our putting action we should be striving for a consistent stroke that will just keep on repeating. Many things go to make up a consistent golf swing but one of the most important is maintaining the angle of our upper body until after the ball has gone. Let me explain.

In my set up, how my upper body is straight. I bend from the lower hips, not from the waist, my weight is balanced between left and right, front and back. The amount of body angle at address will vary with your build however it is this angle which should remain constant through the back swing and down through impact.

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During the back swing, my shoulders are coiling, perpendicular to my spine, yet the angle of my upper body has not changed. My hips have rotated as a result of my upper body coil with the majority of my weight moving across over the right leg.

The next step, my upper body has obviously lifted at the top of the back swing. Apart from the loss of my coil and the lack of resulting power, it is not too hard to imagine what this sort of swing will do for your consistency. To get back to the ball through impact I will need to lunge down and forward which will lead to anything from an air shot to a fat shot and everything in between.

Another common problem is the lowering of the upper body. As the club goes back we desperately try to turn our shoulders and we lose our height and body angle. My shoulders have become very steep, and often the club ends up over our head at the top of the back swing. We will need to lift up to make room for the club to get back somewhere near the ball at impact. Consistency will almost certainly be the first casualty with a swing such as this.

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In the last position, the ball has gone and yet my body still basically maintains the same angle as at address.

It is the club head that will pull the body through into a strong tall finish. At the top of the follow through, my body is vertical, my shoulders are horizontal and facing the target.

Try this exercise in front of a full length mirror. Put your left hand on your right shoulder and vice versa. Imagine you are standing over the ball, take your position at address, and check your body angle in the mirror. Go to the top of your back swing, check again. Repeat the drill on the downswing and make sure you keep the same angle till your shoulders are at least forty five degrees past your address position. Repeat the drill slowly. Get your body and your muscles into the habit of feeling the correct position from set up to the top of the follow through.

Bunkers Play

By Sally Smith

Many women I teach come to see me with a fear of bunker play. One of the most common errors I see is where a player contacts the sand in relation to the golf ball.

Some golfers believe that to hit a shorter shot, they need to take more sand e.g. 5cm behind the ball, and for a longer shot they need to take less sand e.g. 1cm behind the ball. I believe an easier approach is to take the same amount of sand for each shot and vary the length of your back swing for the distance.

One of the best drills for contacting the sand consistently is to draw a line in the sand. Simply practice your bunker swings without a ball trying to hit the line or start your divot on this line. It gives you an instant feedback on whether you are taking too much sand or not enough. You don’t even need a ball to practice this!

Golfers back and other ailments

By Dennise Hutton

The most common golfing problems are bad backs, shoulders, hips and arthritis. With a correct swing for your build, and clubs that are correctly fitted to your best balanced swing, these ailments can be eliminated or reduced dramatically.

The most obvious adjustment for a bad back is to stand a little taller at set-up. Standing a little taller alters the swing plane and places less strain on the back. Also, try turning the right foot out a little in set-up, to reduce the tension in the back. This allows an easier coil, if your back is the problem. I also suggest to people with a bad back to allow the left heel to lift or roll a little on the back swing, allowing for a free flowing coil.

At the completion of your swing, finish tall with your back straight and all the weight on your left leg.

Apart from swing mechanics, there are many general golf tips to avoid back problems:

  • Have your clubs correctly fitted to you
  • Use longer shafts and light weight materials in clubs
  • Use more flexible shafts and lower compression golf balls
  • Replace long irons with fairway metal woods
  • Use a suction cap on the end of your putter to retrieve your golf ball
  • In the bunkers, pick the ball clean to avoid resistance
  • Stand tall and swing the arms when chipping to the green
  • Push rather than pull your trolley
  • If possible, walk rather than use a cart
  • See you local golf professional and develop a swing that takes the strain off your back

For arthritis sufferers, try oversized grips and use a baseball palm grip. If you have the double whammy of arthritis and a bad back, try investigating the swing mechanics of Canadian professional, Moe Norman. I have found remarkable results using the Moe Norman method with people who suffer with the above problems.

A final word, a proper warm up and warm down with stretching, hitting range balls, chipping and putting is very important in getting the body loose and in tune for the golf ahead.

In the next newsletter, we will talk about getting clubs that are correctly fitted and made for you, so that you can do your best balanced swing without compensating.

Misconceptions and Untruths In Golf

By Anne Rollo

How often do we hear the advice “keep your head down” which is, of course, one of the worst things you can do to your golf swing. I have listed some of the most common misconceptions about golf below, hope they help your game.

1. Misconception: the head stays still
It is impossible to keep your head perfectly still because it is attached to your shoulders, which should be turning. Your head should start behind the ball at address and move slightly further behind the ball as you take your back swing. The only direction your head should not move is up or down. If you concentrate on keeping your head very still, you will encourage a reverse weight shift and top the shot.

2. Misconception: the club travels on a straight line back and through the ball
If you try and move the club along a straight line back and through the ball, you will sway your body instead of turning it. The club should travel on a tilted circle around your body.

3. Misconception: your toes point straight ahead at address
If your toes are pointed straight ahead at address, this will restrict your ability to turn your body during the swing. Your toes should point out slightly.

4. Misconception: your arms and club make a Y shape at address
The club is designed to be used with a slight angle in the shaft leaning towards the target, or the hands in line with the front of the ball. This will encourage you to hit down and through the ball creating more power.

5. Misconception: your left arm stays straight (Right Handers)
It is estimated that on the PGA Tour, the average bend in the left arm is 30 degrees. Ideally, you should set up with your left arm fairly straight (not rigid) but trying desperately to keep it this way through out the back swing will create tension and probably lift your top half up, off the ball.

6. Misconception: your feet aim at the target
Your club face aims at the target and your feet, hips and shoulders aim slight to the left. If you aim your feet at the target, it will force your club face out to the right (opposite for left handers).

7. Misconception: back swing and follow through are a mirror image of one another (right handers, opposite for left)
The back swing is compact with both feet flat on the ground and the left shoulder under your chin. The follow through is a bigger movement turning your stomach to completely face the target with your right heel up and off the ground.

8. Misconception: the arms and club form a straight line at address
Arms hand straight down from the shoulders at address and then there is an out to the club.

9. Misconception: you need to scoop the ball up in the air
The loft of the club is there to do the work for you. You do not need to help it. Particularly with chipping, the more you try and scoop it, the more the ball will go along the ground.

Your hands should lead the way ahead of the club head and the loft of the club will lift the ball for you.

Beginners and Club Selection

By Sally Smith

Many beginners come to me with a full set of clubs totally confused about what to use, and what to expect from each golf club.

Thirteen clubs and a putter is a standard set of clubs usually consisting of a: 1,3,5 wood, 3 iron through to 9 iron, pitching and sand wedge. It is difficult to decide what to use and when to use them and some of these clubs are more difficult to hit when you are still learning and developing a golf swing.

My suggestion to all beginners is to use some basic clubs for game play.

Stick to one driving club, this should be a 5 wood or less.The 5 wood is the wood in your set that has the most loft and the shortest length. This combination makes it the easiest wood to hit.

Select a basic playing or fairway club, something around a 5 iron. This is usually the club you’re most comfortable with. Generally when you are learning you don’t see a lot of difference in performance from 5 to 8 iron.

Select 2 clubs for chipping, a 7 iron for the running chip shot and a wedge for the higher stopping shot. And of course the putter for the green.

Always want to take up golf, but not sure where to start?

By Anne Rollo

It’s much easier than you think!!

First of all, grab a friend
Everything is more fun with company. Once you have got the hang of it, you will also have someone to play a round of golf with. The first step is pretty obvious, get some help! Look up the yellow pages under golf coaches, golf ranges or golf courses and find a professional coach near you.

Lessons
Ideally you should have a minimum of 5-6 lessons which will vary in cost, starting at about $35.00 for half an hour. (Divide it by 2 if you share!) Golf is quite a technical game and there are more than on type of swing that you need to know to play a round of golf. You not only need to learn the basic swing, but other areas of the game such as chipping, putting and bunkers.

If you don’t have a friend to begin golf with, don’t worry. You can sign up for beginners course. They are very popular and it’s a great way to meet some future playing partners. It’s also cheaper; it is approximately $95.00 for 5 one-hour lessons over 5 weeks. (For example, at the Baulkham Hills Golf Range, telephone 9838 9787) Most beginners courses include the entire basics plus an explanation of the clubs, etiquette rules, use of a score card and much more. You don’t need any equipment at this stage as most places will provide it with the lessons, just a comfy pair of shoes, loose clothing, a hat and sunscreen in the summer.

You have finished the lessons, what now?
You probably are very keen to get out onto the golf course , but hang on a minute! Give yourself some time at the golf range to practice what you’ve been taught so that you are not spending too much time thinking about the technique.

Playing on the course
Your first time on the course can be a bit daunting, so before you go, make sure that you are getting the ball up and away more often than not. This would take up to 6 months at practicing once or twice a week depending how quickly you are picking up the game. Some people will have success straight away and others will take a bit longer, so be patient.

You are on the first tee!!
To avoid your first foray onto the course being too overwhelming, here are some tips to remember:

  • Tee your ball up the whole way round
  • Call the following group through if you are slow
  • Once you have had 10 swing on a hole, pick up your ball
  • Stick to just playing nine holes for a while
  • Most importantly, enjoy yourself.

Clean That Grip

By Carmen Savy

The winter months shiny slippery grips on clubs, makes it almost impossible to maintain a consistent grip throughout your swing. Give them a clean or have them replaced at your nearest pro shop. You’ll be surprised at the difference.

Having trouble with your chipping and pitching?

by Anne Rollo

The most common reason for having problems with your chipping and pitching is that you are trying to scoop the ball into the air. The loft of the club is there to do this for you. The more you try to lift the ball the more likely it is that it will go along the ground. Anne demonstrating incorrect flipping of wrists.

Ann Rollo Wrist Break in Golf Swing

Let the loft of the club do the work for you. Hit down and through the ball. Turn to face your chest to the target while extending your hands out in front of you. Anne demonstrating proper follow through.

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Try this tip: Imagine you have a low bench just in front of you when chipping or pitching, and you are trying to hit the ball underneath the bench. The lower you try to hit the ball the more the loft of the club will kick in and lift the ball for you.

3 Golden Rules of Chipping and Pitching

  • Weight favours your front foot
  • Ball position favours your back foot
  • Grip down to the bottom of the grip

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SOME COMMON GOLFING MYTHS

Keep your head down
This could be the single worst piece of golfing advice you could ever receive.

Two of the best golfers in the world at the moment David Duval and Annika Sorenstam both turn their heads towards the target even before they actually hit the ball. They see the ball being hit and then continue turning their bodies through the shot. This is important to create power and a consistent strike. Obviously it works pretty well for both of them. Annika became the first female player to break 60 when she shot 59 at Moon Valley Country Club in the second round of the Standard Register Ping Tournament in March. (Duval also shot 59 last year at the Bob Hope tournament)

Trying to keep your head down after you hit the ball will restrict your body turn and power and encourage topped shots. You are more likely to lift your head on the back swing than the down swing, so remember to turn or twist your body back rather than lift.

Keep your left arm straight
This is another classic that you’ll hear regularly but is not really true. The average bend in the left arm on the USPGA Tour is 30 degrees.

Trying to keep your left arm rigidly straight will result in too much tension and can also cause you to lift up off the ball on the back swing. As long as you are not bending your arm excessively a little bit of bend is fine.

Use of your body in golf swing

By Sally Smith

One of the most common problems my students have when coming for lessons is the use of their body both in the back swing and the follow through. Many people use their arms only with little or no weight transference resulting in a loss of power and often directional problems.

Next time you play or hit balls at the range, make sure you turn your shoulders i.e. back to the target in the back swing. In the downswing, make sure you finish facing the target i.e. front to target. Hold your finish position and check where your body is facing. Another good check is to tap your right toe to ensure your weight has transferred to the left side and you are not falling backwards at the finish of your golf shot.

Drills for better chipping

by Carmen Railton (Savy)

  1. Try chipping one handed. Grip down the shaft and try chipping using only your left hand to hold the club. Now try using your right hand. This will help you to develop extra feel.
  2. Place three targets (eg.ice cream containers) spaced in line 10,15 and 20 metres from where you are chipping. Using the same club you must hit the first target on the full before moving to the next. This will help to gauge distance and feel.

Posture

by Anne Rollo

Posture could quite possibly be the most important part of your golf swing. Getting things wrong this early and you will be fighting all the way. Get it right on the other hand, and everything becomes a whole lot easier! Correct posture below shows your weight into the ball of your feet (front half), one hand-span from the end of the club to you (nearest point) and your arms hanging comfortably straight down from your shoulders.

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The most commonly incorrect posture (second image above), shows too much knee bend and the club the arms forming a straight line. This is caused by the misconception that the bottom of the club needs to be flush with the ground whereas, in fact, the toe of the club should be slightly up. You will notice that the weight is in my heels here which is another cause of poor posture.

So have a look in the mirror and check your posture. It is pretty simple to get right , yet, so important.

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