Book Excerpt

Golf: Play the Golf Digest Way

Excerpted from "Golf: Play the Golf Digest Way"

ORDER Golf: Play the Golf Digest Way

March 2012
"Learning to play golf," someone said, "is like learning to play the violin. It's not difficult to do, but it's very painful to everyone around you."

Here's the secret to making it less painful:

Learn golf "backwards" -- that is, from green to tee. From short game to long game. From ground to air. From short club to long.

Most golfers do the opposite. They start -- and often end -- with full shots. Our approach eases novices into the shots they find hardest. What's the thing that most amateurs struggle with? Getting the ball in the air. So, master the shots along the ground first and "takeoff" won't be such an obstacle. It will come naturally.

This progression also takes you from the shortest club in your bag to the longest (unless you use a long putter). Why? Because the shorter the club the easier it is to control. So why would you start golf by picking up the club that is hardest to manage? You wouldn't.

One more reason it works. Good players get more aggressive as they get closer to the green. Think of the Red Zone on a football field -- the 20 yards leading to the end zone and the yards farthest from one's own goal. This is where teams feel they can be most daring. Golf is like that too. But poor players tend to do just the opposite. You want to get very good at short shots so that you can be more aggressive.

Take the pain out of learning. Learn from green to tee. Here are eight tips to get you started ... in the right direction.

-- Bob Carney


How to grip the putter
If you don't worry about anything else in your putting stroke, lock down these two fundamentals. First, make sure the putter grip is in line with your right forearm, not hanging below it. This helps the putter swing easily on the correct swing plane. Second, set your hands so the grip runs through the lifelines of your palms and you're holding the handle mostly with your fingertips. If you were tossing a penny, you wouldn't set it in your palm. You'd hold it in your fingertips. That's the feeling you want when you're putting.
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