Golf Digest editors picks
60th Anniversary

Our 60 Best Tips Ever

We scoured the archives and surveyed the top teachers. These tips work--guaranteed

RICK SMITH, MARCH 2004
RICK SMITH, MARCH 2004

31. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN HITTING OFF ARTIFICIAL TURF

When you practice on range mats, focus on swinging down into the ball with your weight rotating toward the target onto a firm left leg. The hands and wrists pass over the ball before the clubhead makes impact. It should feel like you are "trapping" the ball with the clubhead, with the clubface remaining square at impact. This move ensures that the club will reach the bottom of its arc at the ball, not before it.

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DAVID LEADBETTER, JUNE 2009
DAVID LEADBETTER, JUNE 2009

32. GIVE YOUR SLICE A FACE-LIFT

To help square the face at impact and hit straighter shots, keep the clubface looking at the ball when you start back. Then, as you reach the top of your swing, have the face point to the sky.

Getting in these two positions will greatly improve your chance of swinging down from the inside and squaring the club at impact -- you might even start hitting draws.

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JOHNNY MILLER, OCT. 1974

33. GRIPPING LIGHTLY, RELAXING BODY PRODUCES GOOD TEMPO

"To maintain good tempo, you have to be totally relaxed," Miller says.

"Also, there's no such thing as too slow a backswing. If the average player would remember those two points, he'd improve his game immediately. If you take the club back slowly, you'll start it down slowly. I even think that you can learn to pause at the top of the swing it's a great thing. If you rush it at the top you never know where your clubface is."

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34. TRY PUTTING WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED OR BLINDFOLDED
LYNN MARRIOTT, JUNE 2005

34. TRY PUTTING WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED OR BLINDFOLDED

We often say golfers have gotten "line drunk." They focus too much on finding the line and not enough on finding a feel for distance. Putt with your eyes closed, or wearing a blidfold, and estimate where the ball stops. You'll quickly build trust in your stroke and a better awareness of the target. Placing a glove in the cup limits auditory feedback and helps you rely even more on feel.

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PAUL RUNYAN, MAY 1985

35. NEVER OVERREACH

A common error in addressing a pitch shot is to ground the clubhead (setting the club on the ground too far below the bottom of the ball) and to get too bent over at address-to overreach, in effect. When this happens, you tend to resist the law of gravity, killing the roundness and centrifugal force of your swing. Usually you hit the ground first or, as a reaction, pull up and top the ball.

To overcome this, feel that you are standing a little taller than you normally might at address and make sure your arms are fully extended with whatever length grip you have on the club. At this point, the club head should be a quarter of an inch or so off the ground, just barely brushing the grass. The leading edge of the club is still more than half an inch below the center of the ball, so you need not worry about topping the shot and you have reduced the likelihood of striking the ground first. Underreaching in this manner tends to make you help the law of gravity, swinging downward instead of upward, increasing clubhead acceleration and making the swing more accurate.

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HANK HANEY:  HOW TO CHECK YOUR RELEASE
HANK HANEY, JULY 2009

36. HOW TO CHECK YOUR RELEASE

When you release the club throughout impact, the back of your left hand -- and by extension the clubface -- is square. That translates into the bottom of the swing being in the right place, the loft on the club being correct and the ball leaving the target. In other words, release is the unhinging and re-rotation of your hands from where they were at the top of the backswing. What does that feel like? The bottom of your right hand is pushing dwon as the bottom of your left hand is pulling up.

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Kenneth Giovando, May 1974

37. GET ON THE BALL TO STOP SWAYING

To avoid straightening the right leg and rolling your weight to the outside of the right foot on your backswing-common faults among higher handicappers-try this simple practice-tee exercise.

Place a golf ball under the outside of your right foot, just forward of the heel. This will concentrate your weight on the inside of your right foot and leg. Hit several full shots with a 7-iron in this manner, being sure to keep your right knee flexed on the backswing.

After you acquire the feeling of keeping your knee flexed and the weight on the inside of the right -toot, remove the ball and hit several more shots. You'll find you will be making a better body turn and will be in a more balanced and powerful position to begin the downswing.

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TIGER WOODS, DEC. 2000

38. INCREASE YOUR ACCURACY WITH LESS FOREARM ROTATION

The evolution of the golf swing has made forearm rotation less of an issue than when the Booby Jones-style around-the-body swing was in vogue. For the modern player, whose hands stay more in front of his chest throughout the swing, less forearm rotation means more control of the clubface and more accurate shots.

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Ernie Els, Oct. 2003
Ernie Els, Oct. 2003

39. HOW TO FEEL THE CLUBHEAD RELEASE

When I'm swinging well, I feel like I'm using my left side to bring the club back, and that my right is more active on the downswing. To reinforce that feel, I'll hole a heavy club--I'm using a sand wedge here--in my right hand and take small swings, holding it lightly in my fingers.

I use my right hand, arm, shoulder and hip to swing the club through and feel the weight of the club itself promoting the release position you see in the photo on the right. There's no holding on or manipulation to try to square the clubface.

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Kevin Weeks, Oct. 2007

40. KEEP YOUR WEIGHT FORWARD
TO CAN MORE CHIP SHOTS

The No.1 greenside tendency for a long-shooter is to fall away from the target on chip shot and try to help the ball up in the air. That's why golfers hit fat and thin chips.

By standing with your back foot on a paint can, you force your weight to stay forward during the entire shot, promoting a descending blow through impact. I've never seen a player supporting the weight on the front leg like this scoop at the ball. It's an instant fix.

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