GOLF DIGEST SCHOOLS

How to Play Consistent Golf

1  of  5

Lesson 1: Making Solid Contact

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

Solid contact is probably the No. 1 fundamental in golf. It affects the direction and distance of your shots, as well as your confidence and mind-set. You can’t play consistent golf if you’re unable to compress the ball solidly at impact. In this video, Devan Bonebrake offers three keys for making center-face, ball-first contact, starting with proper ball position.

SWING THOUGHTS

For irons, play the ball slightly forward of center in your stance
Roughly 70 to 90 percent of your weight should be on your left leg at impact
For ball-first contact, your left wrist should be flat at impact

DRILLS

Weight Shift

  • Place a ball on a tee, and position it to the right of your right heel at setup.
  • Hit some balls with an iron, making your normal swing.
  • If you shift your weight properly, you should move off your right foot through impact without knocking the ball off the tee.

Ball-First Contact

  • Grab two tees and place one a half an inch outside the toe of the club and another a half an inch outside the heel.
  • Place a ball between the two tees.
  • Position another tee three inches in front of the ball. That’s where you want your club to bottom out.
  • See how many swings out of 15 you can hit the ball and the tee in front without hitting behind the ball.
  • Fewer than eight, you need work. Eight to 12, you’re getting there. Twelve or more, you’ve got it.
Lesson 2: Controlling Shot Direction
2 Lesson 2: Controlling Shot Direction
  • Master the two major accuracy moves
  • How to establish a proper grip
  • Learn to control swing path
  • Drills for straighter shots
  • Skills Test: defining start direction

How to Play Consistent Golf

2  of  5

Lesson 2: Controlling Shot Direction

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

Once you start hitting the ball solidly, the next step is learning how to control shot direction. It’s difficult to manage your game if you don’t know where the ball is going. Here, Devan Bonebrake explains how the clubface in relation to swing path affects ball flight. Then he offers tips for swinging on a neutral path and squaring the face at impact.

SWING THOUGHTS

Take a neutral grip, with your hands turned slightly away from the target
Maintain a flat left wrist during the swing
Start the downswing with the lower body, then rotate the upper body

DRILLS

Swing Path

  • Place one alignment rod behind the ball on the target line and another in front.
  • Place a club outside your right foot, parallel to the rear alignment rod and another outside your left foot parallel to the front alignment rod.
  • Swing halfway back. The clubface should be toe up, and the club should be in line with the club on the ground outside your right foot.
  • Transfer your weight to the other side, matching the other club on the ground outside your left foot on the follow-through, with the toe up.

Direction Control

  • Stick an alignment rod in the ground in line with your target.
  • Depending on your ball flight, stick another alignment rod to the right or left, creating a two-foot gap between the two rods. If you play a fade, place the second rod to the left; for a draw, place it to the right.
  • Try to hit 15 balls through the uprights.
  • Fewer than eight means you need work. Eight to 12, you’re getting there. Twelve or more, you’ve got it.
Lesson 3: Driving it in Play
3 Lesson 3: Driving it in Play
  • Pick the right club and target
  • Setup keys: ball position, body posture
  • Swing keys: grip pressure, synchronicity
  • Skills Test: finding the imaginary fairway

How to Play Consistent Golf

3  of  5

Lesson 3: Driving it in Play

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

Playing a consistent round starts on the tee. Driving the ball in the fairway puts you in position to hit greens in regulation, which leads to more pars. Constantly scrambling from tee to green can be a grind and eventually leads to trouble on your scorecard. In this video, Devan Bonebrake’s tips will help you keep the ball in play more often so you can get good looks at the green.

SWING THOUGHTS

Choose the club you feel most comfortable with off the tee
Pick a conservative line that plays to your ball flight
With a driver, play the ball in the front of your stance, and keep your head behind it
Work on a smooth transition from the top of the backswing down to the ball
Swing with freedom, and let it go

DRILLS

Left-Hand Setup

  • Put your right hand behind your back at address.
  • Take your setup, and sole the clubhead behind the ball.
  • Bring your right hand back around add it the grip without moving your shoulders.
  • This ensures that your shoulders are square.

Tension Reducer

  • On a scale of 1-10, grip the driver at a 3.
  • When hitting balls at the range, maintain that grip pressure throughout the swing.

Accuracy Drill

  • Pick two points on the range 30 yards apart, creating an imaginary fairway.
  • Hit 15 shots, and count how many land in that imaginary fairway.
  • Fewer than eight, you need work. Eight to 12, you’re getting there. Twelve or more, you’ve got it.
Lesson 4: Reliable Pitching
4 Lesson 4: Reliable Pitching
  • Develop consistent ball-striking
  • Learn to vary pitching distance
  • How to stop the lift instinct
  • Skills Test: hitting distance targets

How to Play Consistent Golf

4  of  5

Lesson 4: Reliable Pitching

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

The average golfer is going to hit only a few greens per round. That leaves a lot of opportunities to pitch the ball close and save par. Devan Bonebrake says the motion of your pitch shots should mirror you full swing, just on a smaller scale. In this segment, he takes you through the process of creating a reliable pitching setup and swing.

SWING THOUGHTS

When setting up to hit a pitch, narrow your stance to limit weight shift
For pitch shots, play the ball in the center and set your weight 60 percent left
In the pitch swing, hinge the club up going back, right arm slightly bent
Turn your knees and hips toward the target to start the swing
In pitching, keep the left wrist flat at impact and into the follow-through
To vary pitching distance, vary the length of your follow-through

DRILLS

Four-Ball Drill

  • Arrange four balls together in a straight line facing the target.
  • Place your ball parallel with the first ball in the four-ball line.
  • Take a swing keeping the clubhead low through impact, as if you’re trying to strike all four balls.
  • You’ll learn to make a shallow strike for solid contact.

Ladder Drill

  • Lay a club on the ground roughly 30 feet away from where you’ll be pitching. Place four more clubs after it, each one spaced nine feet apart. This creates four landing spots.
  • Climb the ladder: Hit the first spot between the first two clubs, then the second, third and fourth. Then work your way back. Seven total spots.
  • If it takes you more than 25 balls to do this, you need work. Fifteen to 25 balls, you’re getting there. Fewer than 15, you’ve got it.
Lesson 5:  Avoiding Three-Putts
5 Lesson 5: Avoiding Three-Putts
  • Focus on the master key: speed control
  • Fix short and long misses
  • Drills for a pressure-proof stroke
  • Create a tour-caliber routine
  • Skills Test: building great feel

How to Play Consistent Golf

5  of  5

Lesson 5: Avoiding Three-Putts

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

There’s nothing worse than splitting the fairway, knocking your approach shot on the green and walking away with a bogey. For amateurs, three-putts are almost always caused by speed rather than direction. In this video, Devan Bonebrake shares his best tips on speed control so that you can get the ball close for a tap-in second putt.

SWING THOUGHTS

In putting, your grip pressure should be a 3 on a scale of 1-10
Maintain good symmetry back and through on your putting stroke
When you putt, hit the ball with the center of the face
Develop a consistent pre-shot routine for every putt
Look at the hole on your practice strokes to simulate the stroke

DRILLS

Symmetry Drill

  • Place five tees in a line several inches from each other on the green.
  • Place your ball in line with the middle tee.
  • For roughly a 20-foot putt, take the putterhead back to the first tee and follow through to the first tee on the other side.
  • For roughly a 40-foot putt, take the putterhead back to the second tee and all the way through to the second tee on the other side.

Distance Control

  • Place a headcover 15 feet from where you’ll be putting.
  • Place another one 15 feet from the first one.
  • Hit your first putt as close to the second headcover as you can. Each putt after that you want to hit consecutively shorter.
  • The goal is to see how many balls you can fit between the second headcover and the first.
  • Fewer than four means you need work. Four to six, you’re getting there. More than six, you’ve got it.

How to Play Consistent Golf

Lesson
1 / 5
Lesson 1: Making Solid Contact
2 / 5
Lesson 2: Controlling Shot Direction
3 / 5
Lesson 3: Driving it in Play
4 / 5
Lesson 4: Reliable Pitching
5 / 5
Lesson 5: Avoiding Three-Putts
How to Play Consistent Golf INDEX
Lesson 1: Making Solid Contact
1/5
Lesson 1: Making Solid Contact
  • Learn the three keys to pure strikes
  • Fix fat and thin shots
  • Develop proper body action
  • Skills Test: taking good divots
  • Learn the three keys to pure strikes
  • Fix fat and thin shots
  • Develop proper body action
  • Skills Test: taking good divots
Lesson 2: Controlling Shot Direction
2/5
Lesson 2: Controlling Shot Direction
  • Master the two major accuracy moves
  • How to establish a proper grip
  • Learn to control swing path
  • Drills for straighter shots
  • Skills Test: defining start direction
  • Master the two major accuracy moves
  • How to establish a proper grip
  • Learn to control swing path
  • Drills for straighter shots
  • Skills Test: defining start direction
Lesson 3: Driving it in Play
3/5
Lesson 3: Driving it in Play
  • Pick the right club and target
  • Setup keys: ball position, body posture
  • Swing keys: grip pressure, synchronicity
  • Skills Test: finding the imaginary fairway
  • Pick the right club and target
  • Setup keys: ball position, body posture
  • Swing keys: grip pressure, synchronicity
  • Skills Test: finding the imaginary fairway
Lesson 4: Reliable Pitching
4/5
Lesson 4: Reliable Pitching
  • Develop consistent ball-striking
  • Learn to vary pitching distance
  • How to stop the lift instinct
  • Skills Test: hitting distance targets
  • Develop consistent ball-striking
  • Learn to vary pitching distance
  • How to stop the lift instinct
  • Skills Test: hitting distance targets
Lesson 5:  Avoiding Three-Putts
5/5
Lesson 5: Avoiding Three-Putts
  • Focus on the master key: speed control
  • Fix short and long misses
  • Drills for a pressure-proof stroke
  • Create a tour-caliber routine
  • Skills Test: building great feel
  • Focus on the master key: speed control
  • Fix short and long misses
  • Drills for a pressure-proof stroke
  • Create a tour-caliber routine
  • Skills Test: building great feel