It took eight years playing on the LPGA Tour— including surviving an eight-hole playoff that spilled into a Monday-morning finish—but I finally won my first event this year, the ANA Inspiration in March. With my fiance on the bag, winning that major championship was one of the best moments of my life. I worked hard to earn that experience, and it proved that the way I do it is really helping me become a better player. I want to share some of my tips so you can upgrade your game. Maybe you're looking to break 90 or move up a flight in your club's member-guest. No matter the goal, being a better golfer starts with practicing all aspects of the game. To get you started, here are some of my favorite drills through the bag. I'm a big believer in using drills. Not only do they help reinforce technique, they make practice more interesting. That way you're making the most out of those range sessions without yawning your way through them. The first one I want to talk about is going to help you finally cure that slice or pull. — With Keely Levins
SWING ON THE RIGHT ANGLE
Put an alignment stick in the ground at a 45-degree angle in line with your back foot, and set up so you can hit a short-iron shot next to it as I'm doing here (above). The goal is to hit the ball without hitting the alignment stick. If you're like me and sometimes swing on a path that's cutting across the target line from out to in, you'll hit the alignment stick before you reach the ball. To cure a slice, you need to swing on a shallower path from in to out. For this drill, first swing at half-speed to get a feel for how the club needs to travel to miss the stick, then progress to normal speed. Finally, alternate hitting five balls with the stick and five balls without. When I do this drill, I think low right side. This helps maintain your posture so you stay down through the shot and hit it solid.
GET IN A BETTER SETUP
To help create the shallow, inside-out swing path that leads to better ball-striking with your irons off the turf, work on your setup. Start by holding a club in front of you and bumping your hips toward the target while tilting your spine back (above). From there, bend at the hips to address a ball that is roughly in the middle of your stance (below). If this feels different than your normal setup, you might have found the reason you sometimes hit bad iron shots. I do this as a drill and as part of my pre-shot routine. When I first started swinging from this setup, it felt like I was going to hit behind the ball. If you feel the same, don't worry. It won't happen as long as you shift your weight over to your front side when you start the downswing.
‘YOUR SPINE SHOULD BE TILTED AWAY FROM THE TARGET WHEN YOU ADDRESS THE BALL.’
GROOVE YOUR DRIVER SWING
When it comes to swinging a driver, the two main things I work on are hitting up on the ball and swinging with good rhythm. Here's a drill that improves both: Take four tees and plant them in a line about three inches apart, placing a ball on the one farthest from you. Set up to the first tee without a ball, and make a swing trying to sweep the tee out of the ground (below). The moment you finish that swing, step toward the next tee and do it again. Keep doing this from tee to tee before finally hitting the ball at the last station. The thought sweep the tee trains you to hit your drives on the upswing, and doing this drill in nonstop fashion helps build better rhythm. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how far you hit the teed-up ball.
‘SWEEP THE TEE WHEN YOU SWING YOUR DRIVER.
CHIP LIKE THE PROS
In pro-ams, I see a lot of amateurs trying to lift the ball into the air when they chip. That usually leads to poor contact and distance control because it's the opposite of what you want to do. For reliability, you have to hit down on the ball and trust that the wedge's loft will get it in the air. This drill will teach you how to hit better chips: Put an iron down behind the ball just outside your back foot. From a standard chipping setup—feet close together, stance slightly open, weight forward—try to chip the ball without striking the shaft on the ground (below). If you don't swing down into the ball with your weight forward, you're probably going to hit that shaft. Best part about this drill is that you can do it anywhere.
Pernilla Lindberg, 32, represented her native Sweden at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil (T-31) and was 17th on the LPGA Tour money list through July.
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