As 2011 winds down, and we prepare for the holidays, there is still lots of golf to be played in the warmer parts of the country. So what better way to keep your game sharp than by checking out tips from America's top 3 teachers. I selected what I consider to be three of the best pieces of advice during the past year's issues from Golf Digest's No. 1 instructor, Butch Harmon, No. 2 David Leadbetter and No. 3 Jim McLean. The full ranking appeared in our November issue. Give these tips a try, and good luck with your game this weekend.
Keys to longer drives (August, 2011)
Go wider with your right foot. When you really want to pound a tee shot, widen your right foot out a few more inches, keeping your left foot and the ball where they are. That'll drop your head farther behind the ball and tilt your spine away from the target. You'll feel a little heavier on your right foot; that's perfect. In effect, this setup pre-loads your weight shift to your right side.
Then, make a more deliberate backswing. Notice I didn't say slow: I don't like a slow start because then you have to kick it into a higher gear. What you want is a smooth takeaway that allows you to finish your windup before you start down.
Finally, stay fast to the finish. As you shift to your left foot, the club will drop to the inside, so you can extend your arms into impact. Keep your speed up. Feel as if you're accelerating the clubhead all the way to the finish.
For better chipping, check your buttons (June 2011)
Set your shirt buttons ahead of the ball, and keep them there. If you want to improve your chipping, you need to make solid contact by striking down on the ball. Your body position can help. Take a narrow stance, position the ball slightly back, and lean toward the target so your shirt buttons are ahead of the ball.
When you swing, make sure those buttons stay ahead of the ball. This will promote a slightly __
descending blow, with your hands leading the clubhead. It also will help eliminate the common fault of trying to scoop the ball--the main reason for poor chips.
How to flush an iron shot *(September 2011)
*__Don't get too inside on the backswing.__If you have trouble taking a divot with your irons, imagine you're driving the ball into the ground. You won't actually do that, but you will create a steeper downswing and get the shaft leaning forward at impact. That's how you compress the ball and cut a nice divot.
The first step is the backswing. If you hinge the club upward, with the butt end pointing at the ball at halfway back, you'll have a good chance of striking down on it. But if you swing the club back more around your body, you'll find it hard to hit the ground at all.
Coming down, think of swinging a sledgehammer at a stake angled 45 degrees away from the target. You'll lead with the grip end and smash it.