This section is full of golf tips, golf lessons and golf practice techniques aimed at helping you understand your golf game and improve. These online golf lessons include golf swing tips, golf tips for beginners, and golf driving tips.

golf fitness tips

Stretching/Warming Up: Tips for Golf Fitness

Tips for good golf fitness and health: Ditch the cart and hoof it

Golf fitness and your health

Golf witnessed a major transition over the last 60 years. In the past, players walked, carried their bag or used a caddy. Gradually, the game has become dominated by golf carts. The use of motorized golf carts transformed the golf industry in a number of ways.

Golf health facts

There have been numerous studies to determine the exact impact a round of golf has on physical fitness. As a society, Americans overall continue to exercise less and become more overweight and obese, despite some recent trends in the other direction.

While golf does not provide high-impact movement similar to other sports, golf still offers an excellent opportunity to maintain your health — if you take advantage of the opportunities for fitness that the game provides.

According to a study conducted by the National Golf Foundation, 34 percent of U.S. population is within a healthy weight, 33 percent are overweight and 33 percent of the population is obese. Among the golfing population, 27 percent of golfers are within their normal weight range and the exact same percentage are obese, 27 percent. Meanwhile, 46 percent of the population is overweight.

Walking the golf course provides many health benefits, and not just from burning calories and and fat, increasing strength and stamina, shrinking cholesterol numbers and heart rates and to lessening stress and increasing brain endorphin production (which makes us feel happier).

golf fitness tips

Golf cart usage

In 1984, 45 percent of rounds were played with a motorized cart. By 2002, cart usage rose to 66 percent and by 2006 increased to 69 percent.

Its estimated that roughly just one-third — or less — of all  rounds walked today. The majority of golfers use a golf cart.

In fact, some areas and courses estimate cart usage is over 90 percent.

According to administrative staff at several golf facilities in Myrtle Beach, Fla., walking rounds there are virtually non-existent. They estimated that 95 percent of rounds played at specific facilities are with golf carts.

However, there are still clubs that promote the original traditions of the game. Some courses restrict cart usage until certain times of the day while others require walking at all times. Clubs that require walking are in the minority.

Older courses were typically built on less than 100 acres and made walking convenient. They usually have short walks between the green and next tee box.

New courses, tough, tend to stretch between 160 and 260 acres where homes and communities are constructed between hole locations. It’s become common for long walks between holes, which puts a strain on some who’d rather not use a golf care. So, we’re in a dilemma where many newer courses are not suitable for walking and others restrict walking altogether.

Annually, the golf industry produces approximately two million jobs and generates more than $75 billion in revenue. Golf facilities are designed to create make money on cart rentals and encourage golfers to ride. More and more often golf courses expect to drive greater profits — and what better way than with mandatory golf cart fees?

golf fitness tips

Calories burned through golf

Many believe walking is more beneficial than riding in a cart, but how effective is a round of golf on physical fitness?

On average, you walk the equivalent of five miles during 18 holes of golf. In addition, a four-hour round of golf is similar to a two-hour singles match of tennis.

A scientific study sought to find out exactly how calories are burned during golf. Walking and carrying your clubs or pushing a cart burned approximately 1,440 calories while walking with a caddy burned nearly 1,250 calories.

On the other hand, those that preferred to ride burned approximately 820 calories. Indirectly, they still walked nearly a mile during the round.

Even players who fail to make it to the course can still burn a few calories playing video game golf. It is estimated a 175-pound man could burn 150 calories playing Nintendo Wii golf for 45 minutes while a 125-pound woman could burn approximately 100 calories in that same time frame.

golf fitness tips

 

 

dynamic golf stretches

Stretching/Warming Up: Dynamic Stretches for Golf

Dynamic Stretches for Golf

A typical golf professional arrives at the course hours before their tee time. And what does the pro do first? He or she starts out simple with stretches to loosen the body up and begin their routine on the practice green.

And you should too.

Formal definition:  Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching very useful in sports such as golf. It utilizes momentum from our body’s form. Static-active stretching helps build strength by in part harnessing the momentum from static-active stretching movements and positions. The important thing to remember with dynamic stretching is that you are not extending or exceeding your normal range of motion as you do the activities. 

Professional players focus on other short game areas such as chips, pitches and bunker shots. Next, they work on their full swing at the practice range. Typically, they spend a few more minutes on the putting green before they head to the first tee. There is no doubt they are fully prepared physically and mentally for their upcoming round.

Recreational players often arrive at the golf course with only a few minutes to prior to their tee time. They spend little or no time warming up and the first three or four holes result in a disaster. While you don’t need to go through an in depth routine such as a tour professional, you should spend a few minutes warming up before your round. 

There are several forms of stretching. Static stretching is the most common form that greatly improves flexibility. However, static stretches does little to contract the muscles needed to generate powerful golf swings. Dynamic stretches help improve your range of motion while reducing muscle stiffness.

In addition, research indicates dynamic stretches have a positive influence on performance. Many athletes in other sports also prefer dynamic stretches during their warm up routine.

The following dynamic stretches are useful for golfers:

dynamic golf stretches

Supported Squats

Place a club over your head with your hands on both ends of the club. Your arms should be fully extended up. Stand with your feet shoulder width and squat down until your thighs are close to parallel with the ground.

dynamic golf stretches

Arm Swings

Stand with your feet shoulder width and arms extended out to your sides. Slowly swing your arms back and forth across the front of your body.

dynamic golf stretches

Trunk Rotations

Place a club behind your neck with your hands on both ends. Stand with your feet shoulder width and bend your knees slightly and at your waist. Turn to each side so you get one end of the club directly in front of you with each turn.

dynamic golf stetches

Side Bends

Stand with your feet shoulder width and hold a club behind your neck. Bend to each side and keep your torso straight. Avoid leaning forward or backward, only go to each side.

dynamic golf stretches

Swing a Weighted Club

Practice swinging with a heavy club.  Swinging a weighted club is designed to increase flexibility, add swing speed, increase distance and build muscle. Take a normal set up and make continuous swings forward and backward without stopping.

dynamic golf stretches

Leg Swings

Stand with your feet approximately shoulder width and near an object you can grab for support. Begin by slowly swinging your right leg forward and backward. Switch to the other leg. Your body should remain standing straight up through the leg swings.

dynamic golf stretches

Alternate Toe Touches

Begin by spreading your feet a comfortable distance apart. Lean toward your left leg and touch your left foot with your right hand. You should feel a stretch in your lower back and hamstrings. Repeat the motion for the other foot. 

And try to have fun. Do what you can. Don’t overextend yourself. Maybe, listen to music on earbuds. Relax. Tune out the world a bit. You’re on the golf course!

– See more at: http://blog.2ndswing.com/dynamic-stretches-golf/#sthash.MsZU1ypN.dpuf

static golf stretches

Stretching/Warming Up: Static Stretches for Golf

Static Stretches for Golf

Static stretches are used to stretch muscles while the body is at rest. Unlike dynamic stretches, studies indicate static stretches do not improve athletic performance. Rather, static stretches are designed to improve mobility and range of motion.

Make time for these. They work and will help your fitness for more than just golf. 

Stretches are generally held anywhere from 10 seconds or more and require easy breathing while the stretch is performed. The following are only a small sample of beneficial static stretches a golfer can perform.

Static stretching definition: A Static stretching means is one held in a challenging but comfortable position for a period of time, usually somewhere between 10 to 30 seconds. Static stretches are the most common form of stretching now in fitness and is great for golf to improve overall flexibility and strength. 

static golf stretches

Standing Shoulder Stretch

Stand with your feet shoulder width and vertically hold a club in front of you. Hold onto the club and bend forward at your waist until your back is parallel with the ground. You should feel a stretch across your shoulders.

static golf stretches

Wrist Extensions

Wrist injuries are the most frequently reported injury for female golfers. Try the following exercise to stretch out the wrist and forearm. Extend your right arm straight out and pull back your fingers with your left hand until you feel a stretch in your forearm. Repeat the motion with the other wrist.

static golf stretches

Knee to Chest

Lie on your back with your neck supported and body extended out. Flex your right knee and slide your foot toward your butt. Place both hands behind the flexed knee and pull your knee toward your chest. Hold the stretch for the appropriate amount of time to stretch your lower back and gluteal muscles. Switch legs and repeat the stretch.

static golf stretches

Double Knees to Chest

Low-back injury is the number one reported injury in golf. The double knees to chest stretch will focus directly on the lower back, the most frequently injured area resulting from the golf swing.

Begin by lying on your back with your neck supported and body extended out. Flex both knees and slide both feet toward your butt. Place both hands behind your thighs and avoid too much bending in your knees. Pull both knees toward your chest and shoulders and lift your hips up off the floor. Relax and slowly extend your legs back to the original position. 

static golf stretches

Cat and Camel

The cat and camel stretch focuses directly on the upper back. Begin by getting on your knees and place your hands on the ground. Extend your arms forward and lower your chest down to the floor. Exhale out and extend your shoulders while you press down on the floor with your arms to produce an arch in your back. Hold the stretch and then relax.

static golf stretches

Quad Stretch

The quad stretch focuses on the middle- and upper-quadriceps muscles. Begin by standing and hold onto an object for support. Grab your left foot with your left hand and pull your heel toward your butt. Hold the stretch and return to your original standing position. Repeat the stretch with your other leg.

static golf stretches

Triceps Stretch

The triceps stretch focuses directly on the triceps. Begin the stretch by standing and place one hand behind your back and the elbow in the air. Place the other hand on the elbow and pull towards your head. Hold the stretch and repeat with the other arm.    

static golf stretches

Butterfly Stretch

The Butterfly stretch targets the inner thighs and groin area. Begin by sitting on the ground in an upright position. While sitting both soles of your shoes should be together.  Spread your knees apart and pull your feet toward your groin so you feel a stretch in the groin and inner thighs. Keep your lower back straight to perform the stretch correctly.   

static golf stretches

Hamstring Stretch

Stretch your hamstring by lying flat on your back with your legs extended out. Raise one leg and place your hands around your thigh. Keep your leg extended out while your other leg still lies flat on the ground. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and then lower your leg. Repeat the stretch with the other leg.

static golf stretches

Cross-over stretch

The cross-over stretch targets the hips and gluteal muscles. Begin by resting your head on a pillow or rolled up towel. Position both of your feet flat against a wall while your hips and knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Cross your left leg over your right thigh. Position your right hand over your left thigh and pull it down to the floor. You should feel a stretch on the outside of your left hip. Repeat the stretch with the other leg.

maar01_fitness_oxygen

Stretching/Warming Up: Breathing Techniques for Golf

Breathing Techniques for Golf

Anxiety can be defined as an adaptive response associated with tension and uncertainty of facing a new situation or unpleasant experience that causes worry and can affect sleep, appetite and ability to concentrate. Furthermore, the fear resulting from anxiety can become extreme, debilitating and totally paralyzing. The ability to stay relaxed is crucial for success in any sport. 

Maybe that’s especially true with golf, for most of us at least. 

breathing techniques for golf

On the golf course, there are countless potential distractions that allow the opportunity to develop anxiety and lose focus. In fact, coupled with unrealistic expectations, many amateur players fall apart during a round of golf. Players can develop the ability to control their emotions before every shot. While many players experience anxiety before the opening drive or a crucial putt down the stretch, the goal is for players to avoid anxiety and cope with relaxation techniques. Staying relaxed will not guarantee success, however, it is a physical and mental state that offers a greater likelihood of success. 

Successful athletes believe they will achieve success. The ability to relax in a stressful situation is a valuable coping skill on and off the golf course. Research suggests relaxation strategies to be effective and necessary for achieving performance excellence.

The following breathing techniques are designed for participants to learn and experience muscle mind relaxation strategies. Experience the different techniques and find the most beneficial technique to reach a state of relaxation in the body and mind.

Sighing with Exhalation

Sighing with exhalation begins with each individual inhaling slowly and then holding their breath for 10 seconds. Allow the tension to build and then exhale through the mouth.  Athletes should feel tension leave the body and learn to relax with this breathing technique.

Rhythmic Breathing

Rhythmic breathing occurs with each individual inhaling for a count of four, holding for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four and then pausing for a count of four before repeating the sequence.

1:2 Ratio

The 1:2 ratio is a variation of rhythmic breathing. Individuals take a deep, full breath and then exhale slowly. Inhale to a count of four and exhale to a count of eight. The next breath should be slightly longer, inhale to a count of five and exhale to a count of 10. Then inhale to a count of six and exhale to a count of 12 and so on. 

5-to-1 Count

A 5-to-1 count is another form of rhythmic breathing. Athletes begin by visualizing the number 5 and take a slow, deep breath with full exhale. Next, visualize the number four, and repeat the breathing cycle. Between each number athletes should focus on becoming more relaxed. Complete the cycle going down to the number one. 

Concentration Breathing

Concentration breathing is the last breathing exercise. Athletes specifically focus on the rhythm of each breath. Each inhale and exhale is specifically designed to think about relaxing and the next inhale or exhale. The idea is to remove any distracting thoughts and only on breathing rhythm.

So, go on and experiment with the different breathing techniques and determine which may be the most beneficial relaxation breathing exercise.

The ability to relax will help reduce anxiety and increase performance.

penha-longa-golf-resort-activities-jogging

Stretching/Warming Up: Is Running Good Golf Training?

Is Running Good Golf Training?

The thought of running to increase golf performance is a controversial topic. While running leads to aches and pains after a run, many feel it potentially leads to significant injuries later in life. Scientific studies are available to support and negate the benefits of running.

running for golf training

Many professional players have utilized running in their training program.  In fact, Justin Leonard trained and finished a marathon in Dallas, Texas. Nick Faldo used jogging to stay in shape, and Tiger Woods routinely starts his day with a 3 -mile speed run or 7-mile endurance run.

The following golf fitness tips show the potential benefits of how running can improve your golf game:

Endurance

The average golf course is approximately 5 miles in length. The majority of recreational players use a cart when they play golf.   Many competitive players are required to walk when they participate in a tournament. A player participating in a 4 day tournament must navigate 20 miles of terrain in addition to any hills and difficult weather conditions. While playing a round of golf does not require the same amount of endurance as a marathon, it golf does require mental and physical endurance to play at a high level. 

Endurance allows you to finish a round mentally sharp while still hitting solid golf shots. A running routine will help you finish mentally and physically stronger. For example, develop a training program where you run 3 miles four times a week. It should only take around 25 minutes and you will be amazed how fresh you feel at the conclusion of your round.

Mental Edge

Bear Bryant, Alabama’s legendary football coach, once said, “I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.”

Every athlete tries to develop a mental edge in an attempt to reach their peak performance. Running, or any other training program, can help a player feel invincible. A difficult training program might help a player build confidence and rely on that experience in a pressure situation. Suddenly a 5-foot putt might not seem so difficult when they pushed past barriers in training. A difficult training program will build mental toughness. 

In addition to the physical benefits, research indicates runner’s euphoria is a psychological benefit created from running. While the time and intensity required to reach a running high varies between individuals, it relieves stress and creates a happier and more relaxed individual.

Physical Fitness

Running is one of the most efficient exercises to lose weight. Combined with a healthy diet, you should definitely notice a leaner appearance and improved feel. Running is one of the best aerobic exercises for your heart and lungs. Research indicates the health benefits of running are tremendous, which include boosting your immune system and decreasing the risk of heart attack. 

Fitness sets the ceiling in golf. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to think a player in better physical condition has more potential for improvement. Better conditioned players are less susceptible to injury and physically able to implement improvements to their golf swing. 

Final Thoughts

The majority of today’s golf professionals believe physical fitness an essential part of their golf preparation. While it is an individual preference whether a player chooses running as a method to improve their game, players should at least utilize some form of training program.

Some individuals may feel there are other golf fitness tips and better strength and flexibility programs for their specific health needs. However, running will help you become a better golfer. How can improving your overall health not be beneficial for your everyday life, let alone your golf game?

 

Golfing …Against the Wind

Approach/2nd Shot: Golfing …Against the Wind

Golfing …Against the Wind

Approach/2nd Shot: Golfing …Against the Wind

Playing in the wind is a skill all golfers need in order to be successful.

This is especially true in the Midwest and Southwest, where the flat terrain makes for many a windswept afternoon on the links. The ability to control your golf ball in all conditions separates the good players from bad, the great players from the merely average.

Rather than letting yourself be frustrated by a day of less than ideal conditions, a player is best served by embracing the challenge the course offers, making the most of the opportunity to improve.

Tiger Woods, in his amateur days, was once found by a reporter standing on an empty driving range, hitting balls in a torrential downpour with howling winds. When asked why he was outside fighting the elements, Woods responded that working when no one else is working was the only way to get better than everyone else. Every round, every shot is an opportunity to learn, work and improve.

However, there are some basics to playing in heavy winds that will make your life a little easier. First and foremost, accept what you can and cannot do. Standing 250 yards away with a 30 mph headwind blasting you in the face? Unless you have the kind of Herculean strength most players can only dream of, you’re probably not reaching that green.

PLAY SMART, MANAGE YOUR GAME, AND ACCEPT THE REALITY OF THE COURSE BEFORE YOU AND LAY UP TO YOUR FAVORITE POSITION.

Along these same lines, it’s important to accept that bad breaks will happen. A gust of wind may kick up just as you tee off that knocks your ball down 20 yards short of the green and into the pond guarding it. Or the wind could power it 30 yards past the green and into the woods. These things will happen, and you cannot control them. All you can control is the way you react to them.

If you can keep your cool while your competitors are losing theirs, and realize that everyone will be subject to the same or similar lousy luck, you have a powerful advantage. That’s because your decision-making will not be influenced by frustration or panic, but by the course management plan established at the start of your day.

This segues nicely into my next point: have a plan.

Especially if you’re playing a course you’re familiar with, think about the general direction the wind is blowing and plot out the path you want to take through the golf course. Decide where you want each shot to end up in an ideal world and, more importantly, the places you can afford to miss and still recover. Rare is the golf hole that requires a player to hit an absolutely perfect shot, but every hole has at least one place your ball cannot go without resulting in a round-destroying number.

Especially in unfavorable conditions, it’s important to help understand your game, where your ball goes when you don’t make a perfect swing and how to make sure that when your shot isn’t perfect all is not lost.

If there is a big pond down the left side of a hole with the wind howling towards it, and you’re battling a snap-hook that seems destined to send your tee shot exploding towards a watery grave, think about how you can be smarter than the elements.

Can you hit an intentional fade to fight the wind’s will?

Do you have more confidence in your 3-wood or a long iron to hit the fairway?

Fight your ego and play to your strengths, and you’ll surprise yourself with how effectively you avoid double bogeys and worse.

Finally, play the ball a bit back in your stance, and swing with better tempo and more control. In part, this will help lower the trajectory of your ball flight, keeping it under the wind and allowing it to fly on a truer path. But more importantly, playing the ball back in your stance and swinging within yourself will result in crisper, more solid contact, which is the biggest thing you can do to play well in difficult conditions.

An off-center hit will halfheartedly drift along your general target line, wobbly and easily influenced by the whims of a buffeting wind. A center-face strike will fly with purpose and intent, much more resistant to elemental charms.

Sounds simple, right? Keep your cool, accept what you can and cannot do, and play within yourself. Master these three rules, and you’ll find success even when the elements are most against you. It’s easier said than done, but certainly not impossible — and something anyone can do with enough focus, mental toughness, calm and practice.

 

Longer golf shots without sacrificing accuracy

Off The Tee: Longer golf shots without sacrificing accuracy

UNITAS Gold

Off The Tee: Longer golf shots without sacrificing accuracy

That’s the Holy Grail.

Everyone wants to hit the ball farther. You do. I do. Arnold Palmer does. Bubba Watson does. I’m not sure if John Daly does, but no one knows what Daly wants. Not Daly. Regardless, distance is the most potent weapon in golf.

The ability to drive the ball long and hit fairways presents such an extreme advantage for those who can do it best that the U.S. Golf Association and R&A have taken steps to limit the ever-increasing lengths players are driving the ball and keep classic courses from becoming irrelevant.

Maximizing your accurate distance improves every other part of your game, allowing for shorter approach shots, more greens hit and more concise putts for birdies and pars. You need to be hitting the ball farther to take your game to the next level.

The problem, of course, is that seeking that power is an almost surefire way to lose the distance you have. In a poetically Buddhist way, the more aggressively one seeks power, the harder it becomes to find. Adding usable distance is a matter of working smarter, not harder.

First and foremost, the easiest way to add effective, useful distance to your swing has nothing to do with your swing itself. Optimizing your equipment for your unique game and investing in the latest technology and customization allows you to maximize the potential you’ve already realized. There are very real correlations between dollars spent on equipment and the distance your golf ball goes.

Obviously, there are diminishing returns the higher up the technology ladder you climb. But the simple reality is that ensuring your equipment is specifically tailored to your game is the easiest, fastest and most surefire way to add distance to your game.

Arguably just as important as technology to lengthening your drives? Stop worrying about lengthening your drives.

Most people try to add yards by swinging harder. That effort results in tension, often in your hands and arms, that spreads throughout your whole body and saps your swing of clubhead speed. Not only that, it makes your swing less repeatable and makes you less likely to hit the ball flush, further diminishing your power and sending the ball careening towards the sticks.

The key is to relax, holding the club with less grip pressure and letting your hands release freely. Let the fast-twitch muscles in your hands and wrists react reflexively and without effort, and you’ll hit the ball solidly and with more clubhead speed, driving the ball farther.

Finally, if you’re determined to make some sort of swing change in search of longer drives, work on making a fuller, more efficient turn. The key is to improve your turn while maintaining a compact, efficient arm swing, keeping your body quiet and minimizing moving parts and wasted motion throughout your swing. Your backswing should be like a coiled up spring, waiting to explode all of its potential energy through the ball.

Again, this is a difficult thing to implement on your own. The best thing to do is find a PGA teaching professional you work well with, and work hard to make your game more fundamentally sound.

There are ultimately no real shortcuts to lower scores; work hard and intelligently, with guidance from a professional, and you will see the results trickle down to every aspect of your game.

Golf Psychology 101

Stretching/Warming Up: Golf Psychology 101

Golf Psychology 101

Stretching/Warming Up: Golf Psychology 101

Eliminating Scorecard Fear; Plus the 2013 U.S. Open, Justin Rose and Yoda

One of our golf pro writers gives us a pep talk — an a healthy dose of sports psychoanalysis.

So how does fear relate to golf?  What is it about golf that makes us so scared? 

Most of us don’t even know that we are scared of something in golf. But we are. It’s happened to me. I’ve seen it in thousands of my students. We have what I call “Scorecard Fear.”

Scorecard Fear is when the fear of taking too many shots on a hole or ending up with a large overall score drives you to feel nervous, anxious, angry and frustrated.

You think too far in advance of your score. You play scared golf. You try to guide your ball instead of focusing on the target. 

In high school, I took golf a little too seriously and got mad when I didn’t do well. In college, I realized that I didn’t do well at times because I was scared. I was scared of how I played, what other people would see in me, and I didn’t want to be embarrassed. I had Scorecard Fear. 

I let a dumb number on a piece of paper control how I played. I was too concerned with the outcome. 

You can’t control outcomes, only probabilities. 

What does that mean? It means that you don’t know how things will end up.  So, no need to focus on a perfect outcome.

Instead, do something to help the outcome. Give yourself a chance. 

The reason we have scorecard fear isn’t that we are embarrassed about a high number. It goes deeper. We believe that somehow the high number is a reflection on our character.  That we are not good enough. 

You can watch the Golf Channel, read Golf Digest and take lessons that focus strictly on lowering your score. But someday that learned skill may deteriorate. Eventually, you’re just not as good as you used to be. 

But you still have character. You still have your values. 

It doesn’t matter if you win any golf tournaments. It doesn’t matter if your score goes down. It doesn’t matter if you beat everyone in your group. It doesn’t matter if you have a bunch of trophies. It doesn’t matter if your swing is flawless. 

What matters is that you really enjoy doing something. What matters is who you are. What matters is your character. 

“As he prepared last week at Lake Nona for the 113th U.S. Open, Justin Rose did more than beat balls, work out and review his game plan for Merion. He watched a YouTube download of “The Empire Strikes Back.” The scene that sport psychologist Gio Valiante wanted Rose to absorb was Yoda’s famous discussion with Luke Skywalker. “I wanted him to know he was ready,” Valiante said Sunday from his home in Orlando. “That he was finally mature enough to come into his own.” — Golf Digest, June 2013

 

Golf Swing Impact Practice

Stretching/Warming Up: Golf Swing Impact Practice

Golf Swing Impact Practice

Stretching/Warming Up: Golf Swing Impact Practice

Using the SKLZ Smash Bag

A golf pro uses a “Magic Black Bag” to teach proper impact position at the bottom of the swing.
We used this bag for about 10 swings. Then we switched back to a swing without the bag. Within a couple swings, she felt what it was like to have her hands in front — and make solid contact.

One of 2nd Swing’s golf pro swears by swing practice by whacking with what he calls “The Magic Black Bag.”

A few years ago, I had a lesson with a woman who was having trouble making proper contact with the ball. She’d hit behind it, she’d top it, but rarely did she make a good solid strike. So, I broke out my magic trick bag.

Actually, I broke out an impact bag. An impact bag is a footstool-size bag that can be filled with any soft object (a soft object that can take a wallop because you are going to swing a golf club at it).

Since I teach adjacent to a jail, I naturally use inmate raincoats to fill my impact bag, which is a SKLZ Smash Bag. The premise behind this teaching aid is to show my students the proper impact position at the bottom of the swing. For example, when using irons, I want to make sure that my students’ hands are in front of the club head when they make contact.

By making a normal swing into the impact bag, your swing automatically stops at the bottom when you hit the bag. From this position, we can look where your hands are in relation to the clubhead.

Let’s put in simpler terms:  You swing and the bag stops you. Then, you check out where you’re at.

Or better yet, get a teacher who knows what they’re doing to help you out. Back to the woman with the not-so-good contact. We used this bag for about 10 swings. Then we switched back to a swing without the bag. Within a couple swings, she felt what it was like to have her hands in front — and make solid contact.

Within one lesson, she realized her potential because of this “Magic Black Bag.” Now, I’m not saying that this will work magic for everyone. But, it would be worth a try if you have trouble making solid contact.

 

List Yer Golf Problems; Fix ‘Em And Check ‘Em Off

Off The Tee: List Your Golf Problems; Fix Them And Check ‘Em Off That List

List Yer Golf Problems; Fix ‘Em And Check ‘Em Off

Off The Tee: List Your Golf Problems; Fix Them And Check ‘Em Off That List

IT’S OK TO PLAY THE “BLAME GAME”

One way of thinking about your golf progress is to consider a “blame list.” During a series of practice sessions, the goal should NEVER be to “hit the ball better,” but instead to whittle down the list of things you can blame for your poor shots.

If you don’t know what to blame, you can’t know what to focus on. And you can’t know what to blame until you’ve made the list. Then, cross things off this list.

The set-up is 100 percent controllable since there is no motion yet. First consider the set-up factors of grip, stance, posture, clubface aim, alignment and ball position. Those could (in theory) come off your blame list naturally or perhaps with minimal work.

Nothing in golf is ever going to be perfect, so we have to accept that and know we can get closer to personal perfection by someday crossing all these common set-up factors off the list. In other words, once you have crossed the standard golf set-up off the blame list following a poor shot, you can say to yourself with confidence: “At least it’s not that.”

Then move on to what’s next.

The backswing begins the motion, and therefore, is less controllable, but still more manageable than the downswing. You and your PGA professional instructor should get together and create the backswing checklist and select what is already in good shape. Then work to isolate those that need greater attention (still on the list).

Ask yourself if you could you envision the day when you no longer get to blame any poor ball flight on the set-up or the backswing?

Downswing/impact/finish happens the fastest and therefore has the least amount of control. So, I think we’d like to get to the point of having the downswing as the last  thing on the list.

Sure, even though the downswing is least controllable, it doesn’t mean you can’t grow to understand more about this important area of the swing from your PGA Professional.

The more things you check off the list, the “mystery” of why the ball did what it did becomes clearer. Practice sessions should be based on this goal of clarity.

With clarity, the mind can give the body more defined images and a more consistent swing.