WE’RE BACK…AND BETTER THAN EVER!

Since last October I’ve been out-of-pocket and not updating this site. Part of the reason for inactivity was the completion of my most recent book, DON’T PLAY GOLF LIKE TIGER WOODS, which is now available on Amazon. Please do NOT mis-interpret the title! Starting with the first sentence and all through the book, I endorse Tiger as the best golfer ever. What the book title means is that, if you can’t hit the ball as Tiger Woods does, and few can, even including the PGA touring pros, you’d be wiser to adopt a strategy more compatible with your ability on the golf course.

Almost every golfer I’ve ever met, thinks that the basic strategy on the golf course is “go for the pin”. That is wrong. Golf is a thinking man’s game, ask any all-time great golfer. Here are a few quotes:

Ben Hogan: “Golf is 20% talent and 80% management”

Bobby Jones: “Tournament golf is played on a 6 inch course, the space between the golfer’s ears.”

Billy Casper, winner of 51 PGA tournaments, when asked how he won so many: “I knew the strategy for winning.”

Ben Hogan, discussing amateur Jack Nicklaus after playing a round with him in the 1960 US Open: “He plays a game with which I am unfamiliar, and when he learns how to play US Opens, he’s going to win several.”

Jack Nicklaus: “Everyone can hit a ball. The secret is knowing how to win. I won as many tournaments hitting the ball badly as I did hitting it well.”

These are among the greatest golfers of all time. For us weekend golfers, we must realize that there are two routes to improving our scores…the most obvious is to learn to hit the ball better. But secondly, even if you can’t improve your swing, you can cut 20 strokes off your scores by learning smart golf strategy.

Watching how the pros play on TV is not going to improve your game unless you understand that they are hitting the ball great, and their strategy is for great ball strikers. If you are not a great ball striker, you need a different strategy. With their ability, they can attack the golf course on every shot with an offensive strategy. But an offensive strategy will hurt your score if you can’t hit the ball long and straight at will, as they do. We of lesser ability should use a defensive strategy, one that will keep us from adding unnecessary strokes to our scores. They play for birdies and eagles. Par, for them, is a marginally acceptable score. We are trying to break 100 or 90, or 80, depending on our ability. There is a big difference between playing to score in the 60s and playing to break 90. Recognize that difference, and use that knowledge to reduce your scores.

REMEMBER YOUR CLUB FACE

If you were playing tennis, and you wanted your hit to go left, you’d aim your racket face to the left. Same to the right. The same laws of physics apply to your golf ball. Where your club face is aimed will influence the direction your ball flys.

When your pro taught you to grip the club, he talked about aiming “Vs” or counting knuckles, but probably nothing about the relationship between your grip and the club face. That relationship is very important.

I suggest that the proper grip has the palms of your hands on the same plane, so that they can work together automatically. And that the plane be the same plane as your club face, so that whichever way your palms are facing, that’s the way your club is facing. So if your hands are square at impact, the club face is also square.

Perfect timing has your clubface square at impact, and you can assure that with a square grip.

Too many golfers, trying to power their golf swing, try the delayed hand action just prior to hitting the ball that many magazine articles suggest. Most golfers fail to get good shots using this method. The delay causes the club face to be out of square, and to influence your hit to start right of your target line, and slice from there. Squaring up your club face can go a long way toward solving that problem.

An important aspect of your practice swing should impart the proper timing into your wrists and hands to square up your club face. If you have to slow down your swing to achieve better timing, I’d recommend it. You won’t lose a lot of distance, and you’ll be more likely to hit the fairway.

For more good ideas to improve your golf game, read HOW SHORT HITTING, BAD GOLFERS BREAK 90 ALL THE TIME. Available on Amazon, book or ebook, or even a free loan from the Amazon library if you’re a member.

 

 

QUICK FIXES FOR GOLFERS

If you need help hitting the ball—

  • Slow your backswing and keep your head in the same place.
  • Shorten your backswing.
  • Smooth your transition to downswing and accelerate into the ball. Don’t move your head ESPECIALLY NOT FORWARD!
  • Turn, don’t sway.
  • Hit down onto the ball and hit the ground after hitting the ball.
  • To cure a slice, hit inside-out. To make this easier, when you address the ball, align your shoulders on an inside-out plane. (Sample your address, and check the line of your shoulders. If you slice, your shoulders probably aim left of your target…outside-in.)
  • Be conscious of your club face and time it to be facing your target at the moment of impact

If you need help lowering your scores—

  • See above list for ball striking help
  • Practice chipping and pitching the ball. This will help with your ball striking, and reduce your scores by putting you closer to the hole on short shots
  • Practice putting. “Drive for show and putt for dough” is more than a slogan…it’s the truth.
  • Before addressing the ball, stand behind it and choose the line you want to hit it. Then, as you address it, look, and confirm that you are actually aimed at your target.
  • Power golf is overrated. Leave your ego in your locker. Only hit easy shots that you KNOW you can succeed with. Forget Tiger Woods…he can hit any shot he wants. If you can too, join the PGA Tour.
  • 18 bogies score 90. Replace 9 bogies with double bogies and you still break 100. Forget birdies. Accept lucky pars. Play for bogey. It makes the game a lot easier.
  • Play within yourself. short straight ball striking no longer than 150 yard shots can score in the mid-80s

Read HOW SHORT HITTING BAD GOLFERS BREAK 90 ALL THE TIME. Available on Amazon.

YOUTUBE HELPS

One of my favorite websites is Youtube. I can listen to music, watch someone show me how to repair a broken something, or learn more about golf swings.

I grew up in the 1950s. In those days, just about the greatest golfers who ever lived were Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. Many people said they were #1 and #2 all-time, take your pick, either way. Snead was supposed to have the most perfect swing of all time, and Hogan was supposed to be the best ball striker and student of the game.

They’re right up there with Nicklaus and Tiger in PGA wins. And in those days, the “Majors” were not “Majors”. That came later, with Jack Nicklaus. Although, a win of the US Open or PGA gave the winner a lifetime exemption to any PGA-sanctioned tournament. Both had multiple lifetime exemptions, and Snead used his into his 70s, and I believe he is still the oldest golfer to win a PGA tournament on the regular tour.

Why do I mention Hogan and Snead and Youtube? I recently looked at these two Hall of Fame golfers’ swings on Youtube, and was interested to find that both agreed with me about one controversial item in my “Natural Swing,” If you’ve read either of my books, you know about my easy natural swing, as opposed to the complicated difficult swing most pros teach.

I refer to the back upper arm (right arm for right handers). In my natural swing, I recommend keeping it attached to the upper body from address until impact with the ball. My reason is that this keeps your body and arms coordinated throughout the swing. It also encourages a swing where your body turns, instead of swaying, which is important.

On Youtube, you can watch slow motion swings by both of these greats, and I encourage you to do this. You’ll see that both of them keep their back upper arm close to if not attached to their body all the way back and through the swing until impact.

And by the way, this move does not reduce your distance. Snead was called “Slammin’ Sammy” because he was just about the longest hitter on the tour. And nobody cared about Hogan’s distance. His ball striking was so precise that he was rumored to land his drives on Tournament Days 2,3, & 4 in his divots from Day 1.

THE SECRET TO LOWER SCORES

I played yesterday with a stranger who shot about 90. He plays well enough to be scoring in the 70s. He hits the ball a long way, and mostly in the fairway. He needs a little practice on his approaches to the green, because he has difficulty judging distance. He’s either short or over the green. But even with this problem, he could still be scoring in the 70s and low 80s if he’d learn to pitch, chip, and putt.

I’ll never stop repeating…the shots that save strokes are pitches, chips, and putts.

The three rules for lowering your scores: (1) Keep the ball in play, and (2) & (3) Chip and Putt like a genius.

Watch the pros on TV. notice how many times they miss the green in regulation. Then notice how they save pars and even get birdies with superb chipping and putting.

Hitting the ball is important. Avoiding penalty strokes…out of bounds, in the woods or water, etc., is important. Distance, if you can get it is icing on the cake, not nearly so important. Short hitters who keep the ball in play beat “long and in the pond” all day. Just keep the ball in the fairway, even if only 150 yards off the tee. But practice pitching, chipping, and putting at home in the back yard and in your living room on a cut pile rug or carpet while you watch TV. These are the strokes that lower your score.

When you get to the course, practice those strokes at the putting green or in the areas set aside for that kind of practice. There is a reason why the best golfers in the club are on the practice tee before teeing off. Learn from them.

Get my book, HOW SHORT HITTING, BAD GOLFERS BREAK 90 ALL THE TIME. It will give you more sound suggestions for lowering your scores, and tips on how to practice effectively. and other tips that will help you stay between the trees. Available on Amazon.com in book or Kindle form.

 

FURYK SCORES 58 FOR NEW RECORD

Jim Furyk, the most famous short hitter on the current PGA Tour gives me another opportunity to point out that distance is not as important as control and intelligent strategy on the golf course…AGAIN!

If you read my blogs of the past few weeks, you’ll remember that I’m trying to get away from pointing out the fallacy of Power Golf. Long drives are nice. But short hitters can be winners, too, and who better to prove my point than “Mr. 58″, Jim Furyk?

Winner of 17 PGA tournaments, including the US Open and the FedEx Cup, Furyk’s distance off the tee is about 275-279 yards. Granted, that isn’t short (like my measly 225) but it’s short for The Tour, where many average over 300 yards. For example, Furyk gives up 35 yards or more off the tee, on average, when playing against Dustin Johnson, whose drives average about 314-315 yards.

But, as I advocate, he learned to play HIS game, use HIS strategy, take advantage of HIS strengths, and develop HIS assets, so that he can compete with and even beat the big bombers among the best golfers in the world.

I usually autograph my books with a bit of wisdom included. One of my favorite bits of wisdom is, “Take your brain to the golf course. Don’t leave it in the trunk of your car with your street shoes.”

I was a moderately talented athlete, especially moderate when it came to golf. But over the years, I dropped my scores from the 120s to the 70s by learning to think on the golf course, and avoiding the “go for the pin” philosophy that gets so many unthinking golfers into trouble and raises their scores.

If you want learn an inexpensive way to improve your scores, spend $3.00 and buy my book, HOW SHORT HITTING, BAD GOLFERS BREAK 90 ALL THE TIME. That’s the price for the Kindle on Amazon.

HOW TO MAKE GOLF EASY

For most players, golf is a tough game. I’ve said it before, most golfers have no idea of proper golf strategy, which will make the game easier.

Bobby Jones said, “Golf is played on a 5 1/2 inch course, the space between your ears.

Ben Hogan said, “Golf is 20% physical and 80% mental”.

Billy Casper said, “Every player on the PGA Tour hits the ball well enough to win tournaments. I won more than almost anyone because I knew how to win tournaments, not just how to hit the ball.”

These three great golfers agree with me. I was a short-hitting, low-ball-hitting duffer who carried a 6 handicap. My drives went about 225 yards. My scores, on a 7200 yard golf course were usually between 78 and 82. Do you know why? Because I thought my way around the golf course.

Every shot was hit for a reason, and you can bet that very few had “go for the pin” as the reason. When I was playing 440 yard par 4s, and my longest shot was a teed up 225 yard drive, I had to figure how to get that par 4 some way other than on in two and two putts.

If you are not scoring in the low 80s, here is your first step to simplifying your game. Play for bogey. Make 90 your par instead of 72. Learn to score 5 on the par 4 holes, and 6 on the par 5s and 4 on the par 3s. 72 plus 18 is 90 strokes, and that should be your par. You’ll find that this new par system will make the game easier, and you’ll score better. And an occasional real par will take care of your occasional double bogey. Pretty soon, your scores will drop from the 100s to the 90s to the low 90s to a now-and-then 80-something.

And you’ll start learning how to use your brain on the golf course. You’ll see where you’re losing strokes and what you should be improving.

For more good advice, read HOW SHORT HITTING, BAD GOLFERS BREAK 90 ALL THE TIME. Available on Amazon for as little as $2.99…or FREE  for Amazon members to borrow.

PLAY YOUR GOLF YOUR WAY

Upon rereading last week’s post, I seem to be advocating short hitting. I’m not. Please believe me, I’d love to have been a big boomer. But my natural body rhythm and my musculature denied me the chance. My saving grace was that I learned that there’s more than one way to play golf, and I adapted my game to my abilities and my skills, and I advise you to do the same.

Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus hit their drives and other shots about as far as the strongest of their contemporaries, and that was good for them. On the other hand, not everyone had Tiger’s and Jack’s abilities. Tiger and Jack won a lot of tournaments. But they didn’t win every one they entered. Every now and then, Short hitters like Lee Trevino or Jim Furyk snuck in there with a lower score.

What I’m saying is that, whatever your goals in golf, you can meet them by playing your game to your abilities, regardless of all the Golf Digest cover stories trying to influence you to be a blaster. You’ll be happier with your results if you learn to improve your scores by doing it your way. This week I have two top pros whose stories advocate this thought.

Story #1…I read that last week, Henrik Stensen, winner of The Open Championship used his 3 wood off the tee more than his driver. He gave up distance purposely, in order to gain control. And look at the results!

Story #2…This week, Tiger Woods announced that he could not play in any PGA tournaments for the whole year. His bad back was in no shape to play. This at 38 years of age, while smooth swinging Sam Snead played tour events into his 70s and fun golf into his 90s. Snead was called Slammin’ Sammy, and was known for his long hitting. But his body rhythms and musculature allowed him to hit the ball hard and far gracefully. Tiger, on the other hand, for some reason had to hit the ball viciously  to achieve his results. Go to Youtube and look at how hard he swung at the ball. His swing finally wore his body out. His chose to overcome his natural rhythms so that he could get his long hitting results. Imagine his pain. Is golf so important to you (as it was to Tiger) that you give up everything else for it? For a weekend golfer, 225 to 240 yard drives can achieve a low handicap, and you can learn to do it easily.

Compare. Would you like to be able to play golf into your 90s, or are you willing to give it up in your 30s? Read my book, HOW SHORT HITTING, BAD GOLFERS BREAK 90 ALL THE TIME. Available on Amazon.

HITTING WITH POWER

Hitting with power is the least important part of the game of golf. Yet almost every cover of every golf magazine features power golf and long drives.

Depending on how good you want to get, needed power is relative. If you want to break 100, 150 yard drives are all you need. If you want to be a winner on the PGA Tour, you’ll need a bit more power, say 250 to 260 yard drives.

This week, the Open Championship (formerly know as The British Open) will be defended by Zach Johnson, one of the shortest hitters on the Tour, and by the way, he’s a former Masters champion, too.

Other short hitters you may know…Jim Furyk, Lee Trevino, Gary Player. My favorite short hitter was Calvin Peete, just about the shortest hitter on the Tour…about 245 yards off the tee… but perennially among the top money winners.

Billy Casper was known for his putting, not his long drives. Billy Casper won 51 PGA Tournaments, 7th on the all-time list. When David Feherty asked him how he was able to win so many, his answer was, “Because I knew how to win tournaments”.

Ben Hogan said, “Golf is 20% physical and 80% mental”. Do you know what he meant? He meant that every PGA Tour player can hit the ball well enough to win tournaments. The reason some win 2 or 3 in their career and some win 2 or 3 a year is because they know how.

The winners win because they use strategy needed to win. If you want to score better, you can very easily, by using intelligent strategy…even if you can’t hit the ball any better than you do now.

If you want to learn how, read my book, HOW SHORT HITTING, BAD GOLFERS BREAK 90 ALL THE TIME. Only $9.99 on Amazon, and $2.99 on Kindle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF

If you’ve read either of my books, you know I’m a child of the 50s. In fact, I’m now 79 years old, and having a lot of the same medical problems as others of my advanced age. My drives now, when I hit them, go about 160 yards.

I haven’t played much golf over the past two to three years because of health problems, and my game has deteriorated terribly. In fact, I’ve been having trouble making solid contact with the ball.

Last week, I wrote a blog about practicing hitting pitch shots to improve your ball striking. Taking my own advice, I went out to my back yard and hit a couple of dozen pitches back and forth at a towel I took out to use as a target.

Then I went to the Club, and pitched a bucket of balls, using my 9, 7, and 4 irons. The result…on the course, I hit the ball better with all my clubs than I have since I started playing again after my recent surgery. As a bonus, my pitches were all solid, and landed closer to the hole than I had been hitting them recently, resulting in shorter putts.

Pretty good return on a very minor investment.

If you’re having problems scoring. Can’t break 90. Why not spend three bucks and order my book from Amazon? It’s called HOW SHORT HITTING, BAD GOLFERS BREAK 90 ALL THE TIME. The idea of the book is that most golfers have no idea how to improve their scores without having a swing like Tiger Woods. You have to learn how to score well, even more than learning how to hit the ball. Ben Hogan said, “Golf is 20% physical and 80% mental”. Few golfers even know what that means!

The fact is, that golf is more a game of strategy than of hitting the ball. You need proof? I have always been a terrible ball striker. Drives went about 225. But I carried a 6 handicap and almost always scored between 78 and 82 playing on a 7200 yard course. If you can hit the ball every time you swing at it, regardless of your current scores, my book will teach you how to think your scores down to the 80s. For $2.99 what have you got to lose?