3 stroke-saving tips we learned on Day 1 of GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers Summit (that all golfers should know)

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Some of the very best golf teachers on the planet are at Pinehurst Resort this week for GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers Summit. You can access all of their insight by signing up for the livestream. But lucky you, we’ll also break down some of what you missed right here. (For more on the Top 100 Teachers Summit, click here.)

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Day 1 of GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers Summit consisted of eight speaking sessions from a dozen of the game’s sharpest minds, not to mention the unlocking of countless tips unveiled on the driving range. Three of our staffers sat in on presentations and roamed the range looking for the best tidbits to help golfers. Here are their Day 1 takeaways.

Josh Berhow, managing editor: Todd Sones, a longtime GOLF Top 100 Teacher, didn’t even hesitate when asked if there’s a club amateurs shouldn’t be carrying: 3-wood.

“By far,” he said. “I you take a TrackMan out and actually test people with a 3-wood and a 5-wood, they hit their 5-wood farther because they aren’t hitting with enough speed to hit their 3-wood in the air long enough to carry it. Unless the ground is really hard, it’s not going to race far enough to carry the 5-wood.”

a golfers hits a ball on the driving range
One ‘disturbing’ habit holding back amateur golfers from getting better, according to a top teacher
By: Josh Berhow

That was interesting to me, someone who hits their 3-wood pretty well but doesn’t carry a 5-wood. Now I need to look into that.

One other big takeaway: the importance of practicing with a purpose. Nearly everyone talked about it, yet it’s still a major lapse most amateurs — sometimes myself included — make on driving ranges. Banging balls with no plan isn’t the answer.

Jessica Marksbury, multimedia editor: Two nuggets really stuck with me today. The first was from Top 100 Teacher Kellie Stenzel, who I was lucky enough to play a round with on Pinehurst No. 2.

I was struggling from the deep green-side bunkers — a common theme for me! — and Kellie stepped in with an excellent tip: put the ball in the front of my stance, take a full, normal swing and really focus on pivoting around my trail leg, taking lots of sand. It worked like a charm! I was so thrilled to watch the ball soar over the lip and onto the green. Thank you, Kellie!

Secondly, I was inspired by Scott Fawcett’s presentation today, where he talked about the various things golfers should be focusing on, some of which might be contrary to what we might have long believed, like clubbing down to improve accuracy off the tee. (Hint — don’t do it! Send it with the driver instead!)

Also, Scott said that when we’re working on putting, it should be all about speed and less about break. That makes so much sense and I’m looking forward to putting that idea into practice in my future rounds.

Zephyr Melton, assistant editor: During my chat with Top 100 Teacher Jonathan Yarwood, he told me the biggest mistake amateurs make is not shallowing the club enough. However, keeping your swing from getting too steep is easier said than done. That’s when he shared a simple drill with me to fix the flaw.

To avoid collapsing your trail knee too quickly in the downswing, make some swings with your toe on the trail heel up. This will force you to properly “bump” your hips forward — as opposed to just turning — and change your path to come more from the inside.

As someone who has long struggled with a steep swing, that’s a drill I’ll be taking home.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf.

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