Now that golf is back in full swing, you should have most of the general rust from the layoff gone from your game. But just because the rust is gone, that doesn’t mean your game is in mid-season form, either. Luckily, that’s what our Home Practice series is here for.
This week, GOLF Top 100 Teacher Lou Guzzi has six drills that will get your game sharp from tee to green. Check them out below.
One of the most important aspects of putting is your feel. If you can dial your speed in, you’ll effectively make the cup bigger and give your ball a better chance of going in the hole. A good drill for this is to drop five balls 15 feet from the hole and then hit the first putt as you would normally, looking up as the ball rolls toward the cup. On the next four putts, never look up toward the cup. Simply hit the putt and then continue looking down and hit the next one. This will force you to get in tune with your stroke and control your distance, only through feel and not by sight.
Distance control is an important element of golf, especially so the closer you get to the target. On short chips, it’s important to have a go-to shot in the bag to rely on even when the pressure is on. Take out a lofted wedge, open the face and play the ball a little forward of center in your stance. Stand a bit closer to the ball than normal and make sure you get a nice turn through when you come into the ball. The ball should come out nice and soft as it heads toward the target. Take three hoola hoops (or any targets) and place them at five, 10 and 15 yards away. Try to land the balls in these targets so you get a good feel for how much of a turn you need for these three distances.
Most golfers are familiar with the proper technique out of the sand, but if you aren’t here’s a refresher. Open the clubface at address and also open your stance drastically. Play the ball a touch forward in the stance and make a nice big, hinging backswing and then accelerate through the downswing, hitting a few inches behind the ball to blast it out. To work on hitting the sand before the ball, draw a line in the sand a few inches behind the ball and work on repeatedly hitting that line as you practice your bunker shots.
If you’re facing a delicate 50-yard pitch shot, fear not. For this shot, take out your highest lofted club and open the face a touch. Play the ball a bit forward in your stance and then focus on making a nice, L-shaped hinge on your backswing. Accelerate through the ball and feel a nice release into another L-shaped hinge on the follow through. The swing should feel nice and compact. To practice this, try making this same swing on the range with a towel tucked under your arms. This will force you to stay compact and connected through the shot.
As you try to get your iron game up to snuff, start by hitting a series of knockdown shots. Play the ball a few inches inside your back heel and focus on making a short, controlled swing. When making these smaller swings, you’ll be forced to stay down on the ball and promote ball-first contact. Go through your bag and focus on solid contact on knockdowns to get your ball striking back into shape.
One of the keys to hitting solid drives is tempo. To promote good tempo with the driver, try this two-pump drill. Set up for a driver and then make a swing as if you are going to hit the ball. Stop just before impact and then rehearse the swing again. On the third try, hit the ball. This will allow you to trace the proper club path, feel the proper positions of the clubhead and promote solid tempo.