How to hit the deceptive ‘fluffy’ lie chip shot, according to a three-time PGA Tour winner

PGA Tour player Russell Henley explains how to hit the tricky, fluffy chip shot…

You missed the green, but hey, the ball’s sitting up in the rough. Good, right? Maybe. In this situation, it’s not always certain how the ball will come out. As with all short-game shots, crisp contact is the key.

Step 1: Even if you’re short-sided, refrain from opening the face too much. With the ball up, you risk sliding the club right underneath it if you add extra loft. The ball won’t go anywhere. I keep the face square in this situation, or barely opened if I really need more loft to stop it close.

Russell Henley Awkward wedge tip Titleist photo shoot day 1 Montclair Golf Club, Montclair, New Jersey, USA 8/20/18 GF-144 TK1 Credit: Patrick James Miller

Step 2: I swing as if I’m hitting a little draw, with the club moving in-to-out and my hands rolling over slightly through impact. This helps the club remain shallow, which usually results in cleaner contact. My main thought is to get as many grooves on the ball as possible. Think “glide,” not “chop.”

SOURCE:  Golf.com

Masters 2019: Patrick Reed recalls nerves, lessons learned from Augusta victory last year

But Reed said this week that he did not step on the first tee feeling too confident about how that fateful Sunday (because they’re all fateful Sundays at Augusta) was going to go. He was paired with Rory McIlroy — whom he would go on to crush — but all he was doing early was trying to get off the first tee box.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous,” Reed said on Monday. “… I slept great Saturday night, woke up Sunday and just kind of had this, just, calmness about myself and about the day.  … I felt like I was hitting the ball well. I felt like I was putting well, felt like I was chipping well. Just kind of felt like another day at the golf course.”

Then it flipped on him.

“Then all of a sudden, once I left the putting green by the first tee and I walked to the first tee, when I stepped foot on that first tee, I was like, ‘Oh, man,'” added Reed. “Butterflies were going, I looked at [caddie] Kessler, Kessler looked at me, and Kess goes, ‘Don’t worry, I feel it, too.’ He’s like, ‘Let’s just get off this first tee.’ And when I stood up there, he goes, ‘All right, here’s a 3-wood,’ and I looked at him, I go, ‘We just can’t go right.’ He goes, ‘That’s fine, then hit it left and let’s go.’ I hooked the tee shot a little left, and once I got up to that iron shot, the nerves went away.

“I expected the nerves. I expected the nerves to be there a little longer than what I expected, but I was able to get myself in the right mind frame and the mindset going in that the nerves left me after I got done with the first tee shot, and then it was just go out and play golf and get back to what I was doing earlier in that week.”

It was fascinating to hear such an accomplished player talking about feeling the weight of that moment, the biggest moment of his career. And Reed actually bogeyed the first while McIlroy birdied the second to draw within one at the time. But Reed blitzed him and played the rest of the day in 2 under while McIlroy played the rest of his round in 3 over.

Reed also talked about what he would tell his former non-green jacket-wearing self if he could go back in time about how to play the course and what to do and what not to do.

“I’d start off by telling myself to hit more fairways and to leave the ball below the hole,” said Reed. “You know, it’s one of those places that every time you seem to go there, whether it was the first tee all the way even through last year, you just learn new things about the golf course year in and year out. It’s one of those places that even if you have the perfect game plan, you have to execute your golf shots.

“It’s almost like every tournament you play, but … more penalizing times a hundred. You can get away with missing golf shots at other events, but when you go to Augusta, any little weakness in your game or any missed golf shot you’re going to get penalized for it. I mean, one thing I’d tell myself is you just have to make sure you’re really sharp on every aspect of your game.”

It was a plan that worked in 2018. If it works again, Reed would become the first back-to-back champ since 2001-02 when Tiger Woods did it. If it doesn’t, he’ll be doing the thing he dreads the most.

“My least favorite moment is going to be when I have to return the jacket and I’m not allowed to have it in my closet and wear it around the house and out at places,” said Reed. “It’s definitely going to give me motivation to go out and try to repeat as well as try to win multiple.

“Even the times I’m not actually wearing the green jacket, to be able to see the green jacket sitting in your closet or sitting in an area where you’re always kind of walking by and you’ll see it, it just gives you motivation and kind of picks me up and tells me that you want to keep it around. You want to keep it around as long as you can. The only way you’re going to do that is continue winning at Augusta and continue winning the event so you can have it year in and year out.”

SOURCE:   CBSSports

Finish Your Swing Left of the Target

Proper Set-Up And Alignment Leads To ‘Full Circle’ Swing

We have all heard it. When getting information about aim and alignment, we often hear to “finish your swing facing your target.” Don’t do it — you will likely hit a shot that will not end up on line. You need to finish your swing facing LEFT of the target.

Look at all the Tour pros out there, they are clearly facing well left of their target at the finish, and that goes all the way back to proper set-up and address. Here’s how to put it all together:

AIM AND ALIGNMENT

First, place your hands on the grip, keeping the clubface square.

Then, aim the square clubface to the target on the line you established from behind the ball. The leading edge of your golf club will be at a right angle to the target line.

Next, align your body (checking feet, thighs, hips, and shoulders) parallel and left of the target line, addressing the golf ball.

If you feel as if you are really left of your target, you will be aligned correctly. Do not align your body to the target…aim your club at the target and align your body left of the target! (For left-handers — right of the target)

Last, with confidence, trust your aim and alignment and make your best effort to create the shot. Even if you do not hit it perfectly, it will likely be on line, heading towards the intended target—a great miss!

COMPLETE YOUR SWING

This is accurate information: Left is “Right” (correct) at address. However, finishing with your belt buckle facing the target line is stopping short of the full completion of the swing circle.

When you finish a good golf swing, your belt buckle will actually be facing LEFT of your target if you have completed the swing circle. The ball will track towards the target on the line you established in your pre-shot routine, but your body will not finish facing the target. If it does, it could result in a shot that leaks to the right of the intended target.

Think in terms of the two lines at address that might help you understand this critical piece of information relating to the completion of your golf swing motion.

Imagine that the target line is the “ball target” and the parallel line you have lined up your body on is the “body target.” The two lines are parallel at address and remain so during the swing motion, but it is just the golf ball that (hopefully) ends up on the “ball target” line you established.

Ideally, you will end up in a balanced finish position, facing the “body target” line you set at address, clearly left of the ball target line. The swing circle motion has been completed, allowing both the operator and the equipment to hit a shot “on line” to the target!

Understanding this very thing has been instrumental for improved aim, alignment, and result with my students. See if this perception change alters the directional reality of your golf shots.

As my students and I often say about these actions that improve your motion and game, “If you can, you MUST!”

LPGA Master Professional/PGA Honorary Director Deb Vangellow 

SOURCE:  Golftipsmag

Golf: PGA Tour drives idea of setting its own rules into rough

(Reuters) – PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan ruled out his organization creating its own rules on Wednesday, saying he is happy to leave that task to golf’s two global governing bodies.

The rules of golf have been in the spotlight after new ones were introduced for 2019, with the biggest update in 50 years leading some players to being openly critical of and in some cases hostile towards certain tournament rulings.

World number four Justin Thomas described the new rules as “terrible”, while journeyman Andrew Landry called them “garbage” and called for the PGA Tour to create its own.

Monahan, who recently reminded players that the tour had been heavily involved in the rewriting of the rules, on Wednesday strongly defended the “fantastic” U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient governing bodies.

“We have always played by their rules and we’ll continue to play by their rules,” he said in Florida on the eve of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

“We were fully supportive of the new rules because we were a participant in creating them.

“(When) you roll out 50 new changes there are going to be some things that work well and some that create debate. Lost in some of the discussion is all the things that are working really well.”

The change that appears to have caused most ire has been one that does not allow caddies to stand behind a player and help line up a shot.

This has led to a couple of two-stroke penalties, and also one situation in which a player had a penalty rescinded after officials acknowledged the new rule was causing confusion.

The wording was then tweaked in an effort to make it clearer.

Another bone of contention is that golfers must now drop the ball from knee height, rather than from shoulder height as previously.

Rickie Fowler was the first to fall foul of this when he took a penalty drop from shoulder height at the WGC-Mexico Championship and was penalized one stroke.

SOURCE:  Reuters

STRATEGY FOR DOGLEGS

About to turn a corner? First, give that dogleg some thought

You say you can drive it 300 yards, but the last time you did it the hole was downhill, downwind and the ball caromed off the cartpath. You say you shoot in the low 80s, but you haven’t carded an 85 or better without two mulligans and a few generous gimme putts in about four years. When the question about what tees to play is asked, you’re already walking back to the blues or blacks. See where this is going? When it comes to this game, many golfers aren’t exactly honest about their current abilities—especially when assessing their next shot.

A common mental block is how best to play a dogleg hole with real trouble on either side of the fairway, says instructor Sean Foley.

“The ball tails off to the right for most of the golfers I see, so does it make any sense for them to stand on the tee box of a dogleg-left hole and try to curve their drive in that direction? No, but a lot of times they still try,” says Foley, a Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher. “What they should be doing is thinking of how to play the hole to the best of their abilities. In many cases, that means taking a shorter club, one that doesn’t peel off to the right as much, and just getting something out in the fairway.

“The reality is, sometimes the best you can do is give yourself a chance at a one-putt par. You have to accept that your game isn’t designed for certain holes, so your planning should change from How do I get home in regulation? to How do I avoid making double bogey?

That’s good advice, says sport psychologist Bob Rotella. Too often a visually intimidating hole, one that looks like it necessitates a specific type of drive, can cause golfers to divert from their strengths. Bad move.

“Mentally, you’ve got to stick with your game. Don’t let the shape of a hole solely dictate your strategy,” he says. “I wouldn’t try to hit a shot I didn’t know or usually play. If a driver doesn’t fit the hole, hit a 3-wood. If a 3-wood doesn’t fit, hit a hybrid, and so on. Do whatever it takes to put the ball in play. But be clear and commit to whatever shot you decide.”

If you can’t curve the ball to match the hole’s shape, another option is to use driver, but play for the “best miss,” says Hall of Fame golfer Tom Watson. If you analyze a hole carefully, that miss should be evident.

“When curving the ball away from the dogleg, the fairway becomes a smaller target,” Watson says. “The golfer must then think about where it’s best to miss the fairway, and this involves a lot of criteria such as length of the rough, where the flagstick is located, etc. For example, shortening the hole by missing in the interior rough sometimes can be a good option when planning your tee shot, but not on Pine Valley’s par-4 sixth, the hole you see here.”

If you’re skilled enough to be able to shape your tee shot with the dogleg, then consider how much of it you want to take on, Watson says. An accurate distance measurement to the part of the fairway you want to hit is key, but so is that whole thing about being honest with yourself.

“Knowing how far you have to carry the ball to clear a dogleg’s interior rough or interior bunker is not usually thought about by most golfers, but it’s critical,” Watson says. “That being said, most golfers don’t know how far they carry the ball with a driver, which is important in deciding the line to take when cutting the corner on a dogleg.”

That’s why it’s best to be generous with your target line, Foley says.

“If it’s a 200-yard carry and your best drives carry about 210 yards, you probably want to take a less risky route,” Foley says. “Better to be farther back in the fairway than trying to recover from being too aggressive with your line. The penalty for not making it on a dogleg is usually pretty severe.”

SOURCE:  Golfdigest

Is the second summer of Tiger Woods’ career over?

Count me as somebody who has learned his lesson about reactionary Tiger Woods takes. In 2015, convinced I could read the writing on the wall and more than a little annoyed at the attention Tiger commanded in a moment of generational change in golf, I declared him “done.” But, okay, I didn’t just declare him done—I did it with a sort of reckless abandon that today almost seems designed to place myself on the thinnest, most precarious limb of the hot take tree.

The take remained fresh for a few years, and then, when Tiger came back last season, contended at the big events, and finally broke through at the Tour Championship, my words were fed back to me, one by one, with a heaping side of crow.

Having crashed to hard ground, I have no interest in climbing back on that limb—far be it from me to repeat the mistake and declare the story of Tiger Woods over and done. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to see Monday’s announcement as anything but somber news:

Yeah, but…he’s also 43, and any injury you’ve been dealing with for “weeks” is not so easily shed. There’s also the fact that athletes always—repeat, always—downplay injuries. Plus, as Steve DiMeglio pointed out at USA Today, his litany of injuries is long, and it’s not even the first time he’s had a neck issue:

“Four procedures to his left knee. Four to his back, the most recent a spinal fusion surgery in April 2017. And there was an assortment of other injuries he had to deal with over the years to his neck, Achilles, elbow, wrist.”

I’m no doctor, but I also can’t help but notice that the neck is in close proximity to the back, and that the two are both traversed by the spine. I’ve even heard discussion that problems with one area of the body, even after being repaired, can throw other parts out of whack. Nor, I’m told, do pain and degeneration typically improve with age.

In short, Tiger’s body has been nickel-and-diming him to death for a few years now, and whatever you call his 2018 run—the second summer, the unexpected final bloom—it’s now time to at least ask the question if that unexpected stretch was our last chance to see Tiger at something vaguely reminiscent of his former glory. True greatness comes and goes almost before we understand it was there, and just as Roger Federer had come down from his transcendent peak before the wider world truly understood that he was the greatest of all-time, so Tiger donned the 2001 green jacket without anyone quite knowing that, by the narrowest definition, his prime had passed.

What follows after the shattering act of sublimity are a series of aftershocks, and the greater the talent, the greater the reverberations. Tiger’s after-shocks, which included three more years of winning multiple majors, would dwarf most careers. But like any echo, they diminished each time, until the 2008 U.S. Open came to a close and he’d won his 14th and (to date) final major. His time of relative greatness hadn’t ended, but by 2014 he was no longer winning titles, and by 2017 the last subterranean rumbles had seemed to cease forever.

Which made 2018 such a miracle—his talent was so extraordinary, his will so strong, that his dormancy couldn’t last, and in fact practically demanded one last airing. It proved that people like me were short-sighted in our fatal proclamations, and in some ways that ultimate victory at East Lake cemented his legend.

And yet, there’s also the larger trends, and there’s also time. Look at this major timeline, and tell me what you see:

To torture this “act of god” thing to death, imagine the green boxes as the thunderous explosions and the yellows as the surrounding lightning, while the white represents calm. If the entire chart represents the storm that is Tiger Woods, does it look like that storm is about to rekindle itself, or does it look like we just saw the last downpour? If you made a bigger chart with his non-major wins, the general idea would be the same—we’re looking at an obvious diminution.

Beyond the metaphorical, the trajectory is backed up by the facts. It seemed anomalous for him to make it through 2018 without any major injury scare after battling his body for years, and the realistic conclusion was that his body was on borrowed time. Now, we see some comeuppance, though it’s unclear yet how severe it might be. In any case, as I found recently,wins begin to get scarce at this age for even the best golfers—would you believe that if Phil Mickelson won another major, he’d be the oldest champion ever?—and with exactly one win in the last five years and change, Tiger doesn’t seem likely to throw his hat in the ring with Phil or Sam Snead or Fred Funk or any of the greatest old man golfers in the sport’s history.

It’s easy to get carried away by a year like 2018, especially when there’s a not-very-well-hidden vested interest on the part of the media-industry complex to see Tiger at his peak again. Everyone wants him there, but wishing won’t make it so. And that’s the thing about a second summer—no matter how warm the sunshine, and no matter how we crave its permanence, winter is just on the other side of our dreams.

 

Beat The Golf Slice With A Tennis Racket

If you’re struggling with big slices and pulls to the left, try this drill

When was the last time you hit a tennis ball with a racket? Whether it has been a while or you happen to play tennis regularly, I’m willing to bet you do a few things without even thinking about it that can help you beat the golf slice. I’ll bet you instinctively try and hit the ball over the net by hitting the ball with your elbow pointing down when the racket meets the ball. Now, if that’s hard to visualize, go ahead and grab a tube of tennis balls and a racket, then hit a few balls up and away from you as though you need to get the ball over the net. Try and hit the ball so it clears the net just barely. You don’t want to lob it way in the air.

For me, when I hit a forehand in tennis correctly, I don’t hit the ball with my right elbow flaring out or away from my body. If anything, my elbow is pointed down and close to my side, and I rotate my body through to add more power and control through the hit. Check out the pictures above to see what I mean.

How can this motion of a forehand in tennis be so helpful to you? Well, the overwhelming majority of golfers slice the golf ball to the right, losing distance and accuracy. Without having the knowledge of the proper adjustments needed to correct their slice, a golfer’s most common attempt to compensate for their slice is to bring their hands, arms and elbows well away from their body on the downswing and swing their club path too far to the left on the follow through. This is commonly referred to as the “over the top move.” All this does is produce even bigger slices to the right and big pulls to the left, depending on the direction the clubface is pointed at impact.

Now back to our forehand in tennis. To transition this feel into your golf swing, as a drill, take your golf club in your right hand (right-handers) and hold it a little bit above the ground. Imagine a ball is coming at you, and hit a forehand! Let your instincts take over. Make several swings like this until you can really feel that forehand hit.

You’ll begin to notice that you’re keeping your right elbow close to your side and pointed down on the downswing and into impact. Remember, good tennis players hit the ball with their whole body, not just their arms, and they do it by rotating through the hit. Do the same in your golf swing, and let your instincts take over.

If you’re struggling with big slices and pulls to the left, try this drill the next time you practice, and think of every ball you hit as though you’re hitting a forehand in tennis. This will take your mind off your golf swing and, hopefully, help you hit better shots with improved mechanics.

SOURCE: Golftipsmag

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