Pinpoint Golf's Travis Hardman shares his thoughts on playing a more consistent round of golf
Consistency in golf is like that elusive fountain of youth which every golfer wants to drink from and is one of the common factors that defines most PGA pros. It is about making solid contact and scoring well regularly which is not easy to achieve. Given here are the keys that can lead to a consistent swing and scoring well regularly on the links.
1. Your Address Position
Setting up consistently is critical to swinging well regularly, therefore your set up position should be such that your hand positions while gripping should be the same every time.
Grip pressure should be neither too soft nor too intense. Keep your balance and posture in mind too. Your knees should have a light bend, a gentle amount of flex and arms should hang down straight. Instead of toes or heels most of your weight should be on the small pads on the sole of your feet, just behind the toes. This will enable you to get a full shoulder turn and proper weight rotation. Arrive at impact with 80-95% of your weight on the forward leg.
Take a golf stick (alignment stick) and put it on the ground holding it roughly the width of your hand away from your left thigh to get a proper hip movement. This is the distance your hips will move during the downswing. Maintain the flex in your left knee as you move your hips forward to practice bumping into the stick.
Keep your head steady but you may dip it a little. Avoid lateral movement. Keeping your head steady, enables you to see the ball without depending on your peripheral vision, which makes hitting the ball much easier. Stretch your right side from your ankle to your armpit, forming a line up the side of your body. At the same time, dip your left shoulder downward as it rotates away from the target. These movements allow the shoulders to turn 90 degrees to the address spine angle and complete a centered shoulder turn.
Besides grip and balance, the club face alignment and your body alignment are important too. Your club face must be square to the target. Use a magnetic lie angle tool to determine that your clubface is square to the target during practice sessions. Once the club face is square, ensure that your feet, hips and shoulders are correctly aligned, so that you are always set up square to the target.
2. Your Tempo & Rhythm:
After setting up properly, focus on your tempo and rhythm. Swing the golf club along an incline, especially during the downswing, a backswing that follows the inclined path back, up and in, as if you’re swinging your hands. This will put you in a better position to make a solid downswing. A good backswing puts you in the position to deliver the clubhead from the inside. To practice this, you may use a training aid called the Medicus Vision Track. Like some of the world’s best players, learn to accelerate and gain speed through the swing, from the moment you take the club back. Take the club back slowly, take a small pause and then, swing the club with power. Begin the down-swinging with ease and once the club is almost parallel to the ground, then accelerate to generate the most power at impact.
Control Your Clubface — as FlightScope and high-speed cameras have proven that the golf ball generally starts in the direction the clubface is pointing at impact and curves away from the path.
3. Your Impact Position:
All great players have a common trait of a solid impact position. All of them get the club square at impact with their swings bottoming out at the same spot each time. Have the club lined up with your left arm creating a power triangle between the ball and your two arms. Have your head behind the ball allowing you to get your weight to your forward foot and extend fully past the ball. Also, keep the wrist slightly bowed to compress the ball and deloft the club.
The key to steady golf rounds is getting your left wrist in the right position at impact. Keeping a flat left wrist will keep the shaft of your club from passing the left arm prior to impact. The shaft passing over the left arm prematurely results in a flip which in turn leads to fat and skulled shots.
Practice this simple tee drill to perfect your impact position.
Step 1: Set up your stance over the ball as you usually do. Place the tee between your thumb and pointer finger.
Step 2: Placing one hand on the club, watch where the tee is pointing. It should be to the centre of the grip to enable you to take the club back correctly. Repeat 10 to 15 times with one hand to get the feel, then place your second hand.
Step 3: Shift your left knee and hip towards the target, opening them slightly and letting your hands move towards your left thigh thus transferring more weight on your forward leg.
Step 4: Take a one-half to three-quarter backswing, leaving your left knee and hip forward in the process.
Step 5: Now, bump the hips even farther forward, hit the ball and swing to a crisp finish.
To develop and hone your skills you must do this drill regularly.
4. Some Additional Tips
Remember Your Short Game: Even the best of players spray shots all over on a bad day, but it is not noticed due to their world class short games which adequately disguise a bad ball striking round. Rather than hitting the ball all over the course ensure that you spend more time on shots such as putting, or your approach shots from 100 yards and in.
Compete consistently: Adopting the right habits such as following a pre-round routine, staying focussed through the mid-round, along with hard work on the course will help you be consistent on the big day. Arriving about an hour early to get properly warmed up and spending around a quarter of an hour on each area of the game will help you avoid any first tee jitters. A consistent pre-shot routine will help you stay focussed through the mid round and score consistently well. Avoid cluttering your mind with too many swing thoughts, keep it simple and create a routine that empowers your game. Stick to the plan you create before the round and each hole and play your own game.
Travis is a Sports Analyst at Pinpoint Golf where he talks about training sessions or games, and creating video highlights to provide managers and players for review.