Sunday, February 24, 2008

3. Bunker Shots

Here is some extra information about bunker shots as well as examples of various types of shots to try out. There are two major factors to note in bunker shots and they are the loft of the club and the bottom of the swing. Factor #1, The loft of the club face is very important and related to the launch angle, distance and direction the ball travels. It is important to keep a square club face through out the shot, the right hand and right wrist remain the same during the swing motion, which will allow the loft of the club to stay the same. Factor #2, contact between the club and the sand or the bottom of the swing. The first step to taking the guess work out of bunkers is to first and always analyze the situation and then decide what club to use and what shot you want to play. Most of us do the exact opposite. I usually just grab my sand wedge or my 60 degree and then hit the shot. Here are some interesting tips I found on this website I don’t recommend using any of these tips without practicing them or at least attempting them a few times before real round. I have not tried some of these shots so I cannot swear that they work, but it will definitely give you something to think about.

Putt it Out
First you must asses the situation and decide if using the putter out of a bunker is the right choice. Using the Texas wedge to escape a bunker should only be attempted when the sand is firm, the ball is not buried, and the bunker has a very small lip (if any) with a rounded edge. If you attempt this shot without these conditions be prepared to hit another shot from the bunker. Here we go, once you are ready address the call as you normally would with your putter on the green and with your standard putting grip. Play the ball back in your stance, which will allow the putter to not tough the sand and catch as much of the ball as possible through impact. The key to making this shot work is to catch all ball and no sand, so remind yourself to hit the ball above the sand in the upper hemisphere at contact with the face of the putter. Expect the ball to roll much like it would on the green and then pop over the lip. Since you are hitting all ball and no sand don’t be afraid to hit the shot harder than you would a normal putt from this distance. The off-center strike and spin from the hop will reduce the speed of the ball, so make sure to give it some extra speed. To find some more interesting bunker techniques go to the website above and hit away! Enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2008

4. Short Game

Your short game is another aspect of your game which can make or break your score so be sure to not just work on your putting, but your chipping and bunker play around the greens. I am one of those players that believes I don’t need to practice my bunker shots because I never end up in them and when I do I don’t think my bunker play is too bad. But there are those times, for example last weekend, where I just get unlucky bounces and end up in bunkers and it will take me two or three attempts to get out of them. Just a few extra shots in the bunkers definitely dented my nine hole round. So, the only tip I have for you for practicing your bunker play comes from a lesson I took about a year ago. Draw a half circle (wide circle) in the sand and make notches about 12 inches apart or how ever far apart you like and take a swing at each notch like it is your golf ball. This will show you how much of a divot you are taking and how much the divot is behind or in front of the ball and how deep your divot is.

Tomorrow I wil post some general information of how to play a bunker shot as well as some cool other shots to try the next time you go out and play. :) Happy practicing!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

5. Putting

California’s rainy season has been putting a damper on my practice schedule, which has left me, when I am lucky, a three hour or so window to practice. But, because the driving range is closed I have been forced to practice my short game. Fortunately, I love practicing my short game and the rain has given me an excuse to do so. Short game practice is next on the list for winter practice tips.

If you can practice your putting as much as possible you will have at least one part of your game that can save your score. If you are unable to get to a golf course to practice your putting, my suggestion is to buy a putting system like this one. My father received this as a gift and I have used it a few times to just practice my putting stroke. This will not only help your putting but will allow you to keep the feel of your putting stroke and practice keeping your head and body still throughout the shot. Two years ago when I went to the LPGA Tournament at Blackhawk I saw Paula Creamer practice her putting by placing her golf ball between her wrist and the shaft of the putter. This allowed her to practice not breaking her wrists during the follow through as well as forcing her to rock her shoulders instead of using her arms to help the ball into the cup. Another drill, which is my favorite, and is another great alternative to the previous drill is the push drill. This is a great drill to work on your short puts from all angles of the hole. Place the ball a short distance from the whole (ex.1,2, or 3 feet) and instead of a back swing just “push” the ball into the hole. This will help you keep the face square throughout impact which will lead to a better stroke and more puts made. Once you have gotten the hang of it you can do the same drill at different position around the hole and you can keep increasing the distance until you are ready to try each location with your regular putting stroke. Enjoy!