chunk-the-putter

First and foremost, yes that is “Chunk” from the Goonies… moving on…

A chunked putt is incredibly frustrating and ultimately costs your strokes. It happens to all of us from time to time, and the root cause is nearly always the same. And that is a drop in spine angle.

Spine angle can change in a number of ways to cause the chunk, but most often its from your head dropping towards the ball slightly, or you changing the level of bend in your body when you’re over the ball during your backswing.

Remember, a change of less than a half of an inch can cause the chunk, considering you address the ball with the club starting on the ground in the first place.

To help combat this there’s a couple things you can remember, but the best one, and the simplest is to keep your chin off your chest. The simple act of keeping you chin up will help you keep it more stationary during your stroke. Sometime good putters can get complacent and slowly their posture starts to deteriorate. This usually starts with the either the head, or the body slouching over the ball, which makes moving around during your stroke much easier.

Another common fault that can change your posture during your swing is eye movement. In general its best to focus on a single spot behind the ball during your stroke. If you’re eyes begin to move around, or look to early, it becomes very easy for your posture to change than can easily result in a chunk or other miss-hit.

So before every putt, stay tall, keep your chin up, and keep your eyes steady for your stroke. These simple tips will help you eliminate chunking from your game.

cup-bullseye2

Putting can one of the most infuriating parts of the game despite its simplicity. For those of you suffering from the yips or simply looking for a new way to try and reprogram your putting stroke here’s a drill you can try to help out.

For most players struggling with their putting, its not their feel thats the problem, it’s their ability to hit the putt where they are lining up. This drill attempts to eliminate your need to look at the ball while making a stroke, and trust me, this isnt easy, but with a little practice it works.

Start your setup as you normally would, make practice strokes to get a feel for the distance you need the putt to go (this is the most important part). Then align yourself as you normally would, focusing on the feel of the stroke your going to make. Here’s the trick, now focus solely on the target, DO NOT look down at the ball, and complete your stroke.

Thats it. This drill lets you focus solely on feel. At first you may find it difficult to get a feel for hitting the ball at the bottom of your arc, or on the center of the face, but practice makes perfect. Also you may find it easy to chunk the putt, and this is usually because of excess body movements during your stroke. Focus on keeping your head steady and you should have no problem making solid contact.

Give it a shot!

The best players in the game employ an out to in swing path for their bunker shots. Much like Furyk’s “loopy” swing (but less dramatic) good bunker players swing out to in to attack the pall from an ideal angle. A normal swing path tends to produce an angle of attack that is too steep, and can result in either skulls, chunks and the occasional perfect shot.  A shallower swing path will help produce a more consistent results from the sand… and ultimately this means you have a “go-to” swing to rely upon when on the beach.  A shallower swing will take less sand, which create more backspin and control. Here’s how to do it:

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putting_yips_yip_fixes

I hate the yips. It seems that every two years or so, after missing a couple of short putts – my mind goes into “don’t miss it” mode, and I’m faced with another couple weeks of awful, yip-filled rounds of golf. Now I guess I really shouldn’t complain, I’ve heard the horror stories of players quitting the game because their yips got so bad, or even people whose yips have progressed to affect their chipping and full-swing shots. I’m glad I’m not suffering that bad.

With all this said, I’ve spent countless hours on the putting green working on different things to help cure myself of the yips. I’ve tried different putting strokes, different setup routines, different putters and various drills – you name it, I’ve tried it. Oddly enough, I’ve found that some of the simplest changes to my putting stroke have made all the difference. In this post, I’m going to share with you those simple changes – so that you too can benefit – enjoy.

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For those of you who suffer from the yips, it doesn’t seem to matter what “cure” you try, because nothing works. What you have to realize is that the yips is a mental issue, not a swing fault. Your brain is telling your wrists to twitch before impact, because your brain is not 100% sure of the putt you’re about to make. What you need to do is re-boot your brain thinking process when it comes to putting. Forget all the missed short putts, and lost strokes are start the learning process over again. A great way to do this is to forget about the hole entirely.

Lets face it the hole is a small target, too small, and you need to think BIG. Work on your basic putting setup and alignment to a range bucket or towel from 10 feet away. Your successes will improve… and so will your confidence in your putting. With this approach, you can start trusting your putting stroke again and your yips should go away. Once you become more confident with your fundamentals, and you have successfully re-booted your putting stroke using the larger target… slowly work your way down to the hole again.

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Chipping Golf Tips Choke Down

When faced with short chip shots around the green, you should be getting up and down with ease. I like to consider a short-chip shot like this, as a modified putt.

Here are some suggestions to help make these short chips more automatic.

1) Choke Down – For this short shot, you will need the added control and reduced power that a choked down club produces.  This forces you slightly closer to the ball and should help you judge distances more accurately.

2) Acceleration – The number one fault of amateurs around the green is the deceleration. It’s hard to notice if you’re not looking specifically for it, but if your chipping is extremely inconsistent, I’ll put my money on it that you’re deceleration .

Even on these short shots you must be accelerating! Let the length of your backswing dictate the amount of power your chipping stroke generates, never the speed of your follow-through.  Far too often do I see players “chipping” with long backswings that are slowing down as they near the ball.  For pretty much every kind of chip, you must follow-through to ensure the ball gets out cleanly… acceleration ensures this happens.

3) Putt It – When chipping, your stroke is identical in length and style as a putt to the same target. With a proper chipping setup, the ball will be positioned slightly further back in your stance, resulting in a downward blow that pops the ball over the long grass and gets it rolling soon after it hits the green. Apart from ball position, the stroke is identical to a putt.

Practice this swing and use these tips and start saving your strokes guys!

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deceleration putting tips drillsThe number one reason why amateurs miss short putts is deceleration. This symptom can creep up in many parts of your game, especially with chipping and putting. If you notice yourself stubbing chips and putts, or have trouble making all your short putts, I would bet you’re decelerating into impact.

I cannot stress enough the importance of acceleration when putting – not doing so can be deadly. Ensuring you accelerate into impact will help your short game tremendously. You will longer have to worry about short putts or the occasional stub, because if you follow-through, the ball has nowhere to go but forward.  On the other hand, you have to be careful.  If you start over-thinking things and try to steer your shots, the deceleration bug can creep in, and you’re game will suffer accordingly. Deceleration in many cases leads to the dreaded yips.

I use this simple drill to encourage an accelerating stroke on the putting green. Simply putt to a hole about 5-10 feet away, but place a headcover / ball / range bucket in the way of your backswing to keep it short. This forces you to accelerate into the ball and the results are immediate.

I would recommend everyone try this drill, because sometime spotting that you are decelerating is difficult. Don’t miss it!

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In putting, there are very few similarities from one player to the next. This is because putting is all about ‘feel’. Some players have good feel around the greens; others don’t. For those who have trouble, being able to see the line of the putt, the subtle breaks and path towards the hole can be very beneficial.  Instead of having to imagine the line, you can now see the line.

To help provide this visual feedback, try putting in the early morning dew. It is a great way to develop a visual sense of how a putt breaks. With some practice you can begin to develop a better sense of the ‘feel’ of each putt. After hitting some putts in the dew and taking a look at the break trails of each, a 25 foot putt never looked so easy.

Give it a try!

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 05: Phil Mickelson uses a pitching wedge on the practice range in swing sequence frame 5 of 12 during a practice round prior to the start of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 5, 2010 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

This shot is reserved for you lower handicaps out there… if Phil Mickelson can do it, why can’t you? Occasionally, you are faced with a short shot that requires shaping, whether it be a slice or a hook. I find a hook much easier to pull-off, and I’d like to share with you how to do it properly.

First, it’s best to try this shot when you have a helping right to left wind (assuming you’re right-handed), Setup to the ball as your normally would, ball positioned in the middle of our stance. Obviously, keep in mind the position of your obstacles that caused you to consider this shot in the first place, whether it be a hill, tree or a tucked pin.

If it’s a tree, give yourself some room for error on this one. Hood the face of your wedge slightly, but not so much that you reduce it’s loft that much. Close your stance and then swing along your feet line – this will create a drastically in to out swing path – which is exactly what you need to pull this off.

Finally, focus on making solid contact with the center of the club, if you don’t, the club won’t impart the amount of sidespin you need hook the ball. If done properly, you can hit 50-75 yard shots that hook almost 15 yards. Vary the severity of your closed clubface and your swing path to reduce how much the ball hooks.

Keep in mind, upon landing, this ball will spin left.

Definitely give this shot a try on the range before giving it a go on the course.  But it’s a great shot to have in the bag in tough situations!

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