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practice with purpose

How to play better golf without lessons

by Jordan on July 22, 2013

Golf lessons can be costly. That’s why you’ve come to a website searching for golf tips after all.

If you’re still fairly new to the game or struggling, you could potentially spend a lot on lessons. You may not love golf that much to want to spend the money on lessons.

But this game is damn hard without lessons. However there is a way to improve at this game on your own.

All it requires is for some practice and awareness during the practice session. What do I mean by awareness? Simply being aware of what causes your shots to do certain things.

So in essence, trial and error. What happens when the ball flies a certain way.

You should be asking yourself and becoming aware of questions like:

What made the ball fly lower?

What made it curve to the right?

What happens when I rotate my bottom so my stomach faces the target?

This is where I feel a lot of golfers could be better. If they tried to experiment with different things when practicing, they’d be able to learn more about what causes certain shots.

More often than not though, they head to the range without a plan. Aimlessly hitting ball after the ball at the range isn’t effective practice.

I surely hope you’re not one of the golfers I see doing this at the range.

If so, stop yourself now!

That’s how I leant the game. I would head to the range and learn how to hit the ball low and high. Left to right and right to left. But all the while being aware and learning what was causing the ball to do what it was doing.

I’ve adopted this trial and error method for learning to how code and build websites for my online marketing business.

I catch myself doing this on the golf course as well since I don’t have the time and money to play as much as I use too.

I surely hope you have some awareness of what your body is doing throughout your golf swing. Next time you go to the range, start hitting more shots that curve and learn what causes those shots to curve.

Jordan

Jordan J. Caron is a former Canadian PGA Class A member who still wants to help golfers shoot better scores. He is also the President of Meaningful Marketing. In his downtime he likes to read, play squash and drink wine.

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Insane Golf Practice

by Andy Griffiths on June 14, 2013

As we move into 2013 and a new year in the life of a golfer, I hear plenty of resolutions with outcome focused goals. In 2013 I want to…

‘Lower my handicap by 5 shots’

‘Break 80 for the 1st time’

‘Make it onto my school/college/club team’

Resolutions can be great, but what really makes the difference is the action we take towards reaching these goals. It is admirable to dream of lowering your handicap by 5 shots, but action needs to be taken too!

So, I want to give you some more ways to make your dreams into reality.

I am sure that you have heard the quote attributed to Einstein, which describes insanity as…

“doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Well, in this article I want to focus on your practice time and how to make some changes that will ultimately get you closer to achieving your golfing resolutions. Remember also, that YOU can choose to make changes whenever you want; you don’t have to wait till society decides you are allowed a ‘new start’ in January!

The next time you are at the driving range, on your practice ground or even making swing motions inside due to adverse weather conditions; give these three tips a try, to give you extra awareness of what you are currently doing in your golf game.

Slow motion

When I remember how I learnt to play the drums, I found I needed to use this technique all of the time. When learning a new complex beat for example, I got the best results from slowing the beat down, often to unrecognisably slow speeds, before piecing it together and building up the speed. You will have done the same as you have acquired many life skills, yet it hasn’t caught on that much in golf. Don’t beat yourself up; the golf swing is a very complex movement; so make it easier to gain some important awareness of the club and your body, by slowing it down when hitting some practice shots. As a starter, try making a swing that lasts for 30 seconds, that’s right…30 seconds! It will be tougher than you think but correct repetitions at this pace rather than full-speed attempts are likely to give better results at changing a movement pattern.

It can’t be THAT crazy an idea if it used by former LPGA #1 player Ai Miyazato

and one of the best ball strikers of all time, Ben Hogan….

Hogan said of his practice habits “whenever I’m working on something I always do it in slow motion. That way I can monitor what I’m doing.”

Exaggeration

Let’s take a common mistake that stops golfers from making solid contact with their irons. The flaw is that when it comes to impact, the clubhead is often out in front of the grip and this increased added loft and reduced efficiency in developing speed leads to leaked power. Using this idea, I want you to go to the range and try to really exaggerate of all these feelings on your next shot. Try to get the grip leading the clubhead to the ball, with your arms in hands in front of the ball through the external thought of trying to start the shot as low as possible. You may not believe me, but your golfing brain is often a lot smarter than you imagined! Just exaggerating a movement and trying to hit super-low shots with your hands way in front of the clubface gives us a heightened awareness and completely different feeling which we can then take into our practice shots. Ever see Tiger or Graeme McDowell standing on the tee exaggerating an ‘over the top’ move to start their downswing? This is exactly what they are doing; exaggerating the move and then getting it just right when they take their real swings.

Eyes closed

One more way to give you that extra feeling of awareness is to make your swing with your eyes closed. Awareness of the clubface is something that tour players have developed through many, many hours of hitting shots, but this little tip can help you build your awareness too. Close your eyes and make a swing, stopping at impact and feeling where the clubface is. Then open your eyes and check. Use this in any area of your swing to start to develop some extra feel and awareness of the movements as an alternative to using your eyes to check

If 2013 really is going to be different in your golfing life, these three tips are a simple way to improve your practice time, stop you being on the ‘insanity loop’ and instead get you playing your best golf ever!

Andy Griffiths

I am a UKPGA member and graduate of the AGMS degree at the University of Birmingham. I have coached in more than 30 countries and traveled and worked with many of the best in the business to constantly improve my coaching. My No. 1 desire is to help golfers reach their dreams, and to enjoy the process!

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Explaining Golf Ball Flights

by Andy Griffiths on May 10, 2013

There is plenty of content out there explaining ball flight laws and why golf balls do as they do when struck. The problem is, many golfers still don’t understand and therefore spend valuable practice time less than effectively. Of course, as a coach, I know the best thing is to book a programme (not just swing lessons!) with your professional and make big changes where you are involved in the learning process; that way you can start to discover and understand your own game. However, for the other 90%+ of the time, when you are golfing solo…you need to be able to understand the how and why of your ball flight. As Tiger’s instructor Sean Foley said recently, his goal is to allow the player to move away from being reliant on him as a coach. This is going to be difficult to do without an understanding of the flight of your golf ball. In this article I will give some facts of impact and ball flight and explain how to analyse what you do. You may need to read this a few times over, and I suggest you don’t try to memorise it; this is not a test! Instead, use this as a benchmark to change your awareness.

NB For ease of understanding, everything written is for a right-handed golfer, if you are a leftie just flip the info the other way, and be happy that, due to being a leftie, you get less people trying to offer you swing advice on the range!

The flight of the golf ball is determined by 4 factors:

  • Club face orientation
  • Clubhead direction
  • Speed
  • Point of contact

…so let’s get into these a bit more!

Clubface orientation

Depending on the club used and clubhead speed, the clubface direction at impact (left/right/straight) has been shown to give between 60% – to 95% of the ball’s starting direction. This also is the case with the clubfaces’ dynamic loft (loft on the face at impact). Here the ball launch angle is again, mostly influenced by the clubface, rather than the angle of attack.

Easy tip: Although not 100% accurate, in simple terms, clubface = launch! When practising, push an alignment stick into the ground 10 yards away from the ball, hit a shot and you can easily see the starting direction and therefore deduce the clubface aim at impact.

Clubhead direction

Impact is very fast; as quick as 0.0004 seconds! Definitely not long enough to sense the clubface position and try to correct it whilst the ball is ‘on the face.’ The curve on a ball is predominantly due to the difference between the clubface at impact and the direction of the swing path.

Easy tip: Imagine hitting a tennis shot or kicking a football…if the path is to the right of the face, the ball curves left. If the path is to the left of the face, the ball curves right.

More info on the relationship between clubface and swing path can be seen in the video below:

Speed

Increased speed leads to higher spin rates, exaggeration of any tilting of the spin axis, more curvature, longer distances and higher shots. I am sure you all see young juniors at your course who NEVER miss a fairway…well it does get a bit harder to hit it so straight with some extra speed for sure, but it is definitely possible with some extra understanding.

Easy tip: A good way to build some control with your swing and have some fun: make some full swings but hit shots with 20% effort (great for working on swing changes) and then do the same at 95% and see how you get on before finding YOUR best compromise between of distance and control. For you juniors out there…hit it HARD and work on control afterwards, believe me…you will thank me later on when you have the control AND the distance J

Contact Point

You know what I said about face and path? Well…just to confuse you, there is one more, very important factor; contact/impact point of club and ball in comparison to the centre of gravity of the club. Many golfers strike the ball from the sweet spot MUCH less often than they think and this influences ball flight hugely. A shot contacted off centre on the face (due to something called horizontal gear effect) imparts spin on the ball which can exaggerate or reduce curvature. A toe shot increases curve to the left (or reduces curve to the right) and a heel shot increases curve to the right (or reduces curve to the left). Due to vertical gear effect, shots hit lower on the face tend to launch lower and have increased spin; contact high on the face leads to higher launch and reduced spin.

Easy tip: Check your contact point habits often, by simply using a whiteboard marker on the face.

My challenge to you; next time you are on the range try to hit lots of different shots with differing heights, curves and launches. Use some of these tips to alter your face and path to affect ball flight and be more in control of your game.  Focus on the result of the shots, not the technique that goes into it. Get some help from a coach who can help you with your exploration. Have fun and let me know how it goes!

Andy Griffiths

I am a UKPGA member and graduate of the AGMS degree at the University of Birmingham. I have coached in more than 30 countries and traveled and worked with many of the best in the business to constantly improve my coaching. My No. 1 desire is to help golfers reach their dreams, and to enjoy the process!

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Don’t Let Your Clubs Hibernate this Winter

by Jordan on November 13, 2012

winter golf lessons.

Welcome and embrace Winter golf

Fall is gone and summer is a distant memory.

So the golf season is over right?

Hell no!

If you’re serious about becoming a better player, you need to play all year round. Sure playing golf in the winter isn’t appealing. But after reading this you’ll be thanking me come spring time.

Lyle and Scott Golf

Here are three reasons why you should play winter golf.

No rust to shake off

 
Back when I was teaching I use to love the spring. Why? Because every student was rusty and seemingly forgot how to swing the club. Obviously this meant lots of cash for me as it would take many of my student’s weeks to get back into the groove.

I’m sure you know the feeling. You know the one where you head to the range in March or April and grip the club for the first time. But the club resembles an axe more so than golf club.

Guess what. If you play or head to the range at least 4 times a month, you won’t be all rusty come spring.

And because everyone else is going to hibernate this winter and play no golf, you’ll dominate the competition come tournament time. If you happen to play for some extra change at your local course, you’ll clean up there too!

Become A Mudder

 
Everytime it rains I’m reminded of that Seinfeld episode where Kramer hear’s a hot tip on a horse who’s mother and father were mudders! Since it rained there was no way this horse could lose right? Well, like most of Kramers luck it didn’t turn out that way.

Regardless I want you to become a mudder. You can do that by learning to play in awful conditions. When do awful conditions happen? In the winter of course!

So if you wake up and see that’s it’s raining out, grab those clubs and head to the course. There’s a great chance no one else will be playing. That means you’ll be able to blaze through the course in under three hours.

Since no one else is out there you can practice on the course too since. Hit extra chip shots or drop a couple of balls here and there. Work on your pre shot routine or challenge yourself to little games.

When I was growing up I loved the rain. I still do in fact. But when I was young it meant that no one was at the course. I had a free run of the place. It was my playground to do whatever (within reason!) I wanted to.

It turns out that because I played in the rain so much I actually had a leg up on everyone when the conditions got bad in tournaments.

I clearly remember my grade 10 year of high school golf. It rained and blew so hard the entire second round of our Provincial high school tournament.

But because I was a mudder and played so many rounds in those conditions, I blew away the field. I was the low round by six shots and won the individual title by four shots. All because I relished going to the course on those damp and grey days. You should do the same.

Better grab these Galvin Green waterproofs from Golfposer.com if you’re going to mud it up!

You Can Handle Any Lie

 
When golf was invented there were no winter rules. For those that don’t know winter rules allow you give yourself a better lie anywhere on the course. So if you have a scruffy lie in the rough you can go ahead a tee that up.

Awesome right?

Nope. This is a false representation of the player you are.

When you play winter rules and are giving yourself a perfect lie everywhere, you’re screwed come the spring time.

Let me explain.

As the spring rolls in and the local courses go to summer rules (play the ball as it lies) you’ll struggle massively remembering how to play certain shots from all the various lies. That’s because in the winter you’re use to teeing the ball up. You don’t ever have to worry about grass behind the ball or anything. The ball will react the same coming out of every perfect lie.

We all know that’s not the case when you play the ball as it lies since you’ll hardly see a perfect lie.

So by playing the ball down throughout the ugly winter and less than ideal course conditions, you’ll become so much better at hitting shots from different lies. This will help you early in the spring as every else is adjusting to playing the ball down and whenever you have those nasty lies.

What Do You Think?

 
Do you play winter golf? Let me know either way if you do or don’t.

Image courtesy Golf Digest

Jordan

Jordan J. Caron is a former Canadian PGA Class A member who still wants to help golfers shoot better scores. He is also the President of Meaningful Marketing. In his downtime he likes to read, play squash and drink wine.

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Practice in Golf

Learn this easy tip to getting more out of your practice sessions

It has to be frustrating.

You’re trying to learn how to practice golf at the range.

And you are. But you’re not seeing the results.

This happens for a lot of players. But you shouldn’t be like them.

There is a reason you’re not seeing results.

And I know that exact reason.

Read on and you’ll learn how this easy tip will help you improve but also become a better player under pressure.
[Read On …]

Jordan

Jordan J. Caron is a former Canadian PGA Class A member who still wants to help golfers shoot better scores. He is also the President of Meaningful Marketing. In his downtime he likes to read, play squash and drink wine.

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The first step to consistent golf

August 2, 2012

Consistent golf.   It’s the holy grail of this crazy game.   We’ve all had those rounds were we can do no wrong. But then the next round it’s like Frank Abagnale stole our identity and golf swing.   A lot of things go into playing consistently. Practicing, playing with purpose and committing to a […]

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You don’t have to be like this goof to read putting greens!

February 2, 2012

You could hit the best putt of your life. But if you’re no good at reading greens, you got no chance. This is the most overlooked aspect of putting. But it won’t be after you read this post! You’ll learn how to improve at these while reading this article. JordanJordan J. Caron is a former […]

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Do you have a belief statement for your golf game?

October 18, 2011

Working hard on your game but not seeing the results? That’s quite alright actually. You’ve decided to find out why. And good on you. The reason might be because you haven’t got a club what type of golfer you want to be. Let me explain why you need to develop a mantra statement for your […]

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How to positively affirm your golfing goals

August 11, 2011

Setting goals is one thing. But if don’t learn how to achieve your golf goals, it’s going to be hard. If there is no action then nothing will transpire. If you want to hit the ball further, more solid, or simply lower your handicap, I am all for that. Many players forget that they need […]

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Five questions to ask yourself when setting goals

August 8, 2011

Aimlessly hoping to get better is not smart. You have to have a direction in mind. And no, just saying you want to be an eight handicap is good enough. Nope. There are five questions you need to ask yourself when setting goals. These five things will allow you to improve with more focus and attention […]

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