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  1. It occurred to me that this summer marks my 20th year playing this game. I have a few regular playing partners, but a lot of times I just go play by myself and join the first available threesome. Most of the time I find myself playing with the average once-a-month player who struggles to hit the ball solidly. I don't mean to sound arrogant, but I am a pretty decent ball striker, so they invariably ask me for swing advice. I am certainly no instructor, so I'm very hesitant to offer advice. But if I see something completely out of whack, I might recommend a grip change or alignment tip, or something simple like that. Today I decided to write down all the tips/tricks and swing adjustments I have learned over the years. Most of these I've found in the dirt, or I've taken a tip I've seen on TV and made it mine. Everyone's body shape and physiology are different, and I'm not saying these will work for everyone, but these work for me. If you're struggling in a certain aspect of the game, maybe one of these will help. But use them as a starting point. You have to tweak them and make them work for you. Or ignore them all. I'm just saying this is what works for me. Pre-shot routine 1. From behind ball, pick an intermediate target 4-6 feet from ball (a leaf won't work - they move!). That is your new target. Align with that spot and never look at the flag again - just make a good swing knowing you are aligned properly. The Swing Put the ball at your left heel for all shots. For LW and SW, you can move it back 1-2 inches. Turn back with your shoulders only - the hinge will happen naturally. Stop the backswing when your arms are parallel to the ground. (Actually they're much higher, but it feels like they're parallel) On the downswing, keep your hands loose, your head still and just let go! Swing killers in order of lethality: #1 Over-swinging #2 Tight grip (anything more than 3 on a scale of 1-10) #3 Moving your head forward on the downswing Fairway bunkers: Put the ball 2 inches behind your left heel and take a normal swing, just try to hit it slightly thin. Green side bunkers Put the ball at your left heel, and aim 10 feet left of pin. Slightly open the face (not a ton though). Turn back with an arm swing til the club points straight up in the air. Then just turn your waist towards the target. There is no active hand or arm motions - it will occur naturally. The speed of your forward turn determines how far ball will go. Chipping Pick a spot to land the chip, and account for roll using the guidelines below: 9i - 10% (will roll 90% of the way) PW - 25% (halfway, then half of that) SW - 40% (A little less than halfway) LW - 60% (A little more than halfway) These are just guidelines. Adjust for slope and green speed. Wind Never, ever fight the wind! Find out where it will push the ball and account for the direction/distance. Use your regular swing. Exception: Tee it a little lower if you're dead into the wind on the tee. Side hill lies Ball above feet: Move the ball back in your stance and a little farther away from your body. It will go left in proportion to how much higher the ball is above your feet, but because the ball is back in your stance, it will start farther right, so don't overdo the alignment. Ball below feet: Bend at the knees until you're level with the ball. Club up so you don't have to take more than a 3/4 swing. Use an all hands swing, concentrating on keeping your knee flex consistent throughout the swing. The ball will go straight. Rough Ball down in rough: Put the ball in the middle of your stance, and add at least 1 club, possibly 2 or even 3 clubs if the rough is buried or if the rough is especially deep. The more the ball is buried, the lower it will fly, and with less spin. If you can't categorize the ball as either sitting on top of the rough or buried in it, then it will be a flyer. Subtract 1 club and allow for lots of run after it lands. Ball sitting up in rough Play it just like a fairway bunker shot. Thin is far better than fat in this case. Putting No one can tell you how to putt. Find your swing in the dirt and stick with it. There will be good putting days and bad putting days. Don't change what normally works for you just because you had a bad putting day. Or week. Or year.
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