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One of our members suggested that instead of having questions sent to some of our resident pros via PMs or scattered amongst other threads, the questions could be all filed here so that everyone could benefit. So, if you have a question for James from Golf Circuit or any of the other pros who frequent the site, post them here.

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Awesome thanks Matt - This is a great idea!

 

Any fellow readers out there who would like a PGA Pro's opinion on swing, equipment, fitness, or anything else related to the game please don't be afraid to post your questions as a reply here and we'll be sure to get back to you!

 

 

 

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I have a couple topics we can talk about, I am not scared to get the ball rolling this is mostly geared to better players because that's what I relate to the best.

 

TEMPO ~ I personally am using the Tour Tempo Training Aid and it dictates a 3:1 ratio in the full swing that most pga tour pros fall into (27/9, 24/8, 21/7, 18/6 frames backswing/downswing). If the video is shot in 32FPS then the 27/9 tempo is a total of 1.06 seconds that is still pretty fast. I think the big issue for a lot of golfers is that the backswing and down swing are way off. I have a tendency to get fast in transition causing my swing to end up at a 2:1 ratio or 2.5:1 ratio and I never have complete control over ball flight when that happens.

 

Getting to my point, Do you feel that the use of a Metronome and Tour Tempo of 3:1 ratio training aids are the best way to "teach" someone that doesn't have natural good tempo how to get the internal clock working properly?

 

 

COURSE MANAGEMENT / STRATEGY ~ I personally have the thought process that you don't need to be a big hitter to shoot good scores, you can probably help yourself lower your score some just plotting your way through a course understanding risks and making a high percentage play. I think this is something that instructors tend to also not teach much as majority of students have big swing flaws that cause inconsistencies in distance and accuracy.

 

How would you go about teaching someone else to process and manage their game and the course during a round? What tools might you give them to plan a course strategy that could help them envision the course better?

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I have one. I've finally managed to hit draws and fades on command. The next thing I want to do is control ball flight.

I switch between draws and fades by changing my stance with the ball in the middle.

 

What are the steps to hit higher/lower shots? Ball position? Finish? Stance? Grip?

 

Thanks!

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@jmiller065 - great questions! I'll try to address them individually.

 

1. Regarding Tempo: I think that metronomes can be excellent training tools - especially for players who have a hard time with consistency and developing rhythm. Regarding the specific ratios that you mentioned, I think they are ok starting points but it's important to find what works best for you. It doesn't really matter how fast you transition as long as you are sequencing properly. Make sure you're not starting your downswing with your upper body, hands or arms - Everything should start with the lower half first. Keeping this in mind might just help you from being so quick at the top. A great drill to do is to get into your stance, cross your arms over your shoulders, take your back swing, and then practice holding your shoulders back while you fire your hips. You should feel your core getting pulled as you develop some tension.

 

2. Regarding Course Management and Strategy: Great questions. I totally agree with you that you don't need to be a big hitter to shoot low scores, and I think that the majority of golfers are more concerned with hitting high pretty looking shots than writing down low numbers on their scorecards. The best advice I can give to players struggling with course management is to keep it simple. If you have clubs in your bag that you don't use often or don't hit well, take them out. If you need a straight shot and nothing in your bag goes straight except for your 9 iron, hit it. As far as tools that will help, I think that looking at a picture of the hole you are about to play and planning how you are going to play it us way underrated. Sure - you might have to make some adjustments along the way but it's much better than just getting up there and trying to whack it as far as you can every time. It's like the old saying goes, "if you don't care where you're going it doesn't much matter how you're going to get there."

 

Thanks so much for the questions - keep them coming!! biggrin.gif

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@ stevenhw8 good question! Controlling ball flight is a great skill to have, so congratulations on your progress so far. As far as controlling the trajectory of your shots, here are a few of the things I would recommend:

 

For Low Shots:

 

  • Experiment with your ball position: Putting the ball further back in your stance should make the ball fly lower.

  • Experiment with a shorter backswing and follow through: Many pros who are feel players like this approach when they are trying to keep it down.

  • Club up and swing easy: When you hit the ball hard with a full swing you put a lot of spin on it, and spin causes lift. If you club up and swing easy you're likely to put less spin on the ball - resulting a lower flight.

  • Come in a little flatter than normal: Once again, a flatter plane should impart less spin on the ball and cause less lift.

 

For High Shots:

 

  • Club up and open the face of your club: Believe it or not you can hit a flop shot with a 5 iron. I know this sounds ridiculous, but just try it on the range. Once you hit a couple good you will get the feeling for what hitting a really high shot is all about.

  • Put the ball on a tee: I know, this sounds like cheating, but if you've got the option always put it on a tee if you're looking for extra hang-time.

  • Come down a little steeper than normal: A steeper angle of attack is likely to put more spin on the ball, which is going to cause more lift and a higher flight.

 

Hope these tips help, and don't be afraid to ask me about any of them!

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Golf Circuit(James),

 

I have a quick question,

 

How do fix a hard push?

 

I have stopped the casting and have focused on turning my wrist over. I know my weight is fine, I never really hang back. Most of the time I actually have my weight to far forward (70/30) which flights the ball well. Unless I am using driver or fairway, Please help I have been having this problem for two years now.

 

Thank you for doing these Post as well!!!

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    Put the ball on a tee: I know, this sounds like cheating, but if you've got the option always put it on a tee if you're looking for extra hang-time

 

 

When can you do this? On the range, or anytime? I may never fear driving behind the trees on number 6 again if I can put it on a tee for my second shot.;)

 

 

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When can you do this? On the range, or anytime? I may never fear driving behind the trees on number 6 again if I can put it on a tee for my second shot.;)

 

I know you are joking around... However, I see way too many people get on par 3 tee boxes with irons in hand and not use a peg.

 

I was taught very young age that the tee box is the only place you can control your lie, why not put it on a peg even using an iron? I just tee up the ball enough so that the bottom barely hovers over the blades of grass, you really can't see the tee with the ball sitting on it when it comes to anything less then fairway metal.

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I know you are joking around... However, I see way too many people get on par 3 tee boxes with irons in hand and not use a peg.

 

I was taught very young age that the tee box is the only place you can control your lie, why not put it on a peg even using an iron? I just tee up the ball enough so that the bottom barely hovers over the blades of grass, you really can't see the tee with the ball sitting on it when it comes to anything less then fairway metal.

 

I've heard this quite often, but the only thing I tee up is my driver. Doesn't matter how much I push the tee down, putting a ball on the tee makes me think "Swing up."

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Arnold Palmer said a long time ago. That if they make it for a reason why would you not use it. I find that I do hit a little higher off a tee. But I always tee my irons about 1/4 inch.

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I've heard this quite often, but the only thing I tee up is my driver. Doesn't matter how much I push the tee down, putting a ball on the tee makes me think "Swing up."

 

Lord, we have a par 3 at my home course that will on occasion play as short as 93yards (front pin, way front tee box), I swing a 56 degree wedge for that and even that I tee up with something nice and stubby!

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Yes, I was sort of joking, but I did have to reread that one line because the only time I really want the ball to go higher is to go over something, which typically will be on the second shot if I had a wayward drive. For a second, I was picturing number 6 yesterday when I went behind some trees. I thought he was advocating putting it on a tee then. Since water was in play, I chose to go the low route, leave myself a 40 yard pitch and got up.

 

As far as using a tee on par 3's with iron shots, recently, I have gone to not using a tee on par 3's where I have an iron. I use them on the holes where I tee off with hybrids, but not will irons. Of course, the reason for this is for some stupid reason I get on a par 3, with and iron and see the ball sitting there on the tee and take a 300 yard swing at it pull it way left hit it too high and give myself an opportunity to get up and down from 30 to 40 yards left of the green.

 

On the other hand, I can drop the ball on the ground, and say, ok this is a 150 yard (or whatever) approach shot, make a nice smooth swing and get it on the green. I swear I can hit an iron from a divot better than I can from the tee. But is a mental problem I have and am really trying to fix.

 

Smooth swings go straight.

 

I do not make a 300 yard swing with other clubs anymore. I occasionally hit a 300 yard drive (drove the green yesterday on a par 5 that was 305), but it was "200 yard" swing. But put the stupid ball on a tee and hand me a short iron and Bubba and John Daly take a short swing in comparison.

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I've heard this quite often, but the only thing I tee up is my driver. Doesn't matter how much I push the tee down, putting a ball on the tee makes me think "Swing up."

 

Interesting comment, never thought about that really. I feel my best strikes on irons off a tee has a divot that starts 1/2" to 1" in front of the tee and the tee stays relatively still. I tend to have my divot start at 1/8" in front of ball like I were hitting it off the turf anyways so by teeing it up lower it resuce the change of hitting it WAY high on the face and still hitting down on the ball.

 

When I say I tee it up an iron I mean it's LOW, like bottom of the ball barley hovers over the blades of grass. like 1/8" the wooden cup touches the turf and only thing that is actually above the ground is that cup so to speak. I have my 19* hybrid tee'd about the same for shots with it off the tee box, will go a touch higher to "swing up" and get a higher ball flight. My 4 metal depends it gets iron height for a low ball, probably 1/4" for an average ball, 1/2" for a high ball. My Driver is the only thing that you'll see a lot of tee sticking out of the ground on.

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Matt how high are you teeing the ball up and where are you putting it in your stance? I'm with the other low handicap guys here. You get to tee it up, why not? I'd say experiement some on the practice tee and move it back in the stance a bit.

 

James you are overly kind to let us have at you here. Thank you so much.

 

I've got one for you. Practice time. I figure that since the short game represents sixty percent plus of the shots that we should use about two thirds of our practice time around the practice green (traps, chips, pitches, putting.) I work lots of hours but have lots of flexibility so I carry a wedge, shag bag and putter in my van. Try and do 15 to 20 minutes around the green four days a week, one day on the driving range if I'm playing twice that week or two days on the range if I'm only playing once. (I hit about 100 balls when I practice mixed between long and short shots.) I rarerly go a day without at least holding a club and practicing my grip. Sound about right or should I make adjustments.

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@skihippy - great question! A hard push is caused by your clubface being open in relation to your swing path at impact. Here are a few things I would recommend experimenting with:

 

1. Move your ball position forward. This will give your clubface a little more time to square up through impact.

 

2. Strengthen your grip slightly. Rotate your hands clockwise on the handle of the club. This should also help square the clubface up at impact.

 

3. Check your alignment. I see an amazing amount of players who have swing issues that can be traced back to bad alignment. Ensure that your feet are lined up parallel to the target line, and the rest of your body should follow.

 

Give this stuff a shot and let me know how it goes!! biggrin.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pros, I have a pre-shot routine but it took a long time to develop and get something that works well for me personally. What suggestions do you have for middle handicap golfers or people that struggle with alignment to get into a pre-shot routine that helps them aim more properly. What benefits are there from having a good pre-shot routine for posture, alignment, relaxation over the ball, etc?

 

My personal pre-shot routine follows in the case you wanted to tweak it or use it for an example either way figured I would share what I do in detail.

~ I get to the ball and do all analytic process of the shot (distance, wind, elevation, etc)

~ I pick a shot and club that I want to play and pull the club out of my bag walking back behind the ball on the target line roughly

~ I pick a target on the line where I want to start the ball trace it back to a spot about 3 feet in front of the ball

~ I make a 1 maybe 2 swings practice swings (I'll take 3 if i still can't visualize and feel the shot) at 20% speed just visualizing the ball flight and feeling the club head weight to get my muscles lose

~ I commit to the shot and walk into the ball at a angle set my right foot forward and set the face square pointing at the spot 3 feet in front of the ball

~ I then look at my target in the distance and allow my body to fall into place

~ I check my alignment one last time with the face pointing at my spot I picked on the target line

~ I think "smooth" then pull the trigger to start the swing

 

Majority of the time this ends up getting me close to square or maybe 1 or 2* open to the target line, a lot of times with my length I don't mind playing a high baby cut into greens or off the tee, sometimes can control it easier then the baby draw.

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Just a quick question jmiller - how long does that take? Sounds like a lot but I'm suspecting it happens in very little time - I think it's important for our middle to higher handicapper friends to learn that a good preshot routine speeds up play rather than slowing it down.

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@jmiller065 thanks for the question! Sounds like you've got your pre-shot routine pretty dialed in. If it's working I wouldn't change it, as long as it's not taking too long.

 

Regarding alignment, I would suggest practicing at the driving range with an alignment aid such as a club or one of those orange sticks. Go through your entire pre-shot routine, address the ball, and make sure that your feet are parallel to the target line. Hit your shot and see where it goes. If it ends up on-line you're in business. If it doesn't you know that the problem is not with your alignment but with something else going on in your swing.

 

Also, one last thought. Have you ever worked on developing a post-shot routine? wink.gif

 

 

 

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@revkev - excellent question. Here's my thoughts on how most amateurs should spend their practice time:

 

If you are hitting the ball well on the course, do not go to the driving range at all. Avoid it like your mother-in-law.

 

Seriously though, unless you have something specific that you are working on improving don't go to the range. Go to the putting green and practice putting. When you think you've gotten pretty good at putting, go practice more putting. When you think you're a "really good putter" practice some more.

 

I also suggest practicing shots from inside 100 yards. If you have a short game practice area this is a great place to do so. Make sure you are practicing hitting actual "shots" and not just lobbing the ball out there 75 yards with no target.

 

Finally, practice getting up and down. This is a skill, and the more you work on it the better you will get. Actually hit a pitch shot, and then grab your putter and try to sink the putt. Practice getting up and down.

 

I know it's fun to go out and slap a bunch of drivers into the fence, but it's not making you any better (in fact, it is likely making you worse). Use the driving range only when it's absolutely necessary, and when you head there go with a specific goal in mind. Don't just go "hit a bucket of balls."

 

 

 

 

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