DJ's golf tips
SHORT GAME BASICS
Narrow your stance
Start with weight on left side
Ball position back (generally)
Hit down and through (take a divot)
Dominant right side
Use your feet
Extend right arm and hold your finish
GENERAL SWING BASICS
Keep hands soft. See 2 or 3 knuckles of left hand.
Grip sits in the fingers of the right hand, not in the
Aim straight or to the left of your target, never right.
Forward of centre, (but changes with slope)
Driver = Ball Forward; Short Shots = Middle to Back.
Hands are 'set' going back and 'un-set' coming down.
Train hand speed.
Club goes back on line and turn. Feel throwing position.
Weight stays on inside right foot.
Transfer weight going through with footwork. Weight must
go forward and finish on left side. Right foot ends on
BUNKER PLAY BASICS
Lay 2 clubs down in the sand (Picture
A) with one club aiming left of your target and one to
Your feet & body should be lined up
with the club aiming left and your club face should aim
to the right (Picture B), which means that your club
face is always in an open position. From this set up,
simply swing along the line of your feet.
As you can see from my address, the
club head starts from the position where I will enter
the sand and the ball is in line with my left heel, with
my weight slightly on my left side. The biggest mistake
that bad bunker players make is that they don't transfer
their weight. They hit off their back leg.
Notice in Picture C how I have
totally transferred my weight onto my left side. This
movement forward is the same in any shot you hit.
I have also demonstrated (in Pictures
D, E & F) hitting bunker shots with my right hand only.
This is the best drill that you will ever do. Simply
feel as if you are throwing a ball under arm.
My set up and swing is the same with
two hands. It is just that too many golfers grip far to
tightly with their left hand and then pull down. Only
with your right side will you create speed and it is
this speed with an open face which results in getting
the club head to slide through the sand.
Again, notice in both Pictures C & F
how I have finished balanced on my left side.
Now trust yourself!
IMPROVING YOUR GAME
For the straight forward chip shot, the address position
should be compact - with the feet relatively close
together and slightly open (parallel to a line pointing
just left of target). Importantly, the weight must
favour the left side, with the ball placed back in the
stance. The club is very much an extension of the left
arm - you are comfortably over the ball without feeling
cramped or that you have to reach towards the ball.
All too often I see short backswings with a long follow
through. This can cause problems - practise lengthening
the backswing a bit, but keep the follow-through compact
and controlled (a). Most importantly, the angle formed
by the right wrist and arm must remain constant
throughout the stroke (b).
Pictures (a) and (b)
The old adage, "if you have the green to work with, use
it", is quite valid. Once the correct technique for
executing the chip shot has been mastered, the right
club for a given situation must be selected. Experiment
by playing shots from different positions near the
green, with the aim being to use the available putting
surface. Remember, whether using a 7-iron to produce
more roll, or a wedge to carry the ball over a bunker or
pond, the same basics apply.
Once chipping becomes less of a fear, you are ready to
work on bunker shots. Most golfers know that to play
this shot correctly, the club-head of the sand-wedge
must effectively slide under the ball, entering the sand
behind the ball. (The less sand trapped between the
clubface and the the ball, the greater the club-head
speed, therefore the further the ball will carry.)
Firstly, the clubface must be set in
an open position (a) and gripped accordingly (b). Do not
grip the club with the leading edge in a square position
and then rotate the hands so that the face opens.
Pictures (a) and (b)
The role of the right side cannot be over-emphasised and
playing right-handed chip shots is an excellent way of
developing right-side control. Here the aim is to
maintain the angle between the right wrist and arm
throughout the shot. One of the common faults is to
attempt to 'scoop' the ball into the air - trust the
loft on the club to do the work. If the wrist angle
remains constant and crisp contact is made with the ball
by hitting down and through, the battle is almost won.
With practise you will develop a feel for distance, but
first the fundamentals must be correct.
It is a good idea when practising the chip shot to pause
at the top of the backswing and check the angle of the
wrist - it must remain constant from address.
The so-called 'yips' are a mental
condition and, although psychologists are baffled by it,
it is no secret that it is born out of lack of
confidence. By employing a technically incorrect method,
a golfer is likely to find all sorts of errors creeping
into the stroke and loss of confidence will result.
Moving over the ball (changing the angle of the spine)
is likely to cause shots that are hi "thin" or "in the
teeth" (hen the ball is struck with the leading edge of
the club). or "fat" (when the leading edge of the club
digs into the turf behind the ball).