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There's much more to learning this game than hitting it long and straight.

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        Probable Golf Instruction

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July 12 /10

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Click on any of the following Newsletter topics or just scroll down the page:

You're Oh So Close with Your Swing
Aiming the Putter: Better Alignment
Putting Imagery -- Just Imagine!
Game Analysis & Wedge Backspin

Going away on a golf holiday this winter with a group? Need a golf draw that pairs each player with each other player exactly once? or twice? or not at all? I have developed draws that meet those requirements. Take a look at them by CLICKING HERE, Golf Draws.

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Oh So Close with Your Golf Swing

It seems like its been rounds since you had your swing. You know you can hit it well; you just can't find it. It seems so far away! But, is it?

Let's take a look at what happens between the club and ball to produce those banana slices and pull duck hooks. How far off is your swing that produces those monsters?

The type of shot your swing produces depends on how your club approaches the ball and the clubface is oriented relative to this approach.

Usually, we call this approach the swing path, and the orientation of the clubface is either square, open or closed to the swing path.

To hit the ball straight towards your target, the following must be true:

1. The swing path of the club must be along the target line at impact. Since the club actually follows a curved arc, it is only moving along the target line for an instant; at impact. Ideally, the club path is from inside the target line, to along the target line (at impact), to inside the target line again.

2. At impact, the clubface is square (or perpendicular) to the swing path (and thus the target line).

The majority of golfers actually swing the club outside-to-inside with the face angled to the right of the swing path (called an open clubface). The result is a slice.

At times, the slicer closes the clubface at impact so that it is square to the swing path. This produces a pull to the left the flies fairly straight.

In the diagrams above, the angles are much larger than reality. In the pull shot above, for instance, the angle of the swing path to the target line is about 20 degrees. The angles don't need to be very large to cause some very errant golf balls.

I fired up my Golf Ball Trajectory Program (Excel spreadsheet) to come up with the values in the tables below. The first table is for a short/medium hitter and the second table is for a longer hitter. All distances are carry distances and are measured in yards.

The first column are straight shots due to a swing path of 0 degrees (same as target line) and clubface angle of 0 degrees (square to target line). The third column is a pull fade due to a swing path of -1 degree (club moving left of target line by 1 degree) and clubface angle of 0 degrees (sqare to target line but open to swing path).

Short/Medium Hitter
   
Straight
Pull Left
Pull Fade
Pull Slice
Pull Slice
Push Hook
  Swing Path
0
-1
-1
-1
-2
2
  Clubface
0
-1
0
1
2
-2
Driver
Carry
203
198
201
198
188
166
Lateral
0
-4
5
14
23
-19
3-wood
Carry
173
171
173
172
165
155
Lateral
0
-3
4
10
17
-16
5-iron
Carry
160
161
159
157
152
158
Lateral
0
-3
2
7
14
-15

Longer Hitter
  Swing Path
0
-1
-1
-1
-2
2
  Clubface
0
-1
0
1
2
-2
Driver
Carry
223
219
221
218
204
183
Lateral
0
-4
6
16
26
-23
3-wood
Carry
201
199
199
197
189
182
Lateral
0
-4
5
12
22
-21
5-iron
Carry
172
173
172
169
164
170
Lateral
0
-3
3
8
15
-17

2 degrees is a very small angle. If you were to put two yard sticks together at one end, and separate the other ends, the angle in between the two sticks would be 2 degrees when the separation distance of the other ends is only 1.3 inches. It wouldn't take much of a change in your swing to change the angles by 2 degrees.

For a pull/slice (swing path -2 degrees, clubface 2 degrees open), a Driver for a short/medium hitter would travel only 188 yards down the fairway (15 yards shorter) and bend 23 yards to the right of the target. The difference in the swing, compared to a straight drive, would be pretty well undetectable. They would look the same.

So, the difference between your best, straight drive down the middle of the fairway, and that slice that misses the fairway and travels 15 yards shorter, is very small indeed.

Some patterns from the values in the tables above:

1. Less errant results with more lofted clubs.

2. Longer hitters hit it more errant with the same swing errors.

3. Less loss of distance with more lofted clubs.

With regards to less loss of distance with more lofted clubs, you've probably noticed that iron distances are drastically effected by how solidly you hit the ball. Miss the sweet spot by a 1/4 inch and you can lose 10 yards of distance.

So, again, a very small error in contact leads to a huge error in distance.

When you're not swinging well, hitting banana slices and coming up a full club short on your irons, your swing is actually very close to hitting shots your best. You just need to fine tune your swing a bit (easier said than done, however).

Get your own FREE one-round analysis using Shot-by-Shot, and determine your real strengths and weaknesses.

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Aiming the Putter

 

As most golfers use the putter more than any other club. It's their biggest stroke saver. Here are two methods that can be used to align yourself while putting.

Method #1: Pick an intermediate target

Put yourself about 10 feet behind the ball so that you are on a line which passes through the ball to where you are aiming (I'll talk about how to read greens next week).
Pick something 3 to 6 feet in front of the ball along that line (a discolouration in the grass, remains of an old ball mark). If there is nothing on the line, judge how far left or right of the object the line is and use that information toline up the putt.

Address the ball aiming the putter at the spot you identified. Once done, take your stance in relation to the putter face without moving the putter. Now you are alligned and can focus on the distance.

 

Method #2: Aim the putter first


If you have difficulty aligning the putter, do the following. Place the putter behind the ball. Now stand behind the ball on the line on which you want to aim. Your head will be slightly behind and above the ball as you hold the putter and are yourself facing the hole.

Once you have the putter aimed at your target, and holding the putter in position, walk around the putter and get into address position lining up your feet and shoulders relative to the putter.

Now of course this takes practice, especially keeping the putter in place as you move and align the rest of your body.

As I have said before, most golfers misalign on most of their shots. That's the first thing a professional will checkwhen he/she begins hitting or stroking the ball off the intended line.


That's what I try to provide with my website. A way that you can self improve. You'll get a lot better with this strategy and pay a lot less.

I can send you a laser putting device that attaches to your putter so you can practice your aim, and, you can even putt with it attached. Take a look HERE .


 Laser Putting Trainer

Please complete this Golf Newsletter Feedback form so that I can provide you with more great golf tips you're looking for in 2010.

Putting Imagery -- Just Imagine!

There have been a number of studies over the past few years on the effects of outcome imagery of performance in golf. Many of these studies have been published in the "Science and Golf" series by the World Scientific Congress of Golf. One in particular published in 2002 by Taylor & Shaw investigated the effects of outcome imagery on putting.

The study focused on 25 unskilled and 26 skilled golfers. Each group was divided into 3 sub-groups: the first practiced positive imagery before a putt, the second practiced negative imagery before a putt and the third (control group) practiced no imagery.

The main finding of the study was that negative images had a detrimental effect on putting performance of both skilled and unskilled golfers. The benefit of positive images had limited performance benefits. Thus one should avoid negative imagery before a putt. The second major finding was that outcome imagery influences performance through the mechanism of confidence.

A major benefit of positive imagery is an avoidence of negative imagery. Golfers at all levels can benefit from improving their positive imagery skills. Most PGA professionals are not qualified to assist players with improving these skills. That's why many PGA Tour players have turned to employing sports psychologists in recent years. But, of course, sports psychologists are relatively expensive.

Check out my suggestions for Mental Golf Improvement.

Check out the optimum loft for your Driver based on you club speed. You can even download a version of the spreadsheet I use for my research. CLICK HERE.

 
Trying to find answers on my website? Here's how.

1. Go to my Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. There's a link to it on my pages from the left hand menu near the top of the page, just below the Search icon. It's called "FAQs." You then click on the graphic icon and you'll be taken to my database page. For your convenience, here it is:
FAQ

I've answered hundreds of questions over the past 6 years and have created a fairly large database. You can search it out. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, submit a question and I'll answer it.

2. On all of my web pages, there is a search feature in the top left section, right underneath my LOGO. Just place your search keywords in the search box, select "This Site" below it, and then press "Search." What will come up is a Google search of the pages on my site with relevance. You can also search the entire internet by selecting "Web" instead.
Go to my main page now: Home or just check the top left menu of this page.

3. Also, directly under the Google Search area, you'll find a pop down menu called "Your Topic." Select the topic of interest and press "Go."

I would suggest you bookmark my main page and/or your specific areas of interest so that you can find them easily in the future. On each page at the very top, there is a link you can click on:
"Click here to add this page to your favourites"

Hope you find all you're looking for.

You can learn more from NEW Titleist Pro-V1 by clicking HERE.

 

 

A list of resources that have been used to produce this newsletter can be found on my web site here.

Hope I provided some useful ways for you to become better prepared for you best golf season ever.

Ken Tannar

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