Team Member Golf Tip: Get Out of the Sand!

June 1, 2012

The only sand a golfer likes to visit is on a beach but, inevitably, it happens on the golf course, too. For some it can be a daunting proposition but heed a few basic tips and soon your bunker play will approximate a pro’s.

Getting out of sand traps successfully is mostly a function of the proper setup. When taking your stance make sure your feet are positioned at least 33% open (left) to your target line with a slightly wider stance than normal.

Bend your knees in an athletic posture and put 60% of your weight on the left side. Open the club face 45% so it points right of the target line. Now you are set up to hit a standard green side bunker shot.

When playing the shot use a relaxed grip, do not squeeze it to death, you want your wrists and arms loose.

Now imagine your golf ball is sitting in the sand in the center of a dollar bill pointing at the target. Your objective is to enter the sand at the beginning of the dollar bill and blast through the sand, exiting at the opposite end of the dollar bill.

In golf we are taught to hit the ball first then the ground, in the bunker we hit the sand first driving the club through the sand so the ball is ejected actually by a cushion of sand. In order to remove the sand and the ball you will need more force than normal so don’t be afraid to swing at it. Do not flip your wrists, try to keep the face of the sand wedge pointing towards the sky in your follow through.

One further tip, when playing these shots make sure you maintain the same amount of flex in the left knee throughout the entire swing so that your body stays level preventing fat or thin contact. Now, just practice to gauge how hard to swing for various distances.

That’s it!  Enjoy your time at the beach and in the bunker!

Golf Tip: Grooving a Putting Stroke

March 1, 2012

Today marks the beginning of March, harbinger of warmer temperatures and a return to the golf course.  If you’re anticipating spring and summer as much as we are, here’s a training aid that can improve your putting stroke, ensuring lower scores when you finally hit the links. And here’s the good news. You can readily do this one in your office, while on the phone or simply taking a stand up and be healthy break.

Have you had trouble converting short putts of 3 feet or less in the past? Try this easy drill to ingrain a stroke that’s effective and repeatable. You’ll need a yardstick, your putter, and a golf ball or two.

Lay the yardstick on the floor, then place a ball on the middle of it. Set up normally and strike the ball using your normal putting stroke. The goal is to cause the ball to roll off of the other end. If it falls off either side before reaching the end then your stroke is not square and on-line.

Practice until you can get 10 putts in a row to fall off the end of the yardstick. Do this drill often until you eventually have a repeating stroke that is capable of making 20 putts that roll off the end of stick. This should give you the confidence to handle any short putt this coming season. 

Another related tip,  when on the course do not look up until you hear the ball hit the bottom of the hole. Not easily accomplished but abundantly effective.

Golf Tip: Fall Season Primer

October 27, 2011

Golf season is winding down for some but that doesn’t mean that your scores need to head in the opposite direction. In fact, it might be the time to chalk up some of your best scores of the year. One of our team members offers a couple of tips to keep your fall game up to par as well as some ways you can begin to prepare for the next season.

First and foremost, fall weather tends to be cool and breezy so you’ll need to take that into consideration.  Practice hitting the ball lower into the wind and apply what you’ve learned when on the course.

To achieve that, make a few simple changes in your swing.

1. Select one to two clubs extra; ie: use a 4 or 5 iron instead of 6 iron etc.

2. Position the ball a few inches further back in your stance.

3. Adjust your grip, choking further down on the club a little.

4.  Shorten your follow through.  Instead of a high wrap around finish, try to cut the finish off before it reaches your left shoulder. (If you are left-handed, it will be the reverse.)

5. Finally, swing a little easier into the wind to reduce the amount of backspin on the ball. The harder you swing the more backspin is imparted and the higher the ball will go, just the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. 

In addition to a lower flight path, take advantage of the cooler weather to practice your short game, paying special attention to putting and bunker play. It’s a lot more pleasant standing in sand that’s not reached Sahara Desert temperatures, making it the perfect time to perfect your skills.

You’ll also need to remember to take care of you. Lower temperatures mean you might not notice thirst as readily but be sure to drink lots of water in order to stay hydrated.

As the weather becomes less cooperative, forcing less time on the course, focus your efforts on stretching and other off-season exercises that will pay dividends the next time you play. It’s a beautiful and comfortable time of the year for golf so incorporate these tips and enjoy it to its fullest!

Golf Tip: Proper Down Swing Sequencing

June 30, 2011

All golfers know that the game is a lot more enjoyable when the ball actually goes where it’s aimed. One of our team members offers this tip to help achieve that goal. It’s all about the mechanics of the downswing.

To achieve power and accuracy, it’s important for your body to move in the correct order. Specifically, you need to remember that rotation of the hips should happen first.

Upon completion of the backswing, the first move of the downswing should be to turn the hips around and laterally toward the target, ending with your belt buckle directly facing that direction.  Leading with the hips forces the upper body and shoulders to unwind, generating club head speed and an accurate swing path. 

It’s also important to remember to not allow your head to move forward during the swing. It must remain in the same position.

The most common error for the average golfer is to start the downswing with shoulders, arms, and sometimes even hands, in a misguided attempt to hit the ball hard and to steer it in the desired direction.  Instead, the ball is hit too soon and from the outside in, diminishing distance and accuracy.

If your hips turn correctly, your arms and shoulders will naturally follow if you allow them. When the swing is complete, your right shoulder should be facing the target.

So, to recap, full back swing, hips turn and move laterally toward the target, head remains stationary, arms and shoulders unwind. Resist the urge to generate your own club head speed by swinging the club with your hands. Instead, allows the legs and hips to do that work for you!

Off-Season Golf Tips

February 10, 2011

If, like us, you live in an area where weather prevents you from golfing year round, it’s still possible to improve your game in the off-season. One of our team members offers the following tips, most of which can be done in your office. It’s not the same as wintering in Palm Springs but you’ll be glad you did it when it’s once again time to hit the links!

  • Do stretching exercises. Not only will you maintain or increase your range of motion, you’ll also potentially add power to your swing while reducing the chances of injury. Focus on stretching your arms, shoulders and back in particular.
  • Putt! Bring a few golf balls and a putter to the office, pick a spot or place a folded sheet of paper on the floor, and practice hitting to it while on the phone, waiting for responses, or taking a short break from work.
  • Buy a weighted club with a molded grip and use it to encourage  proper hand placement and swing path.  It’s only possible to hold the training club in one way, forcing the hands to grip it correctly and encouraging muscle memory in your fingers and hands.
  • Build strength in your hand and forearms with a hand grip. They can also do double-duty as great stress- reducers.  What’s more, they’re inexpensive and can be readily stored in your desk drawer. 
  • Practice your stance in front of a full-length mirror. Pay particular attention to hand position and posture.

Try these tips and enjoy the benefits when the weather once again allows for time on the course!

Team Member Golf Tip: Proper Alignment

July 22, 2010


Golf  is a favored pastime of both management and staff at our office. We have a club champion and a former golf professional on the team in addition to those of us who aren’t quite as accomplished but enjoy the game nonetheless.  This week’s entry is a golf tip, courtesy of one of our own who offers the following advice.

If you want to be a good player you cannot overlook the basics.

To play the game well,  you must have the proper fundamentals, the most important of which is alignment. Fortunately, it’s also the easiest to learn and practice. Most people have no idea how to properly align their body prior to the golf swing but a couple of key check points and practice drills can help remedy that.

Imagine a railroad track. You stand on one rail facing the other rail where the ball sits.  The rail on which the balls rests points to where you would like the ball to go. Your body is now parallel to the ball.  This means that, when aligned correctly, the body actually aims many yards left of where you would like the ball to land.     

When practicing this position lay a club down in front of your toes or better yet your heels and make sure it is parallel to the line the ball is on.  

Another way to practice alignment is to stand behind the ball in-line with your target. Move your left leg (for right hand golfers) one giant step to the left then follow with the remainder of your body, pivoting into position. That is where your body should aim.

To ensure that your shoulders, hips, thighs and feet are all parallel to the golf ball, hold a club along your chest and shoulders and check to see where it points.  Golf professionals practice alignment every time they hit golf balls on the range. They know if they are not aligned properly they will have to make adjustments during the swing in order to get the ball started correctly and that is impossible to repeat consistently.

So next time you’re on the links, be assured that you’re aimed where you’d like the ball to go and have a great round!