Golf Tips Archives - Troy Denton, PGA Professional - Golf Instruction

Stay Safe in the Heat

PGA TOUR - 2006 Sony Open in Hawaii - Final RoundPlaying in the heat can effect your golf game and, even worse, your health.  But, as long as you’re prepared, you can still have fun out there, while staying safe from the heat, too. Here are some tips for when your golf game coincides with a heat wave:

  • It is recommended to drink 16 ounces of water every 2-3 holes to stay hydrated.  But don’t wait until the day of your round to drink-up.  Stay on top of hydration by drinking water on the days leading up to your outing.
  • Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.  Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 and apply it at least 30 minutes before heading outside. Skin damage and skin cancer due to sun exposure is an ever growing issue with golfers.
  • Wear sun glasses or a hat to protect your eyes. UV rays can do irreversible retina damage to your eyes.
  • Dress in light colored clothing, and wear golf clothes that are wicking and breathable.  If the course allows, wear shorts..
  • Consider investing in a cooling towel.  These towels are activated when soaked in water and wrung out.  They stay cool for hours and easily wrap around your neck.
  • Book an early tee time.  Get on and off the course before the sun is the strongest.
  • Use an umbrella, especially if you’re walking.  There are push cart accessories for umbrellas, which allow you to push your cart without having to hold your umbrella.

Remember these tips the next time you’re headed to the course on a hot, summer day.  Have fun, but be safe!

Hitting off of Hardpan

hardpan

Hitting from hardpan can go wrong in a hurry if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Hardpan is usually a flat, hard, dried out area with little or no turf. It’s typically found in low irrigation areas or places where golf carts are often used.

Hitting from hardpan requires a certain type of shot. Since the ground is much harder, the club is likely to bounce into the ball if the club head hits behind the ball, even by a little. This creates a blade or thin struck shot.

One way to help this is to use a lower lofted iron because of the lower amount of bounce on the club.  Another option is to use the original club, but lean the shaft forward a little to minimize the bounce on the club.

Playing From the Rough

The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance - Final RoundWe all find ourselves in the rough from time to time, so it’s important to make the right decisions on club selection, grip and stance in order to minimize the damage for that hole and your overall score.

In the rough, you’re usually dealing with thick, long and sometimes damp grass.  This affects club head speed and the direction of the ball upon impact.  With this in mind, your best bet is usually a more lofted club, such as a wedge, that will allow you to punch the ball out of the rough, and lay it in a well positioned spot in the fairway.  A higher lofted club might rule out getting on the green, but it also diminishes the risk of not getting it airborne enough to get out of the rough all together.

Grip your club firmly and choke up an inch for stability.  This helps with control when the grass wraps itself around the club neck, causing the club to twist in your hand.

And remember – don’t get too greedy with this shot, something that’s especially tempting when you’re in a deeper lie.  The goal is to get yourself back into good position on the fairway, and onto the green in the next shot.

 

Watch Out for Fliers

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - Final RoundKnowing when a flier is possible can be the difference between a birdie and a bogey or even worse!

The first indicator of whether the shot maybe a flier is the length of the grass your ball is in. If your ball is in taller than normal grass like rough there is a good chance it could be a flier. It only has to be tall enough to be able to get in between your ball and clubface. Another indicator is the wetness of the area around your ball. If enough moisture gets between the ball and the clubface this can also create a flier.

Once you know that the shot may turn into a flier, now you need to know how to compensate for it. A flier is a shot that has less backspin than normal and usually has a lower trajectory. This creates a shot that rolls farther and may land farther also. The best thing to do is to take less club to compensate for the added distance.

Chip Shots vs. Pitch Shots

golf-ball-cupChip Shot

A chip shot is meant to be a low trajectory shot with minimal spin. The goal is to get the ball on the green as soon as possible and have the ball roll to the hole like a putt. To hit a chip shot you want to use as little wrists and possible almost like a putt. The club head should never get above your hands.

Pitch Shot

A pitch shot is meant to be a higher trajectory shot with more spin. The goal is to land the ball closer to the hole and due to the spin and trajectory the ball will stop closer to the original spot at which the ball landed. To hit a pitch shot you now want to use your wrists. The club head should get above your hands now in order to create spin and trajectory.

Playing in the Wind

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - Round Three

Against The Wind

Playing into the wind will typically decrease distance and increase spin. This creates a shot that will go shorter and stop sooner than a usual shot. Playing into the wind will also in magnify certain shots. For example, a cut may turn into a slice or a draw may turn into a hook.

Strategies for playing against the wind involve…

  • Moving the ball back in the stance to create a lower trajectory
  • Playing a stronger club to compensate for the lost distance
  • During the forward swing make sure your hands are well ahead of the ball at impact to create lower trajectory

With The Wind

Playing with the wind with typically increase distance and decrease spin. This creates a shot that will go further and roll farther than a usual shot. Playing with the wind also make it harder to curve the ball. A typical cut or draw may go straight instead of curving at all.

Strategies with for playing with the wind involve…

  • Playing a weaker club to compensate for the gained distance
  • Land your approach shots shorter than usual to compensate for less spin
  • While hitting off the tee, tee the ball higher and stay behind the ball through the shot to increase the trajectory to maximize on gained distance

Keep Your Grooves Clean

Contrary to popular belief grooves do not put spin on the golf ball when you strike it. It is a clean face and loft that puts spin on the ball but it is the clean grooves that help make the face clean when you strike the ball. When you strike the golf ball, grass, dirt, and water are supposed to go into the grooves so that the golf ball makes as clean contact with the face of the golf club as possible. If the grooves are not clean – all of that grass, dirt, and water will be in between the golf ball and the face of the club.

To clean the grooves of a club it is best to use a tee or other special groove cleaning tool. If you keep your grooves clean the ball will spin and be more predictable from shot to shot.

Ways to Grip the Golf Club

Baseball Grip/Ten-Finger Grip

This grip is when you grip the golf club with the top hand index finger and bottom hand pinky finger are side by side touching each other. This grip is recommended for people with weak hands and wrists. It gives your hands the most freedom to turn the club over.

Interlocking Grip

This grip is when you grip the golf club with the top hand index finger and bottom hand pinky finger interlocking each other. This is recommended for people with small hands. This grip unifies the hands the most out of the three different styles. This cuts down on wrist movement. This grip is good for people who have have active wrists.

Overlapping Grip / Vardon Grip

This grip is when you grip the golf club with the bottom hand pinky finger on top of the crease between the top hand index finger and middle finger. This is a popular grip for golfers with large hands. This grip is a good medium of the previous two grips. It unifies the hands but also keeps them free at the same time.

Play From the Right Set of Tees

What set of tees should you play from? Most of the time when there is a group of guys they all seem to decide to play from the back tees. Is it really fun to always be hitting long irons, hybrids, or even woods into the green?

You are there to have fun, right? There is no shame to play from a shorter set of tees. Play from the set of tees that make it fun but still a little challenging. For example, if you hit the ball 275+ yards every drive it is okay to play the back tees. If you drive the ball 225 every time you would not have as much fun playing from the back tees as the longer hitter.

The different sets of tees are meant to even the playing field for shorter and longer hitters. They are not meant for a specific age range or gender.

Golfing in the Rain

Most people will try to avoid it but sooner or later every golfer finds themselves in the rain every once in a while. When this circumstance arises it is best to be prepared. When you are prepared, you will not worry about the rain as much and have a clear head.

When golfing in the rain keeping dry is the key. An umbrella and a towel is a must. Other rain gear like rain gloves, rain pants, and a rain jacket are very helpful also.

Change with the course. When the course starts to get wet and the rain is coming down the course plays differently. The ground is softer so this makes golf shots plug or stick close to where they first hit. This also means that the greens will be slower. The wet conditions will also decrease the spin that you can put of golf shots due to the water on the club face and golf ball.