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Sand Trap Tips And Tecniques
By Lee MacRae
Many golfers have a tremendous fear of sand traps and bunkers on the golf course. Let's take a look at some handy tips to improve your play from the bunkers.
One way to prevent dipping and hitting your ball heavy when playing a long bunker shot is to concentrate on keeping the knees "on the same level" throughout the swing. Note that we say he "on the same level" and not just "level". The idea is to stop you from lifting up or bending down. If you lift up, either you hit the ball thin or you run the risk of hitting it fat if you bend down again. If you bend down first, you'll almost definitely hit the ball fat.
Trying to a hit tee from under your ball is a good drill for getting your drives in the air. It's also a good drill for sand play. Here's how it's done: Tee up your ball in a bunker, and tee it up high. It is the tee from under the ball. Now tee it so that the tee is just barely showing. Hit it out again. Now position the ball so that no part of the tee is visible, the bottom of the ball is flush with the sand. Practice until you can consistently hit the tee out of the sand, then play the same shot while pretending that the tee is still under the sand. The lesson here is that the golfer hits the sand and the sand lifts the ball out of the bunker. So at no point did you think of hitting the ball itself.
Sand shots put such fear in the hearts of most golfers that they rush the swing fast and jerkily, thus making the good sand shot a matter more of happenstance than of planning and skill. The simple way to remedy this fault is to swing as slowly as possible. You'll find this lesson useful all over the golf course, but it is most useful in sand. Remember that the whole point of the sand shot is to miss the ball. You hit the sand, and the sand lifts the ball out of the bunker. Swinging faster usually doesn't help. Swinging very slowly will give you a greater feel of hitting the sand behind the ball, take the tension out of the shot, and ultimately give you the confidence needed to play any shot out of sand.
Knowing the basic techniques of bunker sand play will alleviate fears. Remaining calm and keeping some simple techniques in mind will turn your sand play in to childs play. Now head off to play golf.
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More Thoughts On Golf
Controlling the Course
In order to play the course well, you need to control the ball, it's a vicious circle. Control the ball, control the club, the body must be doing the right thing, the mind must be at ease and then you can control the course. We get two types of golfers at our school. Those who hit there ball and follow it around the golf course and it leads them on a very merry chase, and those who actually pick a target and direct, not steer, their golf ball toward the target. Basically, golfers swing different, but they all play the same. It's just a different target that they're playing to, a very long hitter is picking one out at 300 yards, a shorter hitter maybe picking one at 125 yards, but everybody needs to pick targets and break the course up into manageable bits of real estate. Very much like you'd cut your steak at night, you cut it in size bits that you're comfortable chewing and that's the way you have to chew up the golf course. So learn to control the golf ball, if you can control the ball, you must be controlling the club. If you're controlling the club, your body must be doing the right thing. If your body is doing the right thing then the minds probably in the right place and has been programmed correctly. Then, and only then, do you have any chance of controlling the golf course.
...by Jack Lumpkin
Every golfer knows that if you are playing a shot into the wind, you must hit more club. If you're playing a shot with the wind, you must hit less club. Even professionals have a difficult time playing in the wind. The average score in a tournament is always higher when it is windy.
...The Golf Channel
Fairway Woods Sets
Get a weighted Practice Club. Swing one of these properly (smoothly), and your technique will improve, just like Vijay�s does.
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Eliminate chunks and skulls by using your body and not your hands to move the club. Try keeping your arms glued to your body in the backswing and downswing.
...Golf Tips magazine
Driving Irons Golf
All golfers should use standard length clubs unless he or she is short or tall. Standard length clubs allow players to hit the ball on center a higher percentage of the time, thus increasing distance and accuracy. In recent years, light weight Titanium driver heads and Ultralight graphite shafts have extended driver playing lengths from a standard 43-431/2" to 44-46". This is good news and bad news. The good news is, when you increase length, you will increase distance. The longer the club, the more club head speed generated , thus more distance. The bad news is, the longer the club the more difficult it is to control, thus less accuracy. To put this into perspective, the following information will be helpful. A driver hit on center at 43" = 250 yds. 43 1/2"= 262 yds. 44" = 270 yds. 44 1/2" = 275 yds. 45" = 275-280 yds. As you can see a significant increase in distance is achieved up to 44". After 44", distance increases only a minimal amount . CONCLUSION - It is not worth sacrificing accuracy for the minimal amount of distance gained past 44". Keep driver playing lengths to 44" or less
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Phil Harison, who introduced everyone from Ben Hogan to Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods during his 60 years as the starter on the first tee of the Masters, has died. He was 82.
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Golf Article Of The Month
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Golf Swing Aids
Make A Huge Difference
By: Joe Tierney
The swing is one of the critical aspects of golf training, and the perfect swing can mean the difference of many strokes. It is a basic technique of the game, and needs to be practiced with patience and care. For people who would rather train in privacy and at their leisure, many companies offer swing aids.
The swing aid is generally a circular guide mounted vertically on its stand, which offers support and guides the club in a neat arc, as perfect as you can get it. Repetitive use of this device trains your muscles to move in the correct arc, the end of the club outlining the circumference of a perfect circle. Using a training aid is a good idea when you don't want to waste time at the course, practicing the basics. The device is portable to a limit, and can easily be installed in a backyard or even a garage for uninterrupted training time. Most of the units come with a training video, which demonstrates the correct usage, and the difference it makes etc.
The perfect swing involves maintaining the correct posture, rolling the wrists in the follow through and the correct grip. The swing aid cannot teach you how to grip a club, but it does make it awkward for you to make a complete swing if you hold the wrong grip. It is important to note here, that swinging away with the wrong grip, on a swinging aid can lead to awkwardness, maybe even a sprain. It is advisable to initiate lessons with a pro, and then practice on a swing aid machine, fully knowing the posture and the grip you are supposed to maintain.
Like everything else during the last few years, there is a digital aid in perfecting your swing, called the swing tempo device, which helps calculate the time duration of upswing-downswing, so you know you are doing it right with every club that you use. This is made for somewhat advanced users, but is a useful tool to graduate to. Of course, many die hard golfers would say they never needed a machine to teach them golf, but that is an argument that many people have about digital-manual equipment, and is not one that will ever have a conclusion! The better way to look at it is, whatever it is that helps you achieve the desired swing, go for it!
Finally it is good to remember that golf isn't a game very easy to master, and it is a combination of variations like the correct stance, the right grip - not too hard not too soft, and the right swing and follow through, to name a few, that will make you a better golfer. It is indeed necessary to constantly evaluate yourself, and to use the right methods to improve your game. The golf swing aid is a definite advantage in the learning process, but the sooner you are independent of it the better. Of course it can always be kept for practice, but dependency on the device wont give you confidence in the long run.
One last device I'd likes to mention is the 'thumb caddy' endorsed by the PGS tour pro Brad Faxon. It is a little device made of nylon and rubber, that fits on your club and guides your thumb into a perfect position to deploy power as well as control, helping you to maintain a firm grip, and the right position on the club, making you avoid hook shots.
It's easily carried in your pocket, and may be just what you've been wanting, check it out! At the same time, it is worth remembering that this is intended for practice alone, and not allowed in tournaments.
Joseph Tierney is a golfer and college student from Florida. You can find out more about improving your golf swing at Golf Swing Tips http://www.simplegolfswing.info/
Some Quick Golf Information
Don't grip the club too tightly. A tight grip inhibits a smooth swing and follow-though. Also, keep the grips on your clubs in good condition. Worn grips force you to hold the club too tightly. Replace the grips on your clubs as they get worn and smooth. When first learning the grip, keep a club around the house and practice gripping and regripping the club a few minutes each day. Remember to keep fingers secure and arms relaxed.
...PGA of America
Q-Link and Trion:Z are worthy.
...Golf Tips magazine
Ogio Golf Bags
Prime Movers. Notice how my upper left arm and chest are connected. It�s this connection that initiates the backswing and encourages the club to be moved by the pivot of the body and not the hands and arms moving independently. In addition to the left arm and chest, movement of the shoulders and back should also contribute to the finish of a powerfully coiled backswing. Don�t ever begin your backswing by lifting your arms or rolling your wrists by themselves.
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Sun Mountain Golf Bags
Just about any golf professional can fit you for new clubs. If you don't have anyone specific in mind already, make a few calls. Most clubfitters have several brands of clubs they fit for, but some only fit for one brand. Find out what brands each fitter has available and make sure it's a brand you'll want to buy.
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Assuming the texture of the sand is similar, and the ball is not plugged, the technique for hitting out of a greenside bunker remains the same for shots up to 30 yards (27m). The key to making this shot is hitting the sand about 1 to 2 inches behind the ball, throwing the sand forward with the ball. For longer shots the only thing that changes is the swing's length. Rhythm and tempo remain the same.
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Kirk Hanefeld, Director of Golf Operations at The International in Bolton, Massachusetts and Titleist Staff Member for 25 years, does not turn 50 until May 24, but he secured his Champions Tour card for 2006 with an impressive runner-up finish at Qualifying School in November. This is the second installment of what will be a periodic feature on titleist.com chronicling Kirk's rookie season on the Champions Tour.
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Azinger slams 'unpopular' Ryder rival Faldo
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