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On this page over the next few weeks we will feature tips from top players and coaches. Some times they fly in the face of what is deemed conventional golf , this first tip – most coaches will advocate keeping your eye on the ball David is saying use a drill when you focus your eyes on the hole ( Ok if you are not putting well the it is worth a try)
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE HOLE TO IMPROVE FEEL FOR DISTANCE
I’ve found that most golfers have trouble with long putts because they don’t let the putter swing freely. They become as ball-bound on putts as they are on their full shots. They are too aware of the stroke, become a 100% conscious of the mechanics. They tend to have a short backswing and they over accelerate through the ball, breeding erratic rhythm and inconsistent results.
One good drill I recommend to improve feel for distance is to look at the hole while you putt. That’s right. Focus your eyes on the target at address and keep them there when hitting the ball. Feel the putter swing back and through like a pendulum, changing direction at the same speed. Practice this on the putting green from about 10 feet and then gradually work back to longer putts. This drill helps you use your eyes better to judge distance and teaches you to trust what you feel.
VISUALIZE A HOLE BEHIND THE HOLE
One way of insuring that you don’t leave a putt short is to visualize a mythical hole about a foot behind the real hole. If you don’t make the putt, it’s a lot better to leave it a foot long than a foot short. I try to set up square to the target, and in my mind I feel that I’m square to the target. But you’ll see here that I’m ever-so-slightly closed. The main thing is that I’m comfortable and have a good look at the path to the hole. Note the target lines on the putter face. They really help in my setup. I line the ball up between the two vertical lines and watch so that the cross line is square to the hole. Then I stroke it firmly into the cup.
Add distance to Your Golf Drives by Improving your Club-face Contact
What can you do to increase your distance off the tee? Focusing your golf swing on hitting the ball in the centre of the club face – centre contact – will give you the maximum distance for your swing and club-head speed. Understanding where you currently make contact can help you make the adjustments necessary to optimize your driver distance.
If you are lucky to have a state of the art driver then you can set it to play a fade or a draw
What is Centre Contact? – You hear them say sweet spot.
Back when drivers were made of real wood they had an artificial insert in the middle of the club face. The insert was typically attached by screws, and the placement of the screws usually defined the centre of the club-face, giving rise to the phrase “hitting it on the screws” when referring to a particularly well-hit drive.
Of course modern metal drivers don’t have screws, but the concept remains the same: Hit it on the screws and it goes farther – and the difference can be significant.
How important is Centre Contact?
For instance, a 100 mph swing will drive the ball approximately 240 yards if hit perfectly square. A hit that is ¼ inch off-centre will decrease distance 2-3%, or 3-5 yards. A hit that is ½ inch off-centre will decrease distance 5%, or 12 yards. A hit that is ¾ inch off centre will decrease distance 10-15%, or 25-40 yards!
In this case we are referring to a ball that is hit in the middle of the club-face as well as hit with a club-face that is square to the club path. Keep in mind, though, that ¾ of an inch is only about the diameter of a dime. With today’s big club faces, you could be substantially farther from centre, which could be costing you
How can you tell where you are Contacting the Ball?
Club manufacturers and club fitters use “impact tape” stuck to the club face to determine where you are contacting the ball. Check with your local PGA Pro and ask to use some impact tape if you want to check your impact location.
Make Your Own Budget Strike Detector
Or you can create your own “budget” impact detector with a range ball and a magic marker. Just make a pea-sized dot on the range ball and align your ball on the tee so that the dot is directly in the back. Hit the ball, and a mark will transfer to your driver face. Presto! You’ll know exactly how far away from centre you are making contact.
Make Set-Up or Swing Adjustments to Improve Centre Contact Consistency
The next step is to make whatever adjustments to your set-up or swing needed to make better centre contact. Sometimes it will be as simple as moving closer or farther from the ball at address. Other times you may need to make a swing adjustment. Set-up adjustments are far easier to incorporate than swing changes, so that’s a great place to start. If you need to make a swing change, try taking your specific issue to a PGA Pro. You’ll improve much faster than trial and error on your own.
JACK NICKLAUS, SEPT. 1988
PRETEND YOUR PUTTERSHAFT IS GLASS
I putt my best when I have a sense of gentleness in my hands, my stroke and the way the ball comes off the putterface. Then the ball rolls consistently, which might just be the secret to fine putting.
To promote those feelings I visualize the putterface as being extremely limber, almost as flexible as a length of rope, which means the only way I can get the clubhead to swing truly is to stroke very softly, smoothly and slowly. If the limber shaft image doesn't seem to be working, I'll replace it in my mind's eye with a delicate glass shaft that will shatter if I'm even a tiny bit harsh at the ball.
Vital to swinging the putter this gently, but with sufficient speed to roll the ball the required distance, is a very light grip. Equally important is retaining that softness in the fingers throughout the stroke -- in other words, no involuntary grabbing once you've set the club in motion.
Learning how to hit your drives in the centre of the club face can improve your driving distance. You can quickly check your impact tendencies with impact tape, or a simple magic marker and a range ball. Knowing where you make contact on the club-face can help you determine whether you need a golf swing change or a set-up change. If you are off by ¾ of an inch or more, you could pick up an additional 20 to 40 yards off the tee by improving your contact position.
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