Why You Can’t... (and how you can)

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One of the great things about the game of golf is that, on occasion, all of us, even the highest handicapper, will hit a shot like a pro. It might be a well-struck drive, hitting a par-5 in two or holing out a bunker shot. Whatever the case, once in a while, the stars align, and for a brief moment, we pull off a Tour-quality shot.

Having been around Tour pros for many years, I can tell you that one thing is certain, however: There are things they consistently do on the golf course that you and I can’t. That’s why they’re the game’s greatest.

And yet, of course, you’re an expert in your respective field. Whether you’re a doctor, a chef or a real estate agent, in your work, you’re a “Tour pro.” There are things you know that most of us don’t.

Like you, Tour pros are good at their jobs, and there are shots they hit that we can’t always pull off when we play. That’s reality. But let’s look at what they do well and try to learn from them so we can improve our games.

...hit it 300 yards on a rope consistently
To crush it, you must use all your power sources (correct wrist action, a controlled arm swing and a full body pivot) effectively.

Start your downswing by uncoiling your lower body first so your club swings around your body “on plane.” This will help you hit it in the center of the clubface and help you square the club at impact.

...control your distance with all clubs

Tour pros know not only how far they hit each of their clubs, but also the distance gaps between them. The key, though, is how they fill the gaps between each club: by adjusting the length and speed of their swings. This ability to dial in shots helps Tour players make tons of birdies.

To shrink your distance gaps, work on making half and three-quarter swings. You’ll find that the distances the ball travels and the trajectory you have with different-length swings will help you control your distances much better.



...spin the ball on command
When you see the pros hit the ball past the flag and then zip it back to the pin, it doesn’t happen because they got lucky.

Tour pros are great at making perfect contact with a descending blow into the ball, plus they use the right equipment. To spin your shots like a pro, use a soft-covered ball, keep your grooves sharp and make solid contact. Hitting into perfect turf on great greens doesn’t hurt either.

...curve the ball on command
If you want to move the ball from right to left, I suggest you strengthen your grip slightly at setup (see photograph at right). Turn both hands to the right a few degrees. The “Vs” created by your thumbs and forefingers should now be pointing toward your right shoulder. This stronger grip will encourage you to rotate your hands and wrists over through impact (see photograph at left), which will place a “draw or hook” spin on the ball and make it curve from right to left (for a right-handed player). If you’re a lefty, do the opposite.

To hit the ball from left to right, weaken your grip slightly. Turn both hands a few degrees to the left so that the “Vs” are pointing more toward your chin (see photo at left). This helps your hands and wrists “hold off” the club and keep the face open at impact (see photo at right). As a result, the ball will move from left to right. Make sure both hands “match”! For a slice, they both should rotate to your left; for a draw, they both should rotate to the right. This will help your hands and wrists work together.
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