Why You Can’t... (and how you can)

...chip it off the tightest lies
For many players, tight lies are the kiss of death. When the grass is really closely mown, you need to trust that your technique will give you perfect contact (remember you always want to hit the ball first, then the turf), or all sorts of things can happen: fat contact, skulled shots across the green or, worse yet, the “chip yips.” When we watch Tour pros play these shots, they don’t seem like that big a deal, but they are.

Don’t tell your greenskeeper (or mine), but a great way to gain confidence when playing off tight grass is to hit a couple chips off the practice green. To begin, first lay a club down a couple feet in front of your ball. The goal is to hit the ball over the club. If you aren’t confident with this shot, you’ll probably try to “lift” the ball, your wrists will flip, and the ball will skid into the club (see below right).

If your technique is good (see below left), however, you can make a confident stroke, pick the ball right off the green and control its trajectory, distance and spin. To do this, make a small swing with your weight leaned slightly forward before and throughout the swing. Wrist action is the enemy in this shot, so keep the left wrist flat at impact, and good contact will occur.


...Perform at the highest level in front of spectators
Part of a Tour pro’s job is to play in front of large crowds while television cameras and thousands (at times millions) are trained on his or her every move.

Although professionals do get nervous during tournaments, the consistency they have in their games (and the confidence that breeds) allows them to focus on the shot at hand and continue to pull off great shots. They’re no different than elite athletes in any other sport.

Great athletes are so mentally tough and focused that they can (most of the time) put all the outside elements aside and focus on their jobs.

Keep in mind, if you feel nervous while playing, that’s a good thing. It means you’re playing well, and the more often you play well, the easier it’ll get to play under pressure. Embrace your nervousness and let it help you play your best.

...average under 70 for a year on the world’s most difficult courses

Tour pros’ games are rarely satisfied with the state of their games. That’s one of the reasons why they work so hard at improving. The time they put into their games pays off too: They hit long, straight drives and controlled approach shots and have accurate short games. It’s easy to see why the world’s best players average under 70.

While you may not play as well as Tour players, take a close look at your game to identify areas that need the most work. Then set some goals as to how best to improve your game. With quality practice, you’re sure to get better.

Steve Dahlby, PGA, is the director of instruction at The Golf Club Scottsdale and Forest Highlands Golf Club. He has taught numerous Tour players

Source : www.golftipsmag.com

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