Sunday, June 21, 2020

Golf Game Plan for a Round on a True Links Course - guest post

Picture this scene on a true links golf course with a 25 to 30 km predominant crosswind...let's say, for arguments sake...St. Andrews Links in bonnie Fife, Scotland.

St. Andrews Links golf course

What clubs should you add/take out of your bag for this round of links golf?

This is what you need to do:

Take out of your golf bag (remembering to always keep 14 clubs or fewer at all times):

    High lofted fairway woods

    Lob wedge

Add to your golf bag:

    1, 2, 3 iron or low lofted Hybrid

Your entire golf plan for the day will be centred around keeping the ball flight low and reducing spin on the ball.

Let us work through a Par 4 and a Par 5 scenario:

                Driver -  Firstly we will peg the ball up a little lower than normal.

                             Take your set-up for the shot on the right of the Tee box. (Left to right wind and vice versa for wind off the other side)

                        The object is to hit the ball at the left-hand side of the fairway and let the ball drift back to the centre.

                      On a Reachable Par 4, the plan is similar—aim for the left side of the green and let the ball drift back.  Always assess where the hazards are and plan accordingly.

                    

NOTE: Bunkers are mostly very penal on a Links!!

    On a Par 5 the plan is to keep your 2nd  shot on the fairway...

    This is where your long irons come into play.

    Work your yardage out and try hit the shot to your favourite distance (say 100 yards)

    Your approach to the green will be different to that of a calm day. (No Lob Wedges)

    Take a 6, 7, or 8 iron, hold the golf club slightly down the shaft, and move the ball back of centre in your stance.

    Now the trick is to take a three-quarter or half swing at the ball     

    Your Target landing area is the front edge or just short of the green, depending on circumstances

    This will allow the ball to roll out towards the pin


Chipping Tips:

                Should you miss the green, opt for a 7, 8 or 9 iron and run the ball to the pin. (NO Fancy Lob Shots!!)

                  On this kind of day, you will miss many greens due to the wind, and therefore this is where you can save your score!!

                Object is to get the ball on the ground ASAP to negate the wind's influence.

 

Putting Tips:

                Possibly the most difficult part of the game under these conditions!

                Widen your stance, make sure you are balanced and set your putter.  Remember, the wind will have an effect on the ball speed and roll, so establish a few factors:

    Uphill

     Downhill

     Slopes 

     Wind direction

    The biggest mistake most amateurs make is to rush the putt. (try beat the gusts of wind!!)

    Select your line (pick up a mark on the green where you want the ball to start out and set the putter for this target)

     Don't overthink the putt and keep your stroke as smooth as possible

     When ready, pull the trigger remembering to watch the ball through the strike

    Your objective is obviously to hole it, but at worst you only want a 2 footer for the next putt

 Putting tip for all conditions on a long putt – Imagine the hole size to be that of a 2 foot drum and try to get the ball inside this every time.

RESULT:  NO 3 PUTTS!!

 

In Summary:

Playing links, or any other course for that matter, requires a pre-round plan and thought process before and on the golf course. 

Your chipping will MAKE or BREAK your round. So do as the Pros do and practice your chipping and putting regularly.

 

A final thought to playing Golf in windy conditions:

DO NOT TRY TO HIT THE COVER OFF THE BALL. This will only add spin and miss directed shots. 

Try to hit every shot at 75 – 80% velocity.

Use a longer iron when approaching the green.

Try to keep your rhythm throughout.


GUEST BIO:

Joel Steenekamp has played golf for over 45 years and participated at Top Class Representative level in South Africa.(current handicap index of 4.5 @ 71 years of age).

As a previous co-owner of one of the largest golf retail businesses in SA, he enjoys sharing his Vast Knowledge and Expertise, with Beginners and Accomplished golfers alike.

Joel believes in keeping Instruction Simple. (KISS). His latest venture,  Golf and Wildlife Experiences, a tour business with a Difference, in SA, has been stalled, due to COVID 19.

The Website is in Development.


Photo: By Chris, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32927609


Monday, June 08, 2020

Golf Mobility Exercises for More Power - guest post


Mobility in golf may be one of the most underrated factors that leads to playing better golf. 

You wouldn’t go run a race or play a soccer game without stretching properly beforehand, and golf should be no different! While amateur golfers don’t need the same mobility as a soccer player, it’s very important to warm up properly to play your best. In fact, studies have shown that .golfers are more prone to injury than rugby players or hockey players! 

Mobility workouts decrease your risk of injury while playing golf, and also allow you to fully rotate your body and generate more power during your swing. 

Limited mobility, especially in the hips, makes it harder to generate a full-body rotation, making it much harder to gain power during your downswing. Doing a few mobility exercises and stretches before your round will allow you to achieve a full range of motion, and produce better golf shots while you’re on the course. 

 Here are our top four mobility exercises you should do before your round: 

1. Foam Rolling: For Back and Leg Mobility If you don’t have a foam roller, you need to invest in one straight away. They’re cheap, yet incredibly effective in loosening up tight muscles and helping you with mobility. For golf specifically, you should use a roller on the back of your legs from your calves up through your hamstrings, and then spend a good amount of time using the roller for your back. 

To use a roller effectively, lay on the ground and put the roller underneath your shoulders. Lift your knees off the ground so that your body is pressing against the roller, and push yourself back and forth on the roller. Here’s a good video demonstration of how you should be using a foam roller on your body before you hit the links:  

2. 90/90s For Hip Mobility:  The 90/90 stretch meant to stretch out your hips, which is vital for a full golf swing. To perform this stretch, start by sitting on the floor on a yoga mat. Place one leg in front of you at a 90-degree angle, and the other leg to your side also at a 90-degree angle (hence the 90/90). 

From this position, put your hands on either side of your front leg and slowly lower your chest towards your front knee. Hold this position for about 30 seconds to a minute, then switch to the other leg. Here’s a video demonstration of this stretch:

   

3. Wall Slides For Shoulder Mobility There are several variations of wall slides depending if you’d like to work on strength or mobility. This is a basic movement that works on shoulder mobility and posture, both of which are important to your golf swing. 

This move greatly improves shoulder rotation and posture, which translates to better ball striking on the course. To perform the wall slide, stand with your feet, butt, back, shoulders, and arms flat against a wall. Your arms should be out at a 90-degree angle, similar to the starting position of a shoulder press. From here, slide your arms up until they’re fully extended, and slide them back down until you feel a good stretch in your shoulders and upper back. Repeat this as necessary for about 10-20 reps. 

 Watch this video for a great demonstration of this move:

   

4. Mobility on the Range: While these exercises are all excellent for your golf game, there are a couple quick things you can do once you get to the course to further loosen up, all of which can be done with a golf club in hand. 

 Here’s what I like to do before I hit a single shot: 

 1. Take a golf club with one hand near the grip and one near the head, and fully extend it above my head for about 20-30 seconds. 
2. From this position, pull the club behind my head as close to my shoulders as I can, and hold this position for another 20-30 seconds. 
 3. Next, I reach down to touch my toes to stretch my hamstrings for another 30 seconds. 
 4. Lastly, I hold the club out in front of me and rotate from right to left, mimicking the rotation of a golf swing. 

Doing all these moves loosens up your muscles before your round, and helps you hit better shots from the get-go. Try doing these moves to improve your mobility in these key areas and you’ll be sure to notice your swing improve! 




Bio: Brandon runs a golf website called Fairway Approach, focused on helping golfers take a smarter approach to golf by offering game improvement guides and equipment reviews. He’s been playing amateur golf for over 15 years, and is originally from Syracuse, NY. During the day he’s a technical recruiter within the financial industry, helping software engineers land jobs. Instagram: @fairwayapproach Site: fairwayapproach.com
 

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