Expert Tips For a Better Golf Game

The top names in golf share pointers on everything from your swing to your shoes.


Bill Stieg |

Whether you’re a regular golfer or an occasional hacker thinking you’d like to get out there again, listen to the advice we’ve pulled together from some of the top names in golf.

The key: Keep it simple. That’s why there’s not a lot of tips here—just some crucial ones that’ll make your round go smoother.

Related: 100 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now To Protect Your Heart

Hitting It Pure: A Top Teaching Pro Shows You How

Keep things simple. Clear your mind and swing easy with driving tips from Mike Bender, the director of Mike Bender Golf Academy at Magnolia Plantation Golf Club in Lake Mary, Florida.

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Address

Feet are just wider than your shoulders, left arm aligns with shaft, ball lines up with left armpit.

Takeaway

Keep the clubhead low as you first take it back. Do not “pick up” the club quickly.

Turn

At the top, you should feel a slight tilt to the right as you load up before the downswing.

Transition

Arms accelerate and weight starts to transfer. Feel your feet pushing into the ground.

Impact

Now rip it—don’t “flip” your hands. They stay ahead of the clubhead until after impact.

Finish

Try to stick your landing: weight on your left side, right toe pointed, no wobble. Nice shot!

Related: Go Bold On The Golf Course

Warm Up The Right Way

Golf is a sport, not a game. Treat it that way. Few hackers warm up properly, unless you call screeching into the parking lot and running to the first tee a warm-up. Instead, show up an hour ahead of time and do this:

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Start Your Heart

Warm up with cardio to get your blood pumping, says FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel says. He uses fitness-band stretches to open his shoulders and hips.

Untie Those Knots

Creaky guys, do like former world No. 1 Luke Donald: Use a foam roller on your back, hamstrings, and glutes before hitting balls on the range.

Plan Your Practice

On the range, don’t just bang away with your driver and a couple of favourite clubs. Work your way through your bag, Donald says. Then pretend you’re playing: envision the early holes and practice those tee shots and approaches.

Roll ‘Em Easy

It’s important to practice short putts—you know, the ones that drive you crazy when you miss. But you can never practice too many long putts, says 2006 U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy. Feeling that freer stroke will help you on short putts too.

Roll It Close

“Learn the scoring game before the other,” as Rory McIlroy did, says his coach, Michael Bannon. So practice chipping and putting―a lot. If you’re a guy who shoots 90, about half of your shots will be chips and putts.

Related: Think Stretching Sucks? Here’s How to Warm Up Better

Slip These Clubs Into Your Bag

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1. Adams Golf Red Pro Hybrid – Swap an iron for a forgiving hybrid that adjusts to counter slicing or hooking.

2. Taylormade Daddy Long Legs Putter – A hefty grip and increased head weight produce a steadier stroke.

3. Nike Vapor Speed Driver Tiger – plays a version of this model; its face angle and centre of gravity can be adjusted.

Play With Your Brain

Out on the course, make sure your brain is in sync with your game. You’re not Tiger Woods, you’re just a guy!

sad brain, bad mood, brain

Be Realistic: Take more club than you think you need and try a three-quarter swing. “You’ll have a better chance of hitting the ball solid,” says Billy Horschel.

Track Your Hacks: This is geeky but it works. If you keep track of your stats (fairways and greens hit, total putts) you can pinpoint your weaknesses, Bannon says. “Then fix the worst thing in your game first.

Related: Cardio Sessions May Literally Make Your Brain Bigger

Act Like You Belong

Etiquette scares lots of infrequent golfers. Relax, we’re all friends out here. But you can put your mind at ease—and reassure your buddies—with these little reminders.

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Etiquette scares lots of infrequent golfers. Relax, we’re all friends out here. But you can put your mind at ease—and reassure your buddies—with these little reminders.

Know the Rules

You must tee your ball behind the markers, up to two club lengths back. On the greens, slide your marker behind your ball without touching it.

Play When Ready

“Keep play moving,” pleads Luke Donald. Sure, in a serious competition, the player farthest from the hole hits first. This isn’t serious. If you’re ready, hit.

Watch Your Step

Don’t walk where another guy’s putt will be going. And when pulling your ball from the hole, your foot may leave a dent. Tap the area to smooth it out.

Repair Your Ball Marks

If your approach shot hits the green, savour the moment—and repair that crater. Use a proper tool to push the damaged turf back; then tamp it down.

Be Nice to the Cart Girl

Whoever approaches the drinks cart first offers to buy for everyone—it evens out in the end. Mild flirting is permitted if your tip is generous.

Related: An Experts Guide To Whisky (Plus, How & Why You Should Be Drinking It)

Sometimes It Pays To Be A Softy

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Many of the balls from big names like Titleist and Nike are engineered for the swift swings of better players. Your stroke is likely much slower, which is why a low-compression ball makes more sense. It’ll coax more distance from slower swings, and spin less off the driver’s face for straighter tee shots. Around the greens, the soft cover will help you put more spin on chips for better control.

Look Your Best Out There

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1. Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses – Top-rank optics, several lens colours, and great style.
2. Nike Polo T-shirt – What McIlroy wears. Dri-Fit fabric stretches for your Rory-like turn.
3. Adidas Ultimate 365 Golf Shorts – moisture-wicking fabric with a streamlined cut.
4. Footjoy Superlites Golf Shoes Athletic – featherweight, and comfy. Walk the course, men.

Related: 3 Style Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Originally published on menshealth.com

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