photo credit: Zach Dischner Aiming off refers to avoiding a fixed hazard by shaping or moving the ball away from the hazard in route to your target. The term “aiming away,” refers to a straight shot used to go past a hazard. “Aiming over” is when you fly the target.
Aiming off means that the ball will be falling away from the hazard as it comes to a stop. This technique allows you to make errors with few consequences. When faced with a hazard such as a bunker placed to the left front of a relatively small green, aiming off is ideal. The idea would be to play a fade (left to right) and target the right side of the flag. Hopefully the ball will roll to the right safely on the green.
Take one or two extra clubs than the shot calls for (if it calls for a 7-iron, use a 6 or 5-iron). Use an open stance at address, aiming slightly left of target (right-handers). Play the ball back in your stance nearer your right heel than the center point. Choke down, angle your hands forward and maintain a firm grip on the club. Use a three-quarter swing (to shoulder height). Pull down and through the impact zone with your left arm and hand. Restrict your follow-through with your clubface pointing towards your target. The ball will fly low and straight with much more roll than a typical shot.
photo credit: hex1848 This shot depends on the position of your ball in the rough. If it's sitting relatively high in the grass, a fairway metal would be ideal if there is a long distance to the green. A 5 or 7-metal wood is preferable.
Use a relatively open stance and aim slightly left of your target. Play the ball in the center of your stance. Swing parallel to your body taking the club on a steeper and, ever so slightly, out to in swing-path. On the takeaway, do not drag the clubhead through the rough since it could tangle in the grass. Make a smooth downward swing and do not quit on the shot. This shot will fly high with a slight fade and land softly.
photo credit: Dave-F As well groomed as tournament courses are, PGA Pros are still faced with shots from hardpan. Hardpan can be found anywhere and is caused by too much sun exposure and not enough water. It's found in the rough as well as the fairway or woods. On hardpan, try the following:
1) sweep this shot with a long iron, never use a fairway metal-wood. 2) play the ball more forward in your stance nearly off your left heel. 3) stand a little taller in your address position. 4) make a slow controlled swing and maintain your address position throughout the entire swing.
It's easy to top this type of shot, the ball must be hit solidly and cleanly with a firm swing.
photo credit: foxypar4 When some golfers want to hit the ball farther they tend to tense up and swing harder. Nothing could be more injurious for more shot distance. Tension is the root of all bad golf shots.
It starts with the grip. You should hold the club lightly enough so that someone can gradually pull it from your grasp. Your upper body must also remain relaxed. Prior to your shot, inhale deeply, taking four or five deep breaths to relax your upper body. To relax your legs try bouncing slightly up and down by flexing your knees. This will keep them relaxed and useful during the swing. For maximum swing results you must remain relaxed over the ball and during your swing at all times.
photo credit: nsaplayer How should a good swing really feel? A. Address – keep weight on the insides of both feet. B. Waggle – a mini swing that relieves tension and duplicates the actual swing. C. Backswing - the shoulders start the backswing by pushing the arms back, followed by the hips. The lead knee turns slightly away from the target, the lead heel rolls inward. D. Top – Weight should be loaded on rear foot, club is near or close to parallel. E. Downswing - started by the hips and legs. F. Impact – Weight move from rear to lead foot. Lead foot flattens, rear foot comes up on toes. G. Finish – weight on lead side, body facing target (maintain position until ball lands).
photo credit: OCVA Competition is what the game of golf is really all about. It unleashes the competitive spirit, if not against the opponent, against the golf course. Playing against the course is the first goal but when a wager is added in the mix, it then becomes you against your opponent.
Many golfers get so caught up in the match against the opponent that they forget their main job which is to score against the golf course. The winners on the PGA Tour are focused on playing well against the course. The winner of any tournament is always the player who played the course for 72 holes better than anyone else played it.
Next time you make a wager, play the course and not your opponent.
photo credit: mrnoy9n One of the most popular shots on the PGA Tour is the hybrid or five-wood, chip shot. This is the ideal shot when faced with a fluffy lie, just off the green, with plenty of green between the golf ball and the pin.
With a conventional chip-shot, it would be very easy to catch the ball a bit heavy and leave the ball half-way to the cup. With a hybrid or five-wood, the clubhead simply glides through the grass.
TIPS: 1) Play it like a putt, choke down and address the ball as you would a putt. 2) Keep the clubhead low throughout the swing. 3) Make sure to carry the ball over the fringe, once on the green it will run just like a putt. 4) Use your normal putting grip.
Your hands must stay ahead of the ball at impact, that's what the Tour Pros are so good at. To practice this, take a 5 or 6 iron, feel like you are hitting a low punch shot and emphasize your hands being ahead of the clubhead at the bottom of each swing. Fact: you don't have to hit “up” on the ball to get trajectory. Keeping your hands ahead at impact, compresses the ball, which creates spin, height and distance. At your next PGA Event, listen for the sound of their (Tour players) shots. . . now that is compression !
photo credit: eMaringolo Chipping from hardpan can be a relatively difficult shot if you do not know exactly how to play it. To make this type of shot less difficult play the ball back in your stance. Make sure that the heel of your club is off the ground which can be done by standing closer to the ball. The shaft should be perpendicular to the ground.
Swing with a putting stroke and make sure you keep the clubface square to the target. It is critical that you make contact with the ball first without scuffing the ground behind the ball. Hitting behind the ball will bounce the club into the ball and ruin the shot. Keep your lower body completely still and swing primarily with your arms as you would in putting.