How many of you have seen the scene from Family Guy where Peter and Lois are out on the golf course and Peter is "teaching" Lois how to play? Peter hits his drive and hits it in the water, and proceeds to tell Lois not to hit it in the water and Lois asks why because Peter hit his ball and the water, and if you aren't supposed to hit it in the water why would he? Peter screams because it's fun, we're having fun ahhhhh!'' He picks up his bag and throws it on the ground. How many times have you felt that way after a bad round of golf where you once again failed to break 100? Breaking 100 is really the first big milestone in golf and it is relatively easy to do, especially if you follow these steps. Keep in mind with these steps that every golfer is different!
When you go practice, nail down your fundamentals. These fundamentals are not just for hitting balls at the range, but for putting and chipping as well. The fundamentals include:
I find posture to be one of things people get wrong, especially in the higher score range. The biggest thing with a posture that most people make a mistake with is being way too tense. In order to play good golf for a long time, you have to be loose. To set up, you want your feet shoulder width apart, in an athletic stance bent slightly at the waist. Your arms should hang loosely out in front of you when you hold your club. Finally, kick out your butt like you are trying to close the car door with it. Keep that stance and stay loose through the ball. The most important thing with your posture is that when you take your backswing, your spine angle doesn't change. Most people that top the ball a lot are in a bad posture and can't keep their spine angle the same. They lift on the backswing then can't get back down.
I'm personally not stingy about what your grip should be and I really don't enjoy playing with people's grip. The big thing is you need to be interlocked or overlapped, see below. I do not recommend the 10 finger grip as your hands aren't forced to work together. I don't care if your grip is weak, neutral, or strong. I know plenty of talented players with each of those grips, but both hands do need to be the same. Do not have one hand strong and one hand weak, I don't think I have ever seen that work out well. Keep your game in parody with yourself. When putting, it’s your grip. Whatever makes you comfortable over the ball is what you should do, but I like my hands pretty close together when I putt.
If you read our blog all the time, you read my top training aids, from last week. You already know how important I think alignment is. Again, I will say, if you are not aimed the right way, you can't play golf. Everyone needs to work on it all the time. Every time you go to the range, spend a bit of time working on alignment. Feet are easy to work on. If you need help with alignment, check out our friends at GoGatorGear. They have a great training polo that you can keep track of shoulder alignment and shoulder turn!
The best ball strikers in the world have one thing in common. Their tempo for each shot they hit is the same every single time. If they are hitting an 8 iron fade, it is the same exact time for backswing and downswing, which keeps the same ratio. Undoubtedly, the best way to work on your tempo is the CTRL Swing Master. It provides you with a metronome set to your tempo that you can use to groove to the same tempo every single time you swing! Go check it out here (Add Link)
To break 100, you have to do away with the duffs, tops, and shanks. Now even talented players do these sometimes, as you see on the PGA Tour. The difference is it is very rare and only happens once in a blue moon. Now keeping consistent ball striking is easier than it seems. Keeping your fundamentals in mind and rotating around your spine is a great way to strike the ball well. Using my towel drill where you put a towel under both arms and hitting punch shots is a great way to work on keeping your body in sync and striking the ball well. The other great ball striking tool is the CTRL Swing master. It will help you master your ideal path, face, and tempo that will help with ball striking. The last two pieces of good ball striking are ball position. How far forward or back is your ball? To tell you the truth, it's different for everyone but my general rule is wedges are in the middle and you move slightly forward with each club up. Driver should be off your lead foot big toe. The last part is weight transfer. If you are under or over transferring your weight it can cause a lot of problems with ball striking. If you find you are hitting it fat a lot, you could try checking and making sure you are transferring your weight back to the front side for impact.
The biggest note for chipping is you CANNOT hit more than 1 chip on a hole. Take the sand and lob wedges out of your hand if you can. I will never say don't use a lob wedge, my 58 degree is one of my favorite clubs, but I also know that it can't do everything. Sometimes I need to pull out a 9 iron or even a hybrid and hit a bump and run, or even putt from off the green. I have as much pride in my wedge game as anyone, but sometimes it's easiest to not pull out a wedge and instead take a club with a more guaranteed outcome even if it doesn't seem as cool, your worst putt from off the green is often going to be 100 times better than your worst chip.
The last key to breaking 100 is putting. If you have more than 36 putts a round, get your butt on the putting green. I remember when I was a junior a good friend of my dad's gave me a putter and he used to help me with my golf game. Mainly mental and course management. I went out and played with him once, and on the 7th green he turned to me and said, "Nick, you are already at 17 putts, you are going to have more than 40 putts a round at this point. If I ever find out you have more than 36 putts a round again, I'm taking my putter back. 3 putting is unacceptable." I remember I spent every second of practice for the next 2 months on the putting green. Putting became my biggest strength after that. I guess the external motivation of wanting to keep my putter was enough to change everything. The fastest way to take strokes off your game is to shore up your putting.
There are a lot of ways to skin a cat. Getting better at golf can be done in a lot of different ways. Breaking 100 comes down to limiting your mistakes, whether they are mental or physical. The physical mistakes are really easy to limit. Go practice your game and get more consistent when hitting balls so that you know where the ball is going to go! This will help immeasurably when trying to break 100. Get onto the green, two putt, and get out of the hole.