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Fig. 1

Golf Tips

Chip Shots

When a Tour pro faces a relatively straightforward chip shot from just off the green, he'll generally ask his caddie to remove the flag. Why? Because the pro is trying to hole the shot. He's not thinking about getting up and down. He's focused on the down part. There's no reason that you shouldn't start thinking about holing your share of chip shots, too. Many of my students have mastered the relatively simple technique that ensures consistently crisp contact on chip shots: they place their weight on their forward foot and leave it there throughout the swing. They position the ball back in their stance and grip down on the club-almost to the shaft-for control. They take a relatively short backswing and hit aggressively through the ball, maintaining their chipping until well after impact. And yet many aren't able to take their chipping game to the next level. What's holding them back? Their stroke. The chipping motion should be straight-back, straight-through, just like a putting stroke. Too many amateurs make a full swing in miniature in that they take the club back to the inside and then bring it to the ball on an inside-to-square path, then allowing the clubhead to cross back to the inside after impact. This type of motion simply doesn't give you the accuracy and precision you need when chipping. To develop a straight-back, straight-through chipping motion, lay two clubs down on the ground parallel to one another just off the practice green, pointed at a hole about 15 or 20 feet away. The clubs should be just slightly more than a clubhead's width apart. Place a ball on the ground between the two clubs, take your best chipping posture and chip the ball toward the target, making sure that the clubhead stays between the two clubs going back and through; your clubhead should extend straight down the target line after impact and not cross over the clubs to the inside.
See Fig. 1
Hit 15 chip shots this way. You'll be amazed at how many chips go in or lip out once you've gotten the hang of it. Note: if you have difficulty maintaining a straight-back, straight through motion on longer chip shots, try using your 7- or 8-iron instead of a wedge. By using a longer club, you'll be able to easily get the ball to the hole without making any drastic changes to your chipping motion.
--- By Barry Goldstein.

Count On Pitch Shots

I have found a little trick to avoid looking up and sculling pitch shots from 20 yards or so in.

I simply count "one," aloud after striking the ball. I do not look at where the ball is going until I have said, "one."

It helps me make better contact more consistently on these shots, and I get a lot more of them close to the hole.

In time, you will make the count silently.
- By Stan Leibowitz, Toms River, N.J.

4 simple secrets to hitting straight golf shots

1. First, change your grip to the "palm grip." If you are having problems hitting straight shots, consistently, grip the club differently. Think about holding a hammer. When you grip a hammer you hold it in the palm of your hand. This gives you added control. Do the same with your golf clubs. Grip the clubs in the palm of your hand, not in the fingers as most golfers are taught. You will find that this grip is more natural and more comfortable. This will serve 2 purposes: first, it will help eliminate the rotation of the club face at impact (even on off center hits) and it will help you to stop thinking about your grip and enable you to relax.

2. Second, reduce your swing to 1 simple plane.To improve consistency, you need to learn to simplify your swing so that it is easily repeatable. You can do this by simply changing the way you address the ball (with respect to how you line up your arms and the club). In a traditional golf swing, when you address the ball your wrists are bent when they grip the club. This way, you need to cock your wrists as you go back, then hold that angle as you move your hands into the "slot." (this is what all the new laser trainers will teach you to do) But, if you want to simplify things, then grab the club in such a way that from the side, your arms and the club shaft form a straight line. Now, when you take the club back, hold that straight line (as if there was a broom handle taped to your forearm that ran down the shaft of your golf club). This will force you to only rotate your shoulders and only go back as far as you can without breaking your arms.

3. Third, widen your stance to get more stability. Next, I want you to widen your stance so that your feet are more than shoulder width apart. This will give you more stability but more importantly, it will limit your hip rotation. This, again, helps to "quiet" down your golf swing to improve consistency and keep the ball heading straight down the target line.

4. Fourth, make sure you are squared to the ball at impact.Finally, I want you to be sure that your entire body is facing the ball at impact. That includes your chest, hands, hips, thighs and shins. By having your entire body squared at impact you will hit consistent shots straight down the fairway because your arms will be the ONLY part of your body moving. And, they will move down the target line. (Squaring your body at impact will be much easier given the other 3 "adjustments" we have made to your swing) Follow these simple changes and you will learn how to hit straight shots and lower your scoreguaranteed.

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