Why prac­tis­ing out of rough will boost your ball-strik­ing

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Play Your Best -

ith all due re­spect to the late Sam Snead and his well-in­tended ad­vice, if you grip your club like you’re hold­ing a baby bird and try to main­tain that light pres­sure, you won’t like the re­sult. Ever see tour play­ers hit shots in slow mo­tion? Do they look like they’re out for a Sun­day stroll? No, they’re tak­ing a se­ri­ous rip at the ball, and the strained ex­pres­sions on their faces prove it.

One of the big­gest mis­takes I see is golfers try­ing to make loosey-goosey, ten­sion-free swings. Things eas­ily get out of sync that way, plus there’s no real power be­hind the shot.The arms and body should be work­ing to­gether, es­pe­cially through the im­pact zone.

One of the best ways to im­prove that part­ner­ship is to hit iron shots out of thick grass. It might sound like a strange prac­tice drill, but be­lieve me, you don’t see peo­ple try­ing to get out of the rough with oppy swings. They might start re­laxed, but the pres­sure be­tween the arms and body builds as the swing pro­gresses. They in­stinc­tively brace for im­pact to sta­bilise the club as it moves through the heavy grass.

That sta­ble feel­ing is what you want on your shots from the fair­way, too. So go find a spot in some rough where you can prac­tice. I’ll give you a cou­ple of keys to help your tech­nique.

WJosh Zan­der,

a Golf Di­gest Teach­ing Pro­fes­sional, is based at the Stan­ford (Cal­i­for­nia) Univer­sity Golf Course and the Pre­sidio Golf Course in San Fran­cisco.

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