‘Fol­low my nine tips and I prom­ise you’ll be­come a bet­ter pitcher’

Golf World (UK) - - Tour Tips -

Al­ter the back­swing 1 for tricky dis­tances

I like to use my body turn to hit my set dis­tances. I have five dif­fer­ent lengths of back­swing: hands to hips, hands to abs, hands to chest, hands to shoul­der and full. I know ex­actly how far the ball will carry with all my wedges with each swing. The more you prac­tise by swing­ing to those po­si­tions the bet­ter feel you’ll get for dis­tance con­trol – and it will help your full swing too. Ex­act yardages give a base to refer to un­der pres­sure. Three back­swing lengths – hips, chest and full – should be enough for most am­a­teurs.

Nar­row the stance to 2 get more feel

I have a slightly nar­rower stance than my full swing be­cause you’re look­ing for more feel and a less ro­botic ac­tion. Ob­vi­ously, you’ve still got your po­si­tions, but you’re feel­ing the flight you want to hit. Flar­ing your front foot open a lit­tle can help some peo­ple turn through bet­ter, but en­sure your heels are square to the tar­get.

Play about with the 3 ball po­si­tion

You can change your flight by sim­ply mov­ing the ball po­si­tion. If you want a low one, move the ball to­wards the back of your stance and if you want a high one move it to­wards the front. So I don’t re­ally think about at­tack an­gle while I’m swing­ing – ball po­si­tion takes care of that. Mov­ing it back for the lower shot will make it steeper and it will be shal­lower if it’s fur­ther for­ward in the stance. Luke Don­ald and David Lip­sky play the ball quite far for­ward and have a very shal­low at­tack and tend to spin it a lot. I have it a lit­tle fur­ther back, but it’s very per­sonal so find what works for you as long as it isn’t too ex­treme.

Min­imise wrist hinge 4 for more con­sis­tency

I try not to use as much wrists be­cause it can make the way you de­liver the club­head – and there­fore your flight and spin – quite in­con­sis­tent. It’s eas­ier to get the strike and spin the same ev­ery time with a more ‘straight arm’ ac­tion. You power the swing by sim­ply turn­ing the shoul­ders away from the tar­get and then back through. It feels weird at first but it’s very ef­fec­tive once you get used to it.

Hit it like a draw for 5 max­i­mum spin

The more time the ball is on the club­face, the more back­spin you can gen­er­ate. A lot of peo­ple try to cut across the ball to get back­spin but it’s ac­tu­ally eas­ier to do with a draw be­cause it’s on the face slightly longer. If you can al­most feel like you’re hit­ting a draw – at­tack­ing the ball from the inside – with an open face (but closed to the swing path) then you can re­ally get it spin­ning.

Flight the ball lower 6 for more con­trol

You see a lot of pros hit lower, more ‘flighted’ pitches th­ese days be­cause it’s eas­ier to see the tra­jec­tory in your mind’s eye – you can see it re­lease like an old­fash­ioned pitch and run. But if it’s

in the air you’ve got less con­trol. You can do more with the low one too – make it stop af­ter a cou­ple of bounces or re­lease it more. It’s eas­ier to con­trol the ball ac­cu­rately that way if you have enough green to work with.

Find the bounce and 7 grind for you

I’ve had a spe­cial set of grinds since I turned pro, with the club­head rounded off at the back so it glides through turf eas­ily. Bounce and grinds are very in­di­vid­ual and you can use them to en­hance how you at­tack the ball and even coun­ter­act some flaws in your tech­nique. There is lots of va­ri­ety out there so it’s well worth try­ing all the op­tions to see what works for you.

Use the green’s 8 con­tours

You don’t al­ways have to take dead aim at the flag when you’re pitch­ing. It de­pends on the course and greens. For ex­am­ple, on the 13th at Au­gusta you play past the flag if it’s on the front be­cause it takes the wa­ter out of play and you know the slope be­hind the hole will bring the ball back. If there’s no dan­ger you can go straight at it, but you still have to be clever to negate the risks and use slopes to your ad­van­tage.

Hit the bump and 9 run if you can

You don’t al­ways have to take the aerial route. It can be eas­ier to hit a bump and run if there isn’t any­thing that you need to carry the ball over, es­pe­cially when the greens are firm and fast like links or in mid-sum­mer. Some­times a 9-iron, or even less loft, with a square face and a shorter swing that gets the ball chas­ing up is the most sim­ple way to get it close.

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