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(Brian’s Top Tips)
Short time warm up
Often when playing on our home course we get caught with little or no time to warm up! if this happens use the following drill to get you in the groove. Take two of your shortest irons hold them together and make a gentle round , up and down swing to get you gently rotating, slowly increasing the length as you shoulders, hips ,legs and feet become invloved in the movement, which ever club you have to hit off the first tee try to emulate the easy controlled swing which will get you away to a positive start to you round
Always arrive in plenty time to make your tee time, if playing away you should plan to be at the venue one hour before your tee off time, this will give you time to familiarise yourself with the layout have a relaxed check in, hit some shots then a few putts, and if necessary a final visit to the loo or time to have a cup of tea then check your clubs make sure you can identify your ball and take a relaxed stroll to the first tee to meet your playing partners or opponents.
Always be fresh when you go to practice because while practice makes perfect, perfect practice makes even better. It is important to have a set agenda or planned routine as your time is precious and you resources limited. Plan you sessions to cover all your clubs but ensure you warm up correctly and finish properly, it is beneficial to have a priority of rhythm and tempo both when beginning and ending the sessions. The middle of your sessions should be concentrated on whatever mechanical adjustment you have been coached on or perhaps just general shot making with all your clubs. Avoid practicing on really windy days but if you have to go concentrate on your short game.
Playing the early shots
As you ease into your round keep the shots as simple as you can play with the easy clubs and have a good positive attitude to your round with loads of feel good feelings, enjoy the ambiance tell yourself how good you are the particular shots coming up, remember if you make a mistake early on you have the rest of the round left to get some shots back, breathe comfortably and in a relaxed way as you stimulate an attitude with the priority towards good timing, rhythm and tempo
Putting is a most individual part of the game but you have to convince yourself that you are a good putter. When you practice don’t keep practising from too far way. We don’t often hole a lot of long puts during a round so it is important to develop your stroke. One which becomes competent at holing out. Try a routine with eight balls round the hole in a circle starting from 12 inches and gradually extend to about4/6 ft. then come back again you are better off concentrating on the shorter putts as your practice session is about holing out you will do better closer in. Do not ignore practising reading the greens and learning to control the length of the putt
The key to getting the necessary elevation on the shot is to ensure your swing is soft and steep. Many player play this shot with too much drive forward thus the ball goes forward to hard with no lift. The modern sand iron has enough loft so that only in exceptional circumstances is it necessary to lay the club open. Play the ball well forward in your stance using the regular loft on the club
Create a soft steep backswing. Due to the steepness of the backswing the club will move outside the line creating an in to out action therefore aim a little left of target to allow for the cut spin.
Controlling the length of the shot can be achieved by either taking the same amount of sand each time and varying the length of the back swing or take the same length of backswing and vary the amount of sand
Short game close to the green
As part of your short game strategy develop the following rule of thumb tactic whereby you putt when you can, when you can’t putt chip and when you can’t chip pitch. This means you always try to keep the ball close to the ground , this is definitely the easiest option particularly off tight lies and remember a poor putt will often end up better then a poor chip.