Hitting From a Downhill Lie

Can’t seem to make solid contact when faced with a downhill lie?  If you don’t adjust your setup you will likely hit behind the ball.  Make sure you remember these tips when hitting from a downhill lie:

1.  Shots from a downhill lie tend to have a lower tragectory.  Use a club with higher loft to get the ball in the air.

2.  Take your normal stance and then tilt your shoulders so they are parallel to the slope you are hitting off of.  For right-handed players, your left shoulder should be lower than your right for a downhill lie (opposite for uphill lies).  Tilting your shoulders downwards creates a steeper swing which will prevent your clubface from hitting behind the ball.

3.  Swing with the slope.

4.  Depending on the severity of the slope, it may help to widen your stance to help maintain your balance.

Before you even hit a ball…

When heading out to play or practice, many of us take a few practice swings and start hitting balls. This is can turn out to be a big mistake!  Golfers are athletes. Warming up your body is just as important as stretching before a soccer or basketball game. While golf may seem fairly relaxed, the golf swing is very complex and involves the entire body.

Here are a few stretches I like to do before a few practice swings:

-  Hamstring stretch: You can do this by propping your foot up on a bench or the golf cart and reach for your toes, or just simply grab your club and reach down towards your toes (this is just a simple toe touch). Hold these stretches for 10-15 seconds.

-  Stretch the hips: Simply cross your leg on top of the other and push your knee down until you feel a good stretch (make sure to keep your back upright and your ankle on top of your knee).

- Loosen the shoulders: Grab a golf club and hold it a little wider than shoulder width apart. Hold it behind your back and try and lift upward, you will feel this stretch in the front of your shoulders.  After that, set the club on your shoulders behind your head and rotate your shoulders back and forth. This stretch warms up your shoulders as well as your back.

-Don’t forget the forearms: This is the easiest of them all.  Just hold your hand out in front of you and pull your palm toward you, one hand at a time. Hold this stretch for 10-15 seconds.  Next, do the same stretches downward; just push the top of your hand downward.

- Twists: Place your club behind your shoulders, twist at the waist.  Then, get into a golf stance (while keeping the club behind your shoulders) and twist back and forth from this position.

These are some simple, but important, stretches that take very little time.  Next time you go out to the course try these stretches and see what happens!

Going Against the Grain?

Have you ever been putting on a green and hit a well struck putt online that seemed to break twice as much as you expected?  Or maybe you could have sworn it would break to the right but it stays straight?


This could possibly be because the grass on the greens may have something called grain! Grain is the direction the grass is growing in. There can be many directions of grain on the same putting green so it can be tricky.

-One easy way to determine the grain is by looking at the cup. If one side of the cup seems a little rough and the opposite side seems relatively smooth, than it is likely the grain is growing in the direction of the rough side. For example, if the left side of the cup is smooth and the right side seems rough, the grain is going from left to right.

-Another way you can determine the grain is by looking at old cups that have been filled in. Sometimes you can see the smooth side and the rough side still on the filled in cup with tells you the direction of the grain.

-And last, another easy way to see the grain on the green is by looking at the colors of the grass. If you are standing in a spot on the green and you look to your left and the grass looks light, and you look to your right and the grass looks dark, the grain is going from right to left. The grass to your left looks lighter because the grass is growing and laying down in the direction making it appear smoother and a lighter color.

Try not to over think your putts, but if there is noticeable grain it can sometimes double the break in a putt, or eliminate the break in a putt!

Go Out and Compete!

Golf is a great game to play just for fun, but sometimes a little competition is in order. No matter your skill level, competitive play tests your game and can lead to some great improvements. Here are a few ideas to get you going, whether it’s competing with friends or flying solo.

  1. Challenge yourself on the golf course even when playing alone. Keep track of how many fairways and greens you hit. Track these numbers each time you go out and play to see how you are improving.
  2. Choose your favorite putting drill.  Set a goal and achieve it before you leave the course that day. For example, try to make 10 4-footers in a row.
  3. Find friends. Gather up some of your pals or check with your local golf course to see if others are seeking golf partners. Make it even more fun by making a friendly wager. See who hits the most greens, hits the longest drives or putts with the fewest strokes. Ever heard of Bingo Bango Bongo? Give it a try.
  4. Local or statewide competitions are great options for intermediate skill levels. Many states have great organizations, such as the FWSGA (Florida Women’s State Golf Association) or the IGF (Indiana Golf Foundation).
  5. National organizations are great for more advanced players. Take a look at the USGA, PGA Jr. Series, and the AJGA that host tournaments all over the country.

What about you? Do you have any fun ways of seeking competition?

Don’t Blow It

Here is another tip courtesy of PGA Master Professional Jerry Tucker. This Tucker tip: how to work with the wind.

Wind_croppedHow much does the wind affect the flight (and roll) of a golf ball? Obviously, how far and how high you hit your shots will help determine that answer, but the pro’s do have a general rule of thumb. To “let the wind be your friend,” simply add or subtract one yard for every mile per hour the wind is helping or hurting you. For example, if you are 150 yards from the flag with a 20 mph headwind, your effective yardage is 170 yards.

Also, notice how the wind affects the ball after it lands on the green. Landing on a fairly firm green, my average 7-iron shot would only roll about five feet against the wind, but 40-50 feet downwind, a difference of 12-15 yards!

The Right Ball

**NotUsedGolfBallHave you heard about the new magazine “Ladies Links Fore Golf”? If there’s one thing we love, it’s finding great resources that help better our golf games and our lives. LL4G seems to do just that. Take a look at their website where you can view a full-version of the magazine, read helpful blogs and more. While you’re there, be sure to check out the blog post “Do You Use the Right Golf Ball?” by Teresa Zamboni, LPGA Class A professional. She says:

Most golfers use whichever ball is in their bag or ones that they find on the course. The golf ball makes a big difference in your game…. The perfect ball would give us good distance off the tee and great feel around the greens. Only you can determine this, so take the time and experiment to see which golf ball suits your game. There is one that is best for you!

This brings up a great question: what ball do you use? Are you a Precept lady? Or maybe Titleist is more your style? What made you choose the ball you did?

Q&A: Golf Bag Necessities

Have questions you’re dying to get answered, but were too afraid to ask the veteran players? Don’t sweat it. Here is a basic, but important question that every beginner (and beyond) has pondered at some point.

iStock_000012390655XSmallQ: So what exactly should I put in my golf bag?

A: The first step to ensuring a good golf day is to make sure you are fully prepared, which includes properly packing your golf bag. What should you include? Golf balls, tees and ball markers, of course. But don’t forget little things like Band-Aids, bug spray, antacids, sunscreen, lip balm, rulebook, first aid tape, hair ties, gloves, water and a snack. It’s also a good idea to pack an umbrella and a lightweight jacket just in case the weather turns while you’re rounding the back nine. Even a deck of cards to help waste time during a rain delay is a good idea. Oh, and did we mention extra balls? You never know when that water hazard will sneak up on you.

Have your another question…or three? Let us know what they are and we’ll get you an answer. Also, be sure to visit our Q&A page for a few more helpful tips.

Golf Tips and Techniques Via YouTube

Whether you are a seasoned pro or new to the game, every golfer can use a few good tips. We have compiled a list of four YouTube videos that can help improve your mental game, swing and putting. Plus, we threw in a blooper video just for fun. Take a look, try the tips and see how your golf game can improve.

wedgegrooveBe sure to share your own tips as well. Have a masterful way to beat the sand trap? How about a proven technique to add distance to your drive? We’d love to hear it!

3 Mental Tips to Improve Your Game
Swinging Within Yourself
Basic Putting Techniques
Golf Bloopers

Putting Against the Grain

PuttingHere is another tip courtesy of PGA Master Professional Jerry Tucker. This Tucker tip: learning to read the grain of the grass to better your putting.

If it’s winter and you’re playing golf well south of the Mason-Dixon line, you desperately need to understand grain. Grain is the way the grass lays, the direction it is pulled due to the sun, water flow, gravity, etc. It is most prevalent in Bermuda grass, but is certainly exists in the North, as well.

The two main ways to determine the grain are to look at the hole, and to check the color and texture of the green. When you look at the hole, especially in the afternoon on a Bermuda grass green, if the brownish jagged edge of the cup is on the west side, then that’s the way the grain is growing. If you then look to the west, the grass would appear whitish and shiny. If you look behind you to the east, the grass will appear rougher and dark green. If you’re putting west, your putt will be 25-50% faster than a putt with no grain, and that much slower going east. While most grain in Florida goes with the slope, the grain will tend to be westward on a fairly level surface.

Jerry Tucker was twice named by Golf Digest as a top 100 teacher, has been a four-time South Florida player of the year, played 13 major championships and set 19 course records, as well as achieving several other accomplishments and accolades.

Putting Drill: Criss-Cross

I learned this drill from the Wake Forest University golf team, it’s one of my favs:

Criss-Cross Putting Drill

What you need: 3 balls, 6 holes

1.  Divide the 6 holes into two groups of three (three on one side of the putting green, three on the other side of the green).

2.  Begin with all three balls at one hole and putt one ball to each of the three holes on the opposite side of the green.

3.  After you putt each ball out, gather the three balls at one of the holes on that side of the green and putt each one back to each hole on the other side (so one ball goes to each of the three holes across the green, hope this makes sense!)

4.  Continue to putt each of the three balls from one side of the green to the other so that you begin from each of the 6 holes once (if you two putt every ball you should have 36 putts).

5.  Set goals: try and two putt every putt… after that try to get less than 34 putts (two one putts), and then 33 putts, 32 putts… etc….

If there aren’t six holes on the putting green, stick a tee in the ground and putt to that. 

Let me know what you think!