Golf is a game of risk versus reward.
For example, choosing to attack a pin guarded by water can leave inches for birdie if you pull off the shot. But we’re all too familiar with the risk of ending up at the bottom of the pond if you don’t.
So unless your name is David Hearn – last season’s proximity to the hole leader on the PGA Tour – would you rather make a trip to the drop zone by going for it, or walk away with an easy two-putt par by aiming to the center of the green?
We’ll take the latter.
As thrilling as it is to be a pin seeker, it’s not always the smartest strategy. Nonetheless, if you subscribe to the “No Laying Up” philosophy, we have an exercise to guide your risk-reward calculation the next time you’re tempted by a tiny landing area.
In a recent appearance on Golf Channel’s ‘Morning Drive,’ Patrick Nuber pulled up an intriguing situation on the simulator. Picture a tucked hole location with water short.
As inviting as that pin might be to aim at, though, it’s far from the smartest play. Especially if you’re one who often “short-sides” your approach shorts.
So to help you make better course management decisions, Nuber shared a useful test to understand which target is smartest for your skill level. It can be accomplished best on the golf course with an approach shot as pictured above, but any approach (from nearly any distance) with a hole location tucked near a bunker or other hazard will accomplish the task.
The idea is to hit six shots total – three aiming directly at the pin and three aiming at the middle of the green – and then play all six out from there. Whichever group has the lower total score, that’s the strategy you should take to the bank!
Of course, chances are the winning strategy will be the conservative one. But we’ll let you do your own research to trust what can only help your cause to shooting lower scores.
Point is, once you start to see how safer targets can pay off in the long run, you’ll have a better sense of when to play conservatively and when to go straight for the flag. Or, in other words, how to measure risk versus reward on the golf course.
If you’re buying golf clubs on eBay, off-the-rack at your local sporting goods store or waiting until your buddy passes down their old equipment, you’re doing it wrong!
Those methods may have been a normal practice a few years ago, but with increased accessibility and ease to get a tour-like custom club fitting these days, you’re doing your harm by going down any other path than the fitting route.
In past Scramble articles we’ve broken down the club fitting process and discussed how each little detail can make a significant difference to your game. But if that hasn’t convinced you to talk to a certified club fitter at your local GOLFTEC, then the following video will.
During a recent appearance on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive, Nick Clearwater was accompanied by 4-handicap Jason Hirsch, who went through a full-bag fitting at a local GOLFTEC before the show.
Suffice it to say, the results speak for themselves. Hirsch found the perfect driver that increased his carry distance by an average of 24 yards, and irons that increased his carry distance by 11 yards from dialing in his launch angle and spin rates.
Without further ado, take a look at the data behind Jason’s fitting and see how the smallest of adjustments made the biggest of differences. And if you’re ready to take your game to the next level with a custom club fitting, schedule a TECFIT custom club fitting today.
Being a solid bunker player can be the difference between saving par regularly and wasting two, three or even more embarrassing strokes in the sand every time you’re in it.
To become a successful bunker player, you need to be proficient with these three components: having the right intent on how to hit the shot, controlling where you hit the sand relative to the ball and controlling the distance the ball travels.
The third factor, controlling distance, is a great place to start. And we have the perfect drill to help make bunker play one of your strongest assets.
Patrick Nuber hit the short game area at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando to share the Bunker Ladder Drill for distance control out of the sand. All you need is a handful of balls and whichever wedge you commonly use in the bunker.
The goal is controlling distance by hitting each shot shorter than the previous one. Start with hitting your first shot to the back edge of the green, then work your way down to the shortest possible shot that barely trickles onto the surface.
Ultimately, you’ll develop better distance control from the bunker by practicing in this manner and gain a better sense of what type of swing produces what result. And before you know it, you’ll be making more up-and-downs out of the sand and saving par regularly.
The ever-evolving landscape of golf club design has given us everything from easy-to-hit irons, rough-cutting hybrids, wedges of every grind imaginable and, maybe most notable, adjustable drivers.
With the ability to switch out shafts and alter weighting, loft and lie configurations with the simple twist of a screw, adjustable drivers have changed the game of golf forever. But, while the on-the-fly convenience of adjustable drivers can help every golfer hit better tee shots, many don’t implement the correct settings to reap their full benefits.
Undoubtedly, altering anything on your driver can be confusing if you don’t know where to start.
When it comes to moveable weights, it helps to first understand how various weighting positions affect ball flight and launch. Every club manufacturer is different in how they implement moveable weights, but the concept is fairly standard across the board.
In the case of the TaylorMade M3 driver pictured above, two weights run along the bottom of the clubhead within moveable tracks. Depending on how the weights are positioned, the draw/fade bias and influence on spin can be altered.
For example, if the weights are positioned in the back of the club and toward the toe, it will move the club’s effective sweet spot (CG) more toward the toe and resist twisting closed at impact to influence a fading ball flight. The opposite holds true if the weights are positioned more toward the heel of the club to promote a draw.
In terms of how moveable weights affect spin, more spin tends to occur if the weights are positioned toward the back of the club and less spin tends to occur if the weights are positioned toward the front of the club.
In addition to moveable weights, pretty much every adjustable driver on the market today offers versatile sleeves at the hosel that can alter the club’s lie, loft and open/closed position of the face.
While these elements alone can have a significant effect on ball flight, there are a multitude of ball flight characteristics that can be achieved when combining these variations with different positions of the weights.
Phew – that’s a lot of information to take in. Still with us?
While it can seem overwhelming to understand how these settings work in relation to your swing, it doesn’t have to be rocket science to figure it out. Of course, the most foolproof way to determine how to adjust your driver is seeing a GOLFTEC fitter who can help through the aid of a high-end launch monitor.
Aside from having an expert club fitter make sense of your adjustable driver, you can at least get a general sense by knowing your typical shot pattern and hitting 10 shots with all settings in the neutral position.
Launching it too high or low? Adjust the sleeve to change loft.
Does the ball nosedive from its apex quickly (too little spin) or, vice versa, seem to “float” and not roll out much after it lands (too much spin)? Move the weights farther back or forward to adjust spin.
In the video below, Nick Clearwater looks into this topic further and explains how tinkering with an adjustable driver’s settings can affect your tee shots. Take a look and start getting the most from today’s driver technology!
We’ve talked about those chunky iron shots that send the turf down the fairway with your ball. But what about shots that are struck just a bit heavy?
Maybe they don’t dig up embarrassingly giant swaths of earth, but a slightly fat shot that flies into the face of a bunker or barely doesn’t carry the water in front of the green can be equally as frustrating.
So, how can you turn those fat shots into pure strikes that fly the full distance you’re planning for? By maintaining a steady head.
One of the main reasons golfers hit fat shots is due to the head and upper body moving too far away from the target in the backswing.
This tends to keep the upper body positioned too far away from the target in the downswing and bent forward toward the ground, which results in the club bottoming out too early and hitting the ground before the ball.
The best ball strikers often do the opposite – maintain a steady head position throughout the swing – which helps limit the forward bend of the upper body and encourage the club’s low point to occur ahead of the ball. The ball-first contact this move elicits is a must-have for solid, consistent iron shots.
Patrick Nuber stopped by Golf Channel’s Morning Drive with a drill to help steady your head and refrain your upper body from bending too far toward the ground in the backswing.
It can be accomplished simply in the following manner:
1. Take your setup position while holding an iron by the clubhead, with its shaft pointing straight down toward the ground.
2. Turn back like you’re making a backswing and make sure the club maintains the same perpendicular position to your chest as in the setup.
3. At the top of your backswing, your goal is to have the shaft at a parallel position to the ground. This indicates your head has remained steady and upper body isn’t bent too far forward toward the ground.
4. Do this a few more times, then grab the club as you normally would and take some practice swings instituting the same feeling.
5. Once you successfully make practice swings like this – meaning your head is remaining steady and upper body isn’t bent down toward the ground at the top of your backswing – it’s time to hit a few shots. Start slow and steady at first, then add speed until you can accomplish the task with full shots.
You’ll soon see that your newly ingrained backswing has eliminated most of those heavy shots, and has been replaced by consistently solid strikes and that ball-first contact we all desire!
If you’re like us, watching World Long Drive competitions leaves you in complete awe. The amount of sheer power these golfers exert during one swing can stir up envy for the rest of us that struggle with the big stick.
Luckily for us at GOLFTEC Headquarters, we just head down the hall and ask resident long driver, Director of Teaching Quality, Brad Skupaka, for advice. Skupaka, after all, is no stranger to the WLD scene after qualifying for the finals for the fifth time this summer.
— Brad Skupaka (@BradSkupakaPGA) August 2, 2018
But for the rest of you distance-yearning golfers out there, it can be a frustrating endeavor to add yardage when seemingly everything you try to do yields little to no improvement.
Aside from getting your swing measured at your local GOLFTEC – the best advice we can give to help your game – Skupaka’s distance tips during a recent appearance on Golf Channel’s ‘School of Golf’ can help you finally start hitting those drives out of your own shadow.
Many people think long drive competitors step up to the ball and just whack at it as hard as they can, without thinking much about the swing itself.
Obviously, they’re swinging EXTREMELY hard to be able to hit the ball 400-plus yards. But two key areas in the swing that long drivers have in common, Skupaka says, are crucial to sending the ball miles down the fairway.
1. Ulnar deviation of the wrists. The vertical unhinging of the wrists in the downswing, ulnar deviation plays a big part in bombing the big stick. The longest drivers exhibit more of this in their wrists at impact than the shortest drivers.
If you’re one who struggles with distance, it can help to exhibit more ulnar deviation of your wrists at impact.
One way you can encourage this is to “pre-set” your wrists at address, like Skupaka does in the image above with the green showing his hands have moved more upward and toward the target than in a typical setup position.
2. Aiming your chest upward in the follow-through. Aside from the slight change at address, aiming your chest more upward, or toward the sky, in the follow-through will help maintain the ideal wrist positions and create a more upward angle of attack.
The shortest hitters often do the opposite – bend down toward the ground in the follow-through – which encourages “cupped” wrists (radial deviation) and a high amount of spin loft. Neither are good for long, straight drives.
By bending backward through impact into the follow-through, it’s much easier to keep the arms extended and wrists in a more ideal position as you hit the ball.
Ultimately, the combination of ideal wrist positions at impact and backward bend in the follow-through are the perfect recipe for consistently bombed drives.