Pro-tip of the month - December

Hooking

Curing (or taming) a hook

Hooking the ball (a severe curve to the left) is a less common problem than a Slice but, when severe, is very destructive. Whereas with a slice, you would be best to completely eradicate it, a hook is usually pretty close to a good, strong golf shot so taming it or reducing the curve is the best goal.

Common causes of a hook…
A strong grip (one or both hands too much to the right when taking your grip) - can also show as a a good grip but a hooded or closed (facing left) club face in the setup
Adjusting your hands from their original position such that they effectively close the club face as you are about to take the club away (or even during the takeaway)
Keeping the club face ‘hooded’ or closed on the backswing resulting in it facing to the left when you hit the ball - instead your arms should ’slightly’ rotate in the takeaway
Excessive rolling the wrists as you hit the ball (like a topspin forehand tennis shot type movement) - again causing the club face to be facing too far too the left when you hit the ball. This is often triggered by the body ’stopping’ as you hit instead of correctly continuing to turn into a full finish

The Cure
As with a slice, the core problem is a closed club face (not an in to out swing - this is the reaction to the ball curving sharply left) so you need to identify which of the above is causing the club face to be closed (facing left at impact)
Correct one thing at a time!!
If you have identified the correct one, the first stage of improvement may well be a push (ball flying straight but to the right of target). This means that you have corrected the root cause but you are reluctant to turn though (to face the target) because you instinct tells you that if you do, the ball will go left. If you maintain the correction of the root cause, your fear of the ball going left will wane and you will start to trust turning through resulting in straighter shots with a better strike
Please reread the last point because it is the heart of really changing a hook


Hope that helps

Jon Grant
Senior Teaching Professional

Jon Grant's Pro-Tip of the Month - Nov19

More Distance & Allowing for wind

More distance
Hitting the ball further makes golf more fun and easier. Because increasing distance usually comes (in part) from hitting the ball better, shots are often more accurate as well. I have made a study of how to increase distance and have worked with a number of clients now who are hitting the ball between 10 and 30 yards further than they were originally. One client approached me and said that he wanted to hit the ball further and didn’t care about anything else (first time anyone has said that) which was a fun project.

As most golfers would love to gain 10-30 yards, i am starting a new roll up group class specifically for people who want to add distance (we won’t cover anything else). I can do this either on Monday or Wednesday evenings or Saturday afternoons (£15 per hour). Anyone who is interested, please tell me your preferred day and i will let you know directly via email. (my email is jongrant4@gmail.com). Spaces will be limited and by invite only so please get in touch asap.

Also, I am going to take on a couple of individual clients to do this on a 121 basis whereby we go on the course with a launch monitor and distance measuring device, test your current distance and resolve to increase it considerably by next spring. again, email me if you are interested.

Allowing for wind
Most golfers aren’t too good at judging how much the wind will affect their shots. Here is a guide to help you….

General factors
  • To gauge the wind direction, throw up some grass or check which way the clouds are blowing
  • The wind affects the distance much more when it is against you
  • When the wind is behind, it helps short iron shots more than longer clubs
  • The wind blows at around 8-10 MPH more above the tree line (where you ball is going) than at ground level - which is why a seemingly light wind will still affect the distance of your shot.
Against the wind (1% for 1MPH headwind)
100 yards into a 5MPH headwind (plays like 105 yards)
200 yards into a 5MPH headwind (plays like 210 yards)

100 yards into a 10MPH headwind (plays like 110 yards)
200 yards into a 10MPH headwind (plays like 220 yards)

100 yards into a 20MPH headwind (plays like 120 yards)
200 yards into a 20MPH headwind (plays like 240 yards)



With the Wind (0.5% for 1MPH wind behind)
100 yards into a 5MPH wind behind (plays like 98 yards)
200 yards into a 5MPH wind behind (plays like 195 yards)

100 yards into a 10MPH wind behind (plays like 95 yards)
200 yards into a 10MPH wind behind (plays like 190 yards)

100 yards into a 20MPH wind behind (plays like 90 yards)
200 yards into a 20MPH wind behind (plays like 180 yards)


Hope that helps

Jon Grant
Senior Teaching Professional

Jon Grant's Pro-Tip of the Month - October

Chipping



Chipping is a crucial part of scoring well in golf and it is a part of the game that low handicap golfers are usually very good at. Here are a few pointers that should help you to improve this part of the game…..


Judging Distance
  • Analyse the lie, ground conditions, wind etc to get a feel for how hard you need to hit the shot
  • Visualise the height of the shot, where it needs to land and how much it will run (then choose the appropriate club for that shot - consider all clubs including rescue woods)
  • After you’ve hit the shot, unless you’ve holed out, try to ascertain why it isn’t closer to the hole
  • Was it a mis-hit, did it land shorter or longer than you planned, did it go higher or lower than you intended (or did you do exactly as planned but just visualise it incorrectly)?
  • Learn for next time!!
  • The majority of golfers i coach, don’t analyse the above and therefore keep making the same mistakes



Technique

  • Stance about shoulder width, Ball position opposite the middle of the stance, weight slightly more on your left foot
  • As you swing back, keep your weight slightly left (just arms- very little turn of the body)
  • As you start the downswing, turn slightly more into your left side
  • Brush the grass with a very shallow strike (don’t dig)
  • Allow your swing to come around on a slight arc (i.e. don’t swing towards your target!!)


Most common errors

  • Leaving the ball short (most golfers have a strong tendency to fear going too far and thus end up short)
  • Most bad chips are caused by mis-hit shots



Hope that helps

Jon Grant
Senior Teaching Professional

Jon Grant 's Pro-Tip of the Month - September

Save shots with strategy

The score you shoot is heavily dependent on the decisions and choices you make when you play. Here are a few thoughts and ideas along those lines that may help....
  • Don’t always aim for the middle of the fairway. Quite often, the trouble is worse on one side (e.g. out of bounds left, semi rough and sparse trees right) in which case aiming for the right hand side of the fairway will give you more room for error.
  • Similarly, there are often better or worse places to miss the green (light rough one side, deep bunker or water on the other) in which case it’s best to aim for the ‘safer’ part of the green.
  • The most common strategic error I see is for golfers to only think of direction when trying to avoid trouble. You can often avoid bunkers, water etc by hitting short of the the trouble (or past it). The best example of this is when someone has a shot where they can’t reach the green but just hit as far as they can instead of hitting a slightly shorter club (staying short of the trouble but still within easy reach of the green for the next shot).
  • When you do find yourself in trouble (e.g. trees, rough etc), pick a specific point on the fairway to aim for (imagine a flag to aim for). This point should be the best / easiest place to hit into the green from (not hitting over a bunker etc). Often, i see golfers hit a shot from the rough or out of the trees without much care or a specific plan and the result is that they end up still in the rough or through the fairway into the rough on the other side.
  • With pitching, chipping and especially putting, most golfers tend to focus far too much of their attention on the direction when in realty, that is the easy part. By far the hardest part is judging the distance and if you try to think of too many things, you won’t be very successful. Instead take care over your aim, then put it out of your mind and focus totally on judging the distance.

Hope that helps

Jon Grant

Senior teaching Professional

Pro Tip of the Month - August 2019

Dead Aim

It still amazes me how many golfers I see who aim incorrectly when I go on the golf course with them (and the vast majority are blissfully unaware). A key part of this problem is that people don’t put much importance on aiming accurately and spend very little time trying to improve it.

The bottom line is that standing to the side of the ball as oppose to being on the line (like bowling) makes the aim an optical illusion. To compound this, most people have a very dominant eye which distorts this even more. I see golfers aim up to 30-40 yards off line on the course and sometimes a foot to the right on a 10 foot putt which makes scoring well almost impossible.

The bad news
  • You can’t rely on your senses to give you accurate feedback on where you are actually aiming
  • A high percentage of golfers that I see don’t look at the target to see where they are aiming once they have started their routine. They just look down at the ball and therefore the aim is a matter of chance
  • Even if you follow the advice below, a lot of golfers will still ‘adjust’ back to where they feel comfortable (after they have got in the new, correct position)
  • The only caveat is that sometimes people have developed an aim ‘adjustment’ for a swing fault - in this case it is best to correct the swing first!!


The good news

  • Most (right handed) golfers aim to the right consistently (and visa versa for left handed) which makes it something tangible that can be adjusted
  • It is the simplest thing in the world to put a club along your feet once you are set up (in a practice round) to test where you are actually aiming


A plan!

  • Look at your target as you are about to step into the shot (so that you step in to the right place) - most people miss this step and then they are in the wrong place before they start
  • Position your left toe opposite the ball - at right angles to the target, then aim the club face carefully - your feet should ideally be parallel to the target at this point
  • Step your feet out (side to side) so that they stay on the line you started with (until the distance and ball position are correct)
  • Whilst doing the above steps, look back and forth to the target to check you are still in the correct position
  • Trust your aim and commit (Remember that it is better to be slightly out (with the aim, club selection etc) and make a committed, aggressive swing than overthink things, take too long in the set up and end up making a cautious swing

This is obviously a very visual thing to describe so if anybody wants a quick demo, just email me and I’ll happily show you

Hope that helps

Jon Grant
Senior Teaching Professional

July 2019 Tip of the Month - Jon Grant

Teach Yourself

Golf is a very difficult sport and the most successful golfers know how to diagnose their own faults when the need arises. It is an invaluable skill to be able to do this so here are some ideas to start you off on this path…

On the range

  1. Start with identifying the pattern of the shots you are hitting (discount the anomalies and take great notice of the ‘pattern’ of off line or mis-hit shots)
  2. Use impact stickers (as mentioned in previous tips) to pinpoint where you are hitting the ball on the club face (this is crucial)
  3. Analyse your finish position -
  4. Compare it to the finish position that you see the Tour players achieve (on TV)
  5. Are you completely balanced and able to hold your follow through
  6. Is your body facing the target (right foot completely on the toe, knees pretty close together)


Awareness on the course

  1. Most peoples aim routine leaves a lot to be desired on the course. The driving range ‘hides’ this tendency because of the straight lines in front of you but the golf course is very different. I will cover this is a lot more detail next month but for now, just put a club along the line of your feet on a practice shot (when on the course) to check!!
  2. As a more advanced awareness, it is a big help if you can be aware of your balance during the swing. Most golfers are vaguely aware of what’s happening on the range but are focussed almost totally on the target/result (not their swing) when on the course. This is very limiting for obvious reasons.
  3. Lastly, as mentioned before, using your phone to video your swing so you can get accurate feedback is game changing. As offered previously, if you would like to send me a video of your swing, i will happily look and give you my thoughts


Hope that helps

Jon Grant
Senior Teaching Professional

June Pro-Tip of the Month by Jon Grant

Bunker Shots (Basic & Advanced)

I covered a brief summary of bunker shot technique in the (Feb 18 tip) but have been asked to cover bunker shots in more detail so here goes…

Core principles
  • Hit with plenty of power
  • Hit 2 to 3 inches behind the ball
  • Strike down and through into the sand (as if you are driving the sand forwards - onto the green)
Advanced Principles
Set Up

  • Pretty wide stance
  • Ball position opposite your left heel for all but the worst lies
  • Hover the club 2-3 inches behind the ball & ensure that you look at that spot, not at the ball!!!
  • Open the club face slightly (twist the grip in your hands - don’t push your hands forwards)
  • Weight 60-40 on your left foot

Swing

  • Keep your weight slightly on your left as you swing back (mainly an arms swing to about 3/4 of the way back)
  • Make an aggressive strike into and through the sand (hitting slightly down & through) - (think striking a match)
  • Follow through (you should feel that your hands finish roughly head high in the finish)

Bad lies (plugged lie, footprint, wet sand, not much sand under ball, downslope)

There are slight variations but most of the above types of lie are played in a similar way

  • Ball position opposite the middle of your stance
  • Hover the club 2 inches behind (and look there)
  • Set the club face square or slightly closed for the worst of lies (use a lob wedge for the worst lies and always when you are on the downslope)
  • Lean ‘a lot’ to your left 80-20
  • Keep your weight on your left and make a very steep backswing
  • Hit down steeply into the sand with as much power as you can generate (think a full fairway wood amount of power)
  • Anticipate that the ball will come out lower than usual and therefore will run a little more too
  • Although it is counter intuitive - to make the ball go up (and clear a steep bunker lip) - HIT DOWN

As with all golf shots, try to hold the finish position and notice whether you have executed it as intended (as oppose to scooping, stopping just after impact or falling towards your back foot - as is very common)

Hope that helps

Jon Grant
Senior Teaching Professional

May Pro-tip from Jon Grant

Key 'Club and Equipment' advancements

The clubs that golfers have in their bags are very different from 10/15 years ago.

Golf clubs have evolved in many ways, here are the most important ones in my mind:-

  • Graphite headed woods and cavity back irons (if you are using ‘blade’ type clubs without a cavity in the back of the head or ‘Wooden Woods’, you are making life very hard for yourself - akin to using a wooden tennis racket
  • Graphite shafts are now of great quality and thus give you as much accuracy as steel but are much more lightweight and as such can be hit further
  • Years ago, golf club manufacturers decided to change (strengthen) the loft of irons so that golfers 7 iron had the loft of a 6 and hence would go further. This added more distance and sold more clubs. The downside of this for most people was that their lofted clubs (pitch & Sand wedge) didn’t go as high. So, manufacturers bought out “Lob Wedges’ to help with high shots. For the most part, this was not detrimental but did leave a lot of golfers with a big gap between clubs e.g. if you hit your pitching wedge 25 yards further than your Sand Wedge (there is normally 8-10 yards gap between clubs for most)
  • Rescue and Hybrid clubs enabled golfers to hit the ball higher and more easily from tough lies (compared to long irons - 5,4,3 irons)
  • The method of being able to fit different shafts to various heads when trying clubs out transformed this process, the volume of choice and thus the likelihood of someone getting a much better suited club for their game has improved considerably
  • Custom fit technology takes all the guesswork out of trying new clubs (free, expert advice and plenty of clubs to choose from)



So, in summary, I would ensure that…

  1. You have cavity back irons and Graphite headed woods
  2. Try graphite shafts to see if they help your distance
  3. Look at your set and see if there are any significant gaps in your clubs
  4. If you decide to buy a 'Lob Wedge’ - go for 60 degrees of loft and around 8 degrees of bounce
  5. If you haven’t got hybrids or rescue woods, try them - they’re much easier
  6. Try a custom fit, its free and very helpful


If you would like any advice on the above, feel free to call me on 07973 834945.

Hope that helps

Jon Grant

Senior Teaching Professional

April tip from Jon Grant

Slopes & Lies

Two things that affect the difficulty of shots are slopes and variable lies. Here are some things to consider that may help….
Slopes (for specific sloping lie points - see October 2018 tip)
  • Think of how the slope is going to affect the ball
    - upslope (ball goes higher)
    -downslope (ball goes lower)
    - ball above (ball goes further to the left)
    - ball below (ball goes further to the right)
  • Maintaining good balance is the most important key on all slopes (and losing balance is the most common fault)
  • Seeking out slopes when practicing is the way to really master them (they are similar to bunkers in that you need to seek them out because otherwise you won’t get enough practice in the normal course of playing golf)
Lies
  • If there is grass behind the ball such that it is inevitable that the club is going to hit the grass before the ball then it will normally come out low and roll more than usual after it lands
  • if the grass is cut against you (away from the hole), it will restrict the strike and the ball will stop quicker than normal
  • if it is growing with you (towards the hole) it will fly further than normal and roll out further
  • if it is lying on a high part of grass (a cushion of grass under the ball) it will come out higher and stop quicker
  • Visa versa for if it is sitting down in a slight depression - it will come out lower and normally run on a little more
Those are a few examples of what will happen in the various lies (and slopes) that you will encounter on the course but there is no substitute for spending time on the course, trying lots of different spots and learning each time. The people who learn quickly, are the people who analyse ‘why’ the ball went further,higher, rolled out more etc etc.

Hope that helps

Jon Grant
Senior Teaching Pro

March Pro Tip from Jon Grant

How to buy a golf game

A lot of golfers try to buy a better golf game, more distance, consistency etc. Unfortunately It often doesn’t give them the results they want. Here is a list of what i would recommend you spend your hard earned money on (in order of what will make the biggest difference to your golf game.
  1. (Cost approx £3) - The ‘V one’ App for your phone or iPad - this captures your swing and allows you to analyse it in slow motion, draw lines etc. Unbelievable software that you would have spent hundreds of pounds to do the equivalent 15 years ago
  2. (Cost £9.99) - A bracket to attach to your golf bag (for your phone) so that you can video your swing on the range and course
  3. (Cost £12.60) - As mentioned previously ‘Impact Stickers', the best way to monitor club face contact (which is crucial to accuracy and distance!)
  4. (Cost - free - £350 depending on quality and possibly using your phone) - Distance measure - Front, middle & back of green distances)
  5. (Cost - free) - a Custom fit with one of the pro’s at Hoebridge - Use £17,000 worth of technology for free
  6. (cost 70-£400) - Range finder (mainly beneficial for sub 28 handicap but will help almost everyone to know precisely how far to the flag - not just to the green)
  7. (Cost £???) - New clubs - mainly a help if you have cheap, old or ill fitted clubs - never buy unless fitted first as it’s accurate and free!)
Here are the links for…
The Bracket … https://www.amazon.co.uk/BESTEK-Holder-Flexible-Gooseneck-Bracket-Black/dp/B00J96Q4ZG/ref=sr_1_13?
ie=UTF8&qid=1551387567&sr=8-13&keywords=iPhone+holder

and the impact stickers .. https://www.amazon.co.uk/LongShot-Golf-Label-Refill-Pack/dp/B00JEE93L0/ref=sr_1_3?
ie=UTF8&qid=1551387374&sr=8-3&keywords=longshot+impact+stickers

Lastly, I am asking for requests as to what you would like me to cover in the next few months. Please email me on jongrant4@gmail.com or text me on (07973 834945)

or…

Would anyone like a free video analysis (to be shown on the website next month?)

Hope that helps
Jon Grant
Senior Teaching Pro

February Pro tip from Jon Grant

The Dreaded Shank

The ‘Shank’ is, for most golfers, the most feared shot in golf. The first thing is to diagnose it correctly and the to monitor your improvement.
A lot of people confuse a shank (shot struck near the heel) with one hit from the toe. The key ways to identify this shot are
  1. The ball goes about half/three quarters of the normal distance but diagonally to the right
  2. The club will normally twist (closed-to the left) as it hits the ball
  3. The feeling of the strike is a hard, jarring one (versus a dead feeling when hit from the toe)
  4. You will see the impact near the heel on an impact sticker (as mentioned in previous tips)
Possible causes
  1. Falling forwards towards your toes during the swing
  2. Swinging over the top excessively (out to in)
  3. Swinging in to out excessively (as oppose to ‘in to in’)
Ways to monitor progress
  1. Put an object (tee, head cover) at the far side of the ball (you will strike that too if you hit the heel)
  2. Use an impact sticker (purchase on Amazon)
  3. Video your swing from down the line to monitor progress
Admittedly, all of the above isn’t easy so if you want to send me a video clip of your swing, I will happily take a look. (jongrant4@gmail.com)

Lastly, If anybody is interested there are a few spaces on the ladies Wednesday morning Roll up 10.45-12.15.

If you wanted more info contact me directly 07973 834945.

Hope that helps
Jon Grant
Senior Teaching Pro

January 2019 tip from Jon Grant, Senior Pro

Hitting the ball further

There are two main factors which gives a golfer adequate distance, they are swing speed and good contact. Whilst you can go much further into it than these two (such as equipment, angle of attack, loft on your driver etc etc, the two I mentioned are by far and away the most crucial factors.

Most golfers (and especially most ladies) are encouraged to swing slowly, ‘don’t get too quick’, ‘keep your head down’ or ‘keep your head still’. For almost all, this is awful advice. You only have to watch the top golfers on tv for a few minutes to see that they don’t swing slowly and they ‘never’ keep their head down into the follow through.
My advice is to look objectively at your own technique and your shots and decide whether you are losing distance through
1. Mishitting shots (I.e. you swing the club pretty fast but you rarely hit the Centre of the club face)
Or
2. Slow swing speed (your contact is pretty consistent but even when you hit it well the ball doesn’t go very high or far)

The height you get on your shots is a good indicator of this. As a general rule, if you hit the ball a bit too low, then when you hit a mid iron or rescue wood into a green, even if it hits the green, it will tend to run to the back. If however, you hit the ball high, it will stop quickly, even in the summer months when the ground is firmer.

The two best ways to identify which of the above is key for you are

1. Use impact stickers as mentioned in previous tips (cheap and very effective)
2. Test your swing speed (harder to do but possible if you do a (free) custom fit or If you prefer, I can test it for you)

If anybody is interested in the above, I will be covering it in the first couple of sessions of the roll up (Mondays 7-8pm) starting January 7th.

*Must enroll with me if you want to join* (07973 834945)

Hope that helps

Jon Grant
Senior Teaching Pro
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