PANIC BUTTONThe Perfect Punch Shot
How to hit the shot that’ll get you out of trouble every time.
By Keely Levins
Unless you’re a freak of nature, you’re not going to be in the fairway off of every tee. And that’s fine -– every guy on tour misses fairways. For those times you’re so far off the fairway that you’re in the trees, you need to be able to hit a good punch shot to get out. Hitting it in the trees isn’t a mistake, but not knowing how to get out is.
Swing coach Jeff Ritter has a few tips to help you get out of trouble and back into the fairway. First, he says to look at your shot and pick the widest part of the gap to hit through. There’s no point in being a hero. Trying to thread the ball through a tight gap is more likely to result in still being stuck in the trees than getting out. Instead, make the safe play and punch into the fairway.
When looking at that gap, Ritter says to also look at what trajectory you need in order to get out cleanly. You’re likely going to need to keep it pretty low, so Ritter says to pick a low-lofted club, and play it back in your stance.
As for the swing itself, Ritter warns that the faster you swing, the higher your ball is going to launch. So, make sure your swing is short, smooth, and controlled.
This Tip Will Keep You From Hooking Your Driver
For those tee shots when you really can’t miss it left.
We’re guessing this scenario is going to sound pretty familiar: You’re standing on a tee, telling yourself Don’t go left, and then you proceed to hit a huge hook. It’s infuriating, but avoidable. Rick Smith says that you’re hitting a hook in this situation because you’re not letting your torso turn all the way through.
“You think if your upper torso turns left of the target, the ball will follow,” says Smith. “Ironically, the opposite is true. By slowing or even stopping your turn toward the target, your arms and hands whip through the hitting area and shut the clubface, producing that dreaded snap hook.”
So, how do we keep that clubface from shutting at impact? Smith says the key is to keep turning.
“It’s hard to convince yourself to do this, but you have to trust it. Let your chest and hips rotate forward until your shirt buttons and belt buckle point left of your target. This stops the clubface from flipping closed and will help keep your ball in play.”
Jim Furyk shoots first ever 58 on PGA Tour at Travelers Championship
“How many opportunities are you going to have in your life to do this?” said Jim Furyk after shooting a 59 in the second round of the 2013 BMW Championship, becoming one of six players to ever do so on the PGA Tour.
Ironically enough, the now 46-year-old Furyk had another opportunity looming, and one to put up an even better score. During the final round of the 2016 Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., Furyk posted a 12-under 58, the first player on the PGA Tour to ever shoot a round that low, while hitting all 18 greens in regulation.
Entering Sunday 16 shots back of the lead, Furyk got off to a torrid start, with two birdies and an eagle on his first four holes. He would birdie four more holes on the front nine alone, bringing his nine-hole score to an incredible eight-under 27.
But it didn’t stop there. He birdied the first three holes on the back nine, marking seven consecutive holes he had birdied. This brought him to 11 under for the round, meaning all he needed to do was par out for his second career score of 59.
But, Furyk wouldn’t stop there. He rolled in a 23-footer for birdie on 16, and then maintained par on the final two holes to secure his spot in history.
The lead of Daniel Berger was still too much to conquer, though, as Furyk trailed by four strokes at the end of his round. Regardless, he climbed a massive 65 spots up the leader board, and is currently in sole possession of fifth place at 11 under.
More importantly, he is now the first player to shoot a 58 on the PGA Tour, AND the first player to have two rounds of 59 or better on tour. Plus, he made a good case for why he should be picked for the Ryder Cup team.
By Mark Aumann
Series: Golf Buzz
Published: Monday, December 15, 2014 | 5:28 p.m.
One of the things we hear from beginning or inexperienced golfers is that they sometimes feel “intimidated” when playing with really good golfers, and it keeps them from enjoying themselves on the course.
But you know what? Unless your name is Rory McIlroy, there’s always going to be someone out there better than you. And even then, Rory was a beginner golfer himself, at one point. So instead of treating that situation as a negative, our PGA Professional believes you can not only enjoy the experience when paired with a better player, but grow your own game in the process.
PEER PRESSURE: The 10 most intimidating golfers in PGA Tour history
Ted Eleftheriou is Director of Golf Program Development for the PGA of America, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
“Throughout my golfing career, I have had the privilege of playing with some amazing golfers, golfers who could beat me any day of the week,’ Eleftheriou said. “However, rather than being discouraged or intimidated by these individuals, I looked forward to each encounter as an opportunity to learn from them.”
Here are four things you can learn from being paired with better golfers, in Eleftheriou’s words:
1. Observe what it is that great players do on the course.
“The first thing I learned from playing with better golfers is that they all have a specific pre-shot routine that they perform prior to every shot … regardless if it’s a three-foot putt or a tee shot with the driver. Their routine typically consists of club selection, followed by getting behind the ball for alignment. Then they’ll make a purposeful practice swing (or stroke) or two in effort of trying to ‘feel’ the swing needed for the shot they plan on performing. Next, they step up to the ball and look at the target at least once or twice to confirm alignment and visualize the target. Finally, without further delay, they’ll perform the actual shot.
PGA PROFESSIONALS: Find an instructor near you
“Most amateurs, on the other hand, have no consistent pre-shot routine and end up either rushing through their shot or go to the opposite extreme of hanging over the ball forever. Neither is effective for increasing the chances of hitting a good shot.”
2. Better players have fun, but focus on their own games
“The best players have fun playing golf and like to socialize like most golfers do. However, when it’s time to make their shot, they enter into their own private world. They absorb themselves in their pre-shot ritual and do their best to lock out distractions.
“You should also focus on your own game, not what others may be thinking of you. You do this by staying in the present with every shot. As the saying goes, ‘The past has already happened and the future hasn’t happened yet, so all you can control is the now.’ Keep your mental imagery and self-talk positive and stay ‘in the now.’ ”
3. Don’t change your swing on the golf course
“Observe what better players do on the golf course and take mental or written notes. But don’t try to change your swing, stroke or game while on the course. That’s a sure recipe for disaster. Work on what you observed on the practice facility and only when you experience moderate success should you try to incorporate it into your game on the golf course.
LESSON LEARNED: Don’t let a tough hole mess with your mind
“Occasionally, better players may offer you advice, and you should thank them for it. But let them know that you’ll practice their suggestions next time you visit the practice facility, as opposed to during your round of golf.”
4. To handle intimidation, commit to only one swing thought.
“Intimidation: We’ve all experienced it. Playing with a better player intimidates us, which often leads to poor performance. To ease the intimidation, incorporate a pre-shot routine, stay ‘in the now,’ don’t change your swing on the course and allow yourself only one swing thought. And I’m not talking about, ‘Oh God, please let me make contact without looking like a fool in front of everyone!’
NEW TO THE GAME: More tips on handling intimidation
“You may want to consider something more like a personal pep talk: Like ‘Complete the finish’ or ‘Good tempo’ or ‘Light grip pressure.’ Something that’s produced positive results for you in the past.”
Eleftheriou finished with this piece of encouragement: “Learn from better players and one day soon, you’ll be the player leading others to better golf.”
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