Ultimate Golf Tips:
The ABCs of Golf Guide
By Alex Davidson
Copyright © 2016 by Ultimate Golf.
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
P.O Box 374, Wilmslow,
SK9 0DG, United Kingdom.
“Without a solid foundation, you lack the basics needed to really make a difference to your game”
– Alex Davidson, Ultimate Golf
About Ultimate Golf 6
A is for Address Position 8
B is for Backswing 10
C is for Chipping 11
D is for Distance Control 13
E is for Exercise 14
F is for Fade 16
G is for Green Reading 17
H is for Hook 18
I is for Impact 19
J is for Jab 20
K is for Knockdown 21
L is for Lie 23
M is for Markers 24
N is for Nutted Shot 26
O is for Off-Green 28
P is for Plugged Lie 30
Q is for Quad-Bogey 31
R is for Release 32
S is for Slice 33
T is for Topped Shot 35
U is for Upright Backswing 36
V is for Visualize 37
W is for Weak Grip 38
X is for Xtra Content 39
Y is for Yips 40
Z is for ZZZs 41
… And that’s it! 42
My name is Alex Davidson and I started to cut through all the noise that exists in our golfing world these days.
It seems that the Internet has made everybody an expert and golfers are constantly being tempted to try the latest this and the latest that in order to improve their game. Whether it’s a self proclaimed golf “guru” with a new grip technique or heavily funded advertising by one of the big brands, we are far too often told that changing something – technique or equipment – can have a dramatic impact on our game.
At Ultimate Golf, we prefer to encourage players to find their own way. If you can swing a club and get round a course with a smile on your face, that’s all that matters.
And when I was putting together my advice for Ultimate Golf Tips: The ABCs of Golf Guide, that’s what I had in mind. No matter what your playing ability is, you should be enjoying the game you’re playing.
I hope these tips make as much of a difference to your game as they have to mine.
P.S. Drop me an email at and tell me how you’re game needs to improve – you might be surprised at what my team and I’ve got to say.
Welcome to Ultimate Golf Tips: The ABCs of Golf guide.
In this guide you will uncover the A-Z of golf basics, and pick-up some top tips and expert advice from the UG Team along the way.
From the beginning, Ultimate Golf has encouraged you to build a solid foundation first, in order to become a serious golfer. And so, the ABCs of Golf was born.
You may recognize some of our advice from UltimateGolf.com (thanks for being a part of our journey). We’ve collected the best instructional posts on the basics, and put them all together here for you.
So, let’s start growing your game from the ground up….
A-F Steps to Tackle Address
As your game improves, you’ll pick up great new skills and techniques, but… this often means picking up some bad habits too. Whether it’s an incorrect grip, bad posture or poor swing – It’s important to go back and remind yourself of the basics, right? So, to tackle one of the fundamental positions in golf – address – we’ve put some main points together to jog your memory…
A is for Address (should be easy to remember)
A solid address position is important if you want to develop your game. Without a good foundation, you’ll struggle to move onto more intricate shots.
Once you’ve mastered this position, you’ll be well on your way to a great game.
B is for Back
During the address position, bend your body at the hips (bending at the waist will make you hunched). Stick your rear-end out and bend your knees slightly to create the correct lower back position.
C is for Curve
While it’s important to have a straight lower back, don’t lose that important curve in your upper back (don’t worry this gets easier to grasp over time). Stand tall, but lean – imagine you’re about to sit on a barstool.
D is for Degree
Getting your foot position wrong can impact your swing. Position your right foot straight on (with a 5 degree turn at most) – creating resistance in your back leg and giving you stability. Then with your left foot, aim to keep it turned out at around 25 degrees.
E is for Easy
It’s easy to slip into bad habits (which is why we’re going back to basics). Make a note of regularly checking your address position – helping you to shake off any bad habits.
F is for Firm
While you can loosen your shoulders, keep your forearms firm. This allows you to easily transition from the address position into your swing.
Whenever taking up the address position, quickly run through this guide in your head. Over time these steps will become second nature…
4-Step Guide for the Perfect Backswing
As any avid golfer knows, the more you play, the more obsessed you become with perfecting the finer elements of your technique, which is great…
Until you start to forget about the basics.
See, when you’re overly focused on angles, swing adjustments and so on, it’s easy to get out of the habit of reviewing your basic technique, often resulting in inconsistencies in your game.
As I’m sure you’ve heard, there’s a perfect spot for your club head to be in at the top of your backswing. Just before you let rip! In fact, when you find this spot, you’ll have a smoother downswing and more consistent drives. What’s more you will hit less uncomfortable, irregular, off-balance shots.
So, I have put together a 4-step guide to help you get back to basics and refresh…
Follow these 4-steps to find your “sweet spot”:
Step 1. Take up your address position – your normal posture, your same tilt.
Step 2. Place your club on your back shoulder; bend your arms at your elbows.
Step 3. Twist your torso to the end of your full backswing keeping your club on your back shoulder.
Step 4. Unbend your arms and extend them at shoulder height.
And there it is, your sweet spot!
You should know when you’ve found it because you will feel balanced underfoot. Give it a go and you’ll be ready to hit down and through the ball for a smooth, aggressive drive. So, let it rip!
6-Tips to Improve Your Chip
Remember that impossible shot Tiger made back in 2005?
Proof that practice does pay off…
And sure we’re not all gonna be the next Woods, but there is something we all can take from this… Give your chipping a chance.
Whether you’re struggling, looking to improve or think you’re a pro at the chips – It’s always good to get back to basics.
6 tips for chipping:
Tip 1: When on the green… this shot will elevate your ball into the hole. But BEWARE playing this shot too far back can make it difficult to get it up in the air.
Tip 2: When picking your club… try opting for lofted wedges (unless playing a shot over 60 foot). Many players find using a sand or lob wedge helps control the flight path of the ball.
Tip 3: When you need some distance… don’t be afraid to whack it! Adding a bit of backswing behind the ball will help the ball to grab the grass once its lands on the green.
Tip 4: When holding the club… keep your wrist firm and your left shoulder down, while putting your weight on your left foot.
Tip 5: When you need to focus… look at the dimple on the back of the ball. This’ll keep your clubface centered and your head still.
Tip 6: When hitting the ball… You want to feel like you’re just brushing the grass with your club. Get a feel for the shot by doing a few test strokes beforehand.
So, whether you’ve aspirations of recreating that shot or just improving your chipping, try to remember these 6 basics next time you’re out.
Chipping is an area a lot of golfers need to improve on but rarely invest their practice time in, Tiger even admitted…
“Because I’ve holed a number of pitches and chips in dramatic fashion during my career, my short game has received a lot of praise. Truth is, I’ve always felt that I could improve in certain areas, especially chipping.”
3-Distance Control Tips
For many golfers, putting is tricky.
And most have their own individual methods and styles for holing it in. Whether it’s imagining a large circle around the hole, stroking every putt with the intention of making it…
Whatever your preference, it can be difficult (and sometimes frustrating). But mastering your distance control when making that putt can really help your game.
(Those with a long stroke will definitely know what I’m talking about)
So, to help you master the basics of a controlled distance swing –
Note these 3 distance control tips:
Tip 1: Stance…
As you’d imagine you need to be in control of every facet of your swing – from your body to your club. So in order to make the correct stance: straighten up and draw your arms into your body.
Tip 2: Timing…
Add a metronome to help with your rhythm. The typical player swings at around 76 beats a minute – try matching this.
Tip 3: Wrists…
Hinging your wrists early on in your backswing will prevent you having to do it last minute and suddenly losing speed. Maintaining a hinged wrist throughout your swing will help guide the ball to where you want it.
Employ these basic changes (whether your swing is too long or too short) and you’ll notice a greater control in your swing. Making these small manageable changes is key to your distance control.
3-Exercise Activities to Improve Your Golf
You know that stiff feeling after a day at the links? When your lower back is really tight and you can’t wait to just relax in the clubhouse? It’s the worst!
If you’re anything like me, you may be prone to muscle spasms, back pain and stiffness. And, if so, you’ll understand how important it is to prepare your body off the course too.
A basic level of fitness not only benefits your overall health and mental well being, but it can fine-tune your technique on the green, help prevent injury and even speed up recovery time.
The UG team have put together some basic exercise activities for you to give a try:
1) Engage Your Core
Building your core muscles can lessen back pain and improve your mobility. But, what does this mean for your game? Well, your core supports that your backswing and stamina throughout those 18 holes.
Don’t know how to ‘engage’? Give this a try each time you approach the ball:
• Use your upper six-pack muscles to “pull up”
• Then, bear down a little and push your abdomen out in all directions
2) Try Short Cardio Sessions
Leave the long cross-country treks to the marathon runners! Give this a try off the course, 2-3 times a week:
Begin with 20 minutes mid-to-brisk walks, building on your pace as you become more comfortable. Then challenge yourself!! After the first week begin to increase your speed or incorporate intervals of varying speed (also known as High Intensity Interval Training).
Basic HIIT Structure:
Step 1. Walk at your own steady pace for 4 minutes.
Step 2. Build to a brisk walk/jog for 1 minute.
Step 3. Repeat both steps for 20 minutes.
3) Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
Stretching is so important (you can totally fit it in between holes), that we’ve broken down a couple of simple stretches for you.
(This is great for that tight lower back we spoke about)
Step 1. Lie on your back with a small flat cushion or book under your head.
Step 2. Keep your knees bent and together and your chin tucked in.
Step 3. Roll your knees to one side, followed by your pelvis, keeping both shoulders on the floor.
Step 4. Hold the stretch for one deep breath before alternating sides.
(Don’t forget those stiff legs!)
Step 1. Stand on one leg (use a wall for support if needed).
Step 2. Swing your leg back and forth.
Step 3. Swap leg and repeat.
Pro fitness expert Michael Brantl (UG fitness expert) recommends using a foam roller to improve your flexibility and mobility.
(This is your ‘swing’ simulation)
Step 1. Hook your arms around the golf club placed lengthwise.
Step 2. Rotate your trunk and head to the left and hold it there for 20 to 30 seconds.
Step 3. Repeat this on the other side.
And there you have it! Some simple exercises and most importantly some stretches, to get your game up to scratch (pun intended!).
Remember: It’s important to not over do it. Start at a pace that feels comfortable to you and then build up your strength and the intensity of your workouts.
4-Steps to Perfect Your Fade
As I’m sure you know, getting a clean fade and not slicing the ball can be a difficult technique to master. When you’re aiming for a tightly curved fairway… it can be really difficult to control the trajectory of your ball.
Before you set that swing in motion there are some basics that can really up your technique and set you on the path to the green easily!
Here are 4 basic steps to get you successfully fading:
Step 1: Set your clubface square to the ball
Hold the club super tight in the bottom three fingers of your left hand. This means you’ll release the club slightly later than normal which helps set you up for that great left to right trajectory.
Step 2: Open your stance
Aim your feet left of your target, or towards where you want the ball to start off before it curves. This is where you get that great curling spin on the ball.
Step 3: Lean the club shaft slightly forward
Expect 2 things to happen here:
• You achieve a descending strike
• You get more loft from the club
Step 4: Swing along the plane of your feet
Remember to make sure your clubface square to the ball! Although your clubface is not aligned with your body, by swinging along the path of your feet the ball will begin its journey in that direction. You will then gain some sidespin on the ball that will bring it back to the target while it’s in the air.
And there you have it, 4 easily executed steps that will have you fading like a pro in no time. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t make the green first try, even just practicing the stance or the direction of your swing before you approach the ball can help you get comfortable with the fading technique.
Green Reading is Child’s Play
Have you ever stared at a 15-foot putt for so long you started to wonder if you would ever see where the ball would break? Well, it’s in those moments that you have actually begun to trust what you see in front of you instead of trusting what you feel underfoot.
The solution? Feel first, see second.
Now, we’re revealing our secret to green reading…
Step 1: Feel First
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll have a natural sense of balance. Since you were born you’ve been using your balance to assess the steepness of slopes.
So, green reading really is child’s play.
Just like a child can feel if they’re on a steep or gradual slope because of their balance, so can you. Just ask yourself: Which direction are my feet angled? Uphill? Downhill? Is the slope steep or gradual underfoot?
This feel for the slope is what you need to practice and draw on when you’re out on the greens.
Step 2: See Second
Armed with your innate child-like feel for the steepness of the green, you can now assess where you believe the ball will break during your 3-step putt:
• Assess the line of the putt
• Practice the strength of your swing
• Take the shot
So remember – feel first, see second. Not the other way around. Simple.
One Hook Too Many?
You know it takes a-lot of practice to control the trajectory of your ball. Tempting though it may be to hack it as hard as you can, there is nothing more frustrating than having your ball unexpectedly fly off course… I’m sure you’ve experienced those times when you’re sure – “I’ve got it this time”.
You’ve repositioned your stance and let your swing follow the path of your feet… But, STILL you hit a hook. Before you lose your cool – breathe.
Count yourself lucky (yeah, you heard me right!). Hitting a hook means you’re very close to hitting those consistent, powerful shots. So, we’re covering the most common problem causing that pesky hook and how to fix it…
The Problem? A strong grip…
Holding your club handle too tight can cause the ball to curve too much from right to left. Because of the ‘lock’ you’ve created with your hands, your right hand moves away from the target and underneath the club as you accelerate into your swing. This problem causes the clubface to close and the ball to then hook to the left.
The Fix? Loosen up that grip…
And manipulate that hook into a manageable draw! Adjust your right hand to a more neutral position. Turn it toward the target, so you can’t see your left thumb when you make your grip. You can also go a step further to support your club through the swing – put your right index finger in a “trigger” position under the handle. Why, you ask? Well, when your finger wraps around the grip too much, the club loses control through the top of your swing.
While this may sound simple, it’s small bad habits like this that are so easy to pick up and can really affect your game (without you even realizing). So take note of your grip the next time you address the ball and make the change. I promise you’ll notice the difference.
Want to Nail Your Impact Technique?
Something we get quite a few emails about at UG is…
“How do I perfect my impact technique?”
Making that transition from full to short swing can be pretty tricky. And as I’m sure you’re aware, your ability to control the ball is what can make or break your on-course performance. So, we’re covering the basics for getting your impact just right:
Step 1. Position the clubhead trailing behind your hands; this allows you to deliver power to the ball with a downward strike.
Step 2. Your right wrist should be slightly bent back with the clubshaft in-line with your left arm.
Step 3. Your hands should be closer to the target than the ball.
Tip: Don’t release your wrists too soon on the downswing. You’ll probably strike the ball too high, or too low and dig into the turf below.
Drill: Use your highest-lofted club and try to hit the ball solidly. Aim to keep it as low as possible. Don’t swing too hard, because that will create more backspin and a higher trajectory.
Step 1. Position your hands slightly behind the clubhead.
Step 2. The shaft should be leaning slightly away from the target and nearly parallel to your right arm.
Step 3. Your right wrist needs to be slightly bowed.
Tip: Release your wrists earlier than on the full shot to get the clubhead to reach impact at the same time as your hands.
Drill: Try to hit high, soft shots with your 6-iron. Take a super-wide stance, and keep the shaft as low to the ground as you can. Swing and try to move the shaft in line with your right forearm.
With these simple tweaks to your technique, you’re sure to get your scores way down.
A Simple Drill to Overcome Your Jab
When you feel under pressure, it can really affect your technique. That overwhelming feeling can kick-in at any point of your game… but most commonly it impacts your swing.
Picture this –
“ You’ve sailed to the green and the hole is in sight. Then, the nerves creep in – you pull back short in your backswing and then make a jerky jab motion at the ball. *Miss* – you’re now nowhere near sinking the putt.”
We all know how easy it is to lose strokes on the green. But, having a longer backstroke and following through with your swing after impact, allows you to have greater control over the speed and distance of your ball.
You need to keep a consistent tempo, from the backswing right through to the shot, if you want to guide your ball to the hole.
So, we’re sharing a basic drill to avoid that jab–
Step 1. Set up a 10-footer and place a tee just outside the tip of your putter.
Step 2. Now place another tee where your backswing would end if you made a smooth stroke.
Practice swinging the putter from that first tee back to the second, then let it follow through the ball
Tip: Don’t adjust your grip from backswing to follow through. Maintain the same grip pressure around the handle, this will ensure you maintain the same tempo through your swing.
By following this seemingly simple drill, you’ll achieve a more consistent stroke and avoid that annoying jabbing motion. Sure, it takes some practice but with time you’ll find you bury more of those must-make putts.
Try The Knockdown For Those High-Pressure Shots
When you’re having difficulty controlling the trajectory of your ball and you know that every little stroke counts coming up to the green (needless to say – the nerves are starting to creep in), the knockdown is a great tool.
To maintain your ball’s height and distance, this shot is key – without the awkward fiddly technique to throw you off. It requires less hand rotation, but more movement from your body.
As you don’t have to manipulate your grip through impact, it works well when the pressure is on. The problem is, many hackers misinterpret how to make the shot…
For this shot you’re still using your full backswing, you just finish lower on the follow-through. This will allow the ball to go the same distance as a regular shot just lower, and you will maintain greater control.
Step 1. Play the ball farther back in your stance, with your weight more on your left side.
Step 2. Use a downward blow by striking the ball before the turf.
Step 1. Practice hitting 20-yard shots with a 9-iron. Note the trajectory.
Step 2. Now with the same club, try hit shots 30 yards, but with almost the same trajectory.
Step 3. Don’t forget that you are aiming to finish low.
Step 4. Gradually lengthen your shots to 50, 75, 100 yards, always trying for the same ball path.
Tip: Practice hitting shots under objects e.g. tree branches on the side of the practice area. It’s good to get out on the course when it’s the least busy for this.
With the knockdown, you’ve a shot that can give you the control you need when the stakes are high. And, once you’ve the technique down pat, it’s a valuable shot you can use time and again on the back nine.
The 3-Step Rule for Bad Lies
Has your ball ever missed the trim fairway grass, and lodged itself in a sand trap? Frustrating, right?
The key is to consider your environment when approaching a bad lie. Whether it’s uneven sand, sloping long grass etc., in order to make solid contact from uneven ground, you need to take what the slope gives you. Followed by adjusting your setup and swing to accommodate it. That brings us to…
The 3-step rule to overcome every lie (no matter how uneven):
Step 1. Stand wider for extra stability
Step 2. Lean into the slope
Step 3. Use 70 or 80% of your swing
Here are two of the trickiest lies and how to approach them, using our 3-step rule –
If you’re going uphill, you’ll likely find you tend to hit the ball left. This is because your hands and arms are releasing upwards through impact, causing the clubface to rotate closed.
Tip 1: Play the ball slightly more forward than normal, and try to get your shoulders parallel to the hill (this will help you avoid driving your clubhead into the hill on impact).
Tip 2: Aim your body and club right of where you normally would.
If you’re going downhill, you’ll likely notice you tend to hit the ball right. This is because you’re extending your arms down the slope.
Tip 1: Position the ball back a little and, as with the uphill lie, feel as if you set your shoulders parallel to the slope (as much as you can going down hill).
Tip 2: Aim a little left of normal for this shot. Don’t forget to apply the 3-step rule the next time your ball overshoots the green. You can overcome even the worst lies. With a little technique and a level head you’ll find your way to smooth ground again.
Practice Drills Make Perfect
Many hackers leave everything to chance on the day of play… But practicing shots and developing a greater understanding of your movements coupled with their effect on the ball, means that you can become a great all-rounder on the links. And who doesn’t like the sound of that!
By using something as basic as golf markers while you practice (you probably know ‘em as tour sticks!), will ensure you’re following-through on your technique. I’ve personally seen the benefit of using markers in my pre-game routine-
“When I was starting out, I struggled with poor form and a lazy swing technique. But once I identified what was lacking, (alright, I really started paying attention to my old coach’s mantra of, ‘practice makes perfect’) targeted practice drills corrected those problem areas for me.”
Now, when I’m talking about using golf markers or tour sticks – I’m NOT telling you to go out and buy some expensive equipment. I’m going to level with you – and it’s not pretty. But, I’ve used left over hiking polls, old piping and even fishing rods to help me practice.
So back to the present…
We’re outlining some popular drills that use just the kind of markers we’ve being talking about–
The Putting Drill:
Also known as the ‘straight back and through’ position…
Step 1. Place two markers on the ground slightly wider than the width of the putter head and parallel to the target line.
Step 2. Place the ball in the center of the sticks.
Step 3.Make a putting stroke without hitting the sticks.
The Impact Drill:
The impact drill is performed by sliding a marker stick down through the grip and the shaft…
The objective of this drill is to hit chip and pitch shots without allowing the wrists to break down and flip the hands at the ball. If performed correctly, you will be able to hit shots without any interference from the protruding Tour Stick. However, if you allow the wrists to break down, the stick will bump into your side or hip, letting you know you are not maintaining those solid wrists.
The Fade Drill:
Marker sticks can be used to work on a golf fade…
Step 1. Stand one stick in the ground 10 feet in front of the golfer in a direct line between the player and the intended target.
Step 2. The second stick (used for alignment) will be placed on the ground aimed on an angle to the left of the first stick; the clubface will be pointing at the target.
The objective is to start your shot to the left of the standing stick (for the right-handed golfer) and have it work back to the hole.
By repeating simple drills for – putting, impact and fading, you’ll naturally perform the same movements without any assistance on the course.
6-Steps to Control Your Tee Shot
You’ve probably heard this term batted around the course – “Mannn I just nutted that tee shot”– queue the fist pumping.
Mostly referring to the long game… to hit a ‘nutted’ shot means you’ve impacted your ball squarely. In theory this sounds pretty simple, and you may even have experience making this shot a couple of times in the past… But the real problem lies in the consistency of hitting a nutted shot.
It’s a real difficult shot to peg down, even though to an outsider it looks almost too easy. But learn to do it, and you control the ball. And I don’t know about you, but one problem area that I’m constantly working on is control. Or, lack of it.
By learning control, you not only stroke the shot in the way you intended… you also maximize the distance that your ball travels. And this is exactly what nutting the ball will achieve.
To help you nail this shot, we’re taking you through this shot step-by-step…
Step 1: Grip the club
This is one of the most important steps to achieving a ‘nutted shot’ and hitting the golf ball straight. You want your lead hand to have the thumb down and to sit just right of center (also called a neutral grip).
Step 2: Place your non-lead hand
To do this, pretend like you’re shaking hands with the club so that your non-lead hand goes along the side of the grip. The v between your thumb and pointer finger should point at your non-lead shoulder.
Step 3: Align your clubhead and ball with the target
If you want, you can lay a club as a marker on the ground just outside the ball. This will give you a good idea of whether you have your clubface lined up properly or not. Your clubhead should be perpendicular to the club that you set as a marker.
Step 4: Set your feet
Your feet aren’t too important to the overall success of this technique. As long as the clubface is properly aligned, you can hit the ball from a stance that’s most comfortable for you.
Step 5: Start your backswing
Start your backswing, keeping your clubhead inside of the ball as you draw back. This will help correct an outside-in swing. This is a common fault that causes you to hit off of square on the clubface, which then creates unwanted sidespin.
Step 6: Hit through the ball
The time has finally come to stroke the ball! If you’ve done the grip and alignment work correctly, your ball should fly straight-on.
Also known as a flush, ‘nutting’ your ball means you’ve hit it squarely. This shot affords you greater control and distance of your shot and also a more powerful drive at that stage of play.
Step-By-Step Approach To Off-Green Shots
‘Hit the shot you know you can hit, not the one you think you should’.
On a par-5 hole you’ve a little wiggle-room coming into the green, but you really don’t want to have to test it. So, you send the ball soaring on course for the pin with hopes of a green lie. But, as you watch it land you realize you’ve overshot the mark, and now the ball lies off-green.
You’re not very comfortable with this shot. And as it’s touted as one of the most difficult golf manoeuvres, no one can really blame you. While you have options – chip or putt – you’re going to meet golfers and coaches with very set opinions on the approach. Don’t listen to them.
Every situation is different, and at the end of the day it all comes down to your confidence- do you feel more comfortable using a putter or an iron?
The UG Team have put together both approaches to help you identify which shot will work best for you putting off-green–
The Chip Shot:
Step 1. Align your clubface perpendicular to the target. Then, set the shaft upright and stand the club on its toe end, this will reduce drag on the downswing.
Step 2. Move handle forward and distribute weight on front foot. This will de-loft the club and allow for over spin of the ball at contact. Now, position the handle in the centre of your body.
Step 3. Control your shot by rocking your shoulders with very little wrist movement on the backswing. Keep your hands slightly ahead of the club head.
Step 4. Maintain an even tempo and keep your head still. The follow-through should be the same distance from the original ball position as your backswing.
Step 5. Keep your hands firm and point the clubhead towards the pin, moving forward during the swing with a smooth tempo.
Using Your Putter:
Step 1. Don’t think too long over a shot, trust your initial instincts focus on that spot on the green and commit to it. If you’re off, it will be a learning curve for future putts.
Step 2. Even though you’re not standing on the short stuff, set up as normal, keeping shoulders still and arms straight.
Step 3. Putting off the slightly longer fairway grass will require a longer swing so use your golfing judgement and don’t be scared of giving it a good hit while maintaining your rhythm.
Step 4. Accelerating through the ball to gain a faster impact on the ball and increase the roll of your ball.
Step 5. Keep your head down until after impact and follow-through. This will increase the chance of stroking the putt as you intended.
Whatever the situation, it’s important to consider which approach you’re most comfortable with. It’s great to play outside your comfort zone when you’re practicing, but play to your strengths on the day.
Easy 3-Step Fix for a Plugged Lie
Are you only focusing on this shot? Sure, you’re dealing with a plugged lie and you’re worried about retrieving your ball… But, as a serious golfer you always need to think two shots ahead of where you are.
So, play smart! If you recover your ball quickly now, you will regain your position and reap the benefits later.
Try this easy 3-step fix to effectively tackle a plugged lie–
Step 1: Open your clubface
While a closed face digs better, the ball comes out too low and often results in another follow up recovery shot…
• If your ball is buried below the lip of the bunker, start with an open clubface
• And if you don’t have tons of green to play with, this approach can quickly get you out of trouble
Step 2: Take a steep backswing
• Hinge your wrist more in the backswing – this’ll help you to downswing sharply and dig into the buried ball more easily
• Position yourself just forward of the centre of the ball with your clubface open
• Pick a spot a couple of inches behind the ball (a little back from the divot made by the plugged lie)
Step 3: Don’t follow-through
• Rather than a long follow-through, whip the shot hard and then stop short (your lack of follow-through coupled with a strong strike will help you clear the lip of the hazard obstructing your ball)
• By digging deep in the downswing you pop the ball back out and force it to land on the green
A plugged lie doesn’t need to ruin an otherwise strong game. Focus on recovering your ball in as few shots as possible and reclaim the lead.
How to Recover from a Quad-Bogey Hole…
For you and I, the idea of scoring a quadruple bogey isn’t the worst thing in the world. Nonetheless, you don’t want to hear that you’re on a par-3 hole and it’s taken you 7 shots to even smell the grass of the green. And when it happens, you know you’ve got a major recovery mission on your hands.
In case you’re not familiar (lucky you!) – a quad-bogey is a score of 4-over par on a hole. While there isn’t much you can do to make a comeback on the hole itself… there are some tips that’ll help set you straight for the remainder of the game.
Try this 3-step approach for recovering from quad-bogeys–
Step 1: It’s only a game
At the end of the day, this is where your mental game matters most. And by putting unnecessary pressure on yourself you’re putting your nerves to the test. Instead, remind yourself that golf is a sport that you actually enjoy and that it’s just a game. This approach will help put everything back into perspective for you.
(Sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly stressed, I repeat ‘it’s just a game’ to myself to keep my head)
Step 2: Breathe
This one may seem obvious – but there’s science behind it!
When you’re feeling stressed, your body responds with ‘fight or flight’ chemicals. So, by taking a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, your heart rate decreases in spite of the stressful situation that you’re in. Try breathing in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. Then, for an added benefit trying counting slowly as you exhale.
Step 3: Move on!
I’m sure you’re thinking –“Recover? You don’t!” But, stick to the game plan – get yourself to the pin (eventually), and then move onto the next fairway, leaving all that negative energy behind you. And while there’s no vanishing act you can do on the points you’ve wracked-up on the hole, you’re not going to make it any better by punishing yourself further.
How to Setup for the Perfect Release
One of the most misunderstood terms in many golfers’ vocabularies is… release.
You’ve probably heard some weekend hackers gushing about their technique and how they’re using more lag to improve their “release”. But forcing it will leave your clubface too far open on impact and without the momentum needed to achieve a powerful swing. In theory it’s quite simple…
“A proper release happens naturally when you allow the clubface to square through impact and maintain the correct clubhead speed through follow-through.”
See, it sounds quite straightforward. Which may leave you asking, “if it happens naturally, why’s it not happenin’ for me?”
If that’s the case, the main technique I’d offer you on finding your proper release is this…
How to setup your perfect release:
• Square the clubface through impact and rotate your right forearm (if that’s your dominant one) over the left one.
• Fully extend your arms as your lower body rotates to the left and your club remains on target. Keep your head behind the ball as your arms pass your body through the impact zone.
This technique will help you achieve the desired flat left wrist and squared clubface at the moment of contact. So, instead of thinking about delaying your lag, focus on unhinging your wrists during the downswing, ensuring your arms are nearly straight at impact. While this can be a difficult position to learn, practice will reinforce the habit.
Is This Causing Your Slice?
90% of golfers share a common struggle... They slice the ball. For most hackers, the problem lies with an open clubface – You’re not gripping the club correctly, you’re swinging steeply into the ball, or you’re unsure of how to find a good release. Combined, these issues make for high and weak, off-target shots.
So, the UG team have created a list of 6 possible weak spots and simple cures to solve your slice…
Grip: Your hands may be twisted too far round to the left of the grip, known as a weak grip.
Cure: Find the balance between gripping too tightly and a soft grip. A grip that’s too tight will keep the hands from releasing through impact.
Aim: Your clubface could be too open. Alignment is the most overlooked area of golf, with many golfers just presuming they’re aiming in the right direction. Just because you’re looking at the flag, doesn’t mean you’re aiming at it.
Cure: Ensure both your body and clubface are on target.
Posture: The muscles on the dominant side of your body are naturally stronger from over-use. While this is great for day-to-day tasks… it’s having a terrible effect on your game. Resulting in an imbalance in your posture, it can cause you to rotate in the opposite direction and exert unnecessary stress on your joints. Cure: Hold your dominant shoulder back a bit longer on your downswing to help prevent over-swing.
Swing: In the first part of your backswing, you may find the club going too much to the inside and your left arm too far across your chest. This often leaves your arms with nowhere to go; so they lift over the top of you (almost like a figure 8). Cure: Hit shots with the ball above your feet. This will get you swinging along the correct target line rather than in, up and over.
Ball position: The ball could be too far forward in your stance causing your shoulders to open.
Cure: The optimum position of the ball is different for every golfer so you need to have a feel for what works for you rather than going by the textbooks.
Stance: Your stance may be too narrow causing you to be unstable and rely too much on your arms through the forward swing rather than your hips.
Cure: Positioning your legs shoulder width apart helps to ground your stance and ensures you use your hips throughout the swing movement.
By identifying your weak point today, you can try one of our simple cures to improve your slice in future.
3-Step Fix for Topped Shots
So, you hit the ball… but, rather than sailing through the air… it only bounces a few yards down the fairway… Now, you’re not only disappointed with the wasted shot, but your confidence has taken a knock too. It’s the dreaded topped shot.
As the name suggests, it happens when you strike the top half of your ball with the bottom of your club (and you may not even realize you’re doing it).
The main cause for this is when you rise out of your address position during the downswing:
“Because you’re trying to encourage your ball into the air, you hang back and try to force the ball with your wrists, rising-up out of your stance in the process.
As you move, your swing-arc changes and lifts – this causes your club to impact at the top half of your ball.”
So, we’re showing you how to prevent that shot from bouncing again (before you start, remember you need to maintain your address position throughout your swing)…
Step 1. Stick a clubshaft or marker in the grass behind you
Step 2. When you start into your downswing, stick out your butt to bump the shaft so you’re aware of how close it is
Step 3. This will keep your lower body and upper body in the correct address position
When you’ve perfected this movement, you should naturally feel the clubhead moving downward and slightly from inside the target line.
Practice this move through impact, and you’ll quickly get back to solidly striking the ball. While, it can be difficult to pinpoint what’s causing your fault, once you find out where you’re going wrong you can get back to improving your game.
Can This Really Improve Your Swing?
An inconsistent swing can really affect your overall performance. Where many people go wrong is: working overtime on the follow-through, and forgetting about the backswing.
Rotating your arms and club too high in your backswing can compromise your swing plane and you can lose the full power and control of your strike.
Known as an upright backswing, this can often result in a cut ball or pulled shot (which isn’t good). Instead, you want a controlled and rounded backswing to improve your strike accuracy.
To help, the UG team have come up with a drill to get you back to your ball-striking best:
Step 1. Tuck a clubhead cover under your right arm as you address the ball (your lead arm)
Step 2. Keep it under your arm as you make your backswing
Step 3. Let your left arm come across your chest in your backswing
Step 4. Now, follow-through into your swing as normal
Tip: Let go of the clubhead cover in your follow-through. Once you keep it intact through the backswing, you’ll engage your perfect swing plane.
Work this drill into your regular practice session to see a greater improvement in your backswing and to strike the ball more consistently.
Visualize That Winning Putt!
When you’re not playing well…. man, does it suck! Shot, after shot – you’ll try anything to get back on top (changing your stance, opening your clubface, closing your clubface… you name it!) but, the more stressed you get the harder it is for you to take a good shot.
So, I don’t need to tell you that there’s more to golf than just whacking a ball! There’s fitness, eating the right foods and staying hydrated, finding the right technique… and then on top of that there’s the mental game.
Many golfers get frustrated when I tell them that they have the answer to their game weaknesses, literally in their heads. Take visualization for example –
“Simply picture yourself nailing a putt, driving your ball farther – whatever it is, that visual can go a long way to improving your golf confidence.”
Outcome Visualization –
Tip: Don’t just vaguely visualize a shot… You need to get a clear picture of the path the ball will travel to reach the target. Is it a fade or a draw? Low or high? How will it bounce when it lands? Make the picture as vivid as you can.
Process Visualization –
Tip: Put yourself in the picture… Imagine yourself hitting that ball, and get a look at the swing you need to make. This tool will help you to repeat that movement. Don’t just visualize as you’re tee-ing up, use it between shots too.
What’s going through your head as you travel from one hole to another can really affect your mood. And that can affect your performance.
So, let your mind take you to a more relaxed place, and your game will reap the benefits of a more confident you.
Do You Have a Weak Grip?
I’ve got 3 words for you: High. Weak. Shots.
Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than when your shot slams with an open clubface at impact, right? Well, I hate to tell you but the reason it’s happening…
Is all down to your grip. After all, your grip is your closest point of contact with the ball. Which means if you’re messin’ it up… chances are you’re gonna end up with one helluva slice. This can be a real tender point for many golfers.
So, the UG team have put together a simple way to identify a bad grip –
The line or V created by the right hand will point towards your left collarbone.
Solution: The line or V is pointing towards your right collarbone when placing your hands on the grip. Correcting this fault will help you produce more predictable and consistent shots – putting that pesky slice behind you.
When, shot after shot, you still can’t figure out where you’re going wrong, stop and take it back to the basics. More often than not, you’re missing out on one of the key fundamentals of the game and it’s standing in the way of a great shot.
If you’ve been following the ABCs of Golf on our website, you’ll know that our last post “XYZ” included a simple wrap-up of all the advice we shared with you over the course of the series.
Just for you in this exclusive guide, we’re sharing some bonus tips and content with our UG Tribe…
Want a simple but super effective putting tip?
Stop looking up!
So many of you look up too soon and don’t follow-through on your technique. Instead, concentrate on the motion. Hit the ball with the centre of your clubface, centre-faced contact is the key to great putts.
Do these affect your game?
It’s something that’s been whispered around golf courses, tournaments and clubs for years, but nobody really likes dealing with… The dreaded yips.
From the outside, these small jerky movements don’t look like much. But to the most talented of players, it’s a curse of a condition that has destroyed many a golfers game. While a cause is hard to pin down, they’re commonly associated with activities that overuse small movements (like those in golf, baseball etc.) and mental nerves.
While treatments vary from golfer to golfer, there are many tricks you can try for yourself that may ease the effects…
Change of Grip –
Tip: Grip the club tighter with your good hand (the one not affected by yips) and much more loosely with the bad one. This will minimize the effect of the condition.
Slowing Down –
Tip: Many golfers, who are affected by the yips, don’t see the jerky movement when they make a stroke in slow motion. Practice swinging slowly at first, and build on the speed as you feel comfortable and are free of the effect of the yips.
Mental Game –
Tip: Having a pre-shot or in-shot routine that you practice at every stage of your game, can really help you to mentally focus your mind. Also, by thinking ahead to the landing spot of your ball, rather than where you are now, can help relieve any pressure or nerves that can affect your performance.
Try these simple tips the next time your on the fairways, to help counteract the yips.
You know rest is important too, right?
Many golfers don’t realize how important it is to rest and recover after a day at the course… And, I’m not just talking about spending the rest of the evening in the 19th hole either.
Throughout your game, your pulling muscles and joints, while pushing your body to perform at it’s best. So, why is it that so many of you don’t give your body the rest and nutrients it needs to recover?
Here are some basic recovery tips to help your body stay in peak condition for the fairways and beyond…
Following a good stretch and warm-down routine, you need to get a good night sleep after those 3+ hours you’ve probably spent at the club.
• 7-8 hours sleep is recommended
• Try get some hours sleep in before midnight. They’re more effective than any you get in after 12am
While it’s tempting to ‘reward’ yourself with a burger and cold beer, your body’s energy stores need replenishing. Instead, within 15 minutes of finishing your round…
• Drink two glasses of water
• Eat some protein and replenish energy stores with carbs. For example: a steak with vegetables and a baked potato or chicken salad with rice, to help repair your muscles
• If you do drink alcohol, make sure you do it with food and water
You’re body is tired after a few hours practicing the game you love give it the attention it needs to recover with rest and the right diet.
We’ve come to the end of Ultimate Golf Tips: The ABCs of Golf Guide.
Enjoyed this guide? Here are some other training resources we think you might like…
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Training Videos: [+ Improve Your Short Game+]
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