101 Golf Secrets
Golf Secrets 4 - 6: Instruction
04 HOW TO HOLE A DOWNHILL-LIE EXPLOSION SHOT
BY PAUL AZINGER
Lee Westwood called it the best bunker shot he’d ever seen. All I know is I had to hole it. It was the 18th at The Belfry in the 2002 Ryder Cup, I was 1 down to Niclas Fasth, and if I lost my match, we’d lose the Ryder Cup. The ball was on a little downslope, sitting kind of heavy in the sand, and I was into the wind. My technique is to let the club release. You don’t want to guide it, which is the biggest faux pas the best players make under severe pressure. I knew if I hung on to it, the ball wouldn’t get there. I read the green like on a putt. The ball just came out great, trickled down the slope and into the hole. Even though we still lost, it was a thrilling moment.
05 HOW TO PLAY OUT OF A DIVOT
BY SHELBY FUTCH
When hitting out of a divot, the worst thing you can do is scoop the ball--the clubhead getting ahead of the hands at impact. But that's exactly what the lie makes most golfers do. Scooping exposes the leading edge and leads to skulls or drop-kicks. What you need is a descending blow, and there are two ways to get it: (1) Play the ball back slightly in your stance, and lean left, which sets up a steeper swing plane and a downward hit. With this method, the ball will come out lower, so allow for some chase when it lands. (2) This technique is tougher to execute, but allows you to hit the ball higher and stop it faster: Take one extra club, play the ball farther forward than you normally do and open your stance and the clubface slightly. Swing across the ball from out to in, like you would for a bunker shot. You'll hit it high and stop it on the green.
06 HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR GOLF MUSCLES
BY RANDY MYERS
The latest studies indicate that golfers need to focus on three areas: flexibility, balance and symmetry. Before a round, you should concentrate on flexibility--stretching the entire back and shoulders and the rotary muscles of the hips, torso and rotator cuffs. After a round or on days when you aren't playing, focus on strength- and balance-training. Things like mimicking the golf swing with a weighted club or using resistance bands to improve range of motion are great, but they have to be performed in both directions to improve the body's symmetry. For a right-handed golfer, that means swinging the weighted club as a lefty would. Otherwise, a right-handed golfer would have a strong right side and a flexible left side. Sooner or later, injuries will develop from this asymmetry.
Performing exercises while standing on one leg instead of two (don't forget to switch legs between sets) will help improve balance. So will assuming a golf-swing posture as you go through your routine. The final element to improving your golf muscles is to do cardiovascular exercises such as running, swimming, etc. They will strengthen your legs and improve your stamina, making it much easier to perform the golf swing as you get tired.
Images from top: Stephen Szurlej; J.D. Cuban; Stephen Szurlej