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7 Principles You Must Understand To Play Better Golf

Updated on March 2, 2015

Three Important Lines To Know

The three lines golfers should understand
The three lines golfers should understand | Source

1. The Two Most Important Concepts of The Golf Swing

Generally there are lots of excellent instruction available, but it hardly ever extends to "the key reasons why".

During your one hour session, the instruction will probably correct some flaws and send you on your way.

After a week you will have forgotten about those fixes and reverted back to your old techniques.

Do you know why? Mainly because you are not getting "the key reasons why" to support your understanding of what's being taught, just band-aid fixes.

The moment you discover the "the key reasons why", regarding your golf swing, you'll be able to fully grasp the golf swing and become a better golfer.

You will find that there are three lines you must become familiar with, the target line (the line that you want the ball to finish on), the swing path line (path of your swing), and the clubface direction line (where the face of the club is pointing at impact).

Two important concepts you must understand as well as control in order to play better golf are:

  1. Clubface Direction
  2. Swing Path

Where clubface is pointing at impact (clubface direction) is the line the ball will start on.

The relationship between the clubface direction and the swing path determines just how much spin will be imparted, which determines how much the ball will curve.

If you're able to understand this you can actually correct your own swing and even make improvements without needing to take lessons.

In order to take control of your golf ball flight, you must learn how to control your clubface direction and also your swing path.

2. Understanding Your Ball Flight

With the help of modern technology it has been determined that the clubface direction (where the face of the club is pointing at impact) rather than your swing path is the key influencer of the initial direction of the golf ball.

Additionally, your swing path, in relationship to the clubface direction, determines how much curve or spin is put on the golf ball.

There are three different relationships between the clubface and the swing path at impact:

• Pointing in the same direction as the swing path ( we refer to this as SQUARE )

• Pointing to the right of the swing path ( we refer to this as OPEN )

• Pointing to the left of the swing path ( we refer to this as CLOSED )

Results have demonstrated that upwards of 80% of your initial ball flight direction is determined by the clubface direction and the other 15%-20% is influenced by the relationship between the clubface direction and swing path.

For example, have you noticed someone slice the ball and they're advised to aim more left?

This fundamentally shifts the swing path more left and can result in the clubface direction to become much more open in relationship to the swing path.

As a result, in accordance with what controls the ball flight, you have a path that's traveling much more left and a clubface that is directed more right of the path (open).

The ball flight will start left and have a large curve off to the right ( the banana slice ).

This leads to much more slice, more distance lost, and more accuracy lost.

Simply by altering your swing path to correct this problem, you happen to be missing the boat, due to the fact only about 15%-20% of the golf ball direction is affected by the swing path.

If you wish to hit it straight, the face of the club need to point along the swing path.

Using this knowledge you are in control of your own swing and your golf game improvement.

You can easily make on the spot corrections, just as the good players do.

The next time you play a round or visit the driving range, pay attention to the golf ball flight.

The ball flight will provide lots of feedback about your clubface direction and your swing path.

Ball Flight Laws Explained

9 Different Ball Flights

Swing Path ( relative to target line )
Clubface ( relative to swing path)
Ball Flight ( start and end direction )
In-to-Square-to In
The ball will start straight and stay straight
In-to-Square-to In
The ball will start straight and curve right
In-to-Square-to In
The ball will start straight and curve left
The ball will start right and stay right
The ball will start right and curve right
The ball will start right and curve left
The ball will start left and stay left
The ball will start left and curve right
The ball will start left and curve left
The different possible ball flights

3. Pre-Shot Routine

You will find lots of golfers that just step up to their shot and hit it.

There is absolutely no thought of how far to hit the shot, where to hit the shot, or what ball flight to use.

You'll need a checklist before you hit the next shot.

The majority of golf courses provide you with information about each hole.

It may be on the scorecard, near the tee box, or on a yardage book.

Every hole was developed with a pre-determined approach to play it for optimum proficiency.

Some also provide you with the ideal shot pattern as imagined by the course designer.

This is certainly good useful information on the best ways to play the hole.

Together with the introduction of golf global positioning systems (gps) , range finders, and smart phone apps, you've got a lot of this valuable information at your fingertips.

Many of the devices will provide you with the distance to hazards, distance to the 150 marker, and distance from your landing area to the front, center, and back of the green.

You simply select which club that can get you to the landing area and execute the shot.

Pre-Shot Routine

Your checklist should be your Pre-Shot routine.

Developing a pre-shot routine will help you get rid of some of the mental mistakes that cost you strokes throughout the round.

There are five parts to your pre-shot routine and it takes less than a minute to complete it.

This routine must be done with each and every shot.

The essential parts that make up a Pre-Shot Routine are:

1.Examine the surroundings

Wind, Lie, Stance?

2.Pick out a target

Exactly where would you like the ball to land?
How far is it to the target/landing area?
Where are the hazards ( play away from the hazards )?

If fairway is target, how far is it to the widest part of the fairway and what side of the fairway do you wish to be on?

If hitting into the green, which area of the green do I want to land on and where can I miss and still have a chance to get up and down?

3.Visualize the Shot

See the shot in your mind.

4. Take Practice Swings

Take a few practice swings, however many you need, to get a feel for the shot and the shot shape. It's like programming it into your subconscious.

5.Pick an Intermediate Target and make a good swing

Pick a target a few feet away, an imperfection, a clump of grass, something on the ground.

This will be used as your swing path guide, because you will swing over this line.

Finally, get in a good athletic setup, relax, and let it go

A pre-shot routine can free you up from thinking about what has happened and what might happen.

It keeps you in the right now state of mind and focused on the present.

As a result, you won't be worried about the water, the out-of-bounds, a bad shot you've made, or thinking too far ahead.

Golfer executing their pre-shot routine.

Pre-Shot Routine

Golfer executing a pre-shot routine
Golfer executing a pre-shot routine | Source

4. Tracking Stats

Right now there are three very simple steps you can take to cut five or more strokes from your golf game.

In additional to developing a good pre-shot routine there are actually three other things that will help you play better golf.

Track three critical stats to improve your golf game.

1.Fairways Hit

When you play smarter golf and focus on hitting more fairways you can expect to become a better golfer.

Set a goal for how many fairways you would like to hit and focus on hitting fairways rather than trying to hit it long and quite often "wrong".

Keeping track of fairways hit provides you with a goal for every round and can help you stay focused on your strategy.

2. Greens in Regulation

Knowing exactly how many greens you hit helps to keep you focused on hitting your irons the proper distance.

Tracking how many greens you hit in regulation can help you develop goal for practicing.

3.Putts per Rounds.

Tracking how many putts per round can help you reduce the amount of 3 putts.

Any time you can avoid 3 putts you will save strokes.

When you keep track of these stats you will notice a direct relationship between your score and those stats.

Additionally, this will help you focus your practice when you go to the driving range and/or practice area.

Attempting to play better golf without knowing where you need to focus your time and efforts is a lot like guessing.

One simple approach to accomplish it is to write on your scorecard, in addition to your score, GIR ( Greens In Regulation ), FW ( Fairways Hit ), and Putts.

If you have a golf app that keeps track of your trends, with regard to percentage Greens In Regulations, Fairways hit, and number of putts per round, you can transfer the data from your score card into that application.

When you know your numbers, you can concentrate on improving them and playing better.

Tracking Stats

Scorecard with 3 critical stats being tracked
Scorecard with 3 critical stats being tracked | Source

5. Aiming Correctly

A vast majority of the golfers aim well right of the target line in an attempt to hit a draw.

Exactly why do a lot of golfers want to hit a draw?

Many golfers still assume that the draw will go a greater distance compared to a straight or fade shot.

I have faith that the average golfer will probably be more complete by using a straight ball fight or maybe a slight fade, because it can be safer to hit and control.

A lot of golfers may benefit from aiming slightly left of the target line and swing naturally.

The ball starts left of the target and moves a little right.

This is often much easier to control and can feel much more natural.

The reason is because, the natural tendency for many golfers is usually to hit the ball with a square to slightly open face, relative to the swing path.

The average golfer is putting themselves in a really bad situation by aiming so much right.

However, a lot of the golfers line up well right, 15 degrees or even more, nevertheless they hit the ball straight right, due to the fact their swing path and clubface direction are exactly the same.

Basically they're swinging along their path, which produces a straight ball, or a little fade.

In order to take control of your ball flight, you must learn to control your clubface direction and your swing path.

Hitting a nice draw is great if you understand the ball flight laws and have developed the skill.

You should have a simple system that will show you where you are aiming and help you with proper alignment.

Practice setting clubs on the ground or alignment sticks to ensure you are aiming properly.

Aim Correctly

Clubs on ground to help with alignment
Clubs on ground to help with alignment | Source

6. Practice Strategy

Is Practice Necessary to become a better golfer?

• Practice is the key to improving and playing better golf

• Practice allows you to play better golf without thinking about your swing

• Practice gives you the confidence to hit good shots

Practice what's going help you to become a better golfer and help you have more fun.

With all of the information available on how to improve your golf swing, how to become a better player, how to hit it farther, it appears that} many people are confused on the best way to improve their golf game when it comes to what to or how to practice.

Practice Strategies:

Practice is obviously necessary to improve, but what should be your strategy or goal when go out to practice.

What should you focus on during your practice session?

When and/or how often should I practice?

Don't simply go to the range to beat balls, you must know your game good enough to recognize your strengths and weaknesses.

Let your goals as well as your desires determine exactly what you need practice and exactly how you should practice.

Keep in mind, you have tracked three critical stats that can help us focus your practice time.

Driving Range

At the driving range
At the driving range | Source

7. Physical Conditioning

A good number of golfers are trying to find the answer to playing better golf, but it is not happening.

What do high level golfers and professionals do that we are able to do to become better golfers?

If you are similar to most golfer you would like to :

• Drive it farther

• Have more energy

• Achieve more flexibility

Getting some exercise is great, but focusing on golf specific exercise routines can make you a much better golfer.

A large number of golfers recognize that being in good condition physically will allow them to play better golf.

That’s the reason why golfers are beginning to include exercise routines into their weekly activity.

This is certainly beneficial to overall health and wellness and to help you develop into a better golfer

A weekly exercise program will allow you to recover quickly, not get as fatigued during the round, and help you play better golf.

This is extremely important towards the end of the round when you are getting tired physically.

Additionally, this can help you recover quickly and you won’t be so stiff and sore and worn out after your round.

Include physical exercise into your weekly routine to help you become a better golfer.

Golf Fitness

Fitness Center
Fitness Center | Source

Importance of Nutrition

Do you know that bad nutrition is one of the main culprits of a disastrous back nine?

Poor nutrition affects mental focus and judgment as well as energy management.

You will never play to your true potential if you don’t learn how to eat like a champion with a good nutrition program.

Healthy Meal

Healthy Nutritious Meal
Healthy Nutritious Meal | Source


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