jeff silverstein golf article

Blog post   •   Nov 26, 2010 05:40 EST

jeff silverstein golf

This is the time of year when you can really groove your good habits! I truly believe any golfer must have a pre-shot routine and a "picture" of what they want to execute in order to accomplish their goal: to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. As I have said before, this game of golf is 40% physical ability and 60 percent mental imaging.

I will help define what exactly a pre-shot routine is and help you image a "picture" before execution. By doing this on the practice area, you will find it much easier when playing the game on the course.

Pre-Shot Routine: We can't just stand parallel to the ball and take a good swing and hope it ends up on the green. The process is much more detailed than that. What I tell my students is that if you have good practice skills, we then need to transfer it to the golf course. Good practice skills begin on the putting/chipping green and the driving range.

Begin by taking your bag of balls first to the practice green-spend at least one half hour practicing shots from all different angles. While you do this, make sure you are standing directly behind the ball each time finding an imaginary line from the ball to your target, taking a practice swing, and then setting your hands on the club, your clubface lined to your target, and lastly make sure your body is parallel to your clubface. After these check points are accomplished, execute your swing.

Making this process a habit when practicing will enhance your ability on the course. After we have spent ample time on the practice green, we then take the balls to the driving range.

At this stage, many people just want to see how far they can hit their driver! Don't start there-start with you nine iron and work through your bag! Have a target in mind and set your mind on that. I tell my students that you gain more practice by hitting twenty balls to a target and having a routine than hitting one-hundred out into the range seeing how far they will go.

We have the same concept for a routine here as we do on the practice green: find an imaginary line from the ball to your target and take a practice swing while looking at the target from this position. Let me clarify these two steps. When you find your imaginary line, that's the line of flight you hope your ball will achieve.

To do this, find something ahead of your ball approximately four to eight inches to line your clubface with so once you are parallel to the target you don't lose your line. I also recommend taking your practice swing while looking at your target to enforce this mental imaging. Then we set the hands properly on the golf club, set the face so it is facing my "spot" four to six inches ahead of the ball, set my body so I am parallel to my clubface-NOT the target. Our body has to be slightly left of the target because our face is parallel to it. Lastly, swing through the ball. Remember that if you already have a routine you're happy with-stick with it!

Imaging: Now that we know how to practice and have our pre-shot routine, we are going to transfer that to the course and use our mental imaging! Whether I am putting or executing a drive-I am doing exactly what I did in practice. There is no difference between your swing on the practice range or in a tournament-it's your state of mind.

What I tell my students is that you groove your motor-muscle memory every time you make a correct swing-even if you are swinging at home! Once this "groove" is made, you can transfer it to both a leisurely game and a high-stakes tournament.

We image each shot, no matter where we are, to our target. This picture you create is the last thing your brain sees before you set-up to the ball. Don't waiver in that POSITIVE picture! For instance if you have doubts about going over a lake, picture going over it or playing short! DO NOT let your fears enter your positive image before you execute your swing because your mind always plays out what you told it. Image the lake, and most likely you'll be fishing your ball out.

Basically, find a routine that works for you and use it all the time. This routine combined with picturing each and every shot will help you have a plan every day! This plan will enable you to lower your scores and feel confident about your game whether it be for fun or for prizes.
In your story, Flexibility on the fairways starting to take root, you describe flexibility as a key component to golf performance, and link yoga to developing this fitness component. While flexibility will definitely help swing plane and swing mechanics, there is little evidence that flexibility will prevent injury.

Furthermore, while some golfers have used yoga to improve their flexibility, there is almost no scientific evidence that yoga is equal to or better than any traditional method of increasing flexibility.

In the meta-analysis of flexibility research, just about every method can produce flexibility gains -- from static stretching to ballistic stretching. While yoga may result in better relaxation, the evidence is slight that this carries over past the exercise session and makes every participant a better golfer.

It can be argued that based upon the nuerophysiological demands of golf being a reciprocally ballistic sport, where you stretch one direction, and then rapidly go the other direction, slow stretching can be detrimental to the golf swing. Other sports are moving towards dynamic and ballistic stretching as the final phase of a warm up or main training method. The same basic thought process can be applied to pilates, where many golfers have turned to find additional flexibility, but with minimal and in some cases detrimental results on their golf swing.

Flexibility is an individual factor that does not necessarily need universal increase for all golfers. If the individual's golf instructor notes the student can take the club back and through their optimal and proper swing path, additional flexibility is not needed.( - )

Iri Golf Group: If you suffer from the occasional yip, tend to pull your putts, have trouble keeping the clubface square at impact or just plain struggle with the putter, you've no doubt considered alternative methods.

Alternatives, of course, would include the long putter, belly putter, claw grip and any number of other gimmicks that might help steady the nerves or help you find a pendulum stroke.

Well, here's another idea. Simple Golf, of the Symple Power Swing technique, has introduced the Symple Putting method.

Ironically, Symple Putting does not utilize the principles of the Symple Swing. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite. The Symple Swing primarily employs the body's core muscles; Symple Putting is a wristy stroke that involves very little arm motion.

"This is a hinge method," said Mike O'Leary, director of instruction for Simple Golf LLC. "It's much like a grandfather clock."
Symple Putting anchors on the thigh

For an idea of how Symple Putting works, just imagine the putter as the pendulum on a clock. Your hands are essentially the fulcrum on which the putter swings, and your left thigh (if you're right-handed) anchors your hands.

In fact, you set up by placing the club in your left hand, which is at around mid-thigh, then closing the grip with the right hand. You execute the stroke by swinging back and through with the left hand in constant contact with the left thigh. The idea is that by anchoring the putter handle on the left leg, the clubface must return to the same spot it was at address, therefore eliminating pulls, pushes and opened and closed clubfaces.

Distance control is accomplished by varying backswing length with the left wrist. If you're thinking long putts could be a problem, you'll be surprised how far you can hit with this method. For really long putts, however, you must speed up the tempo in addition to lengthening the backstroke.
Scoring Machine putter works best for Symple Putting

Not surprisingly, Simple Golf has a specially-designed putter for this method called the Scoring Machine. This mallet has a flatter lie angle, designed to accommodate a putter that's anchored at mid thigh.

Finding the right length is crucial for executing this putting method correctly, and the folks at Simple Golf determine that based on your height and build.

Simple Golf isn't just marketing this method (and its putters) to players who use the Symple Swing, but to anyone looking to improve putting regardless of their full-swing action.

If you think about it, Symple Putting is probably most like using a belly putter, but instead of anchoring the club in the abdomen, it's anchored on the thigh with ball position off the front foot. Plenty of good players use belly putters or long putters, so this might appeal to them as well.

At least one Champions Tour player has tried the method, said Simple Golf founder and President Joe Davidson, but because it's not a paid endorsement, Simple Golf can't release his name. Simple Golf also features former LPGA player Jan Stephenson and ex-NFL player Jack Youngblood in its videos.

Speaking of videos, the putter comes with video instruction, a head cover and online and telephone support.

The short game or the feel shots around the green and putting tend to be the most difficult to regain sharpness after a long winter or layoff from golf.

I feel that this is the first area to attack when you start to practice.

The advantages of building your game back up from the hole and working backwards is countless. The obvious high percentages of shots, some 60 percent that are taken within 100 yards during a round of golf are not the only reason. The short game or the less that full shots can help the not only the mechanics but the rhythm and tempo of your full swing.

When I am teaching short game, the most prevalent errors often come in the decision-making process instead of the execution of the shot itself. The decision process is comprised of what type of shot to hit (high or low), what club to use, and how to set up to achieve this. This installment is what I feel is important in the short game as you start to get ready for the golfing season.
Short game tip: Making sound decisions

Visualize: Can you see the proper shot for the current situation?

Jack Nicklaus called this technique "going to the movies". He never hit a shot that he didn't see in his mind first. This is very important in starting phase 2.

Recognize: Club selection for the shot at hand. A higher shot such as a lob or pitch would need a more lofted club than a chip and run, which would need less loft.

Execute: How set-up and ball position in your stance have to match the shot your trying to play.

Low shot: Position your sternum in front of the ball (weight shifts to the front of stance, about 80 percent). Ball is placed even with your rear foot.

High shot: Position sternum even or slightly behind the ball (weight only 60 percent to front of stance).

When making your decisions on what shot to play, always play the lowest shot possible with the highest percentage of success. Never play a shot that you haven't practiced just because you saw a tour player do it on TV. Putt, Chip, Pitch, and then Lob in that order to higher rates of success.
Short game tip: The mechanics

Solid Contact on the middle of the clubface is paramount to being great with your wedges and around the greens. Without a solid impact condition, direction and distance control is not achievable. Understanding impact is knowing that the handle of the golf club stays in front of the clubface as you strike the ball, never behind. This is the most common mistake players, a lead wrist that is bent and a shaft that leans away from the target.

After you have achieved a proper impact condition and solid contact, swing length controls the distance of the shot. I like to see the short shots be symmetrical in length. This means the backswing length matches the forward swing.

Think of a clock face. If your arms swing to nine o'clock in the backswing, stop at 3 o'clock on the forward swing. This is on a basic chip or pitch, specialty shots are the exception. Always keep it simple, nothing fancy.
Short game practice drills

Hide the tee: Stick a tee in the top of your grip. Make practice swings and try to hide the tee behind your lead forearm. If you break down with your lead wrist, the handle will line up with your rear arm and the tee will be visible between your arms. Hit chips and pitches and check your finish to achieve a flat lead wrist and a bent rear wrist.

Stork drill: Hit chips, pitches and sand shots with your rear foot off the ground and up on your toe for balance. This places most of your weight on your front leg to give you a descending angle of attack, essential for solid contact. This is the best short game drill because most players hang back in an attempt to lift the ball in the air.

I would like to see golfers work on achieving a solid impact condition first then practicing different shots around the greens to develop your distance and trajectory control. Don't put the cart before the horse, work on impact first and the rest of it will be much easier. Remember, nearly 60 percent of the shots in a round are played within 100 yards so it this area the proper practice time. Plan your shots carefully and you will have great success. Good luck in shooting lower scores.
jeff silverstein golf
Kellie Stenzel a noted PGA Professional who has been a Golf For Women magazine Top 50 teacher since 1999, offers a golf tip for golfers hoping to improve their game with better driving off the tee.

When you walk up onto a tee box do you randomly place your tee into the ground or do you take into consideration your situation and make the best of it?

Use the following guidelines to help you lower your score by playing smarter.

1. Find a flat area Do not assume that all tee boxes are created equally. Some are better than others. Always be sure to find a flat area where you will be able to stand normally. Over time, tee boxes can become uneven. Why make your shot any more difficult than necessary?

2. Look for the best angle to your target When you place your tee into the ground, look for the most direct route to your target. If by walking to the far side of the tee box you can have an angle to your fairway or pin that does not require you to have to hit over any trouble - a bunker or water, for example - you should take the time and energy to do so. Be looking for the path of least resistance.

3. Tee off on the side of the trouble It may seem counter-intuitive but it is easier to aim away from the trouble if you are on that particular side. If you have out of bounds on the left, it can be helpful to tee off on the left side of the tee box and aim away.

By placing yourself on the side of the trouble it can give you a better angle to the safer side of the fairway as it can visually open up that direction to you and make it easier to aim well.

Next time you go to the golf course, take extra time and care to where you place your golf tee and ball into the ground. By following these three simple guidelines, you can play smarter - and therefore better. ( jeff silverstein golf )

Club head speed determines distance. The golf swing has three moving parts: your body, your hands and your arms, all of which generate power during the swing.

The upper body needs to make a complete shoulder turn on the backswing, (this is where energy is stored). On the downswing the arms drop and swing around the body, then the hands release through the impact zone to create speed by straitening the arms at impact. As the arms swing down from the top of the backswing and through the hitting area, the speed of the swing will continue to increase if the arms straighten during the impact area.

Most players' arms and hands are too tight during the swing, creating tension that lowers swing speed and produces a weaker impact. Most golfers pull the arms inward while hitting, so the hands don't release. The result: slower swing speed and miss hits.

Years ago, while working at Cleveland Golf, I had the opportunity to watch many PGA Tour players practicing on the range. The longest hitters were the ones whose arms were soft and relaxed during the swing. At address, the arms should be relaxed and hanging down from your shoulders, tension free. At impact, the arms should be fully extended, allowing the hands to release upon impact.

The tour player who I believe best demonstrates the above is Fred Couples. His swing is full and loose, with no outward look of tension. During his career he has always been one of the longest hitters on tour and can easily reach back for additional distance when needed.

So take a full shoulder turn on the backswing, relax and let the arms straighten out upon impact. Your swing speed and distance will increase and you'll become a much better ball striker.

Golfers who slice have no idea of why they do so. Most think it's because their swing path comes from outside in, (the dreaded over-the-top move) while many even blame their equipment. The one area most overlooked is the angle of the clubface as it makes contact with the ball.

The plain and simple fact is that if the club face is open at impact, the shot will move left to right. The clubface must be square to the target upon impact. An easy way to achieve this is to rotate your left forearm through the impact zone.

To achieve the correct rotation, try this simple drill using a piece of tape or a Band-Aid:

Place a piece of tape or a Band-Aid on the underside of the wrist of your lead arm (the left arm for right-handed golfers, the right arm for left-handed golfers).

Allow your lead elbow to be a couple of inches from your side and rotate your forearm so you can see the tape or Band-Aid as you swing the club through the impact zone. Your left wrist should be flat, (if you are a right-handed golfer). This will help you visualize the proper rotation of the club head during your swing.

During your swing it is important to rotate your forearm, not just your wrist, so you can see the entire piece of tape or Band-Aid as you swing through the hitting area.

Try this drill with your lead arm alone before practicing with both hands on the golf club. Continue to work on this movement until you see the tape or Band-Aid consistently. If you do this properly your slice will be gone for good.( Iri Golf Group ) Do you struggle with your bunker play? This may be because you are being given the wrong information. The technique that a (usually) stronger man will use in a greenside bunker is often the kiss of death for most women golfers, who generally have a lower club head speed.

Have you been told to open your clubface? Open your body? Swing the club more up on the back swing? All of these suggestions work great for Vijay Singh and even Annika Sorenstam because these players generate tremendous speed. They don't work for the average female golfer, who cannot even begin to relate to this power game and would simply be happy to be able to get out of the bunker and onto the green most of the time.

Players with slower club head speed often struggle with bunker play. Because the sand acts as such a buffer between the club and the ball, it's necessary to generate a minimum of speed to be able to extract the ball along with some of the sand.

Bunker play tips

Set up so that you will be able to splash the sand:

* Hold your hands high on the grip of the club. By placing your hands toward the top of the handle, you maximize the length of your sand wedge, which will help it to be able to hit the sand firmly.
* Position your golf ball in line with the instep of your forward foot, just like a tee shot. Playing your ball more forward in your stance will help to position the ball later in the swing so that the club head will enter the sand before striking your golf ball.
* Dig your feet into the sand. Digging your feet into the sand also helps to lower the bottom of your swing and will help you to contact the sand before the ball and helps to ensure a nice long divot in the sand. A divot in the bunker is ideally 12 to 15 inches long.

The necessary adjustments for low club head speed players are:

* A square face at address. You will not want to open the face of the sand wedge since this will produce more loft and less distance and due to the fact that you do not generate a lot of speed for most bunker shots you will need all of the distance possible.
* A square stance. In other words, your feet should be parallel to the target line just as they are for a normal full swing. Due the fact that you will not open the club face to maximize the distance it won't be necessary to open your stance.
* A little attitude with a full finish. Since the sand acts as such a buffer between the club face and the ball, it will be necessary for the low club head speed player to take what feels like a very full swing with a full finish. To ensure that the swing has all the speed that you are able to generate, you will lift your trailing foot so that your heel comes up as your body turns forward and as the foot rotates up to the toe.
* Change to a less lofted club for greater distance splash shots. If you don't generate a lot of swing speed you will find that your splash shot with your sand wedge won't travel far, maybe only eight to 10 yards. If this is the case you will need to change to a less lofted club, like a pitching wedge or a gap wedge, for your longer splash shots.

By having a plan that will work for your game and club head speed, you'll have more success. When you know how to handle a greenside bunker and you are less worried about going into one, you may be surprised how much less often you find yourself there.
Iri Golf Group: Here's a simple tip to control your shots more effectively around the greens. Set up with a narrow stance keeping your weight placed on your forward foot and remember to keep the shaft leaning toward the target (hands slightly ahead of the ball).

Next try choking down on the grip as this will help you gain control and increase feel. You want to be sure to keep the clubface square and feel like you are brushing the ground during the swing.

The key to consistent chipping is a smooth motion that allows the clubface to just nip the ball off the ground.

Let the loft of the clubface get the ball in the air, don't try to "help" the ball up! Feel as though you are throwing the ball underhand toward the hole.

Practice throwing golf balls underhand to the hole then using the set-up described above try the same underhand motion when you chip.

Chipping is all about getting the proper feel of the chipping motion. If you practice this tip for five minutes before every round of golf you will be sure to lower your scores.