Rookie Mistakes That Sabotage Your Golf Game – The Grip
A golfer’s only connection to the club used to strike the ball, is his or her hands; and the way that the hands are placed on the club is crucial to being able to play the game well, because success demands control. It is essential that the club face is brought down square to the ball on impact, and that ultimately comes down to the hands and arms. If you begin by gripping the club properly you will have the first basic mastered.
Power and Feel
The grip helps provide power and feel. The power is partly a product of good wrist action, and the wrists can only be released properly if the club is gripped primarily in the fingers rather than the palm of the hand. There is sensitivity in the fingers for feel, and hinging the wrists will help with power and therefore length, in every club in the bag. The perfect grip may not feel comfortable and natural at first, which is why the grip can be a common fault in golfers, particularly those just starting out in the game. The most common fault is with the hand which sits underneath; the left hand for the right handed golfer. If the club shaft is sitting too much in that left palm, then the golfer will not only lose power, but will also be prone to slicing.
Molded grips as an aid
There are ways to get used to the ideal grip without actually being on the golf course. There are actually molded grips which require golfers to place their fingers into the mold. Such an aid helps the mind to memorize where the hands should be, though no one is allowed a set of clubs with similarly molded grips. Ideally, the shaft should lie at an angle across the fingers from the base of the little finger of the left hand to the top joint of the index finger. The top hand should then be laid over with both thumbs against the shaft and pointing downwards. The end result should be that the knuckles of the left hand should be visible at address, and the thumb and forefinger create a ‘V’.
In order to play good golf, the player must master the correct grip. It is important to remember not to grip too tightly however, though the club should not be able to slip in the hands, either. The last thing that any golfer needs is tension through the hands and arms. Where players are hoping for consistency yet have a poor grip, they should change this situation immediately. Even though they may feel their present grip is comfortable, if it is wrong it will hinder any hopes of improvement. There are actually two grips, both of which are correct. Some golfers prefer the overlapping grip, others one where the hands are interlocking. Either is correct, as long as the hands are still connected to the club shaft in the right way. Interlocking means that the left index finger interlocks with the right little finger, the reverse of course for left handers.
Start with a good grip and your game will progress; change immediately if you are not holding the club properly.
Eliminate Penalty Strokes
Many beginning golfers don’t think enough about where they are giving away most of their strokes. Usually they overestimate their skill and chances and end up with a lot of penalty strokes on their score cards. Simply by picking targets which you can reach seven out of ten times without risking to lose the ball a beginning player can already play a lot better. Focus is really important here when you are picking your specific targets. You don’t want to say “I don’t want to shoot into that pond.” but “I want to hit that spot on the right side in front of the pond.” Most penalty strokes are accumulated by shooting out of bounds or hitting water hazards. So if you are careful around those areas and pick your targets accordingly you can avoid penalty strokes and better your score in no time. Your swing tendencies are very important in this regard. If you know that you are prone to slice the ball to the right it might be a good idea to aim a little more to the left. When you are on the course you have to work with what you have got. Don’t fall for the idea that you can fix your swing on the eighth tee. That is what the range and your practice time is for.
Nothing is more frustrating than turning a birdie chance into a bogey or worse. In the end a ten inch putt counts just as much as a 300 yards monster drive. Hopefully you are already writing down the putts for each hole you play. Only if you know what you are doing you can make the right decisions for your game. If you are seeing a lot of 3-putts on your score card you know exactly how many strokes you can save by turning those into 2-putts. In my experience 3-putts stem from two problems most of the time. The first is being too ambitious. Watch what the ball is doing and learn from your mistakes. You number one priority should be to make the putt but if you miss you want to end up with a second try that has a high chance for going down. The second problem is to be too impatient. When you are on the green don’t rush it. Take your time to assess the situation and stick to your routine. This is especially true if you miss a short putt you know you should have been making. In this situation take the time to step back and make sure you sink the next one.
Don’t Compound Your Mistakes
Compounding mistakes is one of the worst things you can do to your score. Once you are in the mindset of it doesn’t matter any more you can as well stop playing right away. We all think of those great recovery shots professional players make in big tournaments just at the right time. What most people forget is that they have probably practiced this exact shot for hours on end yet they think they might be able to perform similar things when they are playing. When you are faced with tough situations go back to your strengths. The save option is usually the better one when you are in trouble. For example when you are faced with a shot from the fairway bunker it might be a better option to chip the ball out of the bunker and back onto the fairway. These options may not seem as exciting but your score will be in the end. If you take the time and apply your mind to these three areas you will see your score go down rapidly. Because the key factors are more concepts than actual technique you will reap the rewards immidiately once you have ingrained them into your game. At first you may have to take a little extra effort to stay on track because you are doing things you haven’t considered doing before. But once you see the results you may wonder why you have played the way you played all the time.
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