NCGA Golf

FALL 2017

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Dial in Your Distances T o improve, you need to practice with a purpose. Woody Wright, the golf professional emeritus at Lake Merced Golf Club, taught me to work on my distance control by pitching to soccer cones in 5-yard increments up to 40 yards. You can also use towels (as pictured right). I have my students start with a 56-degree wedge and hit three shots and try to land in between the towels. This will help you tighten your dispersion. In her prime, Annika Sorenstam used to practice this same drill. I also like it because it costs next to nothing and all you need is space. You don't even have to go to the course to do it. The towel drill also teaches you how you can get to the same place with different clubs. I like to start at the longest distance and work closer and then move down the bag to the wedge, 9- and 8-iron. While dialing in your distance, you learn how you can hit different clubs high and low—and to use the bounce of the club. For lofted shots, play the ball forward in your stance; for bump and run shots, move it back. Bob McCaffrey, my teacher at Lincoln Park Golf Club in the 1980s, used to tell me to get sharp with one club and develop a meat and potatoes shot. For me, those clubs were my gap wedge and sand wedge. But I see a disturbing trend, especially in young people, in which every pitch shot is hit with a sand wedge or 60-degree wedge. You have to be so precise. Sometimes running an 8- or 9- iron is the better play. Golfers don't practice that shot enough any- more. I try to give my students options so they can become a complete player. I N S T R U C T I O N N obody practices their short game these days. That may be a slight exaggeration, but I see too many golfers neglecting what I consider the most important part of the game. And here's the thing: every- one is capable of having a decent short game from inside 75 yards. If you are a 20 handicap and can develop a 10-hand- icap short game, you can start shooting some pretty good scores. Here are some drills and training aids that will help you improve and make your practice more enjoyable. MASTER YOUR 42 FALL 2017 | NCGA.ORG

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