Improve the Speed of your Putts

Nothing in putting is worse than leaving the ball short. It’s an awful feeling knowing that no matter what would have happened, you’re ball wouldn’t have made it to the hole, even on the perfect line. So how do you gage the right speed of a putt? How do you practice this? In the following Easy Golf Tip, I will cover a simple way to judge the speed of a putt, and how you can practice until you are a pro.

I am sure you have noticed that if you play golf in the morning the grass might be shiny and if you play in the afternoon the grass might look dull. If you see shiny grass, this means you will be putting with the grain. Putting with the grain will create a quicker ball speed, thus you need to lay back a little on the putt. If you see dull grass when putting, this means your ball is moving against the grain. Putting against the grain means your ball will move slower and you will need to putt with a bit more force.

I know a great tool used to practice judging the speed of a putt. You first need to lineup for a putt about 4 ft away. Lay your driver on the green directly in front of the hole so the shaft of the driver is blocking the way in. Make sure the shaft is on the ground and not elevated. Take aim at the hole and hit your 4 ft putt. If you hit the putt too lightly, the ball will either not reach the shaft of the driver or it will hit the shaft and stop rolling. If you putt the ball too hard, the ball will hit the shaft and go right over the hole and keep rolling. The perfect putt will hit the shaft, hop over it and fall right into the cup. The perfect speed of a putt will want to stop about a foot past the hole.

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Add More Distance to Your Driver by Decreasing Swing Speed

The first thing anyone asks when playing golf is How far can you hit?¬† In today’s world of golf it seems like power and distance prevails over accuracy. You see long ball hitting contests on TV and announcers only talk about how far Tiger Woods can hit the ball. So you’re tired of telling everyone you can only hit the ball 200 yards. It’s understandable that you want to improve your distance off the tee, after all, the tee shot is the first shot you take and it’s one that everyone will notice.

Contrary to popular physics laws, increased swing speed does not equal increased distance. When I learned how to play, I always followed Newton’s 2nd Law of Physics: acceleration x mass = force. It took me years to realize that the laws of physics don’t apply to golf. Tip number 1 to improving distance off the tee with your driver is to decrease swing speed.

I first want to clarify that when I say decrease swing speed, I mean decrease the take away and the follow through. With a slower swing you leave less room for error because the club is not trying to play catch up with the rest of your body.

Professional golfers average a downward swing speed of over 100 mph, with most at around 110 mph. Tiger Woods swings the club 125 mph. Just because professionals do it, does not mean the average golfer should. They are professionals for a reason.

The typical golfer should maintain a club head speed of just below 100 mph. If you are unsure of your swing speed, you can usually go to a local pro shop and have it measured in a simulator.

After taking a slow back swing and you have the club set at the peak position, it is recommended that you swing the club faster than the backswing, just don’t try to kill the ball. Some of the common problems associated with increased swing speed are:

  • Snapping the wrists
  • Anger

In conclusion, the number 1 Easy Golf Tip for increasing distance off the tee is to slow down your swing speed. I know it sounds ridiculous because it defies the laws of physics, but you have to trust the plan. Practice as often as you can with slowing the swing down. Take 2-3 practice swings before stepping up to the ball. Repeat the exact practice swing on the ball. Don’t try to kill the ball, it didn’t do anything to you.

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Choosing the Right Driver for You

When playing golf it is important to have clubs that fit you. No two people are a like and no two people have the same swing. When choosing the proper driver for your game, there a few things to consider:

  • Club head size
  • Shaft
  • Loft

Club Head Size
There are generally three sizes when it comes to club heads: standard, mid-sized, and over-sized. The drivers you see professionals using on television are classified as over-sized. You won’t find many standard sized drivers built for men. Most 150cc (cubic centimeters) club heads are made for juniors. You can see a picture here. The smaller club head does provide better control, but has a small sweet spot. A mid-sized club head is around 175-225cc. A slightly bigger club than standard will provide added distance while still giving you a lighter club. Over-sized club heads (or what some of us like to call¬† the big dog) range from 250-500cc. These clubs are massive. They are a bit heavier and harder to control, but the large sweet spot will allow you to make contact from different parts of the club. In my opinion the over-sized club head allows more forgiveness with a bad swing. You can see a picture here.

Shaft
There are two types of shafts in which drivers are made out of: steel and graphite. Most drivers made today are constructed from a graphite shaft. This reduces the overall weight of the club. Another benefit of the graphite shaft is that it is more flexible and absorbs shock. Steel on the other hand, is stronger and more durable. Steel shafts should be used for players who need extra control off the tee. In general, you will pay more for a graphite shafted club.

The flexibility of a shaft is also important when choosing a club. Flex is the amount of bend in a club. The two main types of flex are regular and stiff. A regular shaft is recommended for beginners and players with slower swing speeds. A stiff shaft won’t have as much forgiveness but will generate more power. A stiff shaft is recommended for advanced players with a quicker swing speed.

Loft
Every driver also comes with a specific loft of the club face. The higher the loft degree, the more control you will have, but you will sacrifice distance. The recommended loft degrees are as follows:

  • Slow swing – 10.5-12 degree loft
  • Average swing – 9.5-10.5 degree loft
  • Fast swing – 8-9.5 degree loft
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