Mar 03, 2011 No Comments by


I believe successful golf is more than just your golf swing, I believe in a golf triumvirate which includes the Technical Game, Physical Game, and the Mental Game. These three aspects of the golf game should be considered equal components by all golfers who want to play better golf.

Most recreational golfers only focus on the Technical Game; their swing. In fact, the Technical Game is the strongest leg of the three in terms of attention — from beginner to Tour player, everyone thinks the answer begins and ends with the golf swing.

The second leg of the triumvirate, the Physical Game, is now being recognized by more golfers as beneficial not only for their golf game golf but for their overall well being. Many Tour players today have some physical conditioning as part of their daily routine.

The third and most difficult leg is the Mental Game — even Tour players struggle with this one. Struggle because the mental game is hard to measure. Improving is not as tangible as adjusting your posture at address or adding ten minutes of stretching to your daily routine.

In addition to this golf triumvirate which we can use as a foundation for long-term success with your game, I have some tips you can use right now to play better golf in your very next game.

The Driver: Most right hand recreational golfers slice the golf ball. A ball sliced to the right not only misses the fairway, but also is weaker in terms of distance. A slice is typically the product of two primary factors: the golf club on the downswing is approaching the ball on too steep a plane and the clubface is open (facing right) at impact. The fix here is to get your golf swing to shallow out – to swing more around much like the blades of a helicopter rotate. To do this, take your normal address position with a driver and raise it off the turf one to two feet. From this raised position make full swings within this elevated zone. You should feel your arms swing as your body turns in a circular fashion in a comfortable, relaxed motion.

This motion should get your swing plane on a more shallow track; one that is more “inside to inside.” It should also promote better arm rotation through the downswing which allows the clubface of your driver to square at impact.

The Putter: Distance and the speed at which the ball rolls should be your primary focus when putting. Direction which is a function of eyesight and intuition will really take care of itself. Yet most recreational golfers agonize over the line of a putt only to hit the putt five or more feet short of or long of the hole. They spend 90 percent or more of their putting routine on “getting the line” and the remaining fraction on speed. It should be completely reversed.

With the exception of putts under ten feet, speed matters more than anything else considered. No matter how bad your read on the line may be, it’s pretty hard to miss a putt by more than a couple of feet right or left of the hole unless you are on a severe side sloping green. Many more putts will be made when you get the pace right – and three-putts? Three-putting will be dramatically reduced by becoming a better speed putter. The fix here is to take your practice strokes with your eyes focused on the cup. Eye – hand coordination works for you every day . . . your eyes take information and your hands react. Driving your car is perfect example. Most folks take a quick look at the hole then take several practice strokes looking at the ball at their feet. That golf ball is telling your brain NOTHING. Try driving looking at your steering wheel with only occasional glances at the road . . . uh, on second thought, better not try that one. You get the point. Your eyes will tell your body how much stroke you need to get that ball to roll the distance you’re LOOKING at. Speed is everything in putting. Get it right and you’ll make more putts and score much lower.

Randy Grills is the Head Golf Professional at Duxbury Yacht Club, and Teaching Professional at The Dye Preserve in Jupiter, FL.  Randy is endorsed by The Avid Sportsman.

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About the author

Randy Cavanaugh, co-founder of The Avid Sportsman, became a Quarter Century Club Member of the PGA of America in 2007. Randy has USA, European, Asian and South American PGA Tours experience and has taught thousands of lessons. When not on the course, he often can be found fly-fishing in shallow saltwater.
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