- Maintain Focus
Consider railroad tracks leading to the hole. “You want the clubface on the outside track and your feet, hips, and shoulders on the inside track,” Hamilton adds. Keep the ball slightly ahead of center (toward your left foot if you’re right-handed) when hitting with a 5-iron. The smaller the club number, the further forward the ball should be moved on the track—with your driver, the ball should be virtually at your left heel. Move your ball back using high-numbered clubs. Maintain a squat-like position with your knees flexed over your shoestrings.
Begin your golf swing with your weight evenly distributed on each leg, then shift more weight to your right as you take the club back. As you swing through the ball, place this weight on your left leg.
- Use Your Fingers to Grip
Have you ever wondered why there are so many idiots around? “Most golfers don’t grasp the club properly,” Hamilton explains. “They gripped the club with their palm, making it difficult to snap through the ball. This results in a slice.”
Hold the club with your left fingers, directly over the spot where your fingers meet your hand, and point your thumb straight down the shaft if you’re right-handed. Place your right hand over it, palm up, so that your right palm is over your left thumb.
If your fingers are short, intertwine your right pinkie with your left index finger; if your fingers are longer, overlap them. Check that the V formed by your right thumb and index finger points straight up your arm to your right shoulder.
Finally, and most importantly, do not overgrip it. “Sam Snead always compared it to an open tube of toothpaste,” Hamilton recalls. “Make an effort not to squeeze any out.”
3. Identify Your Trigger
Great golf swings appear to be one smooth motion, but they are made up of three parts.
The trigger comes first. “It’s difficult to unroll such a sophisticated movement from a complete stop,” Hamilton adds, adding that he presses his left foot into the ground to get started. You may try it, or you can press the club handle with your index finger, or you can do whatever works best for you—as long as it doesn’t throw off your form.
Each of the other two components has two motions. While swinging, recite the phrase “I’m a… golfer.” The first two words describe the backswing’s tempo; the third, the downswing and follow-through. “If you bring the club back too soon, it can go off the tracks and ruin your downswing,” Hamilton warns. “However, if you return it calmly, you’ve won half the battle.”
The rest is fundamental: Maintain a tidy triangle from your shoulders to the grip with your arms at your sides, and bring your clubhead back only as far as your left hand will go without overstretching. Allow your knees to slip forward to start the downswing. Swivel your hips as you proceed. “At impact, your belt buckle should be slightly in advance of the ball,” Hamilton adds.
- Experiment with Four Play.
Ben Hogan, four-time US Open and two-time Masters champion, famously claimed that the key to putting is to “grab your wedge.” In other words, if you chip well, you won’t need to sink a 6-footer for par; instead, you’ll be able to tap it in.
“Divide the length of your chip into fourths,” Hamilton suggests. “Carry the ball a quarter of the way and it will roll the rest.”
- Break the Rules
When you reach the green, begin your putt by reading the break. The cup is your secret signal. “Unless you play extremely early in the day, one side of the cup will appear to have been used more,” Hamilton explains. “Because all the balls are breaking through to that side.”
Other pointers: Shiny grass indicates that you’re striking down-grain, so the balls will break quickly in the direction of the grass; dark green indicates that you’re hitting against the grain, so your putts will be slower.
6.Bowling for Birdies
It’s now time to putt. Consider arrows on a bowling lane leading to the hole. “For a 15-foot putt, pick a place one grip-length ahead of the ball,” Hamilton advises.
“Your feet are parallel to the inside track, and your putter goes back and through on the outer track,” remember the train tracks. The ball should be located close to the right of your left heel (the reverse for lefties).
Swing your arms and shoulders, not your wrists. “You want your wrists to be one with the stroke,” Hamilton explains.
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