Want to chop some strokes off your golf handicap without making a single swing change?
Use some sage advice from Lee Trevino to do it. But beware. Some of what he says might surprise you.
Trevino is one of golf’s greatest. Altogether, he won 29 PGA Tour championship tournaments and 29 Champions Tour championship tournaments. His totals included 6 majors—2 U.S. Opens, 2 British Opens, 2 PGA Championships.
While on the Tour, he won the Vardon Trophy six times. He was PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1971, a six-time member of the U.S. Ryder Cup Team, and he’s in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
One of golf’s more colorful personalities, Trevino always provides a different slant on shotmaking. But his golf tips are always spot on.
They’ll help you shave strokes from your golf handicap, like they’ve done for students in our golf lessons.
• The easiest shot is the best shot
Some players like to turn simple shots into hard ones. Even good players do it. This can work against you. The goal is to get the ball from point A to point B in as few a shots as possible. Don’t try “circus shots” unless you have no alternative.
• Simplify draws and fades
You can curve the ball by opening or closing the clubface at address. Or, you can curve it by changing their swing paths. These changes are a bit risky. The most reliable way to curve the ball is to change your hand position at address.
• Let the club do the shotmaking
Equipment choices these days are fantastic. You have all kinds of wedge and driver designs, and all kinds of hybrid and fairway wood designs. Stop trying to squeeze something extra out of your swing. Let your clubs do the shotmaking for you.
• To hit it low, crowd the ball
Standing closer to the ball to hit a low shot. You’ll get the feeling you’re going to hit a shank. So you’ll instinctively make adjustments that encourage your hands to get ahead of the club head, delofting the club.
• Don’t choke down
Choking down lightens the club’s swing weight and effectively makes the shaft stiffer. It also get’s you in the habit of hitting the shot with 100 percent effort. That’s not always good on full shots. But it’s okay to choke down on chips and pitches. It gives you more control.
• Learn to beat fluffy lies
The hardest shot in golf is the 80-yard wedge from light rough. With this lie, the ball tends to fall out of the sky because it lacks spin. How much depends on several factors—lie, swing speed, and your wedge.
But misjudging these shots is costly. Learn the intricacies of the fluffy lie. Then tailor your swing to hitting from this.
• Don’t invent shots from trouble
The desire to save par can lead you astray. Often, the shot is harder than you think. The opening in the trees is smaller. The lie is tougher. Your odds of pulling off a “miracle shot” are probably much worse than you’ve calculated.
What’s more, trouble shots often ask you to do something crazy with shot trajectory. This turns the shot your into a make or break deal. Forget about it
Trevino’s golf tips are different. But they make sense when you think about it. Perhaps that’s why Trevino had such a stellar but colorful career.
Incorporate Trevino’s golf tips into your game and you may see your shotmaking improve and golf handicap shrink.