If you’re serious about cutting strokes from your handicap, you need to hit the ball straight. Doing that sets you up to hit easier shots into the green and find the more greens in regulation, which can help generate more birdies and pars. That can take your game to the next level and help you straight hitting golf drills to break 80.
But hitting it straight is easier said than done. That won’t come without visiting the range to work on your swing. Mastering your swing is the key to hitting it straight. But if you’re like many weekend golfers when you hit the range, you bang out ball after ball trying to develop a consistent swing. That approach seldom works, if ever.
Practice One Thing at a Time
Instead, you need to develop a practice plan before hitting the range. Then, execute the plan when you visit the range. That’s what the pros do. They create a plan before hitting the range, and they don’t vary from it no matter what.
The key they say is working on one thing—and only one thing—during the practice session. This approach focuses their work on correcting one flaw. Their thinking: If you get just a little better each time out, you’ll eventually master your game
Below are five golf drills that help you to hit the ball straighter and longer. These golf drills focus on one fundamental flaw in your swing. Work them into your improvement plan and practice them at the range when you can:
· Maintain swing width
Swing width plays a critical role in hitting the ball straight and long. When you lose width, you struggle to return the club to your shaft line, which you set at address. The drill below trains you to maintain width during your swing:
Drill: Using a 7-iron, assume your address position. Now swing the club back with just your right arm. Try to maintain a 90-degree angle between your forearm and upper arm. Look back when the club is at the top. If your arm isn’t bent when you look back, make the changes needed to achieve the right angle. After you’ve rehearsed the move a few times, try hitting some shots.
Square up your clubface at impact
Slicing is a hard habit to break. It’ also costs you strokes. You’re slicing because your clubface is open at impact. Learn to square your clubface at impact, and you’ll lose that slice forever. Below is a three-step golf drill that teaches you to square your clubface at impact.
Step 1: Take your normal address position with your driver. Reverse your hands on the grip. If you’re right-handed, this means placing your left hand below your right hand.
Step 2: Make fast, aggressive swings using the reverse grip. Try to make the “whoosh” sound you hear louder every time you swing. Feel how the reverse grip makes it easy to turn your top hand over your bottom hand at the bottom of your swing.
Step 3: Take your standard grip. Hit some shots. Try to retain what it feels like when using the reverse grip. This is what your swing should feel like when your clubface comes square at impact.
· Maintain your swing tempo
Keeping your swing in sync is critical to hitting the ball straight. But with longer clubs, we tend to swing faster to belt the ball farther. That disrupts your swing, throwing out of sync and causing you to hook or slice your shot. Maintaining tempo even improves consistency and control:
Drill: Line up five balls in a row. Begin with a short chip shot with a wedge. Nail down your tempo. Then increase the length of each swing until your tempo feels the same for each shot long or short. Try counting “1,2,3” to yourself as you swing at the various lengths. Time yourself so each swing starts at 1 and ends at 3.
· Maintain a passive right shoulder
Rolling your back shoulder when you start your downswing is a common swing flaw. The move, however, prevents you from returning your club to your shaft position at address—a must if you want to drive the ball straight. Keeping your right shoulder passive, however, ensures that the club returns to its original shaft line at impact. The drill below helps you develop a feel for this move:
Drill: To develop the feel of the right shoulder as you start down, grab a club with your right hand (left hand for left-handers) only. Take the club back to the top. Now place your opposite hand on your back shoulder. Swing down. As you do, try to prevent the rear shoulder from rotating out toward the target. Instead, drop it down toward the ball.
· Keep your hands in front of the ball
Your hands must be in front of the ball to make crisp, clean contact. This move also prevents you from flicking your wrists at the ball or scooping the ball. Both mistakes cause you to lose control of the clubface, resulting in poor contact. Try the drill below to ingrain the feel for this move.
Drill: To hone the hands-first impact position, make short shots with a 7-iron, stopping as soon as you can after impact. In this drill, distance is secondary to gaining awareness of where you are at impact. The farther ahead of the ball your hands are, the better.
Pick out one of these drills next time you go to the range and work on it until you ingrain the feel for the move down pat. Make sure you focus on that one move and one drill until you’ve mastered it. Then move onto another drill.
Keep doing this until you’re comfortable with all the moves the drills cover. Ingrain the moves described above and you’ll hit the ball straighter and farther. More importantly, you’ll be one step closer to breaking 80.
Hitting Laser Straight Irons: 6 Golf Tips
Want to hit laser-straight irons that find the green consistently? Hitting these types of shots is just as critical to going low as banging out deep drives down the middle. Sometimes, it’s even more critical than belting long drives down the middle.
For example, following a great drive with a wicked slice or big hook left can cost you strokes. It can also demoralize you and cost you shots. If the shot is bad enough, it can ruin your hole—maybe even your round.
Below are six keys to hitting laser-straight irons:
- Plant your front foot hard
- Form a “post” with your front leg
- Maintain your posture
- Form a sideways “C”
- Keep your lead hand square
- Finish with a nice follow-through
First, plant your front foot hard on the ground. This move helps you swing down on the ball and pinch it against the turf. The move also enables you to use your front leg like a “post” around which you can swing the club.
Make sure you maintain your forward bend in your posture as you plant your foot. That allows you to form a sideways “C” during the swing—with which you’ll make an aggressive swing using your shoulders. Some golfers straighten up when the hit their irons, throwing the shot off.
Another critical move is squaring your lead hand to the target line at impact. This move mirrors the clubface at impact. Bad shots, like snap hooks and slices, occur when the back of your lead hand isn’t straight at impact. Now finish with an on-balance follow-through.
Done correctly, this sequence of moves produces a nice divot on the forward side of the ball pointing directly at the target. So, check your divot after the swing. If the divot isn’t pointing straight at the target, chances are good you hit a weak shot or mis-hit the ball.
Use the six golf tips above to hit laser-like irons that find the green and save shots. That, in turn, will help you chop strokes off your scores and break 80.
Hit Them Straight with This Golf Drill
Want to break 80 next time out? Then eliminate your slice. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Slicing is a tough swing flaw to shed. But it lands you in trouble and packs strokes on to your scores. Hit the ball straight, on the hand, and you save strokes—enough maybe to break 80.
The golf drill below teaches you to hit laser straight shots time after time.
The Five Checkpoint Golf Drill
There are five times in the golf swing when your shaft parallels the ground: about your hip on the takeaway, at the top of your swing, halfway through the downswing, just after impact, and at the top of your follow-through.
Start by placing an alignment stick on the ground parallel to your target line but inside the swing plane. Take your address parallel to the target stick with a 7-iron. Now, take the club away and check your shaft when you get to hip high. It should be parallel to the ground.
Complete your swing doing the same thing at each of the critical checkpoints mentioned above. Make sure you stop at each checkpoint to see if your shaft is parallel to the ground. Keep practicing this drill until hitting your checkpoints is second nature.
Do the golf drill in slow motion at first. Now speed up your swing once you think you have the hang of it. Then, hit some balls while keeping the five checkpoints in mind.
Practice this drill as often as you can. You can do it anywhere—at the range, in your home, on the road. Master its principles, and you’ll hit the ball laser straight every time. That brings you one step closer to breaking 80.