If you’re disappointed (like we are!) that you’re missing some great golf as well as the APPEA Conference this year, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
We asked PGA Professional Ben Williams for the insider’s tips on keeping up your form at home so you are well prepared to get back on the course in winning style. Ben, a New Zealander living in Melbourne, has been a member of the PGA since 2011 and spent three years teaching before pursuing his playing career – playing on tours in Asia, the Middle East and Australasia. He has recently started Pinnacle Golf Tours, which facilitates and hosts tours to golfing destinations and events around New Zealand, Australia, United States and Europe.
We look forward to seeing you on the course in 2021!
Ben’s Top 5 Putting Tips & Drills at Home
Everyone loves holing putts – it is a major key to improving your scores. All of the best putters in the world have the same outlook on how they can stay so good. They work to maintain the basic fundamentals of putting; ball position, alignment and consistency.
If you can master all three, you can eliminate, or at least, minimise conscious or unconscious compensations during your putting stroke and which should improve strike, starting on line and distance control. These are the key elements to giving you the best opportunity to hole more putts. Ten minutes a day can go a long way to ingraining good habits. Drive for show, putt for dough!
Here is what you can do at home to set yourself up back on the course.
When putting, many golfers believe that accelerating through the ball (which is recommended!) means they should have a longer follow through than their backswing. Unfortunately, doing so often creates more putterhead speed AFTER striking the ball, causing impact and timing to be off, affecting distance control and starting line.
What should be employed, is a more equidistant, or even slightly longer backswing with a follow through that promotes more of a ‘pop stroke’, with acceleration that ends quite quickly after impact.
To help improve your stroke, give yourself a putt of approx. 10ft (3m), place a marker at an appropriate backswing distance and another at the same distance in front of the ball (follow through), and centre the ball between them. With the idea of having this distance as your desired length of swing, practice having maximum velocity at the point of impact and stopping at the forward mark, or short of it. Additionally, place a tee at the toe and heel of your putter for swing path control as well.
Distance control is a huge key to holing more putts and lowering your score. Once this is mastered, we can choose the line of the putt and have more confidence in holing it.
A very good drill to assist with distance control is to set yourself up in a hallway or lounge room (or a putting green if accessible) with a putt of approximately 25-30ft (7-9m).
Using 3-5 balls, the idea is to putt your first ball to an aiming point and then putt each subsequent ball 1 or 2 feet beyond the previous one.
This can be a scary part of the game for some people but if managed well, it need not be. By using our bigger muscles (chest and legs), along with our arms, we don’t have to rely on smaller muscles and can create better timing.
By focussing on using our body to swing the club back and then using our body to turn through the ball, we can finish with the buttons of our shirt and belt buckle facing the target. Just remember to keep soft hands and allow hips to turn so posture remains, avoid too much forearm roll and alter your ball position to change the trajectory if needed.
Full Swing – Eliminating the ‘sway’
A common fault which can affect contact and clubface alignment issues is “swaying”. This means our weight transfer moving us ‘off the ball’ and leads to swing compensations (either conscious or unconscious).
The following drill promotes a more centred contact, swing efficiency, and in turn better control and distance. Place 2 chairs either side of your hips. (Allow a small space either side). Then turn your chest and hips back and through in posture, without touching the chairs.
Incorporate this with minimal forearm roll and you will improve distance and accuracy, meaning better scores and more fun!
Master these tips and watch your game improve once we all get back out on the course! Please enjoy, stay safe and do not hesitate to get in contact with Ben regarding any of these tips, online lessons or to enquire with any tours you may be interested in at the details at the top of the article.
Cheers, and happy golfing!