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How to hit the deceptive ‘fluffy’ lie chip shot, according to a three-time PGA Tour winner

Source: GOLF.com
By GOLF Editors

PGA Tour player Russell Henley explains how to hit the tricky, fluffy chip shot…

You missed the green, but hey, the ball’s sitting up in the rough. Good, right? Maybe. In this situation, it’s not always certain how the ball will come out. As with all short-game shots, crisp contact is the key.

Step 1: Even if you’re short-sided, refrain from opening the face too much. With the ball up, you risk sliding the club right underneath it if you add extra loft. The ball won’t go anywhere. I keep the face square in this situation, or barely opened if I really need more loft to stop it close.

Step 2: I swing as if I’m hitting a little draw, with the club moving in-to-out and my hands rolling over slightly through impact. This helps the club remain shallow, which usually results in cleaner contact. My main thought is to get as many grooves on the ball as possible. Think “glide,” not “chop.”

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Why speed is the key on every putt

You’re looking over a long, breaking putt, and in your mind you start drawing a picture of the ball snaking its way to the hole. What’s wrong with that image? Nothing, as long as you don’t forget about speed. Speed is the biggest factor in putting. Good speed with a bad line almost always puts you closer to the hole than bad speed with a good line. Think about that.

“IF YOU USE AN AIMING POINT, MAKE SURE IT’S BEYOND THE HOLE.”

What you need is a way of combining those two elements. You probably already pick an aiming spot on long putts. For a lot of golfers, that spot is the high point of the break, which might be halfway down your line. If that’s what you do, don’t be surprised if you’re leaving putts short—you’re aiming at something halfway to the hole!

For better speed control, try this method. First, estimate the high point of the break, then draw an imaginary line through that point to a spot even with the hole. Second—and this is the big one—move that spot a couple feet farther out on the same line (below). Why? Because you want the ball to have a little roll left when it approaches the hole. To quote Yogi Berra: “Ninety percent of putts that are short don’t go in.”

Here’s one more image to help you get putts to the hole: Picture one of those annoying speed bumps three or four inches before the cup. You want to hit the ball with enough pace to get over the bump. You can even practice this concept with an alignment stick on the green.

The best part about getting the speed right is, you become a better green-reader. You’ll have a mental database to access when you’re reading a putt. The more putts you’ve hit with proper speed, the more experiences you have to guide you. Putts hit with poor speed poison the database.

Michael Breed is Golf Digest’s Chief Digital Instructor.

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How A Doorframe Can Help Your Golf Swing

Source: GolfDigest
By Keely Levins

Learn how to turn back, not sway.

Let’s talk about hip turn. James Kinney, one of our Golf Digest Best Young Teachers and Director of Instruction at GolfTec Omaha, says that from the data GolfTec has collected, they’ve found lower handicap golfers have a more centered lower body at the top of the swing. Meaning, they don’t sway.

If you’re swaying off the ball, you’re moving yourself off of your starting position. The low point of your swing moves back when you sway back, so you’re going to have to shift forward to get your club to bottom out where the ball is. That takes a lot of timing, and is going to end up producing some ugly shots.

So, instead, Kinney says you should turn.
“When turning your hips, you are able to stay more centered over the golf ball in your backswing and the low point of your swing stays in the proper position, resulting in consistent contact.”

To practice turning, Kinney says to set up in a doorway. Have your back foot against the doorframe. When you make your lower body move back, your hip will hit the door fame if you’re swaying. If you’re turning, your hips are safe from hitting the frame.

Remember that feeling of turning when you’re on the course and your ball striking is going to get a whole lot more consistent.

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Cameron Smith’s trick for tight-lie chips: Turn more!

TOUR-TESTED TIPS: Golf’s best players make the game look effortless. How do they do it? That’s what we wanted to find out. Luckily, these guys were more than willing to talk. We tracked down Cameron Smith to teach us the secret to tight-lie chips.

Cameron Smith:

“Weekend players fear tight lies, but the setup is really the same as a basic high chip. My keys are to open the face, position the ball just forward of center in my stance, and make sure that my spine angle is perpendicular to the ground.

From there, I pick out a spot where I want to land the ball on the green then take a final moment to soften my arms and release any tension. From this relaxed position, all you need to do is rotate around your body, back and through, at a smooth pace. There’s no need to lift the ball into the air. The loft on your wedge does it for you.

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A simple way to power up your golf swing

Three important physical attributes that lead to more power in the golf swing are strong gluteal muscles, core stability and ankle mobility. Strong glutes should be obvious. They are prime movers in the golf swing and control the action of the pelvis. You also need strong muscles around the mid-section of your body to stabilize it as you swing a club, especially at faster speeds. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to keep your balance and hitting the ball with the center of the clubface would be a real challenge. The third attribute might have surprised you, but it’s just as important. Ankle mobility matters particularly in transferring weight from your back foot near the top of the backswing into the front foot as you swing down. If you think of the footwork of players such as Tony Finau, Bubba Watson and Justin Thomas—very big hitters—you might have an easier time understanding why functional movement in the ankles is a crucial part of power generation. They have active feet and extremely mobile ankles. Most long-ball hitters leverage the ground to store up power and then spring upward through impact. A good example of this was Tiger Woods’ swing while working with Sean Foley.

So what exercise can you do in the gym to improve function in your power-generating muscles? Squats. But not just any squats. In fact, the majority of people should avoid doing most types of squats—especially traditional barbell squatting—as it is one of the easiest ways to injure your lower back. Instead, try goblet squats. This exercise is great because it’s amazingly self-regulating, both in terms of form and safety. If there are issues with core stability or ankle mobility, you’ll know it the minute you try a goblet squat. If your trunk lurches forward or you can’t drop your butt down until your elbows are about knee height—or lower—then you’ll know you need to spend some time on core stability exercises and ankle mobility exercises. Continuing to practice the goblet squat will help, but you need some extra work on the exercises provided in the links, too. As far as how much weight to use, I recommend starting with a lighter dumbbell or kettlebell and then progressing to heavier weight as your form and range of motion improve. If you can’t easily pick up the weight with one arm, start with something lighter.

To watch me demonstrate a goblet squat, click on the video below. Add these to your workout and you’ll be priming your body for better power generation when you play.

Click here to watch the video.

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Michelle Wie’s Four Moves to Knock It Close

The 2014 U.S. Women’s Open champ is known as a power hitter. She can also pound greens. Here are four moves to make knocking it close extra Wie-sy.

1. PLAY A HEAD GAME
Wie’s head is behind the ball at impact, with her eye line parallel to the ground. This combination allows her arms and right shoulder to work under her instead of working too much around. The result? Ultra-pure impact.

2. GET A LEG UP
Wie committed to strengthening her lower body a few years back, and it paid off with a U.S. Open trophy. Swings need leg power. Even doing simple squats while watching television will strengthen your legs and improve your swing.

3. LET’S KICK IT
This perfect divot indicates ball-first contact. To turn your mis-hits into pure strikes, copy Wie: Kick your right knee toward your left foot on your downswing. It’s a Hogan move that still works wonders.

4. START AT THE BOTTOM
Wie’s feet trigger her downswing. She shifts her weight to her left side, keeping her left foot rooted to the turf. Engage your lower body first. It helps your entire motion fall into place, almost by magic.

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