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|In Golf Digest, Tiger says to let your putter swing to the inside after impact. (.)|
Tips from Golf Digest, Golf World, Golf Illustrated and Golf for Women run the gamut from ridiculous to simple and effective.
It is said the highest number ever counted to is called a "googolplex," which has nothing to do with the search engine. That number, of course, was counted by a golfer adding up all the tips he or she had read in golf magazines.
The worst tip I've ever had as a golfer came from the David Leadbetter school in Orlando. It was so bad, I'm not even sure what it was. They had me hooked up to so many electronic gizmos I felt like a Christmas tree.
The best tip I ever had was from an instructor at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla. who told me to make a bigger shoulder turn. Five words. Then he walked away and left me, unwired, to have at it.
The best golf tips are simple and easy to understand, the kind you can take with you to the course without a wheelbarrow or computer.
Golf magazines are full of tips. They depend on them to help attract the golfer in need of help, which is essentially everyone except Tiger Woods.
If you subscribe to golf magazines, or even if you don't, I've filtered through the best of the ones from recent editions, trying to point out some inconsistencies along the way because, God knows, you will get conflicting advice the more instructors you go to.
Be aware this took a good chunk out of my life because there are googolplexes of tips, many of them repeated ad nauseum - relax your grip!
Jim Murphy has some short, practical and easy-to-understand tips on how to get that great-sounding compression when striking down on the ball with your irons: "Swing to the top of your backswing and hold. Next, make a slight 'sitting' move, as if you're plopping your rear end on a high chair ..."
He also has some good tips on chipping and getting around or over a dogleg.
Michael Breed has some good advice for those putts that skip and bounce, which is basically to press your hands slightly forward so that the shaft of the putter tilts ahead of the ball and toward the target. This enables you to roll the putt with the sacred topspin toward the target.
Camilo Villegas, on hitting an "absolute bomb," says that he likes to have "a feeling that my left arm is being pulled from its socket" after impact. Don't focus on keeping your left arm straight, just rip the damn thing out of its socket.
Villegas also says forget swing mechanics and concentrate on rhythm. He sometimes spends a whole month practicing nothing but rhythm.
He also says to point your left wrist at the target at impact. This is similar to the advice Tiger Woods gives, who says to make sure the back of your lead hand is pointed toward your target.
Got a "tweener" shot? Pick the longer iron and choke down on it, Villegas says.
Also, Villegas says to get low to read putts. We've all seen how Villegas goes into his Spider-Man routine to read putts. How many chiropractors will see a surge in business?
Tiger says let your putter swing to the inside after impact. I've never tried that.
On hitting straight irons, Tiger says the back of your lead hand (I was doing the opposite) should be square to the target at impact.
"Crooked shots occur when the back of your lead hand is anything but square, because that hand mirrors the clubface," Woods says. "Feel as if you're hitting the ball with the back of your lead hand facing the target, the shaft leaning slightly forward."
This leaves a nice divot on the forward side of the ball pointing directly at your target.
Hank Haney has a simple tip for your pre-shot routine: Make your practice swing from behind, not the side, which nearly every hacker does. See? Simple.
Annika Sorenstam has three keys to the ultimate touch shot, a delicate chip shot to a close pin.
Take your most-lofted club and choke down on it, and stand a little closer to the ball. Use a simple brush stroke like you'd do for a long putt, and hold the face square to the hole through impact (unlike Tiger) to maintain loft.
On its breaking 100/90/80 tips, the magazine says to practice putts with your rear hand - we've all heard that before - but don't move your rear shoulder forward.
Don't laugh, guys. More men should play like women.
The magazine has the shortest tip: "If you seem to be hitting the ball fat, step back an inch or two at setup. You may be standing too close to the ball."
With short irons, keep the ball in the middle of your stance, weight on the left side, and hit down and through. We've heard this before, too, but the magazine added this simple tip to stop the ball quickly: "Keep your right heel on the ground throughout the swing. The less you move this foot, the more consistent the divot will be."
Golf Illustrated has some malarkey about "maintaining your triangle," but it did offer this one good mental image for compression: "Squash the ball."
Golf Tips has some really stupid stuff, like "build an athletic platform," "maintain your angles" and "take off like a jumper," but it does break the myth of keeping your back rigid.
"Unless you're young or unusually flexible, you're not going to look like Tiger Woods at address. Stay relaxed rather than forcing your back straight."
It blew any goodwill, however, when it published tips like "buy some long tees" and wear wristbands: "A must if you want to look cool."
The magazine, designed and published to sell golf junk, also lists "necessities" like first-class travel bags, portable GPS units, golf-specific sunglasses, stress-reducing aids and weighted practice clubs.
Here are my own counter-tips: Buy a bag you can afford, play "feel" golf, any old pair of sunglasses will do, fill your cooler with beer and swing two clubs.
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