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Foursum Golf

Five ways to tune your game, no talent necessary

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Here is our latest blog post. This one was written by a friend of ours at Quite the Chap. Five simple tips (no talent required) to improve your game.

Your last round of the year is but a distant memory, covered in a light dusting of snow. Working on lowering your handicap seems like a cold cruel challenge at this point. But is it?

Even if you’re living in a land of plentiful sun and warmth, these five little checks, adjustments and tweaks can have a helping hand in lowering your scores. The best part? None of these items require you to possess any extraordinary talent or skill.

That’s right. No talent necessary.

1. Check your clubs lofts and lies

If you’re an average golfer who plays on average, once a week for 6 months, you hit 2,184 shots. If you hit a warm-up bucket of 25 balls before each round add another 600 swings. Without taking any practice sessions into account your clubs are smacking 2,750 (give or take) balls in 6 months. That can take a toll on your clubs loft and lie, especially if your hitting softer forged irons.

If your 7 iron is off by 2 degrees + or -, you’re essentially carrying around two 8 irons or two 6 irons, that’s not going to help your game. Have your lofts checked once a year by a club fitter or by a tech at any big box golf store.

Your clubs lie angles are no different. If your hitting your irons off line it might be attributed to the fact that the incorrect lie angle is causing the face plane or loft of the club to become tilted. You’ll notice this the most with your short irons.

2. Clean or replace your grips.

Dirty grips can equal dirty scores. A national survey (done by Golf Pride) of golfers showed that 66% of those who had clubs re-gripped showed an average drop of three to four strokes per round.

Your grips should be replaced every year or every 40 rounds, whichever comes first. And you should clean them regularly, as in every five rounds with simple dishwashing soap and a soft brush or cloth.

3. Practice your grip and posture.

This is something that most people overlook. Why would I practice my grip or posture, they’re such menial things? A good grip and posture are part of the foundation of a consistent and reliable swing.

Your posture is possibly one of the most important fundamentals of your swing. It can dictate how the club is taken away, how your downswing starts, and most importantly, how it’s delivered to the ball. A proper and consistent posture is something that can be checked and practiced in front of the mirror at home this winter.

Ben Hogan believed good golf started with a good grip. He also advocated that one should spend 30 minutes a day for a week practicing taking a correct grip. I doubt any of us have practiced taking just our grip for 30 minutes once let alone consecutively for a week but why wouldn’t we?

4. One exercise for more flexibility and core strength.

This one move is not going to give you the body of Arnold Schwarzenegger but it will help in developing flexibility and core strength.

Get in your address position (with the proper posture that you’ve been practicing), hold your 5 iron at either end and lay it behind your neck, across your shoulders. From there, turn into your backswing, while keeping proper posture with a consistent spine angle, and hold the position at the top of your backswing. You should feel your core muscles being engaged at this point.

While you’re in this position, take note of the angle the shaft is in across your shoulders. When you make your downswing, make sure to emulate this same angle when you are at the point of impact. Your hands on either end of the shaft should be in the exact opposite positions that they were when you were at the top of your backswing.

Complete your swing to a balanced follow-through. Do this for 15 minutes a day and you’ll find you’ll have a little more core strength at the beginning of the season and a lot more flexibility.

5. Work on Endurance.

Remember when I said, “No talent or skill necessary?" I lied.

In order to check this last item from the checklist you need to know how to walk. I know. The skill of not dying of boredom might be more appropriate.

Walking is more beneficial to your overall golf game than one might think. It not only has countless physical benefits, it also has several mental benefits:

Physical

-improves flexibility

-reduces stiffness in joints

-strengthens legs, hips, and torso muscles

-many other benefits

Mental:

-helps relieve stress

- improves self-esteem

-elevates mood

-improves mental alertness

Instead of swearing to a new years resolution of getting in the best shape of your life and abandoning the idea somewhere in the middle of February, why not just commit to walking for 30 minutes three times a week. It will provide you with all the benefits from above and also help with endurance come your first 18 of the year.

Here is a sampling of the amount of energy that’s burned while out playing…

Carrying Clubs:

175lbs: 1848 (4 hours)
175lbs: 2310 (5 hours)

Riding Cart:

175lbs: 1176 (4 hours)

175lbs: 1470 (5 hours)

…and we wonder why we’re tired after 18.

There is nothing about these five items that is overly strenuous or stressful. Just simple concepts that will help you come out “dancing like a butterfly and stinging like a bee” come springtime.

Your playing partners won’t know what hit ‘em… or their wallets.

4

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Thanks Will, you brought up some good points.  Yes after making a practice backswing, shoulders and hips turning on an angle, and holding it for 30 seconds, you'll definitely feel the burn!  If the shoulders turn too level you don't get that contraction in your core.

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Thanks Will @Foursum Golf .  I will definitely add #4 to my routine.  Hopefully it will get above 0F sometime soon in New Brunswick!

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No offense, but I am always a little skeptical when someone throws out numbers. Does one really swing that many times to warrant club lie and loft check? Assuming you hit full iron shots 1.1 times per hole (because pitches and chipping don't add full force of a swing) that's 6 months x 4.25 weeks/month = 25.5 x 18 holes x 1.1 swings = 505 swings (not counting drives and putts) with irons. Now assume you hit maybe 4 different irons at most per round. That means you only hit one specific iron only 101 times. So does hitting an iron 101 times warrant loft and lie check? The reason I am always skeptical is that many times it is those who profit from these inflated numbers that put out these outlandish numbers to make people do things without actually thinking. I am NOT suggesting one should not check their clubs frequently. But Just be careful when someone throws out big numbers to "scare" people. I'm just saying.
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No offense, but I am always a little skeptical when someone throws out numbers. Does one really swing that many times to warrant club lie and loft check? Assuming you hit full iron shots 1.1 times per hole (because pitches and chipping don't add full force of a swing) that's 6 months x 4.25 weeks/month = 25.5 x 18 holes x 1.1 swings = 505 swings (not counting drives and putts) with irons. Now assume you hit maybe 4 different irons at most per round. That means you only hit one specific iron only 101 times.

So does hitting an iron 101 times warrant loft and lie check?

The reason I am always skeptical is that many times it is those who profit from these inflated numbers that put out these outlandish numbers to make people do things without actually thinking.

I am NOT suggesting one should not check their clubs frequently. But Just be careful when someone throws out big numbers to "scare" people.

I'm just saying.

Totally agree. It's probably not an exact science. Many other factors could come into play.

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I like #4, as well. I find that concentrating upon the muscles that are engaged in each position of the swing and holding those static positions is quite beneficial to me.
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So does hitting an iron 101 times warrant loft and lie check?

You're not taking into account when you have to throw a club and it bangs up against a cart, tree, cart path... ;-)

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A few notes on checking clubs.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yukari

So does hitting an iron 101 times warrant loft and lie check?

Pending on the amount a player commits to practice and play over the season, clubs should be checked periodically.

You're not taking into account when you have to throw a club and it bangs up against a cart, tree, cart path...

Or, the number of times a person whacks a club over an opponents skull.

Some players never check L & L, they just use them straight off the shelf, or buy them without any specs and adjustments.

Also, if a player makes swing changes, they may need to adjust their clubs accordingly.

A person can test their clubs for "lie position" just by placing masking tape on the sole and take a couple of practice swings on a small piece of plywood in their driveway or garage.

A player should check the "Loft" of clubs when distance seems out of whack.

Generally, clubs become "de-lofted" from routine practice and play over a period of time.

In most cases, only a few clubs will need to be re-tweaked to correct angles and degree of lie and they usually only minor.

Club Rat

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@Foursum Golf ,

I have been doing #4 for the last few days and it really seems to show a weakness for me.  I will continue this to improve my flexibility and strength.  I added a third position, the finish, which I also have issues with.  I tend to finish low because of a lack of flexibility their.  My goal this winter is to improve there as well.

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You're not taking into account when you have to throw a club and it bangs up against a cart, tree, cart path...

Is that from personal experience? :-P

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I will try these out as it has been raining a lot still this year.  Thanks. 

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I tend to take the same few clubs to the range - bet those babies need it worse than others...4-7-PW - nice article.

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