One of the reasons you might be messing up that first tee ball of the day is because you’re putting pressure on yourself and swinging too hard. It’s easy to do: You want to impress your playing partners but end up duck hooking your drive into the trees 140 yards up on the left. When you’re feeling some pressure, check your tempo and think: “Swing 6.” This means that if 10 is the hardest you can possibly swing, swing at a 6. Or think of it as swinging 60% instead of 100%. Trying to swing 100% is going to make your tempo faster and ruin any chance at hitting it solid. If you think about swinging 60%, your tempo is going to slow down and you’ve got a lot better chance of hitting the middle of the club face -- and the middle of the fairway.
-Brian Dumler, PGA
It’s important to maintain your spine angle throughout the swing. In an attempt to create a longer backswing, golfers often come out of their posture. Your backswing should only be as long as your flexibility allows. Put a club across your chest and cross your hands to hold the club in place. Make a few turns while maintaining your spine angle. After a few turns, hold your backswing position, grip the club, and extend your arms to see where they are at the top of your swing. Try to limit your backswing to this position while hitting balls. This will help you stay in your posture and maintain your spine angle.
–Joe Wood, PGA
If you’re struggling with chips and pitches, try hitting one-handed shots with your left hand for right handed players. This will help smooth out your tempo and stop you from flipping. Be careful not to “freeze” with the body and only use your arm to swing the club. Make sure to still rotate with your hips and feel a small weight shift through to your left side.
–Joe Wood, PGA
To become a better wedge player, you must incorporate plenty of upper body rotation into the swing so that the arms and body move together during the swing and effectively take the hands out of the hitting action. Tuck a towel under your arms in the arm pit area and hit half wedge shots. This will force you to make an aggressive body rotation to deliver the club head back to the ball.
–Brian Dumler, PGA