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Optimal tee height

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Proper grip

Having the proper grip on your club will improve performance.

Video provided by GolfTec of Arizona.

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3 steps to better practice

by Tina Tombs, golf instructor

Three steps to a more efficient practice time can make your tournament scores better. If you have the same pre-shot routine every time you practice, it will help you maintain a consistent rhythm and a comfortable state of mind to retain and use during tournament rounds. Here are a few things that I have found that have helped me and many of my students prepare themselves to compete in their tournaments.

Have a purpose for every shot
Every shot that you hit on the driving range should have a purpose. You should use your pre-shot routine, see the shot shape and target you want to hit at. I recommend that you practice your short game and shots from 70 yards and closer more than half of your practice time, and use your pre-shot routine as often as possible to ease the transition to the golf course.

Have a plan and set goals
Set goals and a plan for your practice time. Work on specific things like grip, posture and alignment. Or work on a specific swing mechanic. When you work on a swing mechanic it is best not to worry about where the ball is going. Hit a few balls (10) with a routine, a few (10) with a mechanical swing thought, and keep switching back and forth.

Staying focused on the task at hand is important for the most positive results and it is the easiest transition to the golf course and playing your best!

Set a time limit
Make your practice time efficient. Especially with heat in the summer, there will be a tendency to mentally and physically exhaust. If you achieve what you want to in a minimal amount of time, give yourself permission to move on to something else. You do not want to tire yourself. Your mind and body need to stay efficient and alert to be effective. Once your job is done congratulate yourself and know that you did your best.

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Pre-round warm up

by Tina Tombs, golf instructor

Here are two questions to ask yourself: Why is it important and what is it that you want to think about and do when you are getting ready to play? Remember, a warm up is exactly what it says, a “warm up”—get loose, tempo, rhythm, balance, timing and mentally ready to play your round.

First you want to allow yourself time to prepare for the golf course that you are playing. If you are coming from the office and you don’t have time, the two most important things to do are to stretch with two golf clubs and take golf swings and chip and putt to get the feel and pace of the greens. That way you can save some strokes with your short game and actually develop a feel for your golf swing.

In this golf tip I am going to focus on a routine that I used, as well as many other tour players use, to prepare for a round of golf. Allow yourself at least 1 hour to use this routine. Adjust if you do not have this much time.

Stretch
Putt: you want to putt longer putts first. 20-, 30-, 40-footers. This gives you the feel and speed of the greens. You can putt to a tee or a hole, but the goal is to get the right distance and develop feel. At this time, you can also chip some to get the feel for your chipping.
Go to the range, start with pitching wedge, allow yourself 10 balls to loosen up, 7- or 6-iron, long iron or hybrid, fairway wood, then driver. This warm up time is to get loose, and find your rhythm and timing, hit solid shots, see the target, and be in balance. Incorporate your routine in your warm up to play with the same intensity and consistency you will use in your round of golf.
Then go putt some short putts, if you have time hit some bunker shots to test the sand on that golf course.

Now you have prepared yourself physically and mentally before your round and given yourself a great opportunity to play your best round of golf. Hit it high and let it fly!

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Rythm and balance

by Scott Sackett, golf instructor

All great players have the ability to swing every club at a consistent tempo and with great balance. Rhythm and balance are linked.   Some players exhibit faster tempos like Nick Price and some exhibit a slower tempo like Ernie Ells, yet all remain balanced. The key to consistency is to maintain a smooth rhythm. 

If you rush your swing you will loose your balance and the end result is inconsistent contact and poor ball flight. Outstanding ball strikers are rarely off balance at impact and their rhythm is the glue that bonds their positions and movements. Often their swings seem effortless and they, as Julius Boros described, “swing easy and hit hard.” Great rhythm allows you to properly sequence your body motion and arrive at impact in a position of leverage and power.     

Ten-time PGA Tour driving accuracy champ Calvin Peete says the three keys to straight driving are “balance, balance and balance.” If you want to be a more consistent ball striker you must understand how the body should be balanced in four key positions. 

Setup
Although your spine is tilted to the right at address, you should have your weight evenly balanced between your right and your left foot. Also you should feel your weight evenly balanced between your heels and your toes, roughly on the balls of the feet.

Top of the back swing
As you pivot to the top of the back swing, your weight moves into the inside of the back foot. You should feel approximately 75 percent of your weight on the back foot and 25 percent on the front foot. The weight must never move to the outside of the back foot.

Impact
By the time you arrive at impact, approximately 70 to 75 percent of your weight should be shifted on to the front foot. Your head must be behind the ball and your hips must shift forward approximately 4 inches past their starting position. This increases the spine tilt by at least double.

The finish
At the completion of the follow through, you should have the majority of your weight, about 90 percent, on the outside of the front foot.

To help find your natural swinging rhythm, simply place 5 tees in the ground 4 inches apart in a line. Stand just inside the closest tee and begin swinging a 7-iron back and through in a continuous swing motion. Begin walking forward, clipping each tee out of the ground in succession. Repeat this drill three times and you will find a swing pace that will allow you to keep your balance and still generate club head speed.

To achieve and feel proper balance:

Tee up five balls.
Take a narrow stance with a 7-iron.

Make ¾ swings. Try to feel what it is like to swing within  yourself, feeling the four balance points and smooth tempo.
If, after five balls, you feel good balance and smooth tempo, repeat the process with your normal 7-iron stance width. Try to replicate the feeling.