How To Make The Best Choice When Faced With A Water Hazard

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Many of you struggle with water hazards because of the intimidation factor and the ramifications involved if they hit the ball into the water hazard. Depending on your skill level, you might want to play it safe and try to avoid the hazard as much as possible, or play a normal shot and pretend the hazard is not there. To make golf courses playable for everyone, each hole on the golf course will generally have a way to avoid the water hazard, if there is one, or play it safe. There are always exceptions to the rule when you are forced to carry a water hazard to reach the hole, but these holes are generally located on tougher golf courses where the average golfer might not feel comfortable playing. Below are a few things to consider to prepare yourself for playing a course with water hazards.

Practice The Situation On The Range

Even though the water hazard is not on the range, you can visualize it being there and practice hitting shots on to get more comfortable.

For example, if you regularly play on a golf course that has a hole where you’re forced to carry the ball 130 yards to reach the green, practice hitting the club in your bag that will hit it 130 yards.

Most golfers hit a few balls with each club in their bag while practicing on the range, but rarely hit each club while playing a round. Others will hit an entire bucket of balls with just their driver. Even though it might sound a little out of the ordinary, hitting a full bucket of balls with the club that you would hit 130 yards would be a smart idea. The next time you are faced a shot where you will need to carry the ball 130 yards over a water hazard, you ‘ll feel more comfortable and you won’t think about the water hazard as much.

Practice Different Lay Up Shots

Since most golfers only practice full shots on the range they become stressed when they are faced with a shot that requires a half or three quarter swing. The only way to get better at this is through practice.

One method to use on the range is to imagine a clock while hitting golf balls. If your normal full swing has your hands at the top of the golf swing in the 12 o’clock position, try to imagine stopping your hands at the 9 o’clock position and finishing at the 3 o’clock position during the swing. Once you get comfortable doing this, you can then alter your hand positions depending on how far you are trying to hit the golf ball.

This drill is very helpful if you’d like to lay up short of a water hazard and the shot required is less than a full-swing.

Taking A Different Route

Depending on where the water hazard is located, you might want to keep the driver in your bag and play the hole differently. Since golf is considered a game of misses, the best option might be to tee off with a hybrid, if hitting the driver will bring the water hazard into play.

Also, if there is a water hazard in front of the green, you might choose to play a little farther left or right of the green and have to rely on getting up and down to save par.

The end result might be a bogey on the hole, but at least playing it safe will take a double or triple-bogey out of the equation.

Quick Recap

1. Practice The Situation On The Range

The more comfortable you are hitting a shot without any consequences, the more comfortable you will be when faced with a hazard. Instead of hitting each of the clubs in your bag, hit a bucket of balls with the club you know will use to hit over a potential water hazard.

2. Practice Different Lay Up Shots

Another good idea to prepare for a water hazard is to practice hitting layup shots on the driving range. A drill that works well is to imagine a clock and stop your hands at 9 o’clock and finish at 3 o’clock to hit a shorter shot than a full swing.

3. Taking A Different Route

Sometimes playing the hole a little less traditionally is ideal. This might mean not teeing off with a driver, or hitting to the left or right of the green to avoid the water hazard.

Ask A PGA Professionals at GlobalGolf

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Posted in Instruction, Scoring

TaylorMade On Tour: Who’s Making the Switch

Justin Rose At Doral

With the TaylorMade MFamily complete and the season well under way, it’s interesting to take a look at how TaylorMade’s top staff players are using both the M1 and the M2 in their bags. In fact, Justin Rose carries the M2 in his bag (driver, 3 & 5 wood).  He changed to the M2 despite winning the Hong Kong Open with the M1 driver in his bag.

Jason Day at Doral

For Jason Day, the driver of choice is the TaylorMade M1 (10.5 degrees) while his 16.5 degree HL fairway wood is a Taylormade M2. Dustin Johnson is also going with the distance of the M2 in his driver (10.5 degrees) and 3 wood while sticking with the pinseekindg accuracy of the TaylorMade M1 for his 5 wood.  Finally, Sergio Garcia is utilizing his M2 driver (9.5 degrees) in combination with his M1 fairway woods (3 & 5) to achieve that perfect combination of raw distance and workability.

Sergio Garcia at Doral

At the Cadillac World Golf Championships, these players used these newfound combinations to place inside the top 25.

  • T-11 (3-Under): Sergio Garcia
  • T14 (2-Under): Dustin Johnson
  • T23 (Even): Jason Day

The following week at the Valspar Championship we also so a handful of TaylorMade staffers in the Top 25.

  • T-11: Daniel Berger
  • T-11: Retief Goosen
  • T-18: Justin Leonard
  • T-22: Chez Reavie

As the season continues and makes its way towards the first major in the Master’s, it’ll be interesting to see just who’s making to their bag to have the best chance to win the coveted green jacket.

If you’ve missed them, take a look (behind the scenes) at what’s going on with TaylorMade.

Take a look at just how awesome the MFamily really is:

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Posted in Drivers, Fairway Woods & Hybrids, Equipment, Golf Talk

The Key To Hitting Longer Drives

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Hitting monstrous drives with little effort requires a downswing executed in the correct sequence with a smooth acceleration through impact.  The biggest mistake I see with players looking to hit the ball further is that they will swing in an all-out effort from the top of the backswing and end up flailing at the ball which flutters off of the club short and usually right.

Jordan Spieth Top Of Backswing

The purpose of the back swing is to store up energy to be used to hit the ball down the fairway.  This energy is in the form of weight shift, rotation, arm swing, and the lever created by the hinge between the arms and club.  The goal of the downswing is to transfer as much of that stored energy as possible into the ball at impact.

Jason Day Downswing

The correct sequence of the downswing revolves around the thinking that the downswing happens from the ground up.  The first move in the downswing should be a slight move of weight from the back foot to the front.  This is followed by the hips, torso, shoulders, arms, hands, and finally, the clubhead.

Rickie Fowler Golf Swing Sequence

To simplify this, think of a car going down an on ramp and getting onto the interstate.  The top of the backswing is the same as the car at the entrance to the ramp.  The car is not moving at that point and wants to be moving 60 mph at the bottom in order to merge into traffic.  Upon pressing the gas pedal, the car begins to accelerate.  It does not immediately go to 60 mph but accelerates through 5mph, 20mph, etc. until it reaches its maximum speed at the bottom of the ramp.  When making your downswing, focus on starting at 0 and providing constant acceleration of the club on the downswing and you will find yourself hitting the ball further and straighter in no time.

Ask A PGA Professionals at GlobalGolf

 Here’s more tips to help you improve your game:

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Posted in Distance & Control, Instruction
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