Cut your handicap in half in 30 days with help from our Scratch Squad of Top 100 teachers (from left) Scott Munroe, Mike Adams, Kellie Stenzel, Mark Hackett and Jon Tattersall.
Angus Murray
By David DeNunzio
Wednesday, July 08, 2015

You can achieve a lot in 30 days. Lose your love handles. Paint the house. Watch The Wire or read Ulysses. Worthy goals all. You can also become the golfer you know you can be. How? Follow the practice schedule of drills below—we'll be rolling out a 30-day, 50-lesson plan this July that lets you build the skills needed to improve your performance in the five most important areas of the game: iron play, driving, short game, putting and body mechanics. (Tweak the time frame to fit your schedule, or allot more practice to the weaker areas of your game.)

As you proceed through the 30 days, maximize your practice time by doing more at-home work. You can perform many of the indoor drills while watching your favorite TV show.

You’ll find eight to 12 lessons per area. If some drills seem to work better than others, stick to the ones that resonate. Just a little bump in each area can help you 
reap huge rewards.

DAY 1

Lesson 1: Find Your Natural Backswing Plane and Best Grip

Area: Iron Play

Location: Range or at home

Instructor: Mike Adams

My team and I have analyzed thousands of swings and found that there are three basic types. We’ve also discovered that the best players use the technique that fits their natural mechanics. (Imitating a swing that’s not right for you causes inconsistent contact.) Through our research, we’ve developed a way for you to determine which “method” suits you—the first step in your 30-day improvement plan. It’s a simple test: How do your arms move? Your answer will unlock the swing plane and grip (among other things) that work with your natural design. The test illuminates the moves critical to consistent, solid contact on every swing. Here’s what to do.

Step 1: Stand erect with your arms dangling in front of you, then flex your knees slightly and bend forward from your hip joints, until your fingertips touch the tops of your knees.

Step 2: Clap your hands together in front of you, about where you’d take your grip. Don’t move anything else.

Step 3: Swing your arms back with very little shoulder movement, until your right elbow begins to fold. Then stop. Now check the position of your right elbow and right hand against the examples below to discover your natural swing.

Check No. 1: If your right elbow folds immediately and stays in front of your body with your right palm facing up…

…YOU’RE AN UNDER GOLFER.

Is this you? You're an under golfer.

Your forearms naturally roll during your takeaway. When you lift something heavy, like a box, you feel strongest with your hands underneath the object and your elbows in front of your lips.

Check No. 2: If your right elbow aligns with the seam on the right side of your shirt and your right palm points away from you…

…YOU’RE A SIDE-ON GOLFER.

The side-on golfer looks like this.

Check No. 3: If your right elbow swings back and up and your right palm points toward the ground…

…YOU’RE AN ON-TOP GOLFER.

The on-top golfer.

Your elbows lift naturally with any arm movement. You feel the strongest with your elbows behind you, like you're doing a push-up. Your swing often feels steep, but that's okay—for you!

This is powerful information; discovering your natural arm swing dictates the grip, plane and hinging action that best allows you to reach the top smoothly and on plane. Depending on the results of the test above, do the following:

UNDER GOLFER

A strong grip for the under-golfer.

Go with a strong grip. Point the Vs formed by your thumbs and forefingers outside your right shoulder. This makes it easier to take the club back with your right hand under your left—your natural backswing.

Hinge your wrists vertically. Under golfers have a naturally shallow swing, so you need a steep wrist hinge or you'll get the club “stuck” behind your body. Bend your wrists as though you’re flipping the club in front of your eyes, as shown. You should see deep wrinkles in your right wrist at the base of your thumb.

Swing on the shaft plane. Don’t fight your naturally flat swing. Keep it shallow by pointing your thumbs below your right shoulder as you swing to the top.

SIDE-ON GOLFER

A neutral grip for the side-on golfer.

Take a neutral hold. Set your right hand on the grip so that your right palm faces the target. This places your right hand in position to hinge the club horizontally and apply pressure on the side of the shaft—your power position.

Hinge your wrists horizontally. Since your natural arm swing is fairly neutral, you need a neutral, or horizontal, hinge. Bend your right wrist back while folding your right elbow. To get a feel for this, hold a club in front of you and hinge it to the right while keeping the shaft parallel to the ground. That’s the kind of hinge you're after when you make your backswing.

Swing on the torso plane. A neutral arm swing dictates a neutral swing plane. What’s neutral? Simply swing back on an imaginary line running from the ball through your torso. Find a mirror: You did it right if the shaft bisects your right biceps on the way back and your left wrist is flat—that is, little or no bend—at the top.

ON-TOP GOLFER

Weaken your top hand if you're an on-top golfer.

Weaken your top hand. You’re going to attack the ball on a steep angle, so getting your right hand on top is critical—if you don’t do it, you’ll lose control of the shaft. Take a very weak right-hand grip (V pointed toward your left shoulder) and a strong left-hand grip.

Hinge diagonally. On-top golfers need to offset the steepness of their natural arm swing with a diagonal hinge. Hinge both wrists toward your right shoulder. That will set you perfectly on plane.

Take the high road. Keep the shaft on an imaginary line from the ball through your right shoulder. You should feel like your thumbs point toward the sky the whole way. This is your natural, steep swing—don't change it.

Lesson 2: Groove Your Natural Backswing

Area: Iron Play

Location: Range or at home

Instructor: Mike Adams

Now that you have a basic idea of your most natural backswing shape, it’s time to get a feel for it. We’ve found it’s easiest to groove a side-on, on-top or under swing by learning to apply pressure from the right hand onto the shaft in the appropriate location and direction. Here’s how:

If you’re an under golfer, set up with your left hand in its regular position but with your right hand open and positioned slightly under the handle at a 45-degree angle with the grip. Now swing. Your goal is to maintain upward, diagonal pressure from your right hand to the handle from start to finish. Make 10 swings to get a feel for this motion, then 10 more with your normal hold to ingrain it. (Perform this drill as part of your regular warm-up routine as you proceed with the plan.)

Try this if you are an under-golfer.

If you’re a side-on golfer, set up with your left hand in its regular position but with your right hand open and positioned on the right-hand side of the handle (from your perspective at address). Now swing. Your goal is to maintain lateral pressure (toward the target) from your right hand to the side of the handle from start to finish. Make 10 swings to get a feel for this motion, then 10 more with your normal hold to ingrain it. (Perform this drill as part of your regular warm-up routine as you proceed with the plan.)

Try this if you are a side-on golfer.

If you’re an on-top golfer, set up with your left hand in its regular position but with your right hand open and positioned slightly on top of the handle at a 45-degree angle with the grip. Now swing. Your goal is to maintain downward, diagonal pressure from your right hand to the handle from start to finish. Make 10 swings to get a feel for this motion, then 10 more with your normal hold to ingrain it. (Perform this drill as part of your regular warm-up routine as you proceed with the plan.)

Maintain downward, diagonal pressure if you're an on-top golfer.

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DAY 2

Lesson 3: Find Your Most Athletic Stance

Area: Mobility and Flexibility

Location: Range or at home

Instructor: Jon Tattersall

A simple squat is not only good for developing leg strength, it unlocks several clues as to how you should position your feet at address for maximum turning power and swing stability. Watch the video below to get your 30-day fitness campaign motoring out of the blocks.

Lesson 4: “Activate” the Bounce on Your Wedges

Area: Short Game

Location: Range or backyard

Instructor: Scott Munroe

You often catch chips and pitches thin. Or you catch them fat. More likely, you catch them thin and fat, because you’re not using the bounce on your wedges correctly. Top 100 Teacher Scott Munroe explains the importance of bounce angle when trying to get up-and-down from around the green, and how to adjust your setup and stance to catch par-saving chips and pitches as cleanly as possible. Watch the video below.

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DAY 3

Test your flatstick skills with a series of short putts.

Lesson 5: Test Your Putting Precision

Area: Putting

Location: Practice green

Instructor: Kellie Stenzel

This one’s easy: set up a straight, three-foot putt on the practice green (above). Keep track of how many you make out of 10 attempts. Then, move the ball back to four feet. Again, see how many you can make out of 10. Anything less than an 80-percent success rate from three feet and 70-percent success rate from four feet is evidence of putterface control problems, because if you’re missing from short distance on a straight putt, the face is pointing either left or right at impact. Immediately perform the “Chalk Line” drill below. If you pass the three- and four-foot putt tests, scroll below to work on a different area of your putting game, such as stroke calibration and distance control. Obviously, if you’re making a majority of short putts, the face is pointing exactly where it should be when you contact the ball.

Use the chalk-line drill to increase accuracy instantly.

Lesson 6: Chalk Line Rolls for Improved Accuracy

Area: Putting

Location: Practice green

Instructor: Kellie Stenzel

Because the force of most putting strokes is very small (compared to the speed of your iron and driver swings), the ball’s starting direction is mostly determined by where the face is pointing at impact. If it points to the left of the target at impact, you’ll miss left (and miss to the right if the face is pointing to the right as it strikes the ball). To remedy this problem, snap a chalk line on a flat section of the practice green (you can purchase a chalk line at any hardware or D.I.Y. store). As you settle into your stance, make sure the putterface is perpendicular to the chalk line. If your putter features alignment marks on the top of the head, line them up with the line on the ground. Next, look down and see if your shoulders, forearms, hips and toes run parallel with the chalk line. This “neutral” setup gives you the best chance of striking the ball with a square putterface and starting the ball on your intended line.

Now roll some putts, using the line and peripheral vision to check your stroke path and confirm your ability to start the ball on line. (Because it’s a straight putt, the ball should hug the line from start to finish). This isn’t a one-and-done drill; perform it at least twice a week to verify your ability to control the putterface and to make sure you don’t fall back into bad habits. And since you’re focusing on the line, you’ll tend to keep your head down and avoid peeking, which will smoothen out your motion and gradually boost your confidence.

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DAY 4

Lesson 7: Get Your Lower Body Involved in Your Swing

Area: Iron Play

Location: Range or at home

Instructor: Mike Adams

Should you rotate around your right leg when you swing? Does rotating around your left leg mean you’re reverse-pivoting? It depends—on you! Every golfer is built differently, which means we rotate fastest and most efficiently in various ways. Watch the video below to discover the type of rotation that’s right for you. For most golfers, tapping your natural lower-body strengths is the secret to unlocking the smooth swinger within.

Lesson 8: Chip It High or Low on Demand

Area: Short Game

Location: Home

Instructor: Scott Munroe

By the end of 30-days, you’ll be a master chipper, pitcher and bunker player. One of the reasons why is that you’ll learn how to vary the trajectory of your short-game shots, which, in effect, triples the options in your arsenal. Start by swinging a medicine ball or similarly sized object in three distinct ways. With enough repetitions, you’ll groove the motions required to knock the ball high, medium or low without thinking. I explain how in the video below.

 
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DAY 5

Lesson 9: Wear Out Your Sweet Spot

Area: Putting

Location: Practice Green

Instructor: Kellie Stenzel

Contacting the ball away from the center of the sweet spot not only diminishes energy transfer (causing the ball to come up short), it destroys your accuracy, because off-center contact forces the putterhead to twist (open on strikes near the toe and closed on strikes near the heel). You need to find a way to contact the ball in the sweet spot on every attempt. I’ve got you covered. You’ll need two tees, a few balls and 20 minutes. Watch the video below.

Lesson 10: Let Your Hips Fly

Area: Mobility and Flexibility

Location: Home

Instructor: Jon Tattersall

In studying the best players in the world we’ve learned that getting your hips to move independently of your upper body is critical for not only creating speed, but also keeping the club on plane. Are your hips up to the task? Watch the video below for the answer.

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DAY 6

Lesson 11: On-Plane Backswing Check

Area: Iron Play

Location: Range or at home

Instructor: Mike Adams

As you continue to work on grooving your most natural backswing shape (under, side on or on top), it’s a good idea to check that you’re actually making the correct moves. What's most important is that you match the angle of the clubshaft to your shoulder line at the midway point of your backswing. On Day 6, grab a friend and perform the following test:

Step 1: With any iron, swing back while letting your right elbow naturally fold. Stop when your hands reach waist height in your backswing.

Step 2: Have your friend lay an alignment stick or club along your shoulder line. You want the club you're swinging and the alignment stick to be parallel to one another.

Step 3: Move the club until it matches the alignment stick, regardless of where this is. Once you find this spot, hold it for a few seconds until you can memorize its location.

When you make this shaft/shoulder line match in your backswing consistently, you’re in business. The matchups, however, vary depending on the ideal backswing shape you determined on Day 1.

If you’re an under golfer, the shaft (and alignment rod) will point right of the target line, and lay at about a 20-degree angle with the ground. Your swing is flat and in position “A.”

The position of an under-golfer.

If you’re a side-on golfer, the shaft (and alignment rod) will point somewhere near the target and lay near-parallel to the ground.

The position of the side-on golfer.

If you’re an on-top golfer, the shaft (and alignment rod) will point to the right of the target and noticeably toward the ground.

The on-top golfer.

Perform this check weekly as you proceed with the plan. Getting your swing on the right track at the start makes the rest of your motion much easier to execute.

Lesson 12: Nail Your Top Position

Area: Iron Play

Location: Range or at home

Instructor: Mike Adams

As you’ve learned, there’s more than one way to swing the club back and hit solid iron shots. There are, however, some absolutes. One of them is the top position; regardless of whether you’re an under, side-on or on-top golfer, the shaft and your shoulder line should always form the letter “T” as you reach the end of the backswing (below). Check it by asking a friend to lay a club or an alignment rod across your shoulder blades as you hold your position at the top. If the club in your hands and the shaft or rod intersect at a right angle, you’re in business. If not, repeat the open-palm backswing drill from Day 1 until you get it right.

The shaft and your shoulder line should always form the letter “T” at the end of the backswing.

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DAY 7

Lesson 13: Add to Your Arsenal: Hybrid Chip from Rough

Area: Short Game

Location: Range or backyard

Instructor: Scott Munroe

The more creative you are around the greens, the better your chances of saving par. Part of this 30-day improvement plan is to increase your short-game shot arsenal. Today, learn how to get the ball on and close when it’s sitting deep in greenside rough (the kind of lie where a putter won’t do but you’ll risk blading the ball if you opt for a wedge). The answer: the hybrid hinge-and-drop. Learn it in the video below.

Lesson 14: Add to Your Arsenal: The Flop Shot

Area: Short Game

Location: Range or backyard

Instructor: Scott Munroe

What about something for the times when you have to carry a hazard or rough, but there’s little distance between the side of the green closest to you and the pin? Channel your inner Phil Mickelson and put a reliable flop shot in your bag. It’s a bonafide par-saver—and the coolest shot you’ll learn during your 30-day improvement journey. Watch the video below.

 

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DAY 8

Lesson 15: Nail Your Putting Alignment

Area: Putting

Location: Practice green or at home

Instructor: Kellie Stenzel

Perfecting your putting setup will go a long way to helping you make more than your fair share of putts. I like my students to be as comfortable as possible when they address a putt. The only non-negotiables are that your putterface is set perpendicular to your starting line and your shoulders match the line on which you want the ball to start. Nail the first with my chalk line drill (Day 3). For perfect shoulder alignment, spend some time on the practice green rolling putts with your feet close together. With this ultra-narrow stance, you’ll really feel it if your shoulder line opens or closes to the target. After a few attempts, widen your stance by stepping out the same distance to the left and right until you reach your regular stance width. You see a lot of Tour players start from a feet-together stance and then go wide. If it works for them, it’ll work for you.

Roll putts with your feet close together to develop perfect shoulder alignment.

Lesson 16: Stabilize Your Putting Stroke

Area: Putting

Location: Practice green or at home

Instructor: Kellie Stenzel

Now that your setup is solid, it’s time to stabilize your stroke. Excessive body motion can make it difficult to control distance and direction. It’s one of the biggest differences between professional and recreation golfers. Here’s the fix: when you practice, turn your toes in as much as possible at address, much like Arnold Palmer did back in his heyday. This toed-in stance automatically “locks” your knees and hips, eliminating unwanted lower-body motion in your stroke. Putt like the King either in practice or out on the course. You’ll roll the ball smoother without jerking the putterhead off line.

Steal Arnold Palmer's "toe-lock" and get rid of unwanted lower-body motion in your stroke.

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DAY 9

Lesson 17: Stretch Your Shoulders, Stay on Plane

Area: Mobility and Flexibility

Location: Home

Instructor: Jon Tattersall

Swinging the club back on plane is tough to do with limited shoulder mobility. Top 100 Teacher Jon Tattersall offers a test in the video below to see if your delts are up to the task, and a way to improve their mobility and rotation to swing the club correctly without stressing your body.

Lesson 18: Match Your Downswing to Your Body

Area: Iron play

Location: Range or at home

Instructor: Mike Adams

So far in this 30-day improvement plan you’ve learned how to swing the club back on the backswing plane that matches your physical traits and hit a solid position at the top. Now the fun part: swinging back down to impact. As you can guess, there's a right way to deliver the club based on your own biodynamics. 

IF YOU'RE AN UNDER GOLFER...

...Keep Your Elbows in Front

As you turn into the impact zone, keep your right elbow in front of your right hip. This keeps your right hand in its natural power position (under the left).

Angus Murray

...Then Release by Extending

As soon as the clubshaft gets parallel to the ground in your downswing, extend your right arm out toward the target. Try to get it to snap straight by the time you reach the follow-through. As you extend your right arm, pull your head and chest slightly away from the target to help maintain balance.

Angus Murray

IF YOU'RE A SIDE-ON GOLFER...

...Keep Your Right Elbow on Your Side

As you bring the club into the delivery position, time your arm swing and hip turn so that your right elbow is even with your right hip, or on top of the side seam on your shirt.

Angus Murray

...Then Release by Cornering

As soon as the butt of the club points at the ball in your downswing, straighten your right arm. Try to extend it 45 degrees pas the ball. As you do this, unhinge by bowing the back of your right wrist and flexing the back of your left. This undoes the horizontal hinge you made in your backswing. It should feel like the clubhead is "turning a corner."

Angus Murray

IF YOU'RE ON ON-TOP GOLFER...

...Keep Your Right Elbow Back

Since your right elbow swings behind you on your backswing, make sure it's still there on the way down. It may look too inside, but your release will take care of that.

Angus Murray

...Then Release by Covering

As soon as your left arm gets parallel to the ground in your downswing, straighten your right arm -- but do it without losing the angle in your wrists. It should feel like your right palm faces the groun all the way through impact, like you're "covering" the ball. Since you have a lot of downward movement here, thrust upward from the ground for best results. 

Angus Murray

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DAY 10

Lesson 19: Simplify Your Pitch Swing

Area: Short Game

Location: Range or backyard

Instructor: Scott Munroe

Good pitching is about getting the club up on plane in your backswing and mirroring this move in your finish. Here's an easy way to do it.

Start by easing up on your grip. If your normal pressure is an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, make it a 3 but squeeze the handle tightly between your right thumb and forefinger. As you swing back, point your thumbs toward the sky. Don't think about how to do it—just do it. You'll naturally create the ideal amount of hinge, shoulder turn and arm swing to set the club on plane. Coming down, your only goal is getting to where your thumbs point toward the sky in your follow-through. Thinking only about your thumbs creates a perfect arc through the ball and squares the face at impact.

Thinking only about your thumbs creates a perfect arc through the ball to square the face at impact.

Lesson 20: Dial In Your Pitch Distance Control

Area: Short Game

Location: Range

Instructor: Scott Munroe

Want to be a short-game marksman? Easy—build an arsenal of varying pitch distances. That doesn’t mean swinging “softer” or “harder” depending on your yardage to the pin. You need to be able to produce consistent numbers on every shot. So today you’re going to swing each of your three wedges in nine different ways to produce 27 unique distances from 100 yards and in. That way you’ll knock it stiff regardless of your distance to the pin. Here’s what to do.

Hit balls using your normal grip using three different swing lengths.

Swing 1: Stop your backswing at 8 o'clock on an imaginary clock set behind you and you’re through-swing at 4 o’clock.

The 8 o'clock to 4 o’clock swing.

Swing 2: Stop your backswing at 9 o'clock on an imaginary clock set behind you and you’re through-swing at 3 o’clock.

The 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock swing.

Swing 3: Stop your backswing at 10 o'clock on an imaginary clock set behind you and you’re through-swing at 2 o’clock.

Obviously, the 8-4 swing will fly the ball farther than the 9-3, and the 10-2 will carry farther than all of them. Now, switch up your grip. Repeat the swings above with your hands choked up on the handle about an inch and half, then repeat after choking up another inch and a half (below). Note how far each ball travels in your journal. Repeat the entire process with your other two wedges. With the data in your logbook you’re armed with 27 specific shots. Now there’s no excuse for not knocking wedge shots close to the hole.

Practice with a choked-down grip and you'll soon have 27 specific shots dialed in.

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DAY 11

Lesson 21: How to Feel a Powerful Release

Area: Iron Play

Location: Range

Instructor: Mike Adams

Learn the final piece to pure contact with every iron in your bag—a powerful release—with the help of Top 100 Teacher Mike Adams, who shows how to match your post-impact move with your most natural swing.

Lesson 22: How to Keep Your Driver On Plane

Area: Driver

Location: Range

Instructor: Mark Hackett and Mike Adams

You’ve been grooving your iron swing. Now it’s time to adapt your new moves to your driver. Here’s how to take the Big Dog to the top and back to the ball without falling off plane—and split fairways in the process.

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DAY 12

Lesson 23: Add “Squat Power” to Your Swing

Area: Mobility and Flexibility

Location: Home

Instructor: Jon Tattersall

Your lower body is your true source of power, as evidenced by long hitters such as Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson. These players dip down as they start their downswing, then shoot up onto their toes as they move through the hitting zone. This is exactly what you should do; through impact, push off the ground hard, like you’re jumping into the air. You should feel as though your body weight is shooting up rather than straight into the ball, and that you’re being pulled up onto your toes through impact.

Trouble is, tight calves will slam the breaks on your “jumping” ability, as well as limit your ability to maintain your posture through impact. Are your calves “power ready?” Take the test.

Step 1: Using your driver for balance, set your feet together and bend your knees, squatting to the point where your thighs reach parallel to the ground. If your heels lift, your calves definitely aren’t flexible enough to correctly interact with the ground when you swing.

Angus Murray

Step 2: Repeat the squat, but this time with a two-inch high object wedged under both heels. If this squat feels easier than the one in step 1, you calves again lack the flexibility to correctly pressure the ground for power.

Angus Murray

Step 3: To work out the kinks in your calves, sit on the ground with your legs stretched out. Place a molded foam roller (or similarly shaped object) under your calves and, with your arms slightly behind you, raise your rear end slightly off the ground. Move the roller to a few different locations until you hit a “hot spot” (max discomfort). With your rear end lifted, hold for a few counts and let gravity pressure your calves against the roller. Five minutes of work should be enough. Use the roller daily until you can pass the test in step 1 by squatting without having to lift your heels.

Angus Murray

Lesson 24: Make an Arms-Body Connection for Pure Strikes

Area: Iron Play

Location: Range or at home

Instructor: Mike Adams

Consistent, square contact with your irons is a blend of both proper body rotation and arm swing. Here’s how to sync your upper and lower halves for perfect irons shots that never leave the target.

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DAY 13

Lesson 25: Build a Consistent, Pendulum-Style Stroke

Area: Putting

Location: Practice Green or at home

Instructor: Kellie Stenzel

Increasing the frequency of your one-putts is mostly a matter of controlling how far you roll the ball on every attempt. The best putters in the world control putt distance by executing a pendulum-style stroke, and change the length of the pendulum swing—not the speed—to motor the ball different distances. To make your stroke more like a pendulum, grab a yardstick and, with a Sharpie, mark a thick line at 18 inches (the stick’s center) and lines every two inches on both sides of the center mark. Use different colors to code each increment pair if possible.

Angus Murray

Set the stick on the green and line up a ball with the center mark. Putt “mark-to-mark,” using the color-coded guides on the yardstick to make your stroke the same length on both sides of the ball. As you proceed, note how far each putt rolls for the various even-length stokes (two inches, four inches, six inches, eight inches and nine inches). By the end of the drill you’ll have a much better understanding of how to equate stroke size with putt distance. As long as you note how for the ball rolls with each stroke, nothing can fool you on the course.

Angus Murray

Note: If you swing your putterhead back the correct length for the putt at hand, all you have to do is let it “fall” back to the ball on your forward-stroke to deliver the appropriate amount of power. Never feel the need to add or subtract power from your stroke as you strike the ball.

Angus Murray

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DAY 14

Lesson 26: New Rules for Escaping Sand

Area: Short Game

Location: Practice bunker

Instructor: Scott Munroe

On Day 2 you learned the power of using the bounce on your wedges to catch the ball cleanly on pitches and chips. Now it’s time to learn how bounce works on shots taken from sand. As Top 100 Teacher Scott Munroe explains in the video below, more bounce is better in a bunker. Say goodbye to chunked sand shots once and for all.

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DAY 15

Lesson 27: How to Add Speed to Your Driver Swing

Area: Driver

Location: Range

Instructor: Mark Hackett

Driving it straight keeps you in the match. Driving it far and straight will take you to a whole new level. Here’s how to step on the gas without a single change to your mechanics. Top 100 Teacher Mark Hackett explains in the video below.

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DAY 16

Lesson 28: Calibrate Your Putting Stroke

Area: Putting

Location: Practice green

Instructor: Kellie Stenzel

Now that your putting fundamentals (stance, alignment, stroke) are in order, now’s the time to make sure you can roll the ball the distance you need on each and every putt. Follow Top 100 Teacher Kellie Stenzel’s step-by-step stroke-calibration procedure in the video below to make the process of matching speed and stroke length second nature.

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DAY 17

Lesson 29: Activate Your Wrists for Power and Control

Area: Mobility and Flexibility

Location: Home

Instructor: Jon Tattersall

Your wrists are capable of adding several miles per hour of swing speed by unhinging them in your downswing. They also have a lot to do with your ability to keep the club on plane and square the clubface at impact. Top 100 Teacher Jon Tattersall provides easy ways to build wrists strength and flexibility for an accurate, power-packed swing. A few minutes each day working out the kinks in your wrists can pay huge dividends, and help you hit the ball farther and straighter with every club in the bag.

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DAY 18

Lesson 30: A New Option for Running Shots Close

Area: Short Game

Location: Short game practice area

Instructor: Scott Munroe

You’re about 10 to 20 yards from the pin. Your line to the green is devoid of hazards, but the lie is really tight—the kind of lie where if you catch the shot anything but perfectly clean with a wedge, the ball will go screaming across the green. Sure, you can putt the ball, but Top 100 Teacher Scott Munroe has an even easier option: the hybrid bump-and-run. The longer shaft on a hybrid allows you to make a much smaller, much slower stroke to run the ball the correct distance. Follow these steps.

Step 1: Set up with your feet together and stand a half-pace closer to the ball. This erect stance “straightens” the shaft on your hybrid, allowing you to swing it back and through more like a putter. Move your grip down to the bottom of the handle. You’re standing the correct distance from the ball when the heel of your hybrid has lifted slightly off the ground.

Angus Murray

Step 2: Play the ball in the dead center of your stance center and set your hands even with your zipper. You can use your normal hybrid grip; just make sure your palms are facing each other.

Angus Murray

Step 3: Swing the club back using the triangle formed by your shoulders and arms. No need to hinge; think “putting stroke.”

Angus Murray

Step 4: Swing the club forward. Again, feel like you’re making a putting stroke. Your goal is to replicate the same amount of force you'd use on a putt from the same distance. Avoid the natural urge to "hit" the ball! The ball will jump a little off the clubface then roll to the hole. With a little practice, you’ll dial in the distance like a Tour pro. Better yet, you’ll never catch shots from tight lies thin again.

Angus Murray

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DAY 19

Lesson 31: An Easy Drill for Squaring the Clubface

Area: Driver

Location: Range

Instructor: Mark Hackett

Driving it far but missing left and right? Obviously, you’re catching the ball in the center but the face is either open or closed at impact. Here’s a drill to get you in the habit of striking the ball with the sweet spot pointing at the target. Your reward? Big drives that never miss.

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DAY 20

Lesson 32: Wear Out the Sweet Spot

Area: Iron Play

Location: Range

Instructor: Mike Adams

Time for a checkup—a contact checkup. Top 100 Teacher Mike Adams shows you how to assess the quality of your iron impact to make sure your not leaving precious yards on the table, or striking the ball in a way that limits your ability to hit approach shots extra close. You’ll need a can of spray foot powder and 10 minutes on the range. Keep the spray handy—check you impact at least once a week. The results of this test provide important clues as to what’s working—and what’s not—in your swing.

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DAY 21

Lesson 33: Improve Your Posture in One Easy Stretch

Area: Mobility and Flexibility

Location: Home

Instructor: Jon Tattersall

One of the keys to contacting the ball solidly and in the center of the clubface is establishing an athletic posture at address (i.e., weight over the balls of your feet and no slouching), and then maintaining that posture through impact. You wouldn’t believe it at first, but studies show that posture maintenance depends highly on hip flexibility; the more flexible your hips, the better your mechanics, creating a more balanced and athletic motion through the ball.

Angus Murray
Angus Murray

To check if your hip flexibility—or lack thereof—is hindering your ability to stay in posture, do a simple toe touch. Stand erect, and without bending your knees, see if you can touch your toes. If you come up short, turn this test into an everyday stretch; you’ll easily get to your toes by the end of the 30-day plan. Not only will your swing feel smoother because of better posture and hip mechanics, you’ll feel a whole lot better sitting at your desk or driving in your car. When it comes to your body, even moderate gains in flexibility can pay huge dividends.

Lesson 34: Add 10 Easy Yards to Every Drive

Area: Driving

Location: Range

Instructor: Mark Hackett

When you’re calmly making practicing swings back and forth while waiting for the group ahead of you to clear the fairway, your swing smooth and effortless—and fast! That’s the power of continuous motion and shifting your weight back and forth like the motion of a pendulum. It’s hard to replicate when you step up for the actual hit, because you start from a static motion. If you watch the majority of top golfers, they get into motion well before the club begins to swing away from the ball. To get a feel for this fluid and dynamic swing—and add big-time yards to your drives—try the following drill.

Step 1: Instead of setting up with the club behind the ball, set the club in its release position, or just before your left elbow would begin to fold in your forward-swing. Set most of your weight over your left foot.

Angus Murray

Step 2: From this forward position, swing back to the top while transferring your weight to your right foot. You should feel “loaded,” like a coiled spring ready to unwind.

Angus Murray

Step 3: Swing down, unwinding your body while swinging your arms and getting your weight back over to your left side, like it was when you started the drill.

Angus Murray

Replicating this shift of weight and the feeling of continuous motion will keep you on plane and ramp up the speed of your overall motion, resulting in longer drives without having to swing out of your spikes. This drill is a great warm up or an effective replacement for any practice swings you make on the course.

For ultimate benefit, match this drill to your natural swing, whether it’s under, side-on or on-top (see Day 1). Not only will you boost your speed, you’ll continue to groove the best swing for your body type.

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DAY 22

Lesson 35: How to Beat Buried Bunker Lies

Area: Short Game

Location: Practice bunker

Instructor: Scott Munroe

Last week you learned how important it is to use the bounce of your wedge to escape most standard greenside bunker lies. Do the same rules apply when the ball is buried? Find out in a special video, where Top 100 Teacher Scott Munroe unlocks the secrets to getting out and on from one of the game’s trickiest lies.

Lesson 36: How to Handle Long Bunker Shots

Area: Short Game

Location: Practice bunker

Instructor: Scott Munroe

Most weekend players consider the 20- to 40-yard bunker blast the most difficult shot in golf. If you’ve been paying attention to the bunker lessons provided thus far in the 30-day plan, you’ll find that long bunker shots aren’t that different from short ones. A change in club and minor tweaks to your motion is all you need to pull off a sand-based miracle. Top 2100 Teacher Scott Munroe lays it all out in the video below.

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DAY 23

Lesson 37: Fine-tune Your Distance Control

Area: Putting

Location: Practice green

Instructor: Kellie Stenzel

Today you’re going to put the final pieces of your new and improved putting stroke into place, starting with adapting your even-length, pendulum motion to various distances and green speeds. With a little work, you’ll know how to handle any putt the course throws at you. Step 1: Top 100 Teacher Kellie Stenzel’s distance-control drill. You’ll need a sleeve of balls and a paltry 20 minutes out of your busy day. Get ready to putt the lights out from anywhere on the green.

Lesson 38: Improve Your Touch on Downhill and Uphill Putts

Area: Putting

Location: Practice Green

Instructor: Kellie Stenzel

Calibrating your stroke to roll the ball specific distances on demand is a powerful thing. But since most greens are anything but flat, you must learn how to tweak your calibrated stroke for the times you have to putt uphill and downhill. Uphill putts effectively add length to the overall roll; downhill putts shorten it. Watch the video below to learn the secrets to dominating on sloping greens.

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DAY 24

Lesson 39: Get Your Divot in the Right Place

Area: Iron Play

Location: Range

Instructor: Mike Adams

Want piercing irons that never leave the target? Simply get your divots to start in front of the ball, not behind or under it. Creating divots on the target side of impact is evidence that you’re doing a lot of things right in your iron swing—and the key to compressing the ball like a Tour pro. Top 100 Teacher Mike Adams has a drill to make it second nature. Watch the video below to elevate your ballstriking, and knock down the pin on every swing.

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DAY 25

Lesson 40: Improve Your Coil and Backswing Turn

Area: Mobility and Flexibility

Location: Home

Instructor: Jon Tattersall

There are a lot of theories on how to maximize your backswing for power and control. For the most consistent results, take the path of most resistance. By that, strive to turn your upper body as much as you can while stabilizing the lower. Sounds easy, but most recreational players can’t do it. The problem? You got it—flexibility.

Take the test: Stand erect with a club held across your chest as shown in the photos below. Turn your upper body. The goal is to get the shaft of the club held across your chest to point toward your target line, and to do it without rotating your hips. If you fail, no sweat—keep performing the test. The better your ability to disassociate the movement of your upper body from your lower, the more powerful your backswing becomes. Add this torso turn drill to your daily rota of stretches. As with the others, even a slight improvement in torso flexibility will dramatically increase the effectiveness of your swing.

Angus Murray

Yes! Full upper body turn with minimal lower body turn. You’ve created max coil.

Angus Murray

No! Full upper body turn at the expense of losing lower-body stability. Minimal coil, minimal power.

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DAY 26

Lesson 41: Kick Hooks and Slices to the Curb

Area: Mobility and Flexibility

Location: Home or range

Instructor: Jon Tattersall

One of the easiest ways to straighten out your shots is to gain better control of the clubface. And not just at impact; the better you are at keeping the face square to the path of your swing from start to finish, the more likely you are to limit slice- and hook-causing sidespin. If your still suffering from unwanted curve this late in the plan, the problem may lie in your wrists; any limitations in your ability to supinate (rotate your palms up) or pronate (rotate your palms down) will cause you big-time accuracy problems.

To see if limited wrist flexibility is keeping you from hitting your fair share of fairways and greens, take the following test: grab your driver in the middle of the shaft with your right hand, extend your right arm straight out and front of you, then rotate your forearm to the right. You should feel movement in your wrist, forearm, elbow and shoulder. Can you get the shaft to parallel to the ground? Now pronate, rotating your wrist and forearm to the left. Again, how far can you go?

Supination test for right wrist.
Angus Murray

Failing to get the shaft to lay horizontal when you rotate in either direction is evidence of limited wrist flexibility—and your ability to control the face. For example, if you can’t fully pronate (rotate your right wrist to the left), you’re going to have difficulties rotating the face to square as you deliver the club into the hitting zone. If you can’t supinate, then you’ll probably lift the club instead of swinging it back on an arc.

Repeat the test with your left hand. This simple test provides valuable clues about your body’s inherent limitations and how they affect your swing. There are some stopgaps; you can offset an ability to rotate your wrists away from the target by taking a stronger grip, and using a weaker grip if you find it difficult to rotate your wrists to the right. My advice? Use the test as a stretch. Your ultimate goal is to get the shaft to lay parallel when rotating either wrist both directions. Turn and hold with each rotation. You’ll get the flexibility you need in no time.

Pronation test for left wrist.
Angus Murray

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DAY 27

Lesson 42: Find Your Driver Start Line

Area: Driving

Location: Range

Instructor: Mark Hackett

To further ingrain hitting up on the ball with your driver—and add big-time yards in the process—try the following drill. Tee up a ball and set an alignment rod in the ground about ten yards in front of you; set the rod on your target line. Next, lay an iron on the ground in front of the ball and one behind the ball. Position the clubs on the ground so that they point about 20 degrees to the right of the rod (photo below). When you swing, trace the path defined by the clubs on the ground; don’t swing at the rod! This simple drill gets you in the habit of approaching the ball from inside the target line, and helps you hit up on the ball, creating optimal launch. If it feels like you’re swinging too far out to the right, you’re doing it correctly. The last thing you want to do with a driver in your hands is to swing too far to the left, because this promotes a descending impact. Within 10 balls, you’ll feel a noticeable difference in your motion and—maybe for the first time ever—the ball compressing against the clubface.

Angus Murray

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DAY 28

Lesson 43: Get the “Power Angle” at Impact

Area: Iron Play

Location: Range

Instructor: Mike Adams

Adhering to your natural backswing in downswing should make things a whole lot easier for you when hitting approach shots. And if you’ve worked hard at getting your divots to start in front of the ball (Day 24/Lesson 39), then I predict your contact is better than ever. Now, the icing on your iron-swing cake: timing your hip turn so that you hands are ahead of the clubhead when you strike the ball. Getting the shaft to “lean” toward the target at impact like this is the secret to compressing the ball, launching higher shots, and stopping them with backspin once they hit the green.

How much lean do you need? It depends on how fast you rotate. As a general rule, the quicker your hip rotation, the more the shaft should lean toward the target at impact. Matching the lean to your turn speed is key.

On the range, stick an alignment rod in the ground on the far side of the ball and lean it toward the target. If you’re a fast-hips player, lean the rod so that when you take your address, the end of the rod is just in front of your left-front pants pocket. If you’re a medium hip-speed player, lean the rod so that the end is in front of your pocket, and decrease the lean so that the end is somewhere between your zipper and left hip if you’re a slow-hips player. (Review the video on Day 9/Lesson 18 for more info on lower body action.) With the rod in place, hit some balls. Use the rod as a visual cue: match the lean of the club in your hands at impact with the lean of the rod. Make a few slow-motion swings to ingrain the correct feel, and then continue at full speed. The feeling of compression is so intense that you’ll know when you get it right.

Match the lean of the club in your hands at impact to the lean of the alignment rod to generate Tour-level compression. The faster your hips, the more the shaft should lean toward the target when you strike the ball.
Angus Murray

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DAY 29

Lesson 44: Play a “Chunk” in Sand

Area: Short Game

Location: Practice Bunker

Instructor: Scott Munroe

Most weekend players are familiar with the standard bunker-escape technique: Open the face, take a big swing and hit the sand first to splash the ball onto the green. This method is great for flying the ball to the hole and stopping it with backspin, but what if the distance between you and the flag is longer than your standard bunker-swing carry distance? Enter the “chunk-and-run,” which makes reaching faraway pins (and close ones, too) a breeze. The chunk-and-run is known as a good-player's shot, but anyone can pull it off—it’s easier than you think.

To start, club down to a gap wedge, or even a pitching wedge. Take a narrow stance with your feet under your shoulders, and shift your weight toward your left side so you can feel it in your left foot. Position the ball in the middle of your stance and keep the clubface square. Once you've made these simple setup changes, make your normal bunker swing, but add one key move: stop your finish at waist-height. Coming to an abrupt stop this way limits the amount of backspin (that's the “chunk”), so instead of landing and stopping, the ball will roll the full distance to the flag (that's the “run”). You can reach pins up to 40 yards away with this technique. What’s more, you’ll look like a pro—and score like one from the bunker.

Ball in center of stance, weight over left foot.
Angus Murray
Standard bunker swing - allow your forearms to roll going back and coming through.
Angus Murray
Stop your swing abruptly after impact.
Angus Murray

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DAY 30

Lesson 45: Take Your Best Putting Stroke to the Course

Area: Putting

Location: Practice green

Instructor: Kellie Stenzel

You’re dynamite on the practice green. Now the real test: How to take your new-and-improved stroke to the course. Top 100 Teacher Kellie Stenzel has you covered. Check the video below to learn how to transfer new skills to actual rounds—and putt the lights out for your best score ever!

You've completed the Halve Your Handicap series! Try the full set of lessons yourself and let us know how you cut your handicap in half!

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