10 ways to save 6 strokes

Fred Vuich

No matter who you are you're going to hit bad shots in every round. The key to turning poor rounds into good ones (and good ones into great ones) is to not hit the same bad shot more than once. Since bad shots always come in groups, you can save loads of strokes by stopping a negative trend before it builds momentum. And once you know how to quick-fix your game on the course, you can copy the techniques of the world's best player, Tiger Woods, to make sure it stays fixed. Here are the 10 most common round-wrecking shots and how to make sure you don't repeat them.

Start saving strokes now!

I can't believe I just ...

Popped up my tee shot | PLAY THE VIDEO
Dead pulled my drive | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a wicked slice/hook | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that long iron super thin | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a short iron short and right
Topped a fairway wood | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that bunker shot fat
Flubbed that flop shot
Bladed that chip shot
Shanked that chip

1. I can't believe I just ...
Popped up my tee shot

WHY YOU DID IT


You slid your left shoulder — and, thus, the bottom of your swing arc — in front of the ball on your downswing, so the clubhead was still descending when it contacted the ball.

MAKE SURE YOU DON'T DO IT AGAIN


Move your left shoulder — and the bottom of your swing arc — back where they belong. It's easy to do if you use the fixes below and keep your left shoulder even with the back of the ball on your downswing.

Tee the ball higher so that the bottom of the ball is even with the top of your clubhead.

Play the ball two inches inside your left heel and tilt your spine to the right at address.

Try to keep your tee in the ground through impact — think of sweeping the ball off the peg.

DRILL: BATTER UP

Hold your driver in front of you using your normal grip and make repeated baseball swings. Notice how you can swing the club back and forth without radically changing your left shoulder position. Next, get into your golf stance and continue swinging your "bat." Your club should now approach the hitting zone on a shallower arc — a must to keep pop-ups at bay.

I can't believe I just ...

Popped up my tee shot | PLAY THE VIDEO
Dead pulled my drive | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a wicked slice/hook | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that long iron super thin | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a short iron short and right
Topped a fairway wood | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that bunker shot fat
Flubbed that flop shot
Bladed that chip shot
Shanked that chip

2. I can't believe I just ...
Dead pulled my drive

WHY YOU DID IT


You swung from outside the target line to the inside.

MAKE SURE YOU DON'T DO IT AGAIN
Point your body lines correctly at address, then use them as a roadmap to guide your club on an inside-square-inside swing path. Point the butt of the club to the right of your target throughout your downswing.

• Try to swing your arms while keeping the rest of your upper body quiet.

• Think "open hips and closed shoulders" at impact.

• Play the ball in the middle of your stance. The more forward you play the ball, the easier it is to cut across it and hit a pull.

DRILL: GET INSIDE

Swing to the top of your backswing and stop. Without moving your shoulders, bump your left hip forward and drop your arms so that the butt end of the club points to the right of the target. This is the inside approach you're looking for. Finish the drill by turning your core and hips toward the target.

I can't believe I just ...

Popped up my tee shot | PLAY THE VIDEO
Dead pulled my drive | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a wicked slice/hook | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that long iron super thin | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a short iron short and right
Topped a fairway wood | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that bunker shot fat
Flubbed that flop shot
Bladed that chip shot
Shanked that chip

3. I can't believe I just ...
Hit a wicked slice/hook

WHY YOU DID IT


At impact, your clubface was either open (slice) or closed (hook) relative to your swing path.

MAKE SURE YOU DON'T DO IT AGAIN
Flatten your left wrist at the top of your swing. This will take care of what's happening at impact.

DRILL: ARM ROLL

Make slow-motion swings. As you take the club away, roll your left forearm clockwise and notice how this helps keep your left wrist flat even after you hinge the club upward. As you bring the club into impact, roll your right forearm counter-clockwise. This critical move lets you strike the ball in a square position with your flat left wrist still intact.

JUST LIKE TIGER
COPY THIS!

Get the toe of your clubhead up like Tiger and split the fairway

The most important thing you can take away from Tiger's driving technique is his clubhead position in his release — the toe of his club points straight up. That's the key to hitting accurate tee shots. Getting the club in this position is second nature to Tiger, but you'll need to practice it. Start by swinging your sand wedge back to waist height and check that your club is "toe-up." Then swing through to waist height on your follow-through and again make sure the toe is up. It's a simple drill that puts you in control of your clubface position.

Top 100 Teacher Charlie King

I can't believe I just ...

Popped up my tee shot | PLAY THE VIDEO
Dead pulled my drive | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a wicked slice/hook | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that long iron super thin | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a short iron short and right
Topped a fairway wood | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that bunker shot fat
Flubbed that flop shot
Bladed that chip shot
Shanked that chip

4. I can't believe I just...
Hit that long iron super thin

WHY YOU DID IT
You made a big backswing shift to power up behind the ball, but you got stuck there on your downswing. This moved the bottom of your swing arc back so you caught the ball on the upswing.

MAKE SURE YOU DON'T DO IT AGAIN
Create a balanced stance over the ball at address and maintain that balance throughout your swing.

• Keep your head still.

• Keep your arms extended as long as you can during your backswing — this will help you maintain balance.

• Turn to the top while keeping your weight evenly distributed over both feet.

DRILL: STAY STILL

Turn your back to the sun so that you cast a shadow over the ball. Settle into your stance with the ball positioned in the middle of the shadow created by your head. As you make your backswing, look at your shadow and check that it covers the ball as you swing all the way to the top. If it does, you won't catch it thin.

I can't believe I just ...
Popped up my tee shot
Dead pulled my drive
Hit a wicked slice/hook
Hit that long iron super thin
Hit a short iron short and right
Topped a fairway wood
Hit that bunker shot fat
Flubbed that flop shot
Bladed that chip shot
Shanked that chip

5. I can't believe I just...
Hit a short iron short and right

WHY YOU DID IT
You scooped the ball in an attempt to hit the shot high. Scooping leans the shaft away from the target at impact and invariably opens the face.

MAKE SURE YOU DON'T DO IT AGAIN
Make a divot in front of the ball, not behind it or under it.

• Lean your weight forward at address so that the shaft angles slightly toward the target.

• Keep your hands ahead of the clubhead on your downswing and, more important, at impact.

DRILL: GET AHEAD

Position the shadow of your head over the ball at address. On your downswing, move your body slightly toward the target so that your head is ahead of the ball at impact (check your shadow as shown). This helps you hit the ball first and take a divot second.

JUST LIKE TIGER
COPY THIS!

Tiger rarely hits it fat or thin because he rarely moves his spine

Trying to make contact on a spot on your clubface no bigger than a nickel leaves little room for error. So how come Tiger rarely hits the ball thin or catches it fat? Check out his position at the top. Despite shifting his weight, hinging his wrists, raising his arms, and turning his shoulders and hips, his spine angle hasn't moved an inch from its position at address. It'll stay there on his downswing and through impact as well. If he were to raise up or lower down, it would negatively affect his contact — same goes for you.

Top 100 Teacher Charlie King

I can't believe I just ...

Popped up my tee shot | PLAY THE VIDEO
Dead pulled my drive | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a wicked slice/hook | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that long iron super thin | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a short iron short and right
Topped a fairway wood | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that bunker shot fat
Flubbed that flop shot
Bladed that chip shot
Shanked that chip

6. I can't believe I just ...
Topped a fairway wood

WHY YOU DID IT
You shortened your swing radius in the hope that a more compact swing would help you sweep the ball cleanly off the fairway turf

MAKE SURE YOU DON'T DO IT AGAIN
Keep your left arm straight during your backswing and don't try to sweep the ball — hit down! Increase your righthand grip pressure. If you maintain pressure from your right hand on your left thumb, your left arm will remain straight. This creates a wider arc and allows you to extend fully and catch the bottom half of the ball at impact.

DRILL: SET, HIKE!

Without a club, set your hands like a quarterback ready to receive the snap from center, with the lifeline of your right hand placed firmly on top of your left thumb. That's the pressure you need to maintain the width of your swing (which is determined by the length of your left arm). Make a mock backswing and try to maintain the pressure on your left thumb all the way to the top. You know you've done it right if you feel your right hand push your left arm outward.

JUST LIKE TIGER: COPY THIS!

Use Tiger's wrist trick to pepper the flag from short distances

No one is better at hitting pure wedge shots than Tiger. (He led the 2006 PGA Tour in hitting greens from less than 100 yards.) What makes him so good from this distance is his left-wrist position at impact. Notice how it's arched forward (and how his right wrist is bent back). These wrist angles are necessary to create the ideal downward strike on the ball. On the range, feel like you're hitting the ball with the logo on the back of your glove to ingrain the feeling of hitting down and keeping your left wrist arched toward the target.— Top 100 Teacher Charlie King

I can't believe I just ...

Popped up my tee shot | PLAY THE VIDEO
Dead pulled my drive | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a wicked slice/hook | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that long iron super thin | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a short iron short and right
Topped a fairway wood | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that bunker shot fat
Flubbed that flop shot
Bladed that chip shot
Shanked that chip 7. I can't believe I just ...
Hit that bunker shot fat

WHY YOU DID IT
You swung the club too up-and-down and closed the face at impact.

MAKE SURE YOU DON'T DO IT AGAIN
Swing your sand wedge around you like it's a driver, not a wedge. The key is to keep your arms at right angles to your spine throughout your swing.

• Play the ball off your front foot.

• Swing your arms under your shoulders.

• Try to enter the sand with the trailing edge of your wedge, not the leading edge.

JUST LIKE TIGER: COPY THIS!

Ignore the ball to hit quality bunker blasts

You can hit a bunker shot a dozen different ways as long as you use the sand — not the clubhead — to launch the ball out of the hazard. Check out how Tiger's ball is literally being pushed forward and up by the sand. If you struggle with bunker shots, practice just making divots in the sand. Find a practice bunker and, without a ball, try to splash the sand on your target. After a while, check the divots you're leaving. Look for consistent depth, length and placement. If your divots are random, expect similar results.
Top 100 Teacher Charlie King

1. Rotate your forearms to the right to maintain an open clubface. 2. Slide the trailing edge of your sand wedge under the ball.



















I can't believe I just ...
Popped up my tee shot
Dead pulled my drive
Hit a wicked slice/hook
Hit that long iron super thin
Hit a short iron short and right
Topped a fairway wood
Hit that bunker shot fat
Flubbed that flop shot
Bladed that chip shot
Shanked that chip

8. I can't believe I just ...
Flubbed that flop shot

WHY YOU DID IT
You decelerated and quit on your downswing and/or your follow-through.

MAKE SURE YOU DON'T DO IT AGAIN
You don't have to swing faster to maintain acceleration, just longer. Watch the best flop artists on Tour — they make long backswings and equally long — if not longer — forward swings. All you have to do to hit perfect flops (and this helps with partial swings from the fairway, too) is to keep moving your arms past impact and into a full finish.

1. If the shot you're trying to hit requires this long a backswing to lob the ball close to your target...

2. ...then make an equally long — or longer — through-swing to guarantee that you don't quit on the shot and flub it short.

DRILL: L TO L
Swing back and stop when your left arm and shaft create an "L" in your backswing. Now, swing through impact and stop when your right arm and clubshaft form an "L" in your throughswing. That's the swing you need.

I can't believe I just ...

Popped up my tee shot | PLAY THE VIDEO
Dead pulled my drive | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a wicked slice/hook | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that long iron super thin | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a short iron short and right
Topped a fairway wood | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that bunker shot fat
Flubbed that flop shot
Bladed that chip shot
Shanked that chip

9. I can't believe I just ...
Bladed that chip shot

WHY YOU DID IT
You shortened your arms on the forward side of your swing and struck the center of the ball.

MAKE SURE YOU DON'T DO IT AGAIN
Stop bending over so much! When you hunch over the ball excessively (a common error on delicate short shots) you're bound to rise up in reaction. Stand tall to the ball with long arms. Moreover, allow your arms to lengthen on your downswing and try to brush the grass in front of the ball.

DRILL: REACH OUT

Address the ball in a taller posture and align the leading edge of your club just below the equator of the ball. Stay loose on your forward stroke and allow your arms to lengthen. If you do, your club will bottom out in front of the ball like it should. "Under-reaching" at address gives you a better margin for error to create crisp contact, especially from tight lies.






















I can't believe I just ...

Popped up my tee shot | PLAY THE VIDEO
Dead pulled my drive | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a wicked slice/hook | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that long iron super thin | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a short iron short and right
Topped a fairway wood | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that bunker shot fat
Flubbed that flop shot
Bladed that chip shot
Shanked that chip

10. I can't believe I just ...
Shanked that chip

WHY YOU DID IT
You flipped the clubhead behind your hands on your take away. This moved the impact point from the clubface to the hosel.

MAKE SURE YOU DON'T DO IT AGAIN
Imagine that the clubface is a mirror. At any point during your chipping backstroke or forward stroke, your ball should be able to look back and see its reflection.

DRILL: WHIPS TOP
Practice chipping while holding the club only with your thumbs and forefingers — leave your other fingers off the club. It's an odd hold that teaches you to maintain a light grip pressure. That's all you need to control the club and make sure it doesn't get behind your hands.






I can't believe I just ...

Popped up my tee shot | PLAY THE VIDEO
Dead pulled my drive | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a wicked slice/hook | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that long iron super thin | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit a short iron short and right
Topped a fairway wood | PLAY THE VIDEO
Hit that bunker shot fat
Flubbed that flop shot
Bladed that chip shot
Shanked that chip

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