Photographs by J.D. Cuban
By Jeff Ritter
We’re all probably guilty of making this game harder by taking too complex an approach to our playing strategy. If you want to overcome issues you’ve had in your game for years, it’s time to address them more sensibly. To get you started, here are three common problems that can be overcome with simple solutions.—WITH RON KASPRISKE
GET TO WHERE YOU WANT TO GO
There are a lot of different swings in pro golf, but all of them eventually look like this (above). There’s a weight shift toward the target, there’s body rotation toward the target, and there’s an extension of the arms and club through impact.
The lesson: If you struggle to consistently hit good shots, you can simplify things by focusing on where you want to go. Just like programming your car’s GPS, having a strong connection to your destination creates more reasonable motion throughout the swing to arrive at that spot. Forget about attacking the ball and instead focus on making swings trying to get to this “pro” look in the follow-through.
EMBRACE THE OPPOSITE
The world is full of paradox. The only certainty is uncertainty. To gain control, you need to let go. You get the point. Sometimes in golf we need to embrace illogic over natural instinct. For example, pitching a ball super high requires a setup that’s way down low. That’s a tough concept to accept when your instinct tells you the opposite should be true. But if you widen your stance, open the clubface before taking your grip, and then lower your knees and handle of the club (above), you’re now in position to swing on a shallow attack angle, and that maximises loft, allowing you to lob the ball over anything with ease.
GET LEAN WHEN YOU CHIP
Chipping is one area of the game amateurs complicate way more than necessary—like going over a long checklist at address. Instead, all you have to do to get in the proper setup is stand over the ball (above, left), then lean your entire body toward the target (above, right). Now grab the club and you’re in position to make ball-first contact. No more worrying about flaring the front foot, leaning the shaft, etc. This set-up method allows you to focus on the artistry of the shot.
RITTER Teaches at the Pronghorn Resort in Bend, Ore.