Tips for making golf sand shots easy

There’s nothing to fear about shots out of the sand.

I’ve found that old saying:  “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself” really comes into play for golfers when attempting a sand shot.  I personally would rather have a sand shot any day than a hard pan lie or a deep rough near the green.

As with other areas of the game, you want to look at being in the beach as a good thing! Most pros think this way. Why? Because you have much more control over spin and the largest margin of error of all the shots in your bag. Sand is very forgiving.

This really is one of the easier shots in golf… it really is!  It is the one the shot in golf that has the most room for error with regard to where the club strikes the ground.  This knowledge, going into the shot, will give you great comfort when you think it.  Haven’t you seen the pros in a tournament talking to the ball and telling it to “get in the trap” when they know it’s going to miss the green?

Sand Shot tips

Getting out of the sand can be quite simple, if you follow these few steps. First,
use a sand or lob wedge, because they both have plenty of loft to quickly get the
ball in the air. And they also have some bounce, which lets the club slide through
the sand rather than digging into it. Second, ground yourself into the sand by
wiggling your feet until you won’t slip during the swing.

This also gives you needed
information about the hardness or softness of the sand and how far behind the ball
you’ll need to hit. Remember, you are not allowed to touch the sand with either the
club or your hand before starting your swing. With soft sand, try to aim about two
inches behind the ball. When the sand is firmer, aim about an inch behind the ball.

Finally, your left arm on the backswing should be parallel to the ground, then swing
through the sand to a balanced finish. Follow these simple steps and practice them.
And you won’t fear the sand any longer.

Golf Ball Against the Bunker Face.

You know this shot.  If you have played enough times, you have walked to a bunker
only to find the ball is up against a wall of sand at the edge of the green.  You
can’t use the great sand technique you have been learned.
Really this shot is not too difficult. It’s not too difficult because no matter how
hard to hit the ball its going straight up in the air!
Basically, plant your back foot, focus on the sand behind the ball, and smash your
club into the sand.  The golf ball should pop up in the air and roll onto the green.

Golf course etiquette

golf étiquette

Ok, we’ve all been there.  Some of us are still there, said the author as he looked in the mirror.  You’re golfing with three other people, and you are obviously the worst golfer.  How do you handle, what is the ‘etiquette’?  Well, if they are friends, there really isn’t any.  However, follow these as rules of thumb:

*      Don’t delay play.  If you are on your tenth shot, or twelfth, or fifteenth, pick the ball up.  You’re probably holding people up behind you, and just as importantly, you are frustrating YOURSELF!!
*      If you’re scoring every hole, give yourself your last shot number plus two.
*      If you lose a ball, look for it yourself.  This promotes faster play, and your friends will appreciate it.
*      If you don’t find the ball, take a stroke, drop near where you think it is, and hit away.
*      Don’t look for a ball for more than three minutes
*      If you are having a bad day, don’t complain and whine.  The people you are playing with don’t want to hear it.  If you are going to open your mouth, maybe ask for advice.
*      Remember, you’re supposed to be having fun.  If you are not, stop playing.  My worst day on a golf course is better than sitting at home doing nothing!


Update – More etiquette ideas that are not so hard and fast:

Don’t be in the eyesight of the golfer who is swinging or putting

Don’t put your shadow anywhere near a fellow golfer’s putting line

First one in the hole goes and gets the flag for the rest of the group

When a partner playing complains about his/her game…say nothing

Leave your cart towards the next hole when you park it to go putt, not in front of the green

Always give your fellow players a minute to help look for their ball when you know where yours is

Don’t swish the ball cleaner when someone is in their pre shot routine

When another player is clearly having a hard time and doesn’t care about score, please offer them a “gimmee” when it’s close to the hole


Again, you know your friends better than I, and these are rules of thumbs.  Not all of them conform to the “Royal Book Of Golf Published By The Golf Kings”, but if you read them a couple times, I bet you would agree.

Hybrid golf clubs explained

Hybrid Clubs-why the fuss?
What’s up with these new hybrid clubs?
Everyone is talking about ’em these days. Are they really the game saver that all the hype seems to say? 
The fact is, clubs like hybrid type clubs have been around a long time. They used to go by names like baffler and rescue clubs or just plain utility woods.
So are they really something new? Well, yes and no. 
The hybrid as we know it today was actually developed with the help of Gary McCord, the TV announcer and former PGA pro. He saw his golf buddies back home struggling with their long irons, so he thought maybe something could be done to make them easier to hit. He went to his sponsor, TaylorMade and suggested they come up with something new. 
The result was the TaylorMade Rescue. The first of a new breed.
So what the heck did they do to make this new club? 
Well, it’s called a “hybrid” because it a combination of a wood and an iron. They basically took an iron shaft and and put a new kind of head on it. That head would have features of a wood.
Features like a wide sole, low-back center of gravity, and more mass. So what’s so different about that? Why not just get a 5 or 7 wood?
The big difference is that shaft. The loft of a 2 iron and a 5 wood may be about the same…but the shafts are way different.   The shaft length on a 2 iron for an average height player is about 39 inches. The length on a 5 wood is about 42 inches. Hybrids are somewhere in between.
The longer club will always go farther because a longer club will produce more clubhead speed. That extra speed will also tend to make the ball go higher. The problem with that extra speed is it can make the club harder to control.   Iron shafts are also thicker than wood shafts. I bet you didn’t realize that.
Not a lot (.03 inches), but enough to make the shaft more stable which adds up to a bit more accuracy.  Starting to get confused?
Well here’s the bottom line.  Compared to a comparably lofted wood, a hybrid club is:
  • more accurate
  • won’t go quite as far
  • easier to hit because it’s shorter
Compared to the same long iron, a hybrid is:
  • easier to hit because the head has more mass and a lower center of gravity
  • will make the ball go higher, carry further and land softer
  • better out of sand and bad lies
Hopefully that clears up any confusion. 
So which ones to buy? 
Today’s hybrid clubs are actually quite varied. In addition to a choice of lofts, you can also get different sole widths and face heights. You can get lengths that are longer than standard irons and shorter or just as long as woods.
In short, some hybrids offered are more like fairway woods and some are more like irons.
Just remember the basic rules of club design–the lower and farther back the center of gravity, the higher the ball will tend to fly.
The longer the shaft the farther the ball will go but the extra length may make it harder to control.
Make your selection based on what your game needs.  Price ranges for brands are in the $150 to $250 range. You can find custom clone versions for under $50.
Give those hybrids a try. They’re bound to help your game. 

Tips for how to putt better

Dropping in Those Long Putts

When faced with a long putt, carefully study the green for overall slope, individual
breaks, grain, wind speed and other factors that may influence your stoke.
Having decided on the proper target line, pick a spot along the line a few feet in
front of your ball and aim for that.

Once your feet and the face of your putter are squared to the target, begin to think
in terms of speed and distance.

Try to visualize the ball rolling along the desired path and into the hole. Then
make your putt with confidence. This is how to putt better!

Putt Like a Pendulum

When putting, your hands should always be slightly ahead of the club head and the
Your arms and shoulders should form a triangle that moves in unison during your back
swing and stroke-much like a pendulum.
Just slide the club back without breaking your wrists and the forward again. Be sure
to follow through straight along the line of your putt.

Place two clubs parallel to the line towards the cup on either side of the ball.
Check to see you are swinging your putter through a straight line.

Place a two by four parallel to the line towards the cub outside of the ball.  Check
to see you are swinging your putter through in a straight line.
Mark the sweet spot with a piece of tape (a half inch by a half inch should do it).
See if you can it the sweet spot with each putt.

Place 6 balls in a circle around the hole about 4 feet away.  Putt each one in
turn.  Can you make all six?  Remember to read the green before each.

In order to aim for the center of the hole, Place four tees in front of the hole
with enough room for a golf ball to squeak through. Try from two and four feet out.

For long putts, use the distance on the practice green.  Start with your short putt
routine and then hit three from 20 feet.  Then three more.  Then three more.  Are
they getting closer?
Remember 90 percent of long putting is judgement of distance.

Are you getting better yet?


Using three balls.

Find a straight putt at least 9 feet long on the putting green.
Start at 3 feet and putt each ball from the same placement.

If you make all 3 putts move back to 6 feet and so on to 9 feet. If
you miss any, you have to start over. Say you made the 3 at 3 feet
and now you have made your first ball  from 6 feet, and then you
miss the next putt. Start over at 3 feet.

Do this drill until you have completed 3 putts from 3, 6 and 9 feet
in a row.

Do this at least 3 days per week. You will be a much better putter
within 2 weeks.

Steve Bean, Fairmount Golf Course and Learning Center Riverside,

How to make a perfect golf swing weight transfer

Weight Management

As I mentioned, 75 percent of the body weight is transferred to
the  back foot during the back swing. Through the downswing and finish,  the weight
transfers from the back foot to the front foot.

Too often, amateurs force this shift in weight by sliding and  swaying from side to
side during the back swing and downswing. This  is not necessary! With correct
footwork, you should automatically  make the correct amount of weight shift.
To get a feel for using your legs and correctly transferring your  weight during your
swing, try the following drills.

Brace Drill

Practice with your right leg butting against an object to get a  solid
feel for bracing your right side. In this case, we’re using a  bench. As you simulate
your back swing, you should feel your knee  pressing firmly against the bench,
creating torque and building energy.
If your right knee isn’t touching the bench during the back swing,  it means you’re
not shifting your weight correctly to the right  side. Keep making practice swings
until you feel consistent  pressure between your knee and the bench.

Drop Down, Choke Down

When you need to keep the ball low, use the Drop and Choke
technique. Pros can make setup and swing adjustments as conditions  change because
they have the luxury of practice.
For most golfers, the best adjustments are the least adjustments,  which is why the
Drop and Choke technique works so well.


Eliminate Topping & Skying Shots with a proper swing weight transfer

The tee shot is the key to good golf. But two common mis-hits can  ruin your chances
for a good score. One is the skied shot, which is  caused by a steep downswing.

Position the ball forward in your  stance, just inside your left heel. Your right
elbow should be  relaxed and tucked close to your side. Your right shoulder will be
lower than the left and your weight slightly on your right side.  Start the club back
low, slow and slightly to the inside.

Now let  the club swing around as you turn.
Golfers often lift the club up  vertically, causing that steep downswing.

Finally, as
you swing  down, keep your right elbow close to your side and sweep the ball  upward
off the tee. Another frightful shot is the topped shot that  does not get airborne.

This is usually caused by a poor transfer of  your weight.

On your backswing, your
weight should shift gradually  to the right. On the downswing, it must shift back to
the left.  Your goal should be a balanced finish with your weight on the left  side
using your right tip toe as a balance point. Try these  pointers, and next time
you’ll find yourself in better position off  the tee. Isn’t golf grand?


Tips for how to improve your golf swing

Stance & Posture

Every well-built structure starts with a good foundation. And
that’s what you need to develop a good golf swing. Your stance and  posture set the
stage for everything else that follows. To develop  a good stance, line your feet
apart about the same width as the  outside of your shoulders and keep your body

Your weight  should be evenly distributed on both feet, and planted firmly
on  the balls of your feet to the heels. This will give you the proper  balance while
swinging. Next, you need a relaxed posture so there’s  no tension in the back and
shoulder areas.

Make sure you stand  tall, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend
at your waist and  slightly flex your knees. A proper bend will put your spine at the
correct angle for a good swing plane. When you address the ball,  your shoulder on
the side facing the target should be higher than  the other shoulder.

Once you find
the correct posture, practice it  over and over until it becomes second nature. And
if you do, you’ll  have a solid foundation for a solid golf swing.


Here’s a great article submitted by one our readers on how to improve your golf swing

My theory of golf is that to score low you have to do two things: Keep out of trouble
on the tee shot and make putts. I now use a stripe on the ball to line up putts and
that really helps. I have also, finally, figured out a way to keep my drives in the
fairway. Maybe this will work for you.

Choke up.  Shorten your club length by an inch and stand closer to the ball. You
won’t lose distance because the added control will give you more solid hits.
Slow back. I have trained myself at the ball range to take the club back slowly as a
prelude to a relaxed easy swing. Never mind your “natural rhythm.” Do what I did: Go
to the range and focus only on swinging 80 percent of your strength until it becomes
habit. Start with slow back.

Vertical back, flat forward. To get the inside-out swing plane, I have learned to
take the club back with a fairly vertical swing and then to downswing with as flat a
swing as I can manage. To get from one plane to the other, I make a loop at the top
of the swing to bring the club head inside. I need to drop the club down at the
beginning of the forward swing to get the flatness. I can’t do the perfect circular
or same-plane swing, and I don’t try. The slow backswing helps to control the loop
and drop.

Slow forward. This is the hardest part, staying at 80 percent on the part of the
downswing after the drop. In the moment that I am slowly dropping the club, I
consciously remind myself to swing easy. It works.

Left shoulder at target. When I first started hitting most drives with control, I
would still occasionally pull hook one. A local pro, Chuck Lonabough, pointed out my
mistake. On the bad shots, I was setting up with my left shoulder turned left of the
target. My efforts to swing inside-out from this twisted position resulted in a
closed club face. Setting that shoulder straight was the last thing I learned, and
now it’s the first thing I do in my set up routine.

William Murdick


And here’s another one:

3 Keys To Better Ball Striking Around, Under & Through
by Tom F. Stickney II
In the golf swing, there are three basic parts that plague most golfers — the backstroke, the transition and through the ball into the finish. In this article, I will refer to these areas of the swing as “around, under and through.”
Amateur golfers often complain that when they practice, it seems as if there’s too much to think about, making it almost impossible to control the different parts of their swing at the same time. They wonder how the pros do it.
The truth is the pros break down the swing into smaller sub-segments, master them and then move onto the next segment. They retain a small “reminder” word or phrase to keep them focused on the first part while they work on the second. You would be wise to do the same.
With this technique in mind, we will focus on the three areas of the swing that will help you finally master your backstroke, your transition and your motion through the ball into the finish. By using three simple words (around, under, through) at the correct time or together, you will be able to control each segment of your swing and hit shots like you know you are capable of hitting consistently.

Choosing the right golf clubs

Skill Level should Determine the Clubs You Carry

Which clubs should you be
choosing to carry in your bag?  Well, that depends on your BUDGET and your SKILL level!

Obviously, a better golfer (Low handicap) has different needs then the average
weekend warrior.  Some clubs are easy to control for all players, some should only be
used by very good golfers. Plus, the Rules of Golf allow you to carry a maximum of 14
clubs in your bag. But, unless you’re in a tournament, we at breaking110 don’t really
care about that particular rule. However, we will use it as a guideline….

I’ve got some ideas, and they are general in nature when choosing the right golf clubs.

If you have a favorite club
that is NOT listed, KEEP IT!!  Results count!!!

The High Handicapper’s Bag – 3-wood – 5-wood, 7-wood – 5-iron through 9-iron –
Pitching wedge – Putter

Most high handicappers cannot hit a driver, no matter how badly they want to.
Drivers are especially dangerous in the hands of high-handicappers because many view
distance as the quality they most want to have off the tee. So they spend several
hundred dollars on an oversized titanium driver that most of the time will only put
them farther off the fairway, not farther down the fairway.

You need to own a driver – just practice with it on the driving range, and leave it
at home when you hit the course.

The Mid-Handicapper’s Bag – Driver – 3-wood, 5-wood, 7-wood – 4-iron through 9-iron
– Pitching wedge – Sand wedge – Putter

Intermediate players may also be better off hitting 3-wood off the tee rather than
driver, but certainly have a better shot at controlling the driver than high

Mid-handicappers who are strong in their short game might consider adding a lob
wedge or gap wedge to this assortment, but most will probably be better off with the
lofted fairway woods rather than long irons.

The Low Handicapper’s Bag – Driver – 3-wood – 2-iron through 9-iron – Pitching wedge
– Lob wedge – Sand wedge – Putter

Scratch golfers will carry the same bag with one exception:

Substituting a gap wedge for the 2-iron.

The better you are, the more specialized your game becomes. And that specialization
for the best players leads to a concentration on the short game. Most top players hit
the ball far enough that they rarely use a long iron, hence the ability to bypass
1-irons and 2-irons in favor of adding more wedges.

The lob wedge and gap wedge simply increase a great player’s options around the

Remember: No matter what your skill level, hit clubs you are comfortable with. If
you are a high handicapper but you can keep your driver in the fairway, then by all
means carry a driver. If a 1-iron is a club that you have mastered, carry a 1-iron.

Know How Far you Can Hit Each Club in Your Bag.
The first time I every played 5 rounds in 5 days, something very interesting
happened.  It was an accident.  I hadn’t read it anywhere.  But suddenly when I was
100 yards from the pin, I knew that I could hit a 9 iron that distance every time.
Suddenly, after 5 days I wasn’t surprised at being over the green or embarrassingly
It occurred to me that this information was handy so I starting making some notes.
How far could I hit a 3 iron, a 3 wood, a 9 iron, a 7 iron?  Then every time I was
standing on a par three 150 yards from the pin or on an approach shot 150 yards out,
I knew what club to hit–without worrying.
Learn YOUR distance.  This chart is typical.  Adapt it to your game. The right golf clubs are the clubs that work FOR YOU!
Pitching Wedge     70 yards

9 iron                      100 yards

8 iron                      120 yards

7 iron                      140 yards

6 iron                       150 yards

5 iron                      160 yards

4 iron                      170 yards

3 iron                      180 yards

3 wood                    203 yards

driver                      225 yards

Know your distance, use the same tempo on each swing, let the club do the work and
your rounds will be more consistent.

If you hit a 5 wood and a 3 iron the same distance, consider using the 5 wood more
often on the fairway.
Soon you will have an easier time on long par 4s.

Golf routine on the tee box

Tee Box Choices – make it a routine.
You stand on the tee box and it is sunny.  The day is great.  You are golfing with
friends or making new acquaintances.   What should you be thinking about?
It should be something to do with the hole you are on.
Spend some time and think about the hole.  How long?  Straight or dog leg?  Water?
More Water?  Nothing but water!
A good drive will set you up for a good score.  If you are in the trees, deep grass,
or a hazard, it becomes harder to save your score.  Current thinking is ‘grip it and
rip it’.  Giant head drivers encourage that thinking even more.
Follow this sequence and routine to improve your chances of being in the middle of the
fairway-often the best spot to be whether you are 100, 200 or 300 yards out.
First think about the hole and the distance you want to be at.  A short dog leg left
can hurt you if you simply drive as far as you can straight on.  Driving too long can
be a problem.  So think about your length.
Based on your length decision, choose a golf club which is comfortable for you.  A 3-wood
or 5-wood is a perfectly fine choice.  Tee box does not mean Big Bertha every single
time. Once you have distance in mind, then aiming is your next big decision.  Do not
just aim down the middle every time.
Look where the hazards are.  You will find creeks, sand, trees, water, hills, rocks,
cactus or other things to affect your choice.  In addition, think about where the
green is and what hazards are protecting it.  If there is sand on the left then you
want to approach from the right.  So you want your drive to finish on the right.
Then consider the effect of the wind.  Will it push you further left or right?
Finally, choose where on the tee box you want to stand.  You can tee up your ball
anywhere between the two markers.  That means you can stand outside the markers if
you tee up on the left side of the box (for your right hander).  In addition you can
move up to 2 club lengths behind the markers.
That gives you lots of choice where to stand and aim from.  Pick your spot and tee
up.  Then pick a spot to aim at.  I should remind you to aim at something not aim
away from something.  Looking at water, trees, houses and other distractions only
attracts your ball towards them!  Pick a spot on the fairway based on your choices
and look at it when you aim.
Then, follow your pre-shot routine (remember-the same every time), take a smooth
swing and smile to yourself as you end up where you wanted to.  Then smile again as
your partner picks a different spot, takes out the big wood and takes a mighty swing
sending his (or her) ball 300 yards – into the trees.

A Good Golf Pre-shot Routine Should be Routine.
For the average player, it’s much easier to think about random thoughts, “Who’s
watching me” “I have to crush this ball” “That’s a lot of water” “Did I really get a
9?” “I love this new driver” instead of focusing on the task at hand.
Try a routine.  Watch the pro ‘s.  They do the same thing every time.
-Stand behind the ball and line up the shot.

-Take your position.

-Check your aim.

-Look at the ball and confirm your grip, stance, and set up are ready.

-Look at the target.

-Swing with good tempo. -Finish like Tiger (or Annika)
Repeat as necessary.
You may notice that a faux practice swing is not in this routine.  What would happen
if you skipped that step?

Isn’t golf fun?

Sidehill Lie Golf Shot

More on Uneven Lies.  Is the ball above your feet or below?

Newer players will often not take into account the change in the lie when they aim the ball and they are surprised that the ball veers left or right unexpectedly. The ball actually does exactly what it should be doing.  So aim accordingly.

Don’t be surprised on uneven lies.

If the ball is below your feet . . . beware if you slice.  With the ball below your feet you are forced to bend over more and your swing will suddenly be more upright and high.

Expect the ball to slice to the right so make sure you adjust your aim to the LEFT. It will also have added spin to the right so look at your landing area and see what it means. In short aim left and watch for slice, kick and roll to the right. And once again do not attempt to crush this shot.  That only increases the chances of something bad happening.

If the ball is above your feet . . . beware if you hook left already.  With the ball above your feet you should choke up on the club a bit. Aim this shot to the right and don’t forget to add in added kick and roll at the landing spot.  I can’t tell you how many iron shots of mine rolled into water or sand before I figured this out.

One way to remember this one the course is to note that the ball will fly in the air the same way it would roll on the ground.  If it’s below your feet, it would roll away from you–or right.  So adjust your aim left.  If the ball is above your feet it will roll towards you–or left.  So adjust your aim right.


The quick way:  Side of the hill, ball above your feet:  Lean into the hill, and choke up on the club (put your hands further down the shaft. That’s it, no magic secrets. (sorry).  Lean forward more, keep the same ball position, and choke up on the club.  Swing, and amaze your friends!

Side of the hill, ball below your feet:  Lean back more so that you retain your balance on the downslope.  Grip the club all the way at the top so you use  ALL the club.

Uphill, downhill lie golf shot

Think about your lie.  Up, Down or Flat?

One common mistake many players make is they ignore the slope of the grass they are standing on and are frustrated at the behavior of the ball when they strike it. They expect the ball to do something other then what it will. Don’t be surprised on uphill or downhill shots.

On uphill shots, you can expect the ball to fly high and even draw to the left a bit.  Make sure you aim accordingly.  If you have a small slice expect the uphill lie to add a bit of correction.

For longer clubs, make the following correction.  Play the ball more forward in your stance than you normally would.  You will feel like you are leaning back a bit and that’s ok.  Then sweep the ball and expect it to have a high trajectory (and go left a bit).

For shorter clubs, play the ball more forward in your stance AND lean into the slope.  Plan on keeping your weight on your left foot through the whole swing. Instead of a sweep, punch the ball and don’t expect it to draw left.  It should go the direction you aim.


Not all golf course are Flat.

And boy, can that be a pain!!  OK, here’s the quickie how to handle:

Uphill Lies:  My favorites.  I feel like the ball is on the tee!! Keep your shoulders balanced. They will tend to ‘weigh’ more on the right leg.  Play the ball forward, toward your big toe.  Take one club more than you normally would play.  If you would hit a six, play a five instead.  Swing normal, and watch that ball GO!

Downhill Lies:  Not my favorites.  But I am getting better.  Again, keep your shoulders balanced, even though the weight is geared towards your left foot.  Play the ball BACK in your stance.  A little back of middle should do the trick.  Take one club less than normal.  If you would hit a seven iron, play an eight.  You are trying to hit down into the ball, so take a full, high swing.  Then shout FORE!

For these lies, swing at about 75% of your speed.  This maintains your balance..