New Golfers, How To Use The Target Line Effectively

Golf and the Target Line


New golfers need to know how to use the target line effectively, even more experienced golfers don't consider the target line enough. They fail to realize that the target line can be used for more than just lining up your shot.

Most new golfers stand behind the golf ball and line up the direction they want the ball to go, if this is on the tee, then it is usually in a very general way and direction. They aim for the direction of the flag and fail to pick out the exact spot on the fairway that they want the ball to land. I will get more into picking a specific target later, for now I'll concentrate on the various ways that the target line can be used to help the new golfer.

How to pick a target line

The target line in golf is an imaginary line drawn through the golf ball all the way to the target, on the tee this becomes a very long line. When you are addressing the golf ball, the target line relies on your peripheral vision to be able to concentrate on it and line up your stance and shot effectively. The way round this is to pick out a spot that is on the target line but much closer to you, this can be anything, from a leaf to a dark spot on the grass, anything at all, it does not matter as long as you pick out something.

Now that you have your spot picked out, at address, you will be able to be more aware of it while you are looking at the golf ball. Because you can now visualize the target line easier, you can use it in various ways and new golfers can learn how to use the target line effectively.

Lining up your stance

You want to line your body up parallel to the target line, however, most golf instruction seems to be that you line your feet up parallel to the target line, and miss the most important bit of all. New golfers take note, it is your shoulders that are important to line up with the target line, not your feet, concentrate much more on your shoulders. Have a look at How To Hit The Golf Ball Straight for a deeper explanation.

The golf club face

While at address, you can use the target line to make sure that the face of the golf club is square to this line, unless the club face is square to this line at impact, the golf ball will not fly in a straight line.

Straight golf shot


You can use the target line to ensure that your golf swing is going to give you a straight shot, and it is simply this. if, during the downswing, the club head crosses over the target line, you will not get a straight shot. If the club head crosses over the line before impact, you will get a fade or golf slice. If, on the other hand, the club head crosses over the target line after impact you will get a draw or golf hook. This, of course, is presuming that the club head is square to the target line at impact.

Specific targets

The need to pick out a specific target to aim for, especially on the tee box, seems to be ignored and badly understood by new golfers. If you just pick out a general direction that you want the golf ball to travel, you severely restrict how much progress you will make at the game of golf.

The more precise you are when choosing a target to aim for, the less room for error you are allowing yourself. The advantages are that you will be less likely to have wayward shots if you are aiming for a smaller target, your mind concentrates more and your subconscious is more likely to ignore any hazards that would normally put you off. By being more precise, you also become more accurate overall in your golf shots, you will be more critical of yourself when you miss your target. Your drive may very well be straight, but if it lands 30 yards longer or shorter than the target you were aiming for, then you will be less likely to accept it as being a good shot.

If you are trying to correct a golf slice, then learn to use the target line effectively.

To sum up, new golfers need to learn how to use the target line effectively and to be more precise when choosing where they want their golf ball to land.

Golf and the Axis of Power

Power in Golf


To understand where the power is generated in golf, you first have to understand the golf swing you are using. There are a number of different golf swings used by golfers today, for instance, new golfers tend to use their arms and hands to generate power, it is also a common method with high handicappers too. Playing this way will just leave you having to correct a golf slice problem.

Rotation

The initial power is to be found in the rotation of the body. If you were to strike the golf ball along a straight line, the golf club head would not be able to travel very far, a couple of feet before and after the ball, if you wanted to keep the club moving along a straight line and increase the distance the club head traveled, you would have to physically move yourself and your club head along this line, either by walking or running. The only other way to increase the distance that the club head travels without moving your position is to rotate the golf club head around your body. This increased distance allows the club head to build up more speed. Power in golf is the speed of the club head moving through the impact zone, it is not like hitting something with a hammer, purely speed.

Arms and Hands

New golfers fail to understand the physics of the golf swing and, in an effort to get the golf ball to travel further, they try and supplement the rotational speed, which is not very fast, by using their arms and hands to supply more power at impact. This throws their whole golf swing out of balance and produces uncontrolled and inconsistent golf shots, a very bad golf slice is usually the result. There are some golfers with this swing, who use a short back swing to try and gain more control and consistency, and in doing so, their attempt cuts down the amount of rotation, and therefore speed, and they end up using their arms and hands even more. However, golfers that have powerful forearms seem to manage reasonably well with this technique.

Golf and the Axis

The axis should be centered round the spine, this is the basis for all golf swings, it gives stability and, if performed correctly, it also gives consistency and accuracy in the golf swing. I'm talking here about the accuracy of your club head hitting the ball, not the accuracy of your shot, if you have a stable axis of rotation and good balance, then the club head will be in a good position to strike the golf ball. Because of the 'coiling' motion of the backswing around the axis, a centrifugal force is exerted on the club head during the downswing.

Golf and the Centrifugal Effect

The modern golf swing that the tour pros use, relies heavily on the force that throws things out from a rotating body, the centrifugal effect. Golfers can use the extra force exerted by the centrifugal effect to increase the speed of the club head through the impact zone. When you are at address, the club head is at it's fullest distance from the axis of rotation (your spine), at the top of the backswing the club head is much closer to this axis. New golfers, and high handicap golfers, generally start the down swing with the club head moving outward from the axis, and by the time their left arm (for righty's) is parallel with the ground, the club head is almost at it's fullest extent. In other words, most of the centrifugal effect has already taken place, well before the impact zone.

Modern Golf Swing

The wrist hinge is where the centrifugal effect is controlled, the more the wrists are hinged at the top of the backswing, the greater this effect will be, if executed correctly. The longer you can maintain the wrist hinge during the downswing the longer the club head will stay close to the axis of rotation. The wrist hinge should be intact, at least, until the left arm is parallel with the ground, centrifugal effect will naturally start the club head on its outward path without consciously unhinging (uncocking) your wrists. This will keep the club head accelerating through the impact zone, the tour pros, and other long hitters, give an extra 'hit' at impact by using their hands and wrists at the last moment.

Golf Swing

There is a lot more to the golf swing than just generating power, and a thorough knowledge of the basic golf swing is a must for new golfers, or any golfer that is experiencing problems with their swing, you can read more of the golf basics here - "Why The Golf Basics Are So Important". If you are aware of what is happening during your swing, and what you are trying to achieve with it, then you will have a much better understanding of the control that is needed in the game of golf, it will also help you in another part of golf, the part they call the mind game.

What Golf Clubs Should I Use

Golf Club Choices


New golfers have a tough time ahead of them, and not just in learning the game of golf, but also in choosing their golf equipment. Golf is a game that has been played for centuries, so it should come as no surprise that all areas of golf have evolved in that time. Everything, from the golf course, golf shoes, golf apparel, golf balls, even golf gadgets have changed and none more so than the golf clubs we use to send the golf ball on it's way to being sunk in the hole. Arguably, a golf course, golf shoes, golf balls and golf clubs are all that is necessary in order to play golf, our focus here will be on the golf equipment, specifically, the golf clubs themselves.

All golf clubs have the same basic make-up, a tapering shaft with a grip fitted on the fat end and a head fitted to the thin end, and there, the sameness of golf clubs end. Apart from the putter which has a flat face, all other golf clubs have a lofted face on the head of the club, the amount of loft changes with each subsequent club in the golf club set. So what golf clubs should I use?

Today, a standard set of golf clubs normally consist of:

1 x 1 wood normally referred to as the "driver"
1 x 3 wood
1 x 5 wood
7 x irons (numbered 3 to 9)
1 x pitching wedge
1 x putter

The Rules of Golf dictate a maximum of 14 golf clubs in your golf bag, the other two clubs, if carried at all, is a personal choice with every golfer having their own favorites. By the way, the above list is of course optional, you can carry whatever range of golf clubs that you prefer, and as few, there is no requirement to carry all of them, the only rule is a maximum of 14 clubs, there is no minimum.

The higher the number of the golf club, the more lofted the face is. Loft is the angle of the face of the golf club, the bigger the loft, the higher the golf ball will fly and the less distance it will travel. A driver will produce a lower flight trajectory than a 3 or 5 wood and the same is true for the irons.

Not all drivers have the same degree of loft and new golfers would be well advised to use a driver with a minimum of 10 degrees, they would be far better using a 12 degree driver. The reason is that the more loft there is in a golf club the more forgiving that club is when a less than perfect swing is used. For example, it is far more common and easier to produce a golf slice using a 10 (or less) degree driver than a 12 (or more) degree driver. New golfers might well leave their driver at home until they have built a solid and consistent golf swing using the easier, more lofted, golf clubs.

As a general guide, for distance of 200 yards and less, the irons would be used and for distances over 200 yards, the woods would be used. The driver is generally only used from the tee box, it is not an easy club to use from the fairway, the 3 or 5 wood would be used in preference. Have a look at How To Hit The Golf Ball Straight.

The choice of which iron to use for any particular distance comes down to experience, some golfers get great distance from their irons and others find it more difficult to get the same length of shot, so it is important that you get to know what distance you can expect each of your irons to reach, but regardless, the closer you get to the green, the higher numbered club you would normally use. This is not a hard and fast rule though, for instance, a 7 iron is often used to produce what they call a 'bump and run' shot from fairly close to the green, this would obviously have to be played much gentler than a full shot with a 7 iron normally would.

A pitching wedge is more lofted than the 9 iron, the ball will fly higher and will run less when it lands, it is often used to get the ball up in the air to fly over hazards like sand bunkers (also known as sand traps). There are other more lofted clubs not mentioned so far, the sand wedge for instance, is more lofted than the than the pitching wedge and has a thinner blade to help the club cut through the sand when you have landed in a bunker. There are various lob wedges that are more lofted still and some golfers carry an assortment of wedges with them in favor of other clubs that they seldom use.

There is another point that is probably worth making and that has to do with your budget for buying golf equipment. As you know, playing golf is expensive and the costs just start with buying the right golf equipment. In addition, golf course charges or green fees are high and accumulate over time. Plus, you need appropriate clothing, a golf bag, golf balls, and golf shoes. The list goes on. However, there is one beginner mistake that many new golfers make, and that is to go out and buy a complete set of new golf clubs, before they really understand the game and their strengths and weaknesses. From this website, you should have learned that success in golf is largely the result of the technique and has much less to do with the quality or expensiveness of your golf equipment. Therefore, a modest suggestion is that you could buy some Used Golf Clubs when you start out and are learning the game. Once you know what you are doing, you can then buy a full and brand new set of golf clubs that is appropriate to your needs. At that point you could either resell your used golf clubs, or you could give them to someone else who is starting out with golf. They could learn with your used golf clubs, before they, in turn, buy a set of new golf clubs.

I hope that this has gone some way in answering your question, "what golf clubs should I use?" There is a huge choice of different makes of golf clubs, although the Rules of Golf place restrictions on golf club design, the makers of golf clubs have their own designs within the rules and you also have a choice of shaft length and flexibility, weight, grips, etc., and trying them out and getting unbiased advice when you are buying your clubs is highly recommended.

Classic Golf Swing, Why

Classic Golf Swing


Just about every golfer you have ever seen, on the TV, on the golf course, at the driving range where ever you see them, they are using the classic golf swing. The big question is, do they need to? An even better question might be, are they justified in even attempting to use the classic golf swing?

If you take the point of view that the classic golf swing is only for the pros, especially the tour pros, then certain things begin to make more sense. For instance, 90 percent of golfers never break 100, around 80 percent of golfers have a golf slice problem, tour pros have golf swing coaches and back injuries are a common problem with a lot of golfers, even the pros can suffer from back problems. All these things put into question the general use of the classic golf swing.

The problem with the classic golf swing is that it is a very complicated series of movements that rely very heavily on timing as well as an understanding of the whole golf swing that, quite frankly, the vast majority of golfers have only a vague idea of. There is simply too much to go wrong, almost any single part of the golf swing, if done incorrectly, can make a huge difference to the outcome.

Most golfers just don't have the time and energy, or money, to put into learning and maintaining the classic golf swing. Try to correct a golf slice problem using the classic swing and you'll understand. Have a look at How To Hit The Golf Ball Straight.

Furthermore, the full range of movement, using the correct technique, having a good rhythm, solid golf swing consistency, accurate timing and correct posture all call for a dedicated concentration that few golfers have, not because they don't possess the ability, it's just that life gets in the way. The pros have mental coaches to help with the mental game of golf, concentration and motivation, they have learned techniques that allow them to control the classic golf swing.

It is not just a case of finding a natural and comfortable swing that you can repeat over and over again, if it was, we would all be good golfers and a golf slice or golf hook would be a thing of the past. The truth is that most golfers already have a golf swing that they do repeat time and time again. It just happens to be an incorrect swing with faults that keep giving them the same problems, and most of it is because they are trying to emulate the classic golf swing.

If you fall into this category then stop beating yourself up about not improving and do something about it. Stop using the classic golf swing and try something else instead. You can get your golf handicap into single figures quickly and easily by using your head and a much less "professional" golf swing, try this article Can I Cure My Golf Slice for some more information about an alternative golf swing.