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Article: FROM A HACKER TO A FIVE HANDICAP

From a hacker to a five-handica

FROM A HACKER TO A FIVE HANDICAP

I used to play golf three times a week and even though I couldn't chip and had a swing like an octopus falling out of a window, I regularly threatened to break 80. Then I moved abroad, played once a month and for a good few years, I struggled to get under 100. 

So what went wrong?

When I was playing regular golf, I developed a process (without really knowing it) that basically enabled me to compensate for my swing flaws.  And because I was playing the same course every week, I figured out how to cobble some decent scores together.

But the signs were always there. 

A bad week at work, a few nights out or a last minute goal against The Arsenal and I'd throw in a howler.

So, as soon as I wasn't playing regularly these flaws would flair up and bite me. The first thing that would go would be my tempo with temper shortly afterwards. 

 

But now, I'm back shooting under 80 (easily) and I hardly saw a golf course (and had no lessons) to get here.

I re-built my entire swing and learned to chip based solely on videos I watched on YouTube. Don't get me wrong, it took a lot  of useless golf improvement aids and a pandemic in a country where there wasn't much else to do for two years but hit range balls. But after a few months of regular golf I was playing off 5.2.

And these are the tutorials that made the biggest difference.

 

LET YOUR SWING DETERMINE YOUR BALL POSITION

Consistent position, degrees of separation; different pros, conflicting advice. That’s been my experience. What this video does, is to explain what the position of the ball means for the shot and therefore, why it’s different for every player.  

 

SET THE WRISTS EARLY TO STAY ON THE INSIDE

I spent years trying to stay on the inside, then i saw this video from some Nick Faldo fella and all of a sudden I was drawing a 4-iron. Who knew?

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START THE DOWNSWING WITH YOU LEAD LEG

There’s lots out there about the correct sequence for the downswing, but this is the tutorial that I kept coming back to.

 

DON'T BE SCARED TO RELEASE TOO EARLY

Do you know the difference between lag and release? I didn't. This video put 5-8 yards on my wedges, because I'm now not scared to release the club too early.

 

PUTT THE SHORT CHIPS

Not the best quality video, but this tip transformed my short game when I figured out how to do it with an 8-iron. No more skulling, no more babying, even the poor shots are getting in range now.

 

VISUALISE YOUR TEMPO 

Pros talk about 'seeing the shot'. But this is a better idea for me, because it helps you visualise a rhythm and (together with the Orange Whip that you'll go out and buy) fully complete your swing. It also helps create a great golf workout and stretching routine before a round. 

 
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USE CLUBS FOR THE RIGHT THINGS 

This is a promotional video for Titleist’s new TSi hybrid line. However, it also talks a lot about how you fit a hybrid properly (at the end of the video) which is something that I'd never really thought about.

Is it a long iron replacement or a fairway gapping club? When you have the answer, you stop trying to fit square pegs into round holes (and spraying balls around a golf course). Which is handy, because golf holes are not usually square! 

 

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BUILD A WEDGE MATRIX

What is a wedge matrix and why should you build one? In short, it's just a table of all your pitching yardages from different length swings. But it's one of the best scoring tips in golf because it helps you hit consistent shots in clutch situations.

 

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