Golf Swing Tips and Tricks

By Mike Southern
Jonathan Byrd is a big fan of Ben Hogan; his upper arms stay "super glued" to his chest well into his finish.
Jonathan Byrd is a big fan of Ben Hogan; his upper arms stay "super glued" to his chest well into his finish.

It's very easy to get confused by complicated swing instructions. And if you don't have several hours to spare each day for practice, you aren't likely to build your swing like a pro's. That doesn't mean, however, that you can't use a few shortcuts to get more out of your round.

'Super Glue' Your Triceps

Golf legend Ben Hogan created a drill that can help you straighten a wayward swing plane. The key to this drill is "connection," which basically means you keep the triceps of both arms resting lightly against your chest throughout your swing. Imagine your triceps have been "super glued" to your chest and can't move away at any point during the swing. You won't be able to swing your hands above shoulder height, but this drill will eliminate extreme in-to-out and out-to-in swings. Although Hogan intended the drill to develop the full swing, in a pinch it will give you a good three-quarter swing you can depend on.

3-Wood Wedge

Similarly, you might play your wedge shots fine, but you stiffen up when you hit your woods. Instead of the clean contact you get with a wedge, you hit your woods fat or top them. The problem is an urge to crush the ball with a long club. If you just pretend the wood you are hitting is a long-shafted wedge, you won't be tempted to kill the ball or make the longest swing possible. Instead, you will make a smoother swing -- and solid contact. You also will hit the ball much farther than you expect.

Low Choke-Down Shot

Sometimes you need to hit the ball lower than normal to get it under a tree branch or keep it under the wind. Rather than changing your swing, just change your club. Move up two clubs – from a 9-iron to a 7-iron, for example. Then choke down on the grip and make a normal swing. You will hit the ball with a lower 7-iron trajectory, but it will go about the same distance as a 9-iron. Because you aren't making any other changes, you are more likely to hit a good shot.

Taller Chipping Club

Most players instinctively grab the sand wedge or lob wedge for chip shots, but they can be the hardest clubs with which to chip. High-lofted wedges can scoot right under the ball. Instead of a wedge, choose an 8-iron or a 9-iron. If there is a lot of green between you and the hole, take an even longer club. Chipping with a hybrid or fairway wood can produce a more solid and predictable chip. Choke down on the shaft, or use a split grip with one hand on the butt end of the club and the other near the shaft. You will be surprised by how quickly you master this shot, and how many strokes you will save.

About the Author

North Carolina native Mike Southern has been writing since 1979. He is the author of the instructional golf book "Ruthless Putting" and edited a collection of swashbuckling novels. Southern was trained in electronics at Forsyth Technical Community College and is also an occasional woodworker.

Photo Credits

  • Sam Greenwood/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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