Tips & Hints

Golf Tips - Stretching and warming up for golfers

        Are you a golfer that doesn't warm up until the last nine? You scream into the golf club car park, run to the first fee doing up your golf shoes just in time for your tee off time. Feeling as stiff as a board, you get off to a disastrous start and don't strike the ball as you would like until the 9th. By then you've lost all your money to your playing partners, any chance of a good score has been destroyed and you probably wish you were somewhere else, does this sound familiar?

        An adequate pre-round warm-up incorporating flexibility stretching exercises, together with hitting practice shots prior to playing, will decrease the likelihood of the above situation occurring and increase the chances of playing to your potential.

        It is vital that warm up/warm down flexibility stretching exercises are to be done before and after playing a round of golf or a practice session.

These exercises perform several functions:

  • They improve the length of the muscles which helps prevent injury, increases the range of movement and makes movement smoother.
  • They take the joints through the range of movement needed to produce a golf swing, which allows for a larger, smoother swing increasing a player's potential hitting distance.
  • They improve the blood flow to muscles and to the brain, which again helps prevent muscular injury and improve concentration.

Some simple stretches to get you started:

Trunk Rotation

  1. Place club either behind shoulder blades or neck, depending on flexibility and twist the torso right then left, gradually increasing the speed and range of movement.
  2. Mimic the golf swing.
  3. Repeat for 2 minutes.

Forearm Stretch

  1. Stand with straight left arm extended in front at shoulder height, palm against a wall and fingers pointing down.
  2. Press against wall with fingers so the stretch is felt along the forearm and hold for 15 seconds.
  3. Repeat with other arm.
  4. Do three on each side.

Side Bend

  1. Stand with legs shoulder width apart.
  2. Left arm on outside left thigh and right arm extended above head.
  3. Hold for 15 seconds, keeping the shoulders aligned with hips.
  4. Repeat to other side.
  • Do always carry out slow prolonged stretches for 5 – 10 seconds.
  • Do stretch before, during your round and after playing a round of golf.
  • Do carry out stretching regimes to break up practice sessions.

Hope this helps!

 - Mark Wood



        I have heard so many different ideas from people with regards to how tight they should hold a golf club. Some books will say "grip it tighter with the left hand" or "sense that you are holding a tube of toothpaste, make sure you don't grip it so that the toothpaste shoots out all over the floor".

        I am going to keep things simple and logical with this golf tip. When gripping a golf club the most effective and correct way of achieving the desired grip pressure is to quite simply keep your forearms relaxed because it is impossible to have tight feeling forearms and a relaxed grip. If your forearms are relaxed so too is your grip pressure.

redtees80.gifGolf Tips - NEVER MISS A SHORT PUTT

        One of the main reasons that people miss short putts is because they move their head and peak to see if they have hit a good putt. This is a sure way to putt badly for any length of putt including the all important 2fters.

        Next time you are playing or practising I would really like you to focus on keeping your eyes steady as this will keep the rest of your body nice and steady. Just wait and listen for the ball to drop into the hole.

redtees80.gifGolf Tips - WINTER CHIPPING

        Now we are in the Autumn/Winter phase of golf, chipping should be a little different from the summer. The greens are softer and hold more moisture so the ball reacts differently than to the summer. The ball tends to skid on landing this time of year rather than slightly checking so it is much harder to be accurate with the less lofted clubs. With this in mind I strongly recommend you to use your more lofted clubs (9 iron, PW, AW, SW) as this will give you more control on landing. Try practising it around a green first to get comfortable with it before taking it onto the course.

redtees80.gifGolf Tips – FAIRWAY BUNKER SHOTS

        Fairway bunker shots can be very intimidating for many golfers, but if you learn and practise the right techniques you will soon enjoy these shots. To start with, when playing out of fairway bunkers, it is important to take one to two clubs more than normal and make sure you have enough loft on the chosen club to clear the lip of the bunker. Set up normally with your feet slightly wriggled into the sand for stability and the ball positioned more toward the middle of your stance. Next step, which is very important, grip down slightly on the club for greater control. By also lifting your chin up a little from your chest gives you the feeling of standing "tall" and increases the chance of hitting the ball first, which if you are going to be successful at this shot, it's a must. Making a swing at 70 percent of your normal speed will give you a great chance of hitting a clean, solid shot.

        So, Hitting a shot from a fairway bunker poses no great problem if the ball has a good lie.

        On long fairway bunker shots, Rescue (Hybrid) clubs or middle irons as well as 5 and 7 woods can be used with great confidence in this situation. Don't try to overpower this shot. Restrict your golf swing a little via your body turn and swing easy and in balance.

        With a bad lie in the bunker you need to re think and play more of a percentage shot, choose the club you are confident with, from say a 7 iron upwards. Take note of any other trouble and look to get the ball back into the fairway. Observe the course. Aim for a safe part of the fairway and just get your ball back into play.

Until next time – play well!

 - Mark Wood
PGA Advanced Professional

redtees80.gifGolf Tips - PUTTING PROBLEMS

Pushing your putts

  1. Make sure that you have not positioned the ball too far back in your stance.
  2. Keep your arms and shoulders nice and relaxed as tension in this area will stop you from releasing the putter squarely to the target.
  3. Keep your arms inline because if your lead arm gets higher it will close your shoulders affecting your swing path.
  4. You will most defiantly push your putts if you rock your shoulders as this will affect putter head rotation. Rotate your shoulders in the putting stroke.
  5. Check that the sole of your putter is sitting flat on the ground as having the heel raised up too much will cause an open putter face at impact.

Pulling your putts

  1. Make sure that you have not positioned the ball too forward in your stance as this will cause you too pull your putts.
  2. Keep your arms inline because if your non lead arm gets higher it will open your shoulders affecting your swing path.
  3. Check that the sole of your putter is sitting flat on the ground as having the toe raised up too much will cause a closed putter face at impact.
  4. Always keep your body alignment parallel to your intended putt line because if you aim a little too far to the right you will swing the putter too much to the left through impact.

redtees80.gifGolf Tips - Chipping

        Playing chip shots from around the green is a very important part of the game as we are not always going to hit the greens with are approach shots. On average we will probably have 5 – 6 chip shots from the edge of the green, so if we can play these shots well enough to get them within a couple of feet from the hole then we are going to save a few valuable shots.

Address Position

  1. Grip the club further down the grip as this will shorten the club and give you more control.
  2. The feet should be nice and close together with the ball positioned in the middle of our stance.
  3. Our weight should be 70% on the target foot with the hands pressed slightly ahead of the ball.
  4. Keep your body alignment parallel to the target line whilst maintaining good posture, and keep the elbows very soft.

Golf Tips - The Chipping stroke

        Before you pick your club for the shot at hand try to imagine where you would like the ball to land on the green and visualise how the ball will run out to the hole. This process has two purposes – first it will help you decide which club to select and secondly it will help you focus more precisely on the shot you are about to play.

        Take a few practise swings to try and feel the shot, looking at the point at which you want the ball to land and visualising how the ball will run out to the hole, Look at all the Tour Professionals they do this process every time and to be honest they are excellent at this part of the game.

        Play the shot keeping the wrists as quiet as possible (no Flicking), try to keep the club working straight back and down the target line which will give you nice accurate chip shots.

redtees80.gifGolf Tips - BE POSITIVE ON SHORT PUTTS

A tee peg practice drill to help you hole more of those pressure putts

        There's an old adage that says, "You drive for show and putt for dough". We all get more target focussed when faced with putts we feel that we should hole and therefore feel more pressure. The hole some how looks smaller and we feel uncomfortable when standing over the ball, this leads to tense hands, forearms and shoulders all of which has a profound effect on how we swing the putter. So here is a practice putting drill to help you feel more confident over short putts.

  1. Find a hole that gives you a nice straight flat putt.
  2. Push a tee peg into the back of the cup and focus on that as this will make the hole seem a lot bigger
  3. Draw a line on your ball to help you line the putt up, directly at the tee peg.
  4. This will really help in taking the technical thoughts out of your stroke and you will feel that you swing the putter head more freely.
  5. Feel how soft your hands and your elbows are as you swing the putter, rolling the ball straight towards the tee peg and into the hole.

Putting.pngUntil next time, play well.

Mark Wood
PGA Advanced Professionalredtees80.gif

Here are a couple of important things we need to do when playing from sloping lies.

Golf Tips - Ball Above Your FeetArkward-lies2.png

  1. It is important to grip an inch or so further down the shaft then you would normally do, this will shorten the club and will help you make solid contact.
  2. With the way the slope is, your weight is naturally is trying to be pushed back onto your heels so you need to make a conscious effort in keeping your weight more towards your toes.
  3. The ball will fly right – to –left so allowances need to be made. We can aim slightly right with are body alignment or we can offset the clubface a little to the right to allow for the draw spin.
  4. Maintain your height and keep your legs nice and quiet during your golf swing as this will help you to keep your balance and avoid any kind of miss – hits.

Golf Tips - Ball below your feetArkward-lies-1.png

  1. Hold the club right at the very top of the grip so you are using the full length of the golf club.
  2. Bend your knees and bend from the waste a little more than normal, as this will help you to get to the ball. Your body weight should be and feel towards your toes and you need to keep completely balanced throughout the entire golf swing.
  3. The ball will fly with left – to – right spin on it so we need to aim our body a little more left of our target and we can also offset the club to a slightly closed position to reduce the amount of fade spin created.

Until next time, play well!

Mark Wood
PGA Advanced Professional

"A great coach. Teaches you the set up for particular shots you wish to make which makes all the difference to there execution."
- Ron Gibbons

"Having had no experience of golf, what a delight and relief to be taught by Mark in a gentle and yet effective manner enabling me to believe that I can take it further."
- Beanie MacDonald

"As someone who works in the golf business I have had the good fortunate to take golf lessons all over the world from some of the games top instructors. None ever gave me better advice or more complete instruction than Mark Wood, and no we are not related. :)"
-Andrew Wood, author The Traits of Champions