After an impressive 2015, PGA Professional Jimmy Walker shares his advice on how to improve your overall golf game – and the key is not to just be solid in your approach shots. Here are Walker’s top 5 tips that are useful for golfers at all skill levels.
1) Use your body!
Walker emphasizes using your entire body’s core, not just your arms, to power your swing. In order to improve this technique, Walker maintains the triangle formed by his shoulders and arms throughout his full backswing. On his way down, he shifts his left hip towards his target and unwinds his body into a three-quarter finish. This leads to better and more consistent yardage with your drives.
2) Approach your wedge shots differently
While wedges are generally used to float shots, Walker advises to use these clubs to hit low, driven wedge shots that produce a lot spin. Walker’s technique involves setting your feet closer together than usual, and placing the ball in the middle of your stance. In order to actually drive the ball, Walker recommends shifting your body weight to your left side and then keeping the back of your left wrist flat while facing the target as your club hits the ball.
3) Curve your shots
Walker prefers curved rather than straight shots because they are easier to visualize. He gives advice on both how to hit a draw shot as well as a fade shot.
In order to pull off a draw shot, Walker suggests setting up your stance slightly closed with your left foot pulled back a few inches. As you swing, you want to finish with the shaft of the club being perpendicular with your spine.
In order to hit a fade shot, set up your body as slightly more open than usual, with your right foot pulled back. Then, swing throughout with the aim of keeping the club almost parallel to your spine.
4) Practice, practice, practice!
In order to get a feel for how much speed to put into your golf swing for a variety of yardage on the course, Walker recommends setting up a “target-hunt”, placing markers (such as steel plates, flags, or even towels) at different distances to let you know when you hit your desired target. This lets you judge and remember the appropriate amount of force and speed to put into your swing in order to hit a specific yardage.
5) Utilize hold-off shots
Walker recommends using the hold-off fade technique to face difficult greens. The most crucial element for this swing involves the release: as you swing, keep both of your wrists flat after impact. This technique works a variety of clubs, including longer irons.
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