Tired of jamming everything into the tiny pockets of your golf bag? Travelling with your bag a pain in the ass? Embarrassed of your sun kissed (faded) golf bag you haven't replaced in 10 years? Caddies looking at you like you're a bum?
I understand all of those things.
But then I got myself a new bag. Oh what a difference a great golf bag makes. No more wriggling my fingers around to find a tee in the bottom of one of the three pockets on the back. No more crusty golf gloves under my rain jacket. No more painful shoulder travelling abroad with my clubs. No more bag flying off the golf cart as you accelerate away!
These are all things I realized I hated only after getting a new bag. It's like Stockholm Syndrome, falling in love with your bag that's keeping you captive.
And sometimes, as in my case, I had just had enough of the 8-year-old beat up Jack Nicklaus bag I bought when I was on a very tight budget. The jokes from my buddies stopped after I upgraded and caddies actually wanted to take my bag for a loop. My golf bag blues were over! I hope you find one for yourself by using this guide I put together from my experience looking for a new golf bag.
Here's my top choices for golf bags if you're short on time and can't look through the whole guide.
These are usually very lightweight and come with a strap that goes over both your shoulders to distribute the weight evenly. You carry it between shots and place it on the ground. A system on the base of the bag extends two shafts that act as the stand.
These are specifically used for push or pull carts and golf cars. They do not have pockets on one strip of the bag to line up with the centre shaft of a push or pull cart. Most sit flat on driveable golf cars and on the ground.
These are used by the pros. We don’t recommend these as they’re quite inconvenient and cumbersome. They’re used for advertising on TV more than actual utility. There is little value to an amateur golfer.
The highest quality golf bags are made by the top club manufacturers but there are a few names who specialise in producing bags, in particular golf bags you may not have heard of.
The above brands are considered the best due to high quality materials and innovation in developing their bags. Bags they produce carry everything you need; are durable, easy-to-use and look stylish.
There are lesser known brands and budget brands available. The main issue with the very budget options is the quality of the fabrics and zippers used. Often the very cheap bags fall apart after 6 months. Zippers break, lining comes undone and the finishing frays very easily.
There are some important questions to ask yourself before buying a golf bag which can help identify which one is best.
Is it important your bag brand matches your golf club brand?
Some golfers love to match their clubs with their bag brand but often this is a non-issue. Totally up to you. One thing to keep in mind is that manufacturers who focus on bags and apparel place more importance than a club manufacturer would on creating a great golf bag.
Do you prefer walking the course or driving a golf car?
If you like driving a golf car when you play, a cart bag will suit you best. They’re designed to fit and stand easily on the back of a golf car. The pockets are designed to be easily accessible from a cart. The stand bags are often awkward to put upright on a cart. Newer stand bags have flat bases so don't write them off too quickly. It all depends on the next few questions.
If you like walking, you have the option of carrying the bag on your shoulders with a stand bag or using a push cart with a cart bag attached to it.
Do you prefer walking the course with a bag on your back or on a push cart?
If you prefer using a push cart you are best served getting a cart bag. They are designed specifically to give access to all the pockets and align correctly to the cart. Weight of the bag is less of an issue because it’s rolled on the cart over the ground.
Carrying a bag would require a lightweight stand bag with nice double straps to distribute the weight over your shoulders evenly. Cart bags only have one strap and are cumbersome to carry around the course.
Do you have any back problems?
If you have a bad back, it’s best to have a cart bag you drive with on a car or you put one on a push cart and push your bag around easily. Carry and stand bags will place added pressure on and tire out your back.
Pull carts wreak havoc on your lower back so it's best to avoid pull carts and opt for a push cart.
Do you travel with your clubs?
Travelling with a cart bag is a major pain. The single strap is uncomfortable and the bags have not been ergonomically designed to be carried.
If you travel with your clubs, it’s best to have a carry/stand bag. You can hitch it up to a cart you rent or carry it around yourself on the golf courses you visit.
A great option is to have your cart bag for your home course and the courses nearby. Then for travelling to other cities or countries, have a second, lightweight carry bag.
Is storage space a priority for you?
A cart bag on a push cart offers you maximum storage space for everything you need on the golf course. The push carts have their own built in storage on top of the cart bags many compartments. You’ll have enough supplies to live for a week on the course.
Stand bags have come a long way. Nowadays, the best golf stand bags have stronger legs, more club dividers, more pockets, less weight and can be used on carts. A double strap to distribute the weight comfortably over your shoulders is going to add enjoyment to your game.
The PING Hoofer is our top selection for best golf bags because we like the light weight, intuitive storage options and easily adjustable strap.
PING have made Hoofers for many years and this latest model lifts the 25-year Hoofer legacy even higher.
Like with all Hoofers, this bag is built to last. It’s a very simple design, the material is rugged and the zippers are the best in the stand-bag class. The zipper pulls make opening and closing the many pockets quick and easy.
The huge number of pockets means you have place for everything in your golf bag. Pockets are placed in such intuitive ways and are easily accessible even when walking.
Everything is placed perfectly with attention to detail and the needs of the golfer in mind. You can access everything you need while walking. The insulated drink pocket also means your water isn’t going to seep onto your grips and valuables.
The simple and effective pen holder slot and golf glove Velcro pad add a touch of class to the bag. Little things like that and the rain cover that slides into the pocket that presses against your butt as you walk make the Hoofer ergonomic to the max.
The stand mechanism is a work of art as the legs have only 2 positions: in or out. So many bags on the market have mechanisms that fail, leading to legs that hang loose instead of tight up against the bag while you carry it. Not the PING.
The legs have been designed with a small bend in them to make them stronger and sturdier than other bags on the market.
The bag is just as comfortable flat on its base as it is with the legs extended on the stand. You can put this on a cart easy-peasy. The smaller base ensures ease of use on a golf cart.
Overall, the PING Hoofer’s attention to detail, storage and light weight make it one of the best golf bags on the market. You can trust that you’ll be walking the fairways with this for countless years to come.
For a lot of golfers, the weight of a bag is a deal maker or breaker. While the Callaway Hyper Lite Zero is an astonishing 2.5 lbs, the TaylorMade FlexTech Lite (4.3 lbs) offers more overall value in terms of storage, colour options and style.
What makes Taylormades Flextech bag range so good is the similarity to PING’s latest designs. Like the PING Anser putter has been replicated millions of time since its patent expired, it seems the design of PINGs bags is so good, people want in on them too!
It’s as if a Hoofer and a 4 Series PING bag had a baby and made this bad boy.
The stand is legit. It’s sturdy and works well keeping the legs extended fully or contracted fully, no loose hanging legs while carrying. Like with the PINGs, the bag is at home in legs spread position as well as flat on the base for cart hookup and storage.
Carrying the bag is very comfortable on the back and butt, while the straps are very comfortable, holding the bag in a very pleasant position across your back side. TaylorMade used high quality fabrics in creating this bag and probably rates as the best they’re released.
The pocket configuration is intuitive and accessible while walking. You won’t need to always put the bag down to reach your valuables or your drink. The zipper pulls are large rings which are very easy to get your fingers into and yank open the zippers.
Eight nicely sized pockets mean you can store a ton of stuff. The interior mesh pockets in the main pocket help to divide up the small and big stuff so there’s no need to rummage. Another cool feature on the inside of the bag is a zip that gives you access to the club compartment to retrieve things you’ve dropped down the top of the bag – keys, bottle, wallets, your kids etc. An insulated drink pocket is included as well.
Where the TaylorMade does have an advantage over the PING bags is the styling. The colours and design of the bags are just a little edgier and less workman-like.
Something worth pointing out is that TaylorMade has a promotion going where you can request a free personalized ball pocket panel for any newly purchased FlexTech bag. You just go to their website, enter which bag you ordered, and they send you a new panel 3 or 4 weeks later. Stick it on your bag and you’re a Tour Pro!
There is a lot of confusion out there about cart bags for push carts. That is understandable because you get push carts and you get riding carts. The bags for each are quite similar but the design elements are different and having the wrong bag for your push cart can be a real pain in the ass.
The top part of riding cart bags can get in the way of using your push cart console. Putter wells often end up on the underside of the bag when put on a push cart. To put your mind at ease, we’ve selected the best options made specifically for push carts.
The Traverse has been designed for the push cart user and that can be seen in almost every aspect of the bag.
The PING series of bags is always a winner. Clicgear's B3 is a great option if you use a Clicgear cart as they're designed for them. And while the PING Pioneer is also an amazing bag and the Sun Mountain Sync ranks right up there, the Traverse wins it as a well-sized bag with tons of storage and intuitive 14 club full length dividers.
The 14 dividers are full length from the top of the bag to the bottom. No more taking one club out and three more coming with it. There is no tangling of club grips in the bottom of this bag.
Organizing your clubs with the 14 dividers is simple and leaves a very accessible layout to get any club you need.
10 pockets are placed conveniently so they are all easily accessible while on the push cart. Your valuables can be put in a fleece lined pocket while the ball pocket is very roomy indeed. Despite having so much storage space, the bag is very light at around 5.5 lbs.
The insulated drink pocket can hold a couple of beers and is lined with plastic to stop leakage into your bag. A drain hole in the pocket lets the water out so condensation doesn’t build up.
The bag fits well on push carts and won’t interfere with the use of your console. Accessing your shorter clubs is easy and they won’t bash into your cart. You won’t need to rearrange your clubs to find your Houdini wedges.
If you do decide to ride, the bag has an area to slip the cart strap through.
This is the only Titleist bag featured in our list of best bags but it deserves it’s spot though.
Only 3 – 4 lbs of weight on this baby. Paired with the waterproof outer shell and zippers, you can walk in the rain for days without shorting out your phone or rangefinder.
The 4UP StaDry comes in some very flash colors. Not only functional but also very attractive. The double strap is comfortable but can result in some tangles because they’ve threaded the straps through a square pad that sits on your back as you walk.
Adjusting the straps is easy and once you do, there is a nice cushion on the bag that sits in the small of your back to lend more support. If you do like to carry the bag over one shoulder, Titleist actually includes one in the package for you.
More little details that make this bag the outstanding choice for best lightweight and waterproof golf bag are the zips. They’re all seam-sealed to produce a seamless flush look that ensures our belongings are safe.
The materials used to create this bag are like something from a sci-fi movie. Special high tech fabric Titleist used is so thin and so light, yet keeps water totally out of your bag. The rain hood is easy to attach and provides the same waterproof features as the rest of the bag. Zips are sealed the same way the pockets on the bag are.
The 3 way dividers are full length and the extra room inside the compartments prevent tangling of clubs as much as is possible.
One more nice touch is the inclusion of 2 handles on the top of the bag around the rim. How often do you move your stand bag just a few yards on the tee or around greens by gripping the divider area? These hands make it super simple and comfortable. The Titleist StaDry is the best golf bag for when it's raining.
This Rain Tek waterproof golf club rain cover attaches to any brand of bag. It's secured onto the cart with Velcro straps.
If it looks like you can't access any of your pockets, Rain Tek have included two side access zips and one lower access. There's even a rainproof pocket for your scorecard.
Simply the best golf bag rain cover on the market.
The Rain Wedge rip system and the straps attach to the bag in seconds and won't being moving anywhere. They've used durable and waterproof Nylon that is rip-resistant and with the locking zipper, it remains secure even in strong wind.
It looks big and ungainly but it stores nicely in your bag inside its own storage bag but doesn't affect access to your clubs at all. A total breeze to use.
Chipping is the most overlooked part of the game yet it doesn’t rely on power or strength or flexibility. Anyone with a brain with half an ounce of brains in it can do it at the same level as the pros.
You don’t need Brooks Koepka biceps to chip well and you don’t need to be 6 ft 5 to dunk a chip.
So why do so many of us ignore it?
Usually it’s ego – most guys just want to hit the big booming drive but don’t realize you need to get stronger physically before you can swing it faster to hit it longer. Lots of guys think it’s boring, but do you think signing for your first 79, 89 or 99 is boring? And that’s how you break your scoring barriers, by shaving strokes around the greens.
In fact, I’m going to make a massive claim and tell you that after reading this guide and doing the things in it, you can shave off 5-10 shots within 3 rounds.
I understand what you think though. I sucked at the short game for a long time. I thought it was a mystery and fell into the same victimhood trap of watching better players and thinking they can just chip because they were born like that.
What a load of horse twaddle! Just read and watch the stuff below and go try it. You’ll be a new man and a lower scoring man in no time. Chicks dig guys with good short games.
If you really can’t get the ball off the tee box and you’re leaving more balls short of the ladies’ tee, then you probably need to get that sorted out by visiting a coach or reputable pro.
But if you can get the ball airborne in the general direction of the fairway and hit it near the green in two or three shots, I’ll bet the short game is where you can shave off some quick strokes.
I’ve played so much golf with mid to high handicappers. Literally 20+ years of it and the one thing in common is usually a shoddy short game. I have a friend, Didi who hits a driver 220 yards off the tee, uses mostly fairway woods to get near the greens and plays off an 8, with one of the craziest swings you’ve ever seen.
He can chip and putt like a machine!
Next time you play a round; I want you to mark down how many shots you take on each hole inside 50 yards.
If you’re green side and getting up and down in two shots 50% of the time, you just need to practice and don’t need to read this article. But if you’re taking three or four shots around the green often, this is for you.
The basic idea I use for showing you to chip is to simplify the technique and remove all doubt regarding the balls interaction with the ground, so you can make consistent chips with consistent results.
To remove the doubt and fear of how the ball will react to the ground, the GENERAL PREMISE is to GET THE BALL ROLLING on the green as soon as possible. This is achieved by the technique outlines below and is the surest way to avoid those inconsistent results you may be used to.
Lofting the ball too far onto the green with a high loft club is a guaranteed way to get the chipping yips. Doubt, fear, insecurity all creep in because you don’t know if you’re going to leave it short, if it’s going to spin, if you’ll teeth it across the green or duff it 1 foot in front of you.
My technique combined with getting the ball rolling ASAP will stop these doubts and fears and make you love chipping.
Before we get into the technique, you must select one club to start chipping with. I suggest the Pitching Wedge but you can use a 9 iron, 8 iron, or any wedge just please do not use a 58° or 60° to start with. We will introduce them much later when you’ve mastered the techniques and have confidence.
There is one infallible technique to use for chipping. Follow this to the letter and you will go from the skuller, the fluffer and the flipper to the chipping extraordinaire.
With full golf shots, we have to rotate our lower bodies from square to the ball to square to the target. With chipping, I want to eliminate that aspect of the swing to make it super simple.
By presetting your lower body open to the target – essentially aiming your feet left of the target line – we make it simple for our body to rotate through the shot automatically.
By putting your feet close together, you make sure you have no possibility of falling onto the back foot to scoop the ball in the air (explained more below).
I want you to commit to two balls flights only – high or low.
I would suggest starting with the back foot as we want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible with my technique. If you find you’re hitting the ball before the earth, you can move it to the front foot.
If you play it off the middle of the stance, you’re not committing to a ball flight which is a recipe for disaster as COMMITMENT is the only key to good execution.
By setting your hands ahead of the ball, you prevent the temptation of “flipping” the ball in the air by flicking your wrists.
This is the death blow for chipping. Any time you scoop with your wrists at the bottom of the swing, you bring shanks, duffs and skulls into play. The consistency is just not there with the scoopy scoop. Wth the hands preset in front of the ball, and a forward shaft lean, you will be preset in a FANTASTIC position to make crisp, clean, consistent chips every time.
You must place all your weight on the front foot. In fact, you should be able to chip standing just on your front foot.
Why do we do this? This will stop you from falling onto the back foot to try scoop the ball in the air. This is one of the most common things I see in a golfer whose chipping is suspect. A wide stance and the desire to help “lift” the ball into the air while transferring weight to the back foot.
This hurts me deep inside but it’s easy to fix!
Now that your body is set up to make a perfect chip, the actual execution is where you’ll most likely fail when chipping. Used in conjunction with the above technique, this is how you chip like a BOSS:
Read the green. Is it uphill, downhill, right to left, left to right?
This is exactly the same process as you would do when putting. But I want you to really and truly envision that ball jumping off your club face and take the line you see on the green, all the way to the hole.
Now, on that LINE you saw in your mind, find the SPOT on the green you think the ball should land to react the way you think it will react and roll up to the hole.
This SPOT is where you want to land the ball.
Because you’ve read it, you’ve envisioned it, this SPOT is all you’ll focus on and your only desire in the moment of the chip is to land that ball on that SPOT. I can’t stress enough how important this is to chipping.
At this stage, the hole means literally nothing. You’ve made your plans, you’re happy with the SPOT and you know if you land it on the SPOT, you’ve executed the shot you want.
Use your practice swings to gauge your power level to get the ball to land on the SPOT and roll out to the hole.
Well my good man, you need to practice. But just a little bit.
You need to get to a practice green and hit some chips and watch how they react. With experience, this process becomes so easy that you’ll wonder how the hell you were never a chipping maestro before. (Practice section is at the end of the article below).
Once you understand how the ball reacts to the slopes, greens and your particular shot profile which is unique to you, then you actually don’t need a green to practice on.
You can practice anywhere just hitting a spot. It’s that simple. Once you know how to hit a ball onto a SPOT with the TECHNIQUE described above, chipping is merely a copy paste exercise wherever you are playing.
As you get better at chipping with your one single club, you’ll we well grooved in the ability to hit the SPOT. But there comes a time when you may need to use a club with less loft for a longer chip or more loft for a shorter chip.
That’s the best part of this system. You use the EXACT SAME swing and power level, just change the club. You still pick a SPOT and then you swing the new club with the same motion you used with your usual chipping club.
Let’s say you use a PW most of the time, but now you have a really long chip – something like 25 yards with loads of green to work with. Now you know your pitching wedge is great for this type of chip but only from maybe 15 yards.
Those extra ten yards requires you to chip it on too far and you don’t know how it will react with a pitching wedge.
So now you find that spot close to the front of the green. Then you pick a lower lofted club like a 9 iron or 8 iron. Swing it the exact same way you would with the pitching wedge and watch it land on your spot and run up to the hole. That’s how easy this is.
The opposite is also true. If you have a downhill chip or a short chip, find your spot within a yard of the front of the green and select a higher lofted club. If you use your PW to chip most of the time, use a 52° or 56° club and watch how it doesn’t run out as far as the PW!
There are exceptions to this but in general, mid handicappers and high handicappers should avoid these clubs because they’re much harder to get right with consistency of spin than a PW, 52° or even a 56°. It’s not only the loft but also the bounce of the club and size of the sole that affects the shot.
A lob wedge often has less bounce and a thinner sole which means it will dig into the ground. We want something with a larger sole to glide through the turf and make chipping easier to stop chunked and duffed chips from hitting it fat.
These clubs also sometimes spin a lot, and sometimes don’t if you aren’t a qualified artist with them. The technique outlined above with a lower lofted club produces balls that spin the same way and roll out the same way every time.
I’m a single figure handicap (between 3 and 5) and I have to hit flop shots maybe once every three rounds. The rest of the time, I am hitting bump and runs like I describe in this article. If you find yourself needing to hit flop shots, your course management may need work and in that case, I suggest watching my Youtube videos on the topic, and reading my article on HOW TO MISS A GREEN LIKE A BOSS.
The only time you need to hit a flop shot is when you’re short-sided. Instead of covering this fundamental flaw with a band-aid called the flop shot, get to the root of your problem and discover the beautiful world of golf course management strategies.
You can find my strategies on my Youtube channel.
Lastly, here is another video on chipping with some of my practice drills at minute 1:48
NOW GO PRACTICE AND GROOVE THE FEELING!!!! BECOME THE PLAYA YOU WERE MEANT TO BE.
It's all very well reading this playa, but I urge you to get out to the practice green and start learning. This will take you maximum 10 hours of concentrated practice and grooving to get.
Once you learn these techniques, you will just need to adjust your landing spot depending on the green speed and slopes of the greens wherever you play. I believe everyone can chip like a pro, YOU INCLUDED. No go forth and conquer the hell out of everyone.
In this guide, you’ll learn how I shot a 71 even though I hit some terrible shots. Shooting good scores doesn’t come from perfect rounds of golf – they come from managing the score by eliminating big errors by playing wise shots when things don’t go your way.
I’ve already written this guide to breaking 80 by using my 6-6-6 Sub Eighty System.
The Trlple 6 philosophy of realizing that you’re not perfect and can make mistakes is essential to better golf. We’re never perfect and to strive for perfection, with an expectation of actually achieving it will result in extreme disillusionment and eventually you’ll give up on golf.
I know, because I quite three times over the last 20 years.
But to really go low, we need a much more measured approach mentally. We need to be stronger in our decisions, we need to remove stress, tension and uncertainty.
We also need to be so focused on what we want to do... in little spurts...while at the same time, letting go of all that focus.
I’ll explain more below, don’t worry.
The most important aspect of breaking par is easily this mental side of the game. You actually don’t need ALL the shots. You don’t need to boom it 320 off the tee like Rory. You just need to jam with what you got and realize what you don’t got and avoid that!
At this stage, I have to advise you to buy this book: Every Shot Must Have a Purpose. Without a doubt, this is the single best investment in my golf game I’ve ever made. This book is the inspiration behind this guide.
It contains so much mental game insight and after I read it, the next day I shot this round of 71 at Dynasty Golf Course in Bangkok. That’s just how powerful the concepts are.
I played some poor shots off the tee in this round but it showed me that I need to play stress-free golf rather. If I am uncomfortable on the tee, I need to change my tactic or club.
It's always better to hit a shot you feel 100% confident on than to just pick up the driver or whatever it is you bash into the trees every shot.
What I could have done better in this round, is select the clubs off the tee that felt comfortable and would also set me up with an easier NEXT shot.
Set yourself up an approach shot into the green from your best distance and club. We want to hit greens in regulation to break par so it's easiest to do it from a place where you have maximum confidence.
There was a time when I tied golf to my self-esteem and self-worth. There are a lot of guys who do that and we get upset because we hit an imperfect shot.
We know we can do better and so we get so frustrated with ourselves that we can’t let it go. That spoils a few holes in a row and then the round goes out the window.
The best thing you can do is let go of the idea of perfection and come to the realization that you don’t practice enough and you’ll never be on the PGA Tour.
That was a big one for me. I lived in a delusional world where I could hit Tour quality shots and in my fantasy, I could keep up with the top 10 golfers in the world.
Learn from your bad shot and then endeavor to do it differently in the future. Then go hit your next shot by focusing only on that next shot.
You can’t control the shot you’ve just hit, but you can control your reaction and your focus on the next shot. Hit the shots you can hit and jam with what you got. It’s perfectly fine you can’t do certain things, just have the strength of character to accept it and move on.
TOP TIP TO MOVE ON FROM THE PREVIOUS HOLE: Start planning the next hole and respect each hole individually, that they need to be planned as one individual hole apart from any others. Stay in the moment and set up your next shot with the current one.
By focusing purely on the execution of the next shot, you’ll automatically forget the previous, whether it was good or bad. The most important is that you make sure that this shot you’re standing over is one you are comfortable with and are confident you can do it.
You must plan it in your mind, imagine it, envision the details of the shot and become engrossed In the shot. Any doubt or distraction will mean a poor shot and more frustration.
It’s ultra-important to always pick a shot you KNOW you can hit. Often in stressful situations, especially after a bad shot, we “chase losses” like a gambler trying to win back his last stake he lost. We get emotional and make bad decisions.
Plan where you’ll hit the next shot and how you’ll do it. Think about the layout of the hole. Where is the best miss? Where’s the best part of the green to putt from? Where’s the place you don’t want to be? What’s the least stressful shot you could possibly hit here? Sometimes that’s a lay up. Sometimes it’s a shot to just short of the green. Sometimes it’s just not the Tour shot but the simplest stress-free shot.
If you aren’t 100% committed to a shot, you’re done. This is so huge, it’s sad that it’s not discussed more.
To be committed to your shots, you need to know your shots. Once you’ve identified the shots you can hit, you must strive to eliminate the ones you can’t hit. You can work on those at the range every day before introducing them. Playing shots that you are NOT 100% SURE about on the course is guaranteed failure of execution.
For now, it’s all about what you CAN do. It’s not going to be perfect the first time out, but eventually you’ll be able to say to yourself, okay, I can’t hit this draw shot with the 3 iron, let me rather hit the 5 iron just short and because I CAN chip and putt, I am sure I can get up and down.
Maybe it’s the driver. If it’s giving you issues, just leave it out the bag and use your trusty hybrid or fairway wood off the tee.
So you’ve got your shots you can hit, but now you need to hit your shots in a way that sets up good situations to actually hit them!
I can hit a hybrid with a draw
I can hit a driver with a fade
I can hit my irons high
I can hit my mid to low irons with a draw
I can hit my longer irons with a fade
I can chip and putt like a boss
I can pitch the ball to within 7 feet or so very often from inside 70 yards
I love green side bunkers
I do not hit a good flop shot
I was having problems with chunking my full wedge shots
110-115 yards, I didn’t have a shot for
I can’t draw the driver
I don’t hit a good hybrid off the fairway but good off the tee
3 iron is not great off the fairway
What does this mean?
I want to avoid situations around the green where I’ll be short sided so I never have to flop it. I want to leave myself anything but full SW, GW or LW into the greens. I don’t want 110-115 yard shots into greens. I just don’t have a club or shot that I’m confident in. On holes where a fade with the driver is not possible, I should hit a draw with the hybrid or 4 wood. Off the fairways I may need to hit a shorter club from long distance and pitch and putt. 3 iron and hybrid can end up anywhere, left or right which causes more pain than necessary.
I want to maximize my CAN DO shots and get myself into those positions more often to make birdies and save pars.
The single best thing I picked up from the book was this concept.
There are two imaginary boxes. One behind the ball called the THINK box. The other box is next to the ball where you play from which is called the PLAY box. The two boxes are separated by the imaginary DECISION LINE.
We walk up to the ball and on the way, we need to be assessing everything. Wind strength & direction, stance, hazard location, pin location, distance to the hole, distance to clear hazards etc.
Once we have our club selection, we need to visualize the hell out of the shot. You must rehearse the shot in your mind from the THINK box. In this rehearsal of picking your aiming point, focusing on the landing area and feeling the shot, we MUST commit to this plan 100%.
There is no compromise here playas, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT COMMITMENT.
Once set, we walk across the DECISION LINE into the PLAY BOX. The DECISION LINE represents a boundary for our mind. Once we commit to a plan, we walk across that line and forget everything else. No more thinking at all, no doubt, no fear nothing!
Then we execute the shot in the PLAY BOX. We just hit the shot we planned! Any fear or doubt that comes into your mind means you MUST back away and reset. If you hit that shot with even a hint of fear or doubt, you’ll not execute the shot well. Now if the plan was good, you’ll be okay most of the time, but you’ll notice your most bum shots come from lack of commitment and allowing fear or doubt to creep in.
This is the opposite of STRESS-FREE GOLF. Doubt and fear is a stress. Hit shots you can hit and COMMIT to them NO LESS than 100%. 99% is just not good enough! Once in that PLAY BOX, your mind is free of any thoughts at all. Just a blank canvas.
After your shot, it’s very important to react in a way that will let you continue playing well.
Instead of getting angry and overly emotional, we need to aim at reacting neutrally or positively only to shots. If you hit a good shot, enjoy the moment and remember the feeling for the next one.
If you hit a poor shot, it’s vital to understand why you hit a poor one. Was it lack of commitment? Wrong club selection? Did you estimate the wrong distance? Is it even a shot you know how to hit? There are many factors and if you can identify the issue, you’ll be more accepting of the result.
Calling yourself an idiot or telling yourself you suck is recipe for disaster. You’re not as crap as you think. You’re more consistent than you think. But you need to understand what happened.
If you made a wrong decision, just make a better one next time.
If you picked the wrong club, then you actually hit a good shot with a good plan, just a small error. Take more or less club next time.
If you missed a putt because you misread the green, you probably actually hit a good putt. Your putting doesn’t suck, your green reading sucks.
I can guarantee, you do not suck at golf. You don’t suck at certain parts of golf.
Have you played golf with that guy who swears, shouts and curses all the time, working himself up into a frenzy? Have you seen the guys breaking clubs? Have you played with that dude who blames literally everything for his game except himself? The weather, the slow players, the grass, the water, the sand in the bunkers, the political situation?
That guy may be you!
I know I would always look for excuses like a punk. That book I mentioned really does a good job of putting it into perspective.
There is such a fine line between a 75 and a 69. It’s actually easy for us to shave off those 6 shots, and we have all the shots, but we will need to be in control of our thoughts, our decisions and the following things we CAN control:
What we CAN’T control and must totally not allow to affect our purpose and mood:
Get a rangefinder.
Knowing distances to clear hazards, distances to fairway bunkers and all sorts of info will really help you to make confident swings at the ball. Knowing you can clear certain things while also knowing you can’t reach certain things off the tee helps your game immensely.
Shooting to the front of the green and back of the green can also help you to know how far back you can go or how short you can go on approaches. I don’t know why I didn’t have one of these much sooner.
Know your distances and drop the ego
Know the exact distances you hit your clubs. By this I mean the distance you hit your clubs 80% of the time. Not the one in 50 shot you hit your 6 iron 210 yards, but the distance you hit it 80% of the time which is more like 185 yards.
Ego shots will leave you in the bunkers short, the water hazards short.
Forget the other guy’s club selections
I was affected by the fact the other dude I am playing with might hit one less club than me meaning he is way stronger or longer. It would make me try keep up and I would end up short of the target every time, or trying to force a shot which is not what we want.
Then I realized my clubs were 10 years older than his and the loft on them was 3 degrees more per club. Now when someone hits a 7 and I hit a 6, whatever! Just play your game and be happy to jam with it the way it is!
I went left handed to show you playas how to break 100 using the tactics and strategy created for the Way of the Playa.
Now, I reckon I can help any guy break 100 over a period of a couple weeks.
But what I find is most guys want the quick fix. The one little secret that’ll get them to 99 ASAP.
There’s no swing thought or fancy technical move I can show you to break 100 in golf. There are plenty of pros online and in the magazines to perpetuate that fantasy.
And if you’re looking at your swing as the biggest milestone to breaking 100, you’re almost certainly looking in the wrong place my good man. Swinging something at something is quite a natural move considering we used to swing things at things so we could eat.
I can’t show you how to hit the driver straight because to be honest, if that cub is putting you in positions where you're losing strokes, put it in the back of the car! You don't need it to break 100 for now. Emphasis on FOR NOW. Bring it back later but let's give it a breather for a few rounds.
I also can’t and will never show you how to overhaul your entire swing.
Because you don’t need to! You can swing it good enough my man!
I’ll show you how to break 100 by just thinking and strategizing better on the course while also using a handful of clubs. No swing changes, no mechanics, no BS. This stuff works immediately and as you get more confident with the process, it will change your game forever.
I promise you.
CONTROVERSY STARTS: Most people will poo-poo my ideas. They think it’s more fun and worth it to go for the one in a million shots not even the pros would go for. I strongly disagree with the notion that it's vital to hit driver and try make birdies when all you're trying to do is break that first scoring barrier of 100.
When I say split a 200 yard shot into two manageable shots, people lose their minds.
They think it’s more fun to lose golf balls and have a one in 500 chance of making a birdie.
These are people who will NEVER break 100. I guarantee it. They haven’t learned to maximize their talents and control their games, their emotions and their brains. They call my strategies "boring golf" but this is monkey brain thinking - instant gratification nonsense. Golf is a never ending process and it all starts with basic and solid fundamentals much like a martial art.
Counting up your score and penciling in a 99 is never boring my good fellows. It’s even better when the guy laughing at you for boring golf has shot 115 for the 100th time with no improvement, as you smugly sip that first beer, feeling the alcohol surge into your legs and that sh*t-eating grin spreading across your face.
That’s you playa.
Benefits of this simplified Bare Bones Breaking 100 System are:
I learned a big lesson here.
BUY THE RIGHT CLUBS! BUY MODERN CLUBS! BUY FORGIVING CLUBS!
It wasn’t easy finding left handed clubs in Bangkok and I had to settle for some Honma irons. They’re great quality but the design was not suitable for a new player.
The leading edge was too sharp and the sweet spots were too small on these irons. I had to get rid of them and in the end received a free set of Nano irons from a friend in Bangkok.
The Honma set were shocking. I could barely get the ball in the air and after 5 range sessions, I thought this would be an impossible task. Then I hit the Nano’s and I realized just what a big difference a game improvement iron makes.
Avoid buying clubs just because they’re the cheapest or they’re the only ones around.
If it were possible, I would have bought a Taylormade M2 single 7 iron to start playing but I couldn’t get one in Bangkok. These new irons just make the game easier and more fun.
My advice: Buy a single MAXIMUM SUPER GAME IMPROVEMENT iron. These irons are designed with a thick bottom and rounded edge so they slide through the turf and get the ball airborne easier. The sweet spot is massive and it’s almost impossible to mis-hit a ball. New or used makes no difference.
Once you get more comfortable with golf and get REALLY good at your 7 iron, you can either buy a set or keep adding individual second hand irons. I will show you how to do that further down.
Please AVOID difficult to hit clubs. This will include anything that says "muscle bacl "blade" "tour preferred" "tour" "players club" in the name or descriptions. Cavity back, super game improvement irons are your jam here.
I only have a few basics when it comes to hitting a golf ball. These basics come from playing cricket and other bat and ball sports.
That’s all I worked on to learn to swing.
After I learned to get the ball in the air regularly, I recorded the distances I hit the clubs. Now this is very tough as a new golfer because one can go 130 yards, and the next with the same club can go 145 yards. Recording a distance range is a better idea, let's say 130-140 yards for your 6 iron.
Record the distance you hit that club most often! By most often, I mean if it goes 125 yards 6 out of 10 shots, you must record that club's distance as 125 yards for when you need to hit it on the course.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of EGO GOLF. Ego golf is when you hit a shot that you don’t know how to hit just because you hit it one time out of 50 tries. This sounds like fun to try hit a glory shot, but in the end, you’ll be so frustrated, it’s just not worth it.
One time out of 50 you will feel like a hero. The other 49 times you are going to kick yourself all the way round the course.
Knowing your distances will help you when you are on the course to make sure you hit it in the right area to score better
I played my first ever round left handed to see how I would do without too much thinking, using a limited number of clubs.
I played with a 4 hybrid, a 7 iron and an Approach wedge as well as a putter. I noticed that these four clubs are really all I would need to break 100.
While I didn’t shoot below 50 for the first ever nine holes, I did get close. I think I made a 10 on the last and if that was reduced to just a 7, I was looking at a score of 50 on my first nine holes ever left-handed. It gave me a lot of food for thought and that’s why I recommend you remove some of your clubs from your bag.
Get rid of the problem clubs immediately. You won’t banish them forever, but we’re going to do a game audit. Get rid of the problem clubs that cause you to lose the most strokes.
Usually this is the driver. Most high handicappers and guys trying to break 100 shouldn’t have a driver in the bag - I did say most, not all.
A hybrid, maybe a fairway wood or even a 6 iron is a fine club to hit of the tee. Whatever you can hit the longest while also being consistently straight.
In my first ever round, I found the 7 iron went the best and I used it off the tee. Hell I used it everywhere.
Too often we go to the range to hit the driver only. Or we just hit shots for no reason and without thought.
I went to the range with set objectives before my next round:
I didn’t worry about anything that requires too much skill for my beginner level. I focused on what I can do and what I feel I can easily get right just through good technique.
No flop shots, no driver, no 5 wood, no long irons…just the things above.
Armed with my distances, my general shot shape and my short game fine-tuned, I played another 9 holes a month or so after the first one.
My distances and clubs I liked:
Hybrid: 140-160 yards
7 iron: 120-130 yards
PW: 100 yards
SW: 80 yards
Half sand wedge: 50 yards
General shot shape: FADE
Chipping club: SW
For my second round of 9 holes, my goals were to:
I shot a 49! Second time out and I proved my theories and system
Hitting a 7 iron and a SW might seem like boring golf but it’s a lot more fun NOT losing golf balls while remaining in control all the time.
You'll be more relaxed on the course and in turn you'll shoot better scores. It's science bruh.
I focused more on getting the ball close for a par. In the end, I didn’t commit to the shot and left it short in the wrong area. It resulted in a double bogey whereas if I had just committed to and focused on GETTING THE BALL ON THE GREEN –ANYWHERE, I would have had a good chance to two-putt for bogey.
The hole suited my eye perfectly. Just aim it and with the confidence I have from knowing my distance and shot shape, I could swing freely. Stress-free golf due to confidence and trust. Par and my first ever green in regulation!
Requiring maximum concentration, I hit my 4th shot onto the green. That’s a testament to what you can do when you have to focus. We should use that type of focus on every shot.
But the biggest lesson from that hole is that we CANNOT be intimidated by the length of a hole. Honestly, we’re gonna make doubles – it’s going to happen. A double on a 440-yard hole is merely hitting the green in 4 shots, four shots of 110 yards. Instead, I tried to hit my hybrid too hard and then did the same with the second shot. I should have trusted my game and the fact all I needed was to hit it on the green in four.
That is one of the toughest par 3’s I have ever played. When the wind comes up, it blows toward the water and you’ll find more guys in the water there than not. I don’t have the distance to hit it with my 7 iron and I didn’t have the full confidence to hit my hybrid which would have reached.
Instead, I just hit my 7 iron to the fairway and accepted this is a very very short par 4. Second shot, I would pitch it on from 30 or so yards.
With the pitch, I needed to aim left of the pin because in line with the pin and to the right of the pin was water. I just used the wrong club there and should have pitched with the PW. But that’s the level of thinking you need. Don’t just shoot at flags – sometimes there is water behind it or there is a downslope and if you hit it a little too hard, you’re in a bunker or water hazard which will end in tears.
Only hit the shots you CAN hit while on the course. This is stress free golf.
We don’t ever want to feel stressed over a shot. We want to feel totally relaxed because we trust ourselves. Hitting a driver when you have NO IDEA where it’s going will destroy your 4 hour round in less than 30 seconds.
Play stress-free shots and you will enjoy your round more than you can ever imagine.
Playas, that is essentially how you break 100. It's a fantastic goal but we often don't know how to go about it just banging out heads against the wall.
We worry about all the wrong things: our swing, our clubs, our whatever. Swing the way you swing, enjoy the game and think more on the course.
I know you can break 100, I have no doubt. If you can shoot 115, I reckon you can find 10 shots just around the greens where you could save shots. Another 10 just by making better club selections that are stress-free instead of the high stress shots you're used to.
Now go forth and conquer!
Is there a more divisive club in golf?
People who use them love them. People who don't...well they hate the guys who do!
The reason is simple. These things work for most golfers especially the guys who have a tough time chipping with wedges which is what is expected of us.
But since the main philosophy of this website and my Youtube channel is that you jam with the game you have; if you want a chipper, you get a chipper.
A friend of mine, Didi, used a chipper for years before he learnt to chip with his 54° and he played off an 8 handicap with that chipper! Below are some of the best golf chippers in the game right now.
A lot of players get nervous when chipping from the nature of a chip. A chip is a short shot that requires feel and touch.
Often the chips are played off the fringe or the fairway which can have tight grass, making the idea of clipping the ball off the turf a scary one. It sounds silly to a lot of golfers, but we've all been there.
The chipper comes along and makes that shot easier by allowing you to have more of a sweeping putting stroke without worrying about teething the ball across the green or duffing it one foot in front of where you're standing.
There is no hard and fast rule for the way you approach the game. My philosophy throughout everything I think about golf is to make it as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.
If a chipper will remove stress from your game and allow you to cut three or four shots off your score, make the beer taste better and give you a butterfly in your tummy to play again...I think you know where I'm headed. Whatever gets you jazzed to play golf again is good for you.
Follow your gut. Do what it says. A man with a chipper knows what he wants, he wants to get that ball in that hole in the leat strokes possible.
The only thing you must overcome is ego.
You'll get a ribbing and some comments from other players because using a chipper is seen as equivalent of joining a suicide cult.
Just keep that in mind.
But then learn to use it and hole more chips than them. Silence them with results.
Two sided chippers aren't going to benefit you. You'll almost never use it left handed if you're a righty, I swear to you.
Getting a one-direction chipper is going to benefit you more as they have excellent alignment aids on the back of them. The two-way chipper doesn't and what's the point of getting a new club for chipping if it doesn't FULLY help you chip.?
Cleveland have rally cornered the market with this club. The C wedge is called that because the C stands for Chipper.
But the reason it works so well is because you can also use it from a distance. I used it in my video on breaking 90 by hitting under 150 yards here (part 1, par 2, part 3) and I can confirm it's a handy club when the fairways are firm and running smooth.
You can run it up to the green from up to 70 or 80 yards out. Green side, it takes some getting used to because the face is quite hot, meaning the ball comes off the face quite fast but with an hour or so of practice, you'll get used to it.
With so many options out there to chip and putt and get the ball in the hole, whatever gets the job done for you is most important.
The game is there to be enjoyed and I love to see chippers out on the green side shots. It means this dude knows what he wants and he wants to get that little ball in that little hole.
The Cleveland Smart Sole C Wedge is a very very versatile club and will serve you well from inside 80 or 70 yards all the way to green side. The best golf chipper in the game right now.
With a new focus on playing the most stress-free golf going into 2019, I hit Gary Player Country Club at Sun City with Didi and his family. My intention was to pick shots I knew how to hit and was comfortable hitting, never having a moment of doubt and fear.
This course is no joke at 7,200+ yards off the green tees, has a stroke rating of 75.2 and course rating 151. It's unrelenting in optical illusions to make yourself question your existence. It's got tight, scary approaches to often-small greens. The bunkers have been deepened and come into sight on every approach. It's a high-stress environment.
Why take that high-stress and compound it by hitting high-stress shots. I can't control the golf course, but I can control what I bring to it. Stress-free golf shots the WADDAPLAYA way is the only method to beat down the tension Gary Player intended me to feel playing this magnificent course. The same course they play the European Tour Nedbank Challenge on.
A couple of important factors govern the WADDAPLAYA Stress-Free Golf System:
By that I mean, avoid hitting fades if you can't hit them with 90% reliability. Hit a draw all day if you are comfortable with it. Avoid flop shots if you don't know how to hit them well. Just chip normally and get it anywhere on the green rather.
It's just that easy but also incredibly important. If that means the simplest shot from 220 yards is two pitching wedges because you hit them to within 5 yards of your selected target every time, then do that! If standing over the 220 yard 5-wood with water left and OB right makes you crap yourself, DON'T DO IT! Simple, stress-free.
These terms only hurt you. There are no such things...you score either 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8. Write it into the card and forget it. If you walk around thinking "Oh, I just bogeyed the easiest hole on the course" you're going to screw up the next one too. Just write in a 5 and try get the ball into the next hole in the least number of strokes.
I messed up three drivers during this round (luckily I recovered well and shot -1 on those three holes LOL) but I stopped hitting it after the 10th hole. Use the clubs that you feel great looking down at. It's 80% of the battle just looking at a club and knowing kinda where it's going.
Gary Player Country Club has some intense bunkering and if you're in them, you're going to have trouble. I successfully avoided the greenside bunkers on 17 of the 18 holes by aiming at the entrance to the green where I couldn't get in a bunker. Take enough club to clear them if they're in front of the green.
I really messed this up during this round, short-siding myself and leaving myself 40-50 yard pitches which are never easy. If you suck at 40 yard pitches, or 70 yard pitches, whatever it is, just stop leaving those shots for yourself! If you're happier hitting a 100 yard shot, rather lay the ball up to 100 than try get it close to the green where you shoot yourself in the foot!
Think of what you'd like into the green and then select the shot to get you to that position. As long as the shot is comfortable and the simplest in that situation, you're going to score WAAAAAY better than if you just hit and hope.
Let's say on hole 8 I just hit my driver. I could've just looked at the card and thought 460 yards, OMG, I better pump a driver and get it down there as far as possible. I would probably have sliced or hooked it into the trees because I was so uncomfortable and cramped. Then I have to drop and hit 3 off the tee....you know the rest.
Instead, I hit my 3 iron, anticipating another 3 iron into the green. I worked out that I would be happy hitting 3 iron or hybrid into the green. I would probably be short of the green and chip and putt for a par or at worst a bogey on the hardest hole on the course. It was in fact, a perfect piece of stress-free golf as I played the entire hole AS COOL A SA CUCUMBER and got my par!
Forget the other rubbish you read and see on TV.
So many guys are worried about flop shots, hitting huge drives, learning to hit stingers, low skidding one hop and drop pitch shots. Forget all that noise unless you're a 2 handicapper.
Focus on COURSE MANAGEMENT, STRATEGY, and the art of playing golf. You have an arsenal of shots, but you must maximize what you have by developing a strategy to hit your strongest shots more often. Get yourself into your most comfortable positions on the golf course for super low scoring!
Hit a reliable tee club, have your favorite iron for approaches, your favorite pitching distance and try hit the ball to be able to use those clubs more. Then work on that chipping and putting. That's all there is to golf. Do the basics.
It's so important that you have the discipline and will power to stop yourself in a foolish moment.
A few people find conservative golf not fun and claim it won't improve your game. These people are fools. They claim it's more fun to go for shots that could fail because there's a 1 in 50 chance they'll make a birdie. The other 49 times, they're making triples and increasing their risk of heart failure.
What's less fun than losing 2 balls on a hole going for a shot you crap yourself standing over? What's more fun than counting up your score at the end of a safe, conservative round, where you were in full control, and seeing a 79 on the bottom of the card?
Give me 49 pars and one bogey over one birdie and 49 triples any day of the week.
In this video, I shoot a 77. yet again breaking 80 but feeling like I left so many shots on the course.
Granted, the main focus was playing with Tsepho, a subscriber and now good friend, and I wasn't that focused on my game. It goes to show you just how important focus, clear thinking and not rushing are, to good scores.
If you're changing your swing, as I am, it's vital to work a lot on the driving range to really groove the new feeling in before hitting the course.
I struggled in the beginning of the round because as you know, under pressure, we revert back to our old habits and I started hitting AT the ball instead of THROUGH it.
We become so BALL-FOCUSED that we get tense and hit AT the ball as if that's where the swing ends. We need to remember to get to the finish of the swing, nice and balanced on the left side. Let the ball just get in the way of your easy smooth swing.
I have a very funny habit of letting the ball creep back in my stance slowly over 6 months periods.
As the ball creeps back, so the angle of attack of your club to the ball will become STEEPER and STEEPER. This is not ideal at all especially because lower lofted clubs become more difficult to hit as you try to "lift it" into the air instead of compressing the ball and allowing the club to do the work.
With this poor ball positioning and the ball-focused, steep swing, a couple things happen:
And of course, if you're crapping yourself about where the ball will go, you'll be tense when gripping the club. Tension in your hands runs through your arms, into your shoulders and neck. Hitting a ball at high speed, while tensed, is a sure way to injure your upper back and neck as well as your traps.
I put two shafts on the ground, one for alignment down the target line and one more lying on top of that one in a + shape. I place the ball in between the middle of my stance and the left heel depending on the club length. The longer the club, the further forward I place the ball.
I was hitting my wedges off my back foot and my driver was near the middle of my stance! No wonder, I couldn't hit anything!
Doing this drill with the + shaped shafts once a week will keep my brain in order and let my body remember where the alignment and ball position is supposed to be. If I don't do this, eventually, I will get into bad habits again.
Are you a smart guy? I think I am, but sometimes I do stupid stuff on the golf course even when I know the best solution or the best shot. It's usually EGO which brings on the HIGH STRESS GOLF.
The first question I used to ask myself was "where is the good miss?" as in, where, if I miss this shot, will I be safest to get up and down or have an easier next shot.
While that is a valid, good thought, I suggest thinking this massive question which will drop all your ego and help you enjoy golf again:
WHAT IS THE SIMPLEST SHOT I CAN HIT HERE?
That's all it takes. I discovered this during the round in the video. Instead of hitting a stressful shot because of your ego, you just pick the shot you KNOW you can hit and gives you a simple next shot.
For example in the round in the video:
HOLE 1: I hit a 3 iron off the tee on a tight hole under pressure to impress my subscriber. I hit a wedge into the green which means, I could actually have hit a 5 iron off the tee, 20 years back in the fairway and hit an 8 iron from the fairway into the green instead.
Do you see how that works?
HOLE 3: This is a big one! Around 180 yards to the pin and while I can get my 7 iron there and that would be the pin-high distance, what am I doing to myself?
The water is 9 yards or so in front of the pin. I'm hitting over a hazard to a pin 9 yards over the water with a club that will finish pin high! No! I should be hitting a 6 iron with a smooth swing because the back of the green is around 200 yards away. That's 20 yards of green behind the pin! That's stress-free.
Instead, I went EGO-GOLFING and smacked AT the ball under pressure, and hit it Out of Bounds and took a double bogey. Not good.
When hitting over hazards, we must hit a club that will clear the hazard and usually finish at the back edge. Forget the pin, safety first!
HOLE 5: After a smashing booming big drive up the hill (my best in recent memory), I proceeded to rush my second shot.
Now if you watch my BREAKING PAR VIDEO, you'll see I mention the THINK BOX and PLAY BOX. On my second shot, I did not properly plan my shot and get fully committed in the THINK BOX. I took that doubt into the PLAY BOX and screwed it up.
I should've committed to a smooth 54° wedge to the center of the green with a little draw and walk off with a par. Inside 120 yards, I can't afford to make doubles.
HOLE 8: Some holes we screw up, no problem, a bogey every now and then happens but what is important, is to get GREAT inside 100 yards.
I've been really working on my confidence and what made me really confident without changing a single thing was getting new wedges. Now, I am an arrow-blamer, not an Indian-blamer. I'm also a great proponent of the saying "a bad workman blames his tools, but a master craftsman knows when to get new ones." which I made up myself but whatever.
I got Cleveland wedges with a new gapping of 50°, 54° and 58°. New clubs always make me feel better because I'm not looking down at the ones I lost confidence in 5 years ago! You should do the same, and don't feel ashamed in the search for the right club.
A great club for you is just one you pick up, look at and feel great holding. There is literally nothing else to it. I've never hit a club badly which I liked to have in my hands and look down at. I have hit the latest technology that promises to change your game and when I looked down at it, I just knew I'd hit it badly.
That's the power of your mind and let me tell you, it's powerful which is why I focus so much on thinking, focus, commitment, will power.
HOLE 11: I didn't need to hit driver here but I really wanted to get it right as it's a new one. But this is a HIGH STRESS shot. I bring that water on the right into play. On the tee, I can't see much besides the bunker right. It's a stressful EGO GOLF shot.
What I should've done is hit a 3 iron because the landing area is so narrow at the hybrid and driver zone. A 3 iron up the left and perhaps another 3 or maybe a 5 iron into the green would've been perfectly playable on this stroke index 2 hole.
HOLE 12: I was unlucky to get the lie I did in front of the bunker. I was standing with all my weight on the left foot and the ball was IN FRONT of my left foot in ball position. I thought, well it will probably be a fat shot so I clubbed up to a 9 iron.
I flushed it so well that it flew over the green 25 yards. The important thing is to realize you're probably not going to par the hole, take your medicine and just chip it ONTO THE GREEN. Priority one! Hit the green!
HOLE 14: Downhill and downwind, this 183 yarder was playing more like 150-160 yards.
Now, the MOST IMPORTANT THING here is the severe danger of going OVER the green. Anything off to the left and directly over the pin falls onto hard, steep ground and you're finished - hole over, you may as well pick up and take a double!
Like hole three, the par 3, where we hit over water and focus on easily CLEARING the hazard, here we need to do it the other way round. We need to see how far it is to the front edge and hit it 10 yards past that to the middle front of the green. We must hit a club that can NEVER reach the back of the green with a perfect strike.
I should have measured to the front edge, 150 yards, and hit a wedge downhill downwind to land on the front-middle of the green. The wedge is extremely hard to pull but by hitting the 9 iron, focusing on the flag and putting unneeded stress on myself, I hit a tug with the 9 into NO-MANS-LAND. Double bogey thanks.
HOLE 18: I got away with this but you know what my thought was just before I hit the shot?
"Don't fade this into the water" - NOW THAT'S A HIGH STRESS THOUGHT
And what did I do? My brain heard "FADE THIS INTO THE WATER" and that's what I did.
We should think in positive thoughts: "Start this on the pin and draw it to the center left of the green." "Hit a 5 iron just short of the green, with no stress and chip and putt for the birdie"
Despite the poor shots and some poor thinking, I was able to scramble my way to a 77 on a pretty tough layout. But how?
This is the only area in the game where we can all be literally as good as a pro.
You may never be able to hit it like Brooks Koepka or be pin point accurate with a long iron like Jack Nicklaus. But you can chip and putt like a god.
I will produce more chipping and putting content to take you to the level of the pros so you can shave off 5-10 shots without even hitting the driving range!
For now, why not check out the following articles and videos for help with this:
Golf Sidekick - How to Putt Video
Golf Sidekick - How to Chip Video
I have a philosophy of allowing yourself to be crap sometimes and allowing yourself mental vacations. You need to be sharp with the short game and think deeper than you ever have but I promise, loads of guys have seen success by just allowing themselves to be imperfect. Check it out below:
I love bunkers. Let me say that again. I love bunkers! I never fear being in one because it's always a unique challenge to hit a good shot out of them. But with practice and the right fundamentals, it gets much much easier.
I hope my enthusiasm for bunker play reaches you and that with some of the tips I am going to show you, you become a great bunker play. Or at least get out of the bunkers first time!
After playing golf with mostly mid to high handicappers throughout my 20 years on golf courses, the number one issue I see when guys struggle with bunkers is merely incorrect technique with lack of practice.
Normally a couple things go wrong and keep the ball in the bunker:
With just the basics I want to show you below, you'll be able to get out of any bunker any time. But we need to build that foundation of basics from the ground up so you can be more confident to start trying new shots and getting cute and fancy with bunker shots.
DISCLAIMER: Bunker shot technique is tricky to start with and you'll feel really mentally blocked to be able to swing a club in the manner I present to you, but practice and losing that fear of failure will go a long way to building massive confidence. There is no way around it - practice and stick to the process.
To get started, here is a video from my channel to show you the basic techniques I use. Below the video, I go into more detail regarding each shot.
No theory and fluff here, let's get down to brass tacks.
First, your main objective next to the green in a bunker is to GET OUT. You can always chip or putt from the fringe or even over the back of the green if you catch it a little thin. But we just DO NOT want another bunker shot from the same bunker.
Not only is this frustrating because it's still in the sand, but you might roll back into your foot marks which makes it super difficult to get out on the next one. Add to that the embarrassment of staying in the sand and you're likely going to hit a bad shot.
Your secondary objective is to get it anywhere on the green if you can. Even if you get it 3 feet out the bunker onto the fringe, you can still hole that putt or two putt it to save an acceptable score.
When you move to next level ninja jedi bunker maestro, you can look at holing or putting bunker shots very close. For now let's get you OUT and ON THE GREEN.
Your feet should aim to the left of your target in an obvious way. So your front foot should be pulled further back than a normal shot where your feet are lined up parallel with the target line.
WHY? This encourages a stroke that cuts across the ball to help bounce the club off the sand and impart some back spin on the ball.
Opening the club face means you can expose the sole of the club to let it enter the sand first. We don't want to enter the sand with the actual leading edge of the club because it will dig into the sand.
We want to enter the sand an inch behind the ball and opening the club allows us to present the sole of the club to the sand first. The sole bounces off the sand and scoops under the ball, taking the ball out of the sand on a pillow of sand.
Forward shaft lean means the hands are ahead of the club head and this encourages a downward strike on the ball. If we do this in a bunker, the club digs in and the ball will pop up momentarily and stay in the bunker.
We want to get our hands in-line or behind the golf ball on a bunker shot to encourage an open face and expose that sole to the sand. This gives us a great chance to enter the sand and with the wrist action we are going to use, skim through the sand and get the ball airborne.
To release the club and get it under the ball and moving forward out of the sand, we need to take the club back and hinge hinge hinge the wrists. I like to get the feeling I am doing it with my right hand.
Stiff wrists are a killer in green side bunkers because you can't release the club properly to get it to skim through the sand. With stiff wrists, you can either dig into the sand and duff it or skull it - either way not ideal.
It's easy to get the jitters at the top of the swing and decelerate or stop the swing when entering the sand. What I would like you to work on, sir, is trying to slap that sand one inch behind the ball with the sole of the club and follow through to a full finish.
This is a scary idea I understand, but if you try this at the practice facility, you will gain so much confidence. You'll probably hit some duffs and skulls to start with but within 20 or 30 balls, you''ll be able to get the ball out of the bunker first shot.
KEY POINT: Slap the sand with the sole of the club using your right and and then follow through and feel like your right wrist is catching rain drops from above. Your club head will often be ahead of the ball initially and that is exactly what you want. Accelerate through the impact zone all the way to the top of the swing.
Hardly anyone will go to a practice bunker and work on these shots because they aren't very glamorous, but I tell you what guys, nothing impresses other golfers like the ability to get out of a green side bunker and put it to a foot.
Get down to a green side bunker facility and draw a line behind the ball where you want to enter the sand. Remember to hinge your wrists on the way back and again on the way down after follow through. Slap that sand with the sole of the club using your right hand and finish your swing.
My only other request is that you don't have anyone along your target line in the distance. You need a clear area so you feel free to make some mistakes when you teeth the ball - which will happen. But golf is a process not a destination so even when it feels like you're going nowhere, keep pushing and you'll come out the other side a better bunker player.
Remember the backward shaft lean. Remember to hit the sand ONE inch behind the ball - often people enter 4 or 5 inches behind it with the downward striking mindset. Check where you're entering the sand during practice and adjust and remember to hinge those wrists and slap the sand, not dig in!
Check out my article on the best wedges for sand and start with a 56° if you're really unhappy in the bunkers. You can then start experimenting with the low wedge and gap wedge as you improve. But for a start a 56 degree sand wedge with 12 or 14 degrees of bounce will serve you well.
If you play golf at a course with no sand in the bunkers, I am afraid you'll need to use a chipping technique as this technique above requires some sand to be in the bunkers. If your bunkers are truly horrendous, I would recommend joining another club or, more easily, avoiding the bunkers at all costs!
It probably works well 20% of the time. The technique above gets me up and down out of bunkers around 60% of the time.
This works if your sand is not too fluffy and the lip of the bunker is pretty square with the sand and there's no big lip.