All posts by Matt

How to Chip – A Complete Guide for Everyday Golfers

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.


GOLF SIDEKICK’S MASSIVE CLAIM

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.


But Golf Sidekick, Is the Short Game Really THAT Important? I Wanna Hit Driver dude!

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.

But how?


He can chip and putt like a machine!

Do me a favor...

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.


General Premise of This How to Chip Guide


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.

Get it rolling sooner and see more chip-ins and up-n-downs!


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.


Pick one club to chip with all the time

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.

Technique: How to Chip Like a Playa

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.

Step 1: Open your stance, feet together

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).

Step 2: Ball Position - Front or Back Foot Only

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.

Step 3: Hands ahead of the ball at all times

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.

Step 4: Weight on the Front Foot

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!


Execution of the chip

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.


But How Do I Know Where the SPOT Is?


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.

Changing Clubs

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!

Here at 3:12 second, you'll see how a subscriber to my Youtube channel learn the secret to chipping along the ground, IN JUST ONE ATTEMPT!

Technique + SPOT + correct club = Short Game Nirvana


Why you Shouldn’t Use your 60° or 58° Lob Wedge to Chip

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.

But I need to hit flop shots all the 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.


How to Break Par and Then Break 70

How to break par imperfectly

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.

The Mind is most important when breaking par

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.


You can break par with the game you have

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!

In this guide, I will focus on the following processes and concepts:

  1. THINK and PLAY boxes for a better pre-shot routine to take you to the next level
  2. Strategizing off the tee
  3. Dealing with disappointment and bum shots
  4. Playing shots you know in a more effective manner through planning the hole
  5. 100% commitment to shots
  6. Control the things you CAN control and forget the rest
  7. Post-shot routine
  8. Other instant game simplifying tactics and gadgets

Reading materials

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.


KEY CONCEPT 1: STRATEGIZING OFF THE TEE

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.

KEY CONCEPT 2: DEALING WITH BUM SHOTS AND DISAPPOINTMENT

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.

KEY CONCEPT 3: THE NEXT SHOT IS A MOMENT IN HISTORY, MAKE IT COUNT

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.

KEY CONCEPT 4: COMMIT 100% NOTHING LESS

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. 

KEY CONCEPT 5: PUT YOURSELF IN POSITION TO HIT YOUR SHOTS

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.

MOST IMPORTANT CONCEPT & KEY CONCEPT 6: THINK & PLAY BOXES

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.

KEY CONCEPT 6: POST SHOT ROUTINE

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.

KEY CONCEPT 7: CONTROL THE THINGS YOU CAN CONTROL AND FORGET THE REST

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:

  • Our physical shape: fit or unfit
  • Sleep: this is my biggest problem – not sleeping enough and playing poorly
  • Club selection
  • Shot selection
  • Planning of the shot
  • Focus on the shot
  • The clubs we take to the course
  • Our clothing
  • Our attitude
  • Our reactions
  • Our emotions
  • Our equipment
  • Nutrition
  • Commitment to a shot
  • Your marital status

What we CAN’T control and must totally not allow to affect our purpose and mood:

  • The weather
  • The layout of the course
  • The course characteristics
  • The previous shot
  • The result of a shot
  • The bounce of the ball
  • Our playing partners’ mood, attitude, actions
  • Slow play in front of you
  • Pushy players behind you
  • The price of the golf
  • Speed of the greens
  • Food in the kiosk
  • The hotness of the drinks cart girl
  • The distance the other guy hits it past you
  • Dustin Johnson’s massive drives you can’t hit
  • Everything else you can’t control but that you let affect your mental state!

KEY GADGETS AND ‘HACKS’ TO IMPROVE INSTANTLY

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!

How to Break 100 – I go lefty FOR YOU

The Bare Bones Breaking 100 System for Beginners and High Handicappers

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.

The REALITY

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 the next best thing though

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.


Some important notes:

  • I am in no way ambidextrous. I can barely throw a ball, write my name, brush my teeth or cut with a knife left handed.
  • I had never hit a golf ball left handed in 21 years of playing golf until this experiment
  • I did this to prove that my theory of how to break 100 in fact works and is actually a boatload of fun to put into action.


My theory I am outlining is as follows:



This experiment is merely a beginner swing coupled with the brain of a golfer who’s played for 21 years.

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.


Who's this guide for?

This guide is for the discerning golfer, the thinker, the strategizer. 

That’s you playa.

Benefits of this simplified Bare Bones Breaking 100 System are:

  • Fewer lost balls
  • Stress-free golf experience
  • More fun due to total control of your game and emotions
  • Lower scores
  • Arming yourself with the foundations of THINKING and course management needed to break 90 and 80 so you advance much quicker
  • Practice becomes simpler and structured with so much less to work on
  • An arsenal of shots that will serve you VERY well in your quest to get into the 80s
  • A lighter golf bag
  • A cheaper bag of clubs
  • An outlook that if you let it spill over to your daily life, may in fact make you a happier person. How men play golf is how we are in real life. Rushers on the golf course are rushers in real life. Screamers and shouters on the course are also like that in daily life. Look around next time and notice how this is always the case. Let’s try get you more in control, simplified and getting more enjoyment out of golf and life.




Step 1: Learning to hit the golf ball and finding the RIGHT clubs.

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.

Really difficult to hit in the air

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.

how to break 100 bare bones breaking 100

Cavity back, forgiving, easy to hit

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.

TOP TIP! 

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.

The other option is to buy a set like the Cobra F7 or Taylormade M2 2017. Just make sure it's from the last 5-6 years. You won't regret that.


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. 

Take a look at this article about the most forgiving golf clubs available.

Basics I followed to learn to hit it lefty

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.

  • Swing to 75% so I don’t overhit the ball and try smash it. The limited backswing will mean you have a much larger margin for error because hitting too hard is the biggest problem guys trying to break 100 have. We don’t need to smash the ball and we must trust the club to get it in the air. Swinging easier often makes the ball go further due to less tension in muscles anyway.
  • Roll the bottom wrist over the top wrist in the follow through at impact. You’ll hear a lot about “releasing the club” but even I never understood what the hell the pros and gurus were talking about. Releasing the club is just rolling your wrists over like you do when you swing a cricket or baseball bat.
  • Focus on finishing the swing and standing tall at the end. The ball merely gets in the way. We can’t strike AT the ball. We have to swing through it as if it weren’t there. THIS IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU CAN GET. The only reason golfers hit crap shots is because that ball gets in the way of their thinking and they start going hard AT the ball.

That’s all I worked on to learn to swing.



Step 2: Learn club distances ASAP

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. 

TOP TIP! 

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



Step 3: Play on an actual golf course for new discoveries and learning experiences

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.

TOP TIP! 

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.


What I learned from the first ever nine holes:

  • Chipping and putting is so vital. I could’ve saved a ton of shots if I had played really well from inside 80 yards and on the putting greens.
  • My theory of only a handful of clubs works.
  • Hitting the greens from inside 100 is vital to lower scores.
  • Practicing the four clubs in my bag until I am really good with them will improve scoring and prepare me well to drop the score even lower. Being GREAT with 4 clubs is better than being mediocre with 14.
  • Grass is so different to those synthetic turf range mats. Earth reacts so differently to range mats that you should try and learn to hit a golf ball on grass driving ranges.
  • It’s so important to forget the result and just focus on finishing that swing to completion. Just let the club hit the back of the ball on its way through to the finish of the swing.
  • I’ll need to work on hitting a hybrid to get a little more distance. It wasn’t going that far but I was hitting AT the ball with it for some reason.
  • I’ll need a chipping club, a pitching club, a tee club and a lay up club.


Step 4: Go to the range and work on what I can improve 


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:

Work on putts inside 8 feet because most chips will end up inside 8 feet. All I did with this was putt inside my condo by practicing on a mat on a steel ruler trying to keep the ball on it til the end

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.



Step 5: Play the second round and THINK, FOCUS AND STRATEGIZE


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:

  1. Attack par 3’s for pars if possible because I could hit one of the greens for sure.
  2. Really try score less than a 7 on the par 5’s by not being intimidated by the distance. Play par 3's as par 4's. Play par 4's as par 6's and play par 5's as par 6's too.
  3. Get myself into good approach positions. I always want to approach greens from 120-130, 100, 80 or 50 yards. That’s what I had discovered were my favorite shots by practicing the clubs and recording the distances they went.
  4. Finish my swing, swing it at 75% and have fun.
  5. Avoid all hazards (bunkers and water) by hitting very far away from them.
  6. Don’t count the score at all until after the 9 holes.


I shot a 49! Second time out and I proved my theories and system

TOP TIP! 

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.


Interesting holes in this round:

Hole 2: 

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.

Hole 5: 

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!

Hole 6: 

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.

Hole 8: 

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.

TOP TIP! 

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.


What I learned through this round:

  • I need a more aggressive chipping club, something with less loft because the SW was being lofted too high. I will use PW in future. My technique was great, but my execution was poor due to club choice.
  • To be able to break 90 (or less than 45 on 9 holes), I’ll need a longer tee club, maybe something around 170 yards which I discovered would be my 5 wood. That is something I’ll work on away from the course. You can’t introduce what you’re not confident with onto the course, until you’re confident!
  • Hitting shorter clubs like a hybrid off the tee allows for bigger margin for error whereas a driver or low lofted fairway wood brings more trouble into play as it goes further and further offline bringing water hazards, bunkers and OB into play.


In summary, here are my main points on how to break 100 easily in golf:

  1. Get a game improvement set or get one or two individual irons. Something with a nice big surface area of club face and big fat sole. You’re going to be in trouble with a set of low handicap clubs.
  2. Play what you know – remove what hurts you. Be a stress-free playa. If your driver costs you 10 shots a round, what is it doing in the bag? Do you fluff a 60° all the time? Drop the ego and leave the thing in the car.
  3. Learn your distances and shot shape as accurately as you can.
  4. Chip and putt practice is essential and using the proper technique will bring you lower scores.
  5. Use ONE club to chip with – I prefer a PW.
  6. Use ONE club to pitch inside 50 yards with – perhaps SW or PW.
  7. Find ONE tee-off club – usually not a driver unless you’re great with it. Most often it will be a 4 or 5 hybrid, a 5 or 7 wood; or perhaps a 6 iron. I like the 4 hybrid.
  8. Find ONE or TWO irons you hit well so you can attack greens or you can lay up to an easy approach distance. I prefer a 7 or 8 iron, or both.
  9. Train yourself to not swing so hard and focus on swinging more like 75-80% power. Control your power by limiting your backswing. The club has been designed to get the ball in the air and you DO NOT need to hit it harder to get it airborne.
  10. Break up long approaches that are out of range for you into two or three shots. If you can hit a 7 iron 140 yards, and you have a 190 yard shot into the green, hit two sand wedges and be safer.


Summary

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!

Best Golf Chipper Club

The chipper.

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.

Why chippers work

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. 

Should you get one or learn to use a wedge?

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. 

Put EGO aside and understand no one will understand you

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.

Don't get a two-sided chipper

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.?


Best Golf Chipper Clubs Available


Cleveland Smart Sole C Wedge

Best for long bump and runs and greenside chipping

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.

Pros
  • check-circle
    Hot face for longer distance shots if you have lack of confidence with pitch shots
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    Gets the ball rolling with less spin than a wedge so roll out is reliable
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    Lightweight shaft for good feel
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    Versatile all in one solution from inside 80
Cons
  • times-circle
    Acquired taste with the ball jumping off the face quite hot green side

Conclusion

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.

Harry tosses the driver – takes his game by the balls

I’ve been playing golf for two summers now, and prior to watching your videos my best score was a 125.

My driver was my highest stress club and my friends who I played with were all single handicappers and would use their driver on most holes. I literally would miss every fairway.

I started watching your videos and saw your advice on breaking up the shots. My friends though i was nuts when i took out my 9 iron on the tee of every par 5. That first round after trying your tactics I scored a 102.

Your stress free golf and hitting the clubs that are most comfortable marked the biggest improvement in my game

Harry

MATT: This is what the path to enlightenment looks like. Block out the bad, harness the good. You sir, are on your way to the 90’s in no time!

Emil The Beginner Almost Crushes the In-Laws

Hi playa.

I started my Journey of golf last summer after years of consideration. My goal is to beat my parents in-law who are decent playas.

Never took a lesson, just watched Youtube mostly you obviously.

Magic happened in a matchplay with The in-laws. I started of with my
first ever birdie at hole 3 par 3, first shot went over The Green and I had a nasty chip with a Hard downsloping Green. Somehow i managed to get The ball in a perfect line, and it just rolled in The damn cup!

With The confidence of The birdie I kept The Momentum and had The lead for The first 9 holes. But with a body that is not used to carrying a heavy bag I tragically lost the last 9 (obviously the shitty clubs fault, and not me being sweaty and weak).

Since then I’ve grinded out a lot of hours on the range and playing 9 hole rounds alone to increase my stress-free golf. Even though I’m a faithful follower of The slice, I reduced my hcp thanks to your higher power.

I Will Come to Thailand and learn The ways of The playa.

Waddacheesy message

MATT: LOL Emil, this was a hilarious story. I can give you some advice here. For every time you beat your in-laws, you must lose to them 3 times. Golf is more important than life. They will kill you.

Lars Will Use the Way of The Playa to SMASH his handicap

Hello Playa,

I’m a golfer, who really struggles with his long clubs. So I accidentally found this channel in August 2018.

The first video I watched was the triple six sub eighty system. At the beginning I got the message of the videos, but I struggled to get it on the course, because of my stupid ego.

And then winter came and our course closed, so I couldn’t prove that the way of the playa is the right way. Only small “winter greens” and “winter tee boxes” allowed me to play a little bit (in temperatures of 0 degrees Celsius). My best score on a real course was an 96, but with winter greens and tees I scored 3 over par in 10 holes.

Now April comes and the new season starts. With the great course management advice and other tips of the best Sidekick in the world I’m sure to break 90 soon and get down to Hcp 15 or something like that (currently at 21.9). Also I’m trying to convince all my golfing friends to enter the way of the playa

Have a great day!

Lars Vieluf

MATT’S EDIT: LARS I WILL FOLLOW UP WITH YOU THROUGHOUT THE SEASON FOR UPDATES!


Case Study: STRESS-FREE GOLF at Gary Player CC Home of the Nedbank Golf Challenge

Stress-Free Golf is KEY 

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. 

What is Stress-Free Golf?

A couple of important factors govern the WADDAPLAYA Stress-Free Golf System:

1. Only hit shots that you are 100% comfortable hitting. 

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.

2. Ask yourself before every shot, 'What's the simplest shot I could hit now?' 

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.

3. Forget the words 'birdie' 'par' 'bogey 'double bogey'. 

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.

4. Leave those clubs that screw you, in the car! 

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.

5. Aim to the entrance of the green and avoid the trouble! 

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. 

6. If the pin is left, aim right. if the pin is right, aim left. If the pin is in the middle, aim to the middle!

7. Leave yourself easier chip and pitch shots. 

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!

8. Plan your hole beforehand from green to tee not tee to green. 

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!

9. Focus on the stuff that makes up 90% of the game to really improve. 

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. 

10. Leave the ego in the locker room.​

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? 

Exactly!

Give me 49 pars and one bogey over one birdie and 49 triples any day of the week. 

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