Early Season Check-Up - How You Doin'?
By Terry Koehler, The Wedge Guy

Terry Koehler has been in the golf industry for over 30 years and currently spends his days as the President of EIDOLON Golf, a small premium wedge company in Victoria, Texas. He's been blogging for over 3 years and has written hundreds of articles ranging from golf tips to equipment issues. His blog will appear on ClubSG twice per week. You can reach Terry to have your golf questions answered at

OK, guys (and ladies!) . . . May is almost over and you've been chipping winter rust off your game for a few weeks or a couple of months, depending on where you live. The meat of the golf season is upon us, so how are you doing? Is your game coming around? Has your short game begun to show some sharpness? Is your ball striking getting more consistent? If not, don’t waste any more time struggling – let's get you fixed.

I played golf last Sunday with a different group than the blood-thirsty game I normally find myself in. I know all these guys from the grill room and back deck of the club, but I don’t play with them that often – something I fully intend to change. These guys range from high single-digit to 20+ handicap, and they play for fun!! Yes, there are a few bets on the action – group against group, and a bet within each group – but this is a different kind of golf than my other group plays. It’s about the friendships . . . being with your buddies on a Sunday afternoon. And it’s about a love of the game. Everyone wants to play well, not because their pocketbook depends on it, but because golf is just more fun that way.

But as I watch some of them struggle, it’s apparent to me they would have a lot more fun if they just hit the ball a little better . . . if they just made a few more putts . . . if their chips and pitches ended up just a little closer to the hole . . . and if they just eliminated some of those really awful shots that cost them dearly. Sound like your game in any way?

As we head into June, why not set yourself one or two “mini-goals” for the next month? Maybe it’s to eliminate that recurring slice or hook that gets you into trouble from the tee. Or that skulled or chunked chip or pitch that wastes a shot (or two) every time it rears its ugly head? Or being a better lag putter, or making more of the short ones. Rather than look at your golf game as a whole, look at the pieces that run up your scores. And then put those on a checklist for attack and remedy. To change your results, you have to change your approach. Here are some tips for how to isolate and improve in a few areas:
1. Fix the slice. The nemesis of the average player, but all is not lost. Lighten your right hand grip and swing the club more with your lead side. Feel like you are pulling the club through the impact zone with your left side, from the lower body, to the upper body, to the arm and hands. Forget the clubhead and path and pull the club through the impact zone. This will get it more inside and on plane, and will reduce your slice if not correct it altogether.

2. Stop the hook. Ironically, this can be corrected by much the same approach. You have too much right hand engagement and so you are rotating the clubhead through impact. Lighten up your right hand grip pressure, and make sure you have the club well down into your right fingers, rather than up toward the palm.

3. Improve your lag putting. Before you play, and if you have time for evening practice, go to the putting green with two balls and putt at holes from 25-50 feet. Use the first putt to gauge feel and see break, and the second to zero in on the range. The only way to become a better lag putter is to practice. And I’ll also offer that good lag putting requires a grip on the club so light that you feel like it almost will fall out of your hands.

4. Make more short putts. This is something you just have to drill on. Start with straight ones about 4’ in length. “Connect” your hands and arms and putter to the rotation of the upper chest and shoulders. Straight back and straight through – one simple motion. And repeat, repeat, repeat. If you have the time, space and money, one of these in-home putting track devices is a great investment so that you can hit more putts. A 5-10 minute practice session at home each night or morning will do wonders.

5. Chip and pitch better. Go back and read Tuesday's article, and all my others about short game technique. Develop a “quiet hands” approach to the short game and it will get better in a hurry. Don’t do it and you’ll struggle forever. You can learn this at home and refine it with a few dozen chips and pitches before every round. In my opinion, that’s more important that a bag of full swing shots to warm up.
So, there are five things to work on to make a leap forward in your golf game as we head into June. Let us all know if any of them help, and offer up your own tips for how to get the most out of your game this season.

* The Wedge Guy's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.

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The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.

[ comments ]
pop543 says:
I've been working on a few things early in the season, Chipping, putting and mid iron play. It looks like it's starting to come around. I just have to stop the blow-up holes. #4 & #5 are what I have practicing the most.
paddyhibernian says:
Early season answers to improving your game.

1. Fix the slice

2. Stop the hook

3. Improve your lag putting.

4. Make more short putts.

5. Chip and pitch better.

Read any golf magazine from the past 25 years and these are the tips all the resident experts will offer.

Anything new or do we just get someone new to offer the same old news?
[ post comment ]
Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

Click here to learn more about Terry.
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