I have big trouble getting my short pitch shots around the greens bold. How can I improve my chipping?
Laura P., Montreal
This is a common problem for many gamers. I am assuming that you are trying to help the ball get into the air, which will result in you hitting behind the ball. The next time you build a short pitch or chip, position the ball a little behind the center of your stand. Open your forefoot so that your chest is also slightly open and focused on your supervised goal. Put about 60 to 70 percent of your weight on your guide foot and swing the club back on your supervised finish line. Be careful not to swing it inward.
Take a few short pitch strokes, keeping your weight on your guide foot the entire time, as this promotes clean contact with the ball. Try to allow the racket to get the ball in the air by rotating your chest as it travels towards the target. If your weight is shifted to your back foot during the shot, you will continue to have trouble touching the ball properly.
Which course or courses at the Lake of the Ozarks are best for a beginner?
Brandon A., Rocky Mountain
All courses at the Lake of the Ozarks have beginner golf tees that shorten the overall length of the course to suit all skill levels. The other things I would consider is finding the flat place possible since it is extremely difficult to hit the golf ball from an uneven surface. You practice on the driving range from a relatively flat position. So if you can find a course that emulates these conditions, your transition from range to course will be more comfortable. With these elements in mind, your most beginner-friendly facilities are the Lake Valley Country Club, Rolling Hills Country Club, Redfield Golf Club, and Eldon Golf Club. These facilities don’t have some of the dramatic elevation changes that some of the others do that make them a challenge due to all the uneven lies.
If I go to practice, what tips could you give me so that I can make the most of my practice time as I can only exercise to a limited extent?
Jack D., Jefferson City
This is a great question, and most golfers don’t think enough about their training habits. First, I would try to schedule an hour of dedicated practice time if possible. Try to find a place with as few interruptions as possible and start stretching and preparing your body. You hit more full strokes on the driving range than on the course most days, so you need to prepare by stretching and conditioning your muscles.
Always have a plan of what you will be working on. I would recommend always practicing with a club or leveling stick placed on the floor to make sure you are properly aimed and your shots hit your intended target. Don’t just drag balls over and hit without knowing where you are actually aiming. Have fun practicing. Play 18 holes on the range on your favorite course. Imagine teeing off on the first hole, using the club you would tee off and playing each hole by visualizing the stroke you want to hit. This will slow down the hitting of your ball and help you prepare for the next round of golf. Just don’t lose your bucket and hit 60 drivers, you won’t get much and likely develop bad habits as you get tired.
I would spend half of your practice time on strokes under 100 yards and putting as this area of the game equates to more strokes on the court than any other area. Use your time wisely and I know it will lower your score and help you enjoy the game more.
Paul Leahy is the PGA Golf Professional and Director of Golf at The Oaks at Margaritaville Lake Resort.