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Breaking 90: Know your game
Created on 8/1/2003 12:00:00 AM

Breaking 90 - Know Your Game

By now you've played enough golf to know your shot shape. It may not be the prettiest shape or the shape you need for a particular hole. But it's yours, so stick with it. If you want to break 90, you have to be comfortable in your own skin. Focus on building a golf swing that repeats.

Keep trouble where you can see it
A green that's guarded by bunkers or water or out-of-bounds stakes should be approached cautiously. If you want to break 90, you can live with a bogey, but a double bogey will really sting. There will be times when you may be able to hit a green in regulation, but my advice is to survey the danger. If there's trouble around the green, play short of it. Most of the time this will leave you with an optimum uphill pitch or chip and a chance to save par.


To get back on track, swing from 'L to L'
On days when your swing is a disaster, play the knockdown shot. This low, running shot will keep your ball in play. It also improves the synchronization of your body, arms and hands. Play the ball in the middle of your stance with your weight leaning toward the target (above). Then, think "L to L," hinging your wrists so the arms and clubshaft create a 90-degree angle at the top of a shortened backswing. On the downswing turn your body through until it's facing the target. The momentum will pull the club through to an abbreviated finish in an inverted "L" position.

These flags don't fly
When you see a flagstick that's set in a precarious place on the green, picture another flag on the safe part of the green and fire at that one instead.

Don't take any lip
When you're in a fairway bunker, your main concern should be escaping. Don't try to be a hero. If you're 180 yards from the green standing in a high-lip bunker, make sure you have enough loft on your club to escape the sand before you worry about reaching the green. Keep your priorities in mind.

A plumb-dumb habit
I've never been a fan of plumb-bobbing. It doesn't work, because the speed of your putt determines the line in which you need to aim. Plumb-bobbing doesn't take speed into effect. And besides, it takes too long.




Golf Digest August 2003


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