TIPS FROM THE PROS

Common problem shots for golfers and the drill shots you need to fix them.

Modern Golf's Bobby Walia, is one of our Sydney Golf Academy coaches and a PGA accredited professional. We recently sat down with Bobby to discuss his top tips on problem shots commonly found for all golfers and what drills you can do to combat them! So what are Bobby’s top tips?

Problem 1: Slicing

Probably the most common “problem shot in golf”. This is where the ball veers from left to right, sometimes rather aggressively! The ball is forced to go this way because of sidespin created by an open clubface moving on an outside to inside club path. There are a number of different contributing factors to this type of shot, such as a steep backswing or by an open stance. 

Solution

The solution to a slice is not to aim even further to the left! This causes the club to move even further to the left causing the club to impart even more side-spin with a more open clubface. Squaring the body up, even sometimes aiming more to the right (yes that sounds scary but trust us!) will allow the body and arms to swing on a more natural arc with more natural rotation. As there is more natural rotation, the club has a better chance of squaring up and giving the ball a more natural spin allowing it to fly straighter. As with every swing, there should be as little tension through the arms and hands as possible.

Problem 2: Hooking

This is the opposite of slicing the ball. The ball curves excessively from right to left more often than not because of a closed clubface moving from an inside to outside path. Most common reasons for this problem are a very strong grip, very quiet lower body with an upper body and hands rotating too quickly.

Solution

Like most bad habits, hooking the ball can almost always be cured through a slight grip change. Taking tension out of the hands can also allow them to hinge and un-hinge a little more naturally. Half swings with a shorter club can help generate a more natural swing as well as giving the club more of an ability to open up a little on the backswing and naturally rotate on the way through. With the half swings try and have more of a sensation that the left hip rotates a little more naturally as well, this creates room for the arms and club to come through on.

Problem 3: Chipping and pitching

Many people struggle to gauge distances especially around the green.

Solution

Practice more around the greens! During a practice session, professionals will spend 70% on their short game with 30% on the long game. If you don’t have much time, dedicate a practice session to your wedges and short irons.

With each club give yourself various reference points like ankle to ankle, calf to calf, knee to knee, thigh to thigh and hip to hip. These reference points give you a fairly consistent backswing and follow through length.

The number one killer of consistency around the greens is deceleration, if you have a consistent backswing and follow through there is a much better chance of a smoother tempo as well as constant acceleration. Try these various reference points with each short iron and wedge and remember to trust the loft of the club, as each club will launch the ball based on its loft.

Remember that when chipping or pitching, the ball needs to roll to the hole or flag. Getting an idea on how far each club goes with a certain reference point can help you decide which club to use around the greens.

We hope you found these tips useful! Remember that problem shots become problem shots due to incorrect timing and sequencing as well as bad habits that build up over time. Understanding the concept to fix a bad habit is a big step to curing it, but we would also suggest a lesson whether it be from Modern Golf or one of the other Sydney Golf Academy Coaches. Our coaches have the ability to help you feel and understand what needs to be changed as well as prescribing drills and practice habits that are relevant to you.