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Golf Instruction

Golf instruction refers to teaching the game of golf. Golf instructors require both technical and physical ability to teach golf, and are typically best performed by recognized golf instructors certified by relevant bodies such as the professional golf association in the United States. Golf instructors typically use a combination of physical conditioning, driving range instruction, videotaped swing analysis, and on-course play to teach. Golfers begin to learn by learning the fundamentals of the swing and the different aspects of the various shots required to play golf. GolfSmash's instruction page is one of the first golf websites to provide golfers with real-time lessons from real golf instructors around the world. GolfSmash's certified golf instructors will post their daily tips, comment on questions, analyze golf swings, and communicate directly with golfers who have questions. Golfers can also follow their favorite golf instructors and will be automatically notified when the instructors they are following post new tips. GolfSmash's golf instructors will be ranked throughout the world based on the interaction golfers have with them, number of followers, and the number of posts on GolfSmash.
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Brad Smith, PGA
(Students 3)
Jan 19, 2015 1:47 AM Trouble Shots | All Levels
 
Bunkers aren't that hard. Check this out so you can have fun getting the ball close to the hole.
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MattRistine
(Students 1)
Dec 29, 2014 4:53 AM Quick Tips | All Levels
 
For most golfers, winter is a slower time of year. Even if you live in a warm state, chances are you won't play as much golf during the winter as you will in the summer. While that might not be much fun, it does give you the chance to work on your game and improve some of your weaknesses. You don't want to mess with your swing in the summer when you are busy playing as much as possible, so put off those changes until the off-season. So what should you work on during the winter? Figuring that out is as easy as looking back on the season that you just finished. What were the weak parts of your game? Where were you happy with your performance? You shouldn't have to think too long in order to decide what parts of the game you need to work on. Don't make the same mistake that most golfers make and practice the parts of the game that you are already good at - attack your weaknesses if you really want to get better. Below are a few ideas for improvements you can make during the winter months - Ball flight change. If you would like to change from a draw to a fade, or vise versa, winter is the perfect time to make the change. This is an adjustment that will take some time, so it is best done when you aren't playing very often. Grip changes. Making an adjustment to your grip might be the most challenging change that you can make in your game. Should you decide to change your grip, commit to taking some time away from the course so you can simply practice your new grip on the driving range until it becomes comfortable. Changing putters. Decided that you need a new putter to take your performance on the greens to the next level? Try putting the new flat stick in the bag during the winter. That way you can gradually get used to the new putter before the golf season really kicks in again. For any major change you plan to make in your game, the winter season is the ideal time to do the job. Give yourself plenty of time in between rounds to work on your improvements, and you should be ready to take a big step forward in your game when spring arrives.
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MattRistine
(Students 1)
Dec 11, 2014 6:30 PM Miscellaneous | All Levels
 
Many amateur golfers think that there is some kind of trick - or magic - to being a professional golfer. They can’t imagine shooting the scores that the pros shoot, so they build up this idea in their head that the pros are doing something they as amateurs aren’t even capable of. That isn’t true at all. In reality, most professional golfers are simply highly proficient at what they do, capable of repeating good shots over and over again. Sure, they can hit the ball good distances and generate backspin, but the consistency of their performance is really what leads to the good scores. If there is any ‘magic’ involved, it comes in the form of something so simple that most amateur golfers ignore it completely - decision making. Simply put, pros make better decisions than amateurs. When you are playing for your paycheck each week, there is no room for error due to poor choices. The game is hard enough - making bad decisions can make it impossible. While professional golfers generally hit better shots than amateurs do, the real difference between the two is the decisions they make from the first tee to the last green. Following are five ways you can quickly stop making amateur decisions and start thinking like a pro. Don’t reach for your driver all day. There are great times to hit your driver, and times where you should opt for a fairway metal or long iron. Pro golfers understand that the game is about position, not distance. Placing your ball in a safe position to play an approach shot into the green is far more important than raw distance off the tee. Stay under the hole. Whenever possible, you want to be playing uphill. Why? You have more control over the golf ball when playing uphill, especially on short shots. As you pick targets throughout the round, keep in mind the desire to position the ball below the hole. Avoid a repeat shot. A repeat shot is when you have to try the same shot twice in a row - such as leaving your ball in a bunker after hitting a sand shot that doesn’t get out of the trap. These are strokes that you can’t get back, so make sure to do everything you can to avoid having to hit the same shot twice in a row. Play more break. There is a reason the low side of the hole is called the ‘amateur side’. Most amateurs don’t play enough break on their putts, and they watch them miss on the low side time after time all day long. When reading your putts, add a couple inches to the line you think is right - and you will be amazed at the results. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Thinking about shots that are still to come on the course is a great way to make bad decisions on the shot you are currently playing. Staying in the moment is vitally important on the golf course, so focus all of your mental energy on the shot that is currently in front of you.
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MattRistine
(Students 1)
Dec 11, 2014 6:03 PM Trouble Shots | All Levels
 
One of the most important decisions a football coach has to make on any given Sunday is the choice of going for it on 4th down - or punting instead. Sometimes, the choice is easy. When it is 4th and 20, the punt is the obvious choice. Likewise, facing a 4th and 1 when you need a touchdown to win is a pretty easy decision to keep the offense on the field and go for the first down. Just like a head coach in football, you need to know when to punt on the golf course - and when to go for it. Of course, you don’t actually punt the golf ball. The golf version of a punt is chipping the ball back onto the fairway instead of going for the green. If you find your ball in a bad spot after your tee shot - behind some trees, for example - you will have to choose if you are going to be aggressive or if you are going to play safe and pitch out sideways. Pitching out is the safer option, but might mean you will make a bogey on the hole. On the other hand, going for the green could be rewarded with a par or birdie - but it could also be punished with a double bogey or worse. So how do you make this difficult choice? The first thing to think about is the context of your round as a whole, and where you stand on the scorecard. If you are on the first couple holes, it is usually best to chip out and not do too much damage to your score early on. There will be chances later in the round to be more aggressive if you so choose. However, if this decision comes late in a round and you need a par to set a new personal best, for example, the risk might be worth the reward. Another important factor is the variables that you are facing on the shot. How many dangers do you need to avoid in order to achieve a good result? Having to get your ball over a tree is one thing - but if you have to get over a tree and then avoid a water hazard near the green, that is likely too much risk to take on. Count how many different ways the shot could go wrong, and if you find more than one or two, you are better off playing it safe. You can’t count on hitting a completely perfect shot - there needs to be at least a little margin for error. So - do you prefer to go for it, or are you a player that opts for the punt more often than not? Neither one is right or wrong, and there are good golfers that take both approaches. The important thing is that you understand all of the variables in play and make an informed decision - and then be confident in that decision as you hit the shot. Often, your commitment to the decision is more important than the decision itself. Good luck!
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MattRistine
(Students 1)
Dec 10, 2014 12:54 AM Miscellaneous | All Levels
 
Through the years, I have played with golfers of all different skill levels, ranging from complete beginners to accomplished professionals who have competed in major championships. Over that experience, there is something interesting I have learned - many amateur golfers don’t think that course management matters to them. Nearly every good golfer I played with understood the importance of course management, and how crucial it is to make good decisions from shot to shot. However, less accomplished players seemed to think it was good enough to just grab a club and swing away - and the results were usually in line with how much thought went into the shot. Course management is important for each and every golfer. While a professional golfer will have more shots at their disposal, and will be able to rely on their shots more consistently, it is still vital to every golf to think their choices through carefully before hitting a shot. Just like a football team wouldn’t head out onto the field without a game plan, you should never head onto the course without a plan of attack. Following are just a few of the many reasons why you should take course management more seriously - Eliminate a variable. No matter what your handicap is, there are certainly plenty of shots throughout a round that you wish would have gone better. The important thing is to understand what poor shots are due to bad execution, and which are due to bad decision making. When you pay attention to course management, you will have a specific reason for each shot - so you should be making good decisions most of the time. That way, when you hit a bad shot, you can look quickly to the execution of your swing knowing that the decision making was sound. Learn more about your game. As you put more and more thought into your shot selection on the course, you will start to learn things about your game that you might not have known otherwise. For example, if you notice that you continue to fail to execute a specific shot with a certain club, you can start avoiding that situation or just stop trying to hit that shot. Those patterns are only going to make themselves known when you put time and effort into course management. Lower your scores! Isn’t this the point in the first place? Believe it or not, and many amateurs don’t believe it, good course management can lower your scores in your very next round. Pick the right clubs, use solid strategy, and you will see your scores start to fall even without making a single change to your swing.
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MattRistine
(Students 1)
Nov 23, 2014 5:28 AM Quick Tips | All Levels
 
One of my favorite things to do in golf is to travel and play courses in different locations and different climates. I have found over the years that it requires a certain level of golfer to be able to handle the adjustments to a new environment and still be able to post the same scores that they do at home. It is one thing to be able to get the ball around your home course where you know every slope and every hazard - it is quite another thing to do it on a course that you have never seen before when you are thousands of miles from home. I believe that every golfer should try to take a trip at least once to test how their game holds up under different conditions. Not only is it great fun, but you can also learn a lot about your game and what parts of it need work. I am from the Seattle area where most golf courses are lined with trees and the turf is generally soft and damp. While my game is well suited to those conditions because they are what I am used to, I enjoy heading south to the desert to play on golf courses that are completely different than what I am comfortable with. It requires me to hit different shots, think differently, and adapt quickly in order to shoot good scores. If you do get a chance to take a golf trip, I have a few quick tips to help you play your best - Figure out yardages first. Depending on where you have traveled, there is a good chance that the ball will fly a different distance than it does at home. For that reason, make figuring out your yardages the first task on your list. Pay close attention to the shots you hit on the first few holes and quickly adjust once you figure out a pattern in the distance of your shots. Ask around. There is nothing quite like local knowledge, and most golf pros will be happy to share their tips. Tell them you are visiting from out of town and that you would appreciate any advice they have on how to play the course. Get out on the practice green. The type of grass used on the courses where you visit might not be the same as at home, so get onto the practice green before your round and figure out what the grass is like. Different grasses affect putting and chipping the most, so pay attention to those areas of your game while making the adjustment. You don’t have to play great golf to enjoy a golfing vacation - I have played plenty of poor rounds on my trips and still have a memorable time. However, it is always more fun to play well, so I hope my tips can help you dial in your game as quickly as possible.
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MattRistine
(Students 1)
Nov 23, 2014 5:26 AM Miscellaneous | All Levels
 
I have been lucky enough in my life to have played in many, many golf tournaments. For me, playing in tournaments provided great motivation to practice my game for countless hours all in search of better finishes. The feeling of pressure and competition that you get when playing in a tournament is one of the best experiences in all of golf. For me, the routine of playing in a tournament is second nature at this point. Things like how to warm up, how to handle the nerves, and how to prepare for each round are just part of the process. However, if you are someone who is yet to experience your first tournament, all of those steps might seem intimidating and a little overwhelming. This article offers a few pieces of advice based on my experience that I hope will help you overcome the jitters and enjoy your first tournament. Give Yourself Time The first thing you want to make sure you do when playing in a tournament is to give yourself plenty of time before you are due on the first tee. A good rule of thumb is to take whatever amount of warm up time you normally use for a round of golf, and add twenty minutes to it. So, if you usually arrive a half hour prior to teeing off, try showing up for the tournament 50 minutes ahead of your tee time. This will give you a chance to check in for the tournament, and to complete your warm up without feeling rushed. The extra time also can help you shake off the hitters and get comfortable with your surroundings. Stick with What Works Are you a golfer who likes to hit a lot of range balls before you tee off? Maybe you only like to hit a few shots with a couple clubs and you feel ready to go? Whatever your routine, stick to it as closely as possible. Doing something different just because it is a tournament round is a recipe for throwing your game off. I advise arriving a little earlier as mentioned above just to have a little breathing room before you tee off, but try keeping everything else as consistent as possible. It’s Just Golf There is no denying that you will feel more pressure during a tournament round than you do during a regular round - and there is nothing wrong with that. However, it is still just golf at the end of the day. The golf course will look the same as it does on any other day, and you can still play well as long as you remain focused and shake off the nerves. While you want to play well, don’t make the round bigger than it is - take it one shot at a time and enjoy the competition. I hope you are able to enter a tournament near you sometime soon and test your skills under pressure. It doesn’t matter what kind of tournament or what the stakes might be - even a small event can make you feel the pressure and require you to step up to the challenge. Good luck!
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TheGolfAce
(Students 1)
Nov 22, 2014 3:53 PM Full Swing | Beginner
 
Knowing what we know now about the golf ball and club interaction in rainy and wet conditions, mainly the loss of spin, let’s look at the different types of shots you may face in a soggy round and how to approach them. A couple of things to note in general for all shots you play in the rain. Make sure you try to keep your grips as dry as possible. If they’re wet, you’re going to grip harder and this will affect your swing and ultimately distance. Second, if you’re wearing some sort of rain jacket, realize that your swing will more than likely be restricted. This will affect distance negatively as well. These are two important things to keep in mind as you play on a wet, rainy day. Off the Tee One of the caveats to the rule I explained in the previous article, water equals less spin and more carry, will show its ugly head with your tee shots and any use of a driver and/or wood. There is something about the flat, not significantly grooved face of these longer clubs that creates a lot more spin. This significant increase in spin will lead to shorter shots. So a good rule of thumb if your ball is wet and you’re playing a tee shot will be to underestimate your distance. Also, these clubs will produce a much less predictable array of shots directionally. If you have a go to shot, use it with the driver and woods. Playing from the fairway If you’re lucky enough (or good enough) to be playing from a lot of fairways on a wet day, you’re in luck. The fairway will easily be the place on the course you’ll be affected the least by the rain. Remember the rule with our groovy friends, rain will lessen the spin affect. Make sure to calculate your fairway shots appropriately by keeping in mind where your ball is, that area’s level of sogginess, and how the greens are receiving the ball. You can still get a decent amount of spin from the fairways, but it will be affected negatively. If you’re playing into a soft green, I’d play it close to your normal distances as the increase in carry will be lessened by the ball's decrease in roll. Into a harder green that allows for some roll out, club down half a club to equalize your distances. Playing from the rough Stay out of the rough at all costs when it’s wet! We all wish it was that easy, right? The rough will play tricks on you. The rough will produce flyer lies on a dry day. Throw in some water and those can turn into some super fliers. You will want to seriously consider how your ball is sitting in the rough and the level of wetness prior to playing your shot. If your ball is sitting up, with the grass going in the same direction as your swing, you’re looking at a good opportunity for some serious distance. This type of lie is idea from the rough, but the distance control will be key. Grass going against your swing? This will produce something a little closer to your normal distance. Remember to take into consideration the green conditions we talked about above as well. Playing out of sand Playing out of the sand is fairly similar in both wet and dry conditions. Out of a greenside bunker you’re going to want to do a couple of things. First, you’ll want to close your clubface a little more than normal. Our club will want to bounce a lot more out of the wet sand. Closing the clubface will allow us to dig a little more, which is what we need to do in order to avoid the skull. You’ll also want to take just a little bit of tempo off your swing. This is needed because you’re going to make a little more solid contact with the ball due to the extra bounce wet sand will produce. Playing in wet conditions requires a good memory and the ability to reason and calculate your distances based on your lie and level of sogginess. Next time you play in wet conditions, use a little logic and pay close attention to what’s going on and you’ll enjoy yourself so much more.
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Brad Smith, PGA
(Students 3)
Nov 17, 2014 12:23 AM Full Swing | All Levels
 
After many years of giving instruction all over the world, I found if my students made a few adjustments with their drivers they could hit their driver longer and straighter. Check out this video and see if it helps you.
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TheGolfAce
(Students 1)
Nov 16, 2014 9:05 PM Full Swing | Beginner
 
Wind. You hate it, I hate it, professionals hate it. It's one of the toughest elements to understand and judge. Ever been so sure of a wind direction only to hit your shot and it completely changes mid-flight? We've all been there and hopefully in part one of this article series, Good Old Wind, we can look at the different effects wind has on our ball and it's flight. Then in part two, we'll discuss some strategies to make playing in the wind easier and hopefully save you a few strokes. Wind The effect of the wind on your game really depends on your personal ball flight. Those of you with a higher ball flight will be more affected by wind conditions. Just think about it, the higher you go up, the less resistance and stronger the winds become. Here’s a good example of two different wind conditions and their effects on a drive. These numbers were taken from a study done by a professional named Ken Tannar. The baseline drive with no wind was between 250-255 yards. 5 mph wind With wind – 260 yards Into wind – 240 yards 20 mph wind With wind – 275 yards Into wind – 200 yards Look at the difference we have here. You can see that a wind blowing into you will hurt your distances much more than a tailwind will help you gain distance. While we’ve looked at winds straight into you and downwind, playing in a crosswind is a lot more common for most of us. Crosswinds will seriously exaggerate any spin you put on a ball. Whether you’re a slicer or hooker of the ball should be taken into consideration when playing into a crosswind. Playing back into a crosswind will affect your distances negatively, while playing with a crosswind will have the opposite effect and give you slightly more distance. A good rule of thumb is about one foot of movement for every yard of distance in a 10 mph crosswind. Then of course you’ll probably never encounter a crosswind that comes at a 90 degree angle to you. Oh the joys of playing on a windy day! Don’t feel bad on a day when it’s windy out. Statistics show that even the best players in the world’s scores are significantly affected as the wind increases. Even as much as four or five strokes in a round. Do yourself a favor and check out part two of this article series, Good Old Wind, and learn how to make the wind less of an adversary.
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TheGolfAce
(Students 1)
Nov 16, 2014 8:52 PM Full Swing | Beginner
 
Golf is much more than just searching for the perfect swing and executing it on the course. The best golfers in the world would be nowhere if they never learned how to play in different weather conditions. Cold weather, hot weather, rain, wind, they all affect the way you need to play in order to put up a great score. We’ll take a look at the effects of different weather conditions over the course of six articles. Let’s start off with rain/water and its effect on the golf ball. In following articles we’ll look at wind, its effects and how to play in it. Finally, we’ll address how the temperature effects your golf ball and how you should make changes to your game as it changes. Rain/Water Rain and water have a serious effect on your golf ball. While it's easier to predict than wind, calculations will need to be made and a good education in it's effects will help in determining the best course of action in any one situation. Let's break it down. When water makes its way in between the club and the ball you’ll encounter a good amount of semi-flyers/flyers. Water’s presence in a groove will fill that groove up and not allow for the typical grip between club and ball you see in dry conditions. Thus, in effect, you’ll produce a ball that would parallel that of a knuckle ball in baseball. While a typical semi-flyer/flyer results in added carry distance, in the rain it usually won’t lead to more distance due to the counter effects of the rain. We can think of a ball traveling through the rain as one being affected by a very light wind, maybe 2-4 mph. That would translate into roughly a negative effect on your distance of around 3-5 yards of distance. Now, of course you’ll have to take into account whether it’s a heavy rain, light rain, or a drizzle. The baseline I’ve given you would coincide with a nice steady rain. Not too heavy or light. If it’s not actively raining at the time you’re swinging you can throw all the above out the door and think merely about the effect water will have on your shot. When you’re just dealing with the after effects of an earlier rain, some flyer distance adjustment will typically need to be factored in depending on what part of the hole you are playing from (rough, fairway, sand). Remember, you’re ball will typically carry farther when it’s wet due to the altered interaction between clubface and ball. I want you to notice above i've made sure to mention "carry" when talking about distances. That was on purpose. You have to keep in mind that a ball with less spin on it will not stop as quickly as one with normal spin. You'll also have to factor in the softness of the greens as well. A nice softened and receptive green will really react more like that of a normal shot, with roll out distances similar to those when you're playing on a nice dry day. Throw in a more firm green that drains really well and a ball with little spin coming in and you're going to need to think about more roll out than your used to in the rain. That covers part one, how the ball is affected by rain/water. In part two of this article series we’ll look at each of the circumstances above and what'll you want to do to play the correct shot in wet and rainy conditions.
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Brad Smith, PGA
(Students 3)
Nov 15, 2014 2:04 AM Full Swing | All Levels
 
Most amateurs swing with all the power they have but with no balance. Next time you watch professionals on television you will see that golf is all about finesse, timing and balance. Watch how every professional finishes their swing with great balance. They are in control of their swings and have the discipline of not exerting anymore effort than is needed for a great shot. To learn how they do this, first watch and study how they finish in balance each time. Try this in your own yard without a ball. Imagine how it looks and feels. On a few swings, close your eyes so you will heighten the sensation and balance. Once you can finish in balance each time than take it to the course. Always think how you will finish each swing before making your actual swing through the ball.
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Brad Smith, PGA
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