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Golf Basics - The Long and Short Game

Aug 30, 2008
The long game refers to your drives (shots off the tee) and fairway shots; everything short of the shots you make to get onto the green.

Each hole has a different difficulty level, different par and distinctive hazards, so instructing you to use your Driver on every tee would be blatantly wrong. This is something you will learn over time as you learn the various shots you make according to the club, the placement of the ball and your personal swing.

When talking about short game, we've all the seen the long accurate drives of Tiger Woods. The ball flies through the air and lands in the middle of the fairway, 300 yards away. The green-eyed monster of envy consumes us as we wonder if we could ever hope to drive like that.

Fortunately, long drives are not the be-all-end-all game of golf. Enter the short game. Without good short game skills, all the long drives are for naught. The short game is those shots that get us onto the green from about one hundred feet out, be it from the fairway, a bunker, the rough or a drop zone and includes chips, sand shots and pitches.

This is where your higher numbered clubs would be used, as well as your pitching iron, sand wedge or lob wedge. Most golf courses have practice areas as well as a driving range. Spend some time working on hitting your ball onto the green from different distances. Aim for a ten-foot circle in the center of the green at first. Experiment using your wedges; what works for someone else, might not work for you and your articular swing.

After you get accustomed to doing this drill consistently, it's time to spend some time in a sand trap. Knowing how to get the ball out of a trap will cut your score. Plant your feet firmly into the sand, with your left foot turned toward the hole. Imagine a 4-inch circle around the ball and try to hit the edge of the circle that is away from the ball.

Take lots of sand with your ball and swing completely. Don't decelerate at all when or after you hit the ball. It should pop up onto the green and stop. This doesn't work unless the sand is very soft and powdery. On hard surfaces, you might need to avoid actually hitting the sand.

As in all aspects of the game, only practice will help you to improve. Generally speaking, the lower the club number, the longer and lower your ball will go. A 4-iron shot will travel long and low and will most likely roll, whereas a 9-iron shot will have much more loft and go less distance both in the air and on the ground.

The professionals on television make it look so easy; they consistently hit the ball long and straight and never miss-hit the ball making it dribble ten feet, or completely miss the ball. Driving is very important to the game, and many hours spent at the driving range will help improve your distance. Experiment with the same club to see what works for you if you move the ball forward or backward in your stance. Take a lesson, if possible, and learn the proper swing from the beginning.

Mastering the long game helps you get to the green in fewer strokes, keeping your score and frustration level down. Remember that it takes a long time to learn consistency and remember to have fun!
About the Author
Golf Beginner Guide is the best place to go for tips and resources when looking for golf tips for beginners. Please visit our website at http://golfbeginnerguide.blogspot.com/
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