Golf Digest June 2018

Golf Digest empowers the modern golfer, delivering monthly content on how, what and where to play. Golf Digest provides "how-to" articles by an unparalleled team of the game's top professionals, the most in-depth equipment rankings, the Hot List and is the No. 1 authority for golf course rankings.

United States
Conde Nast US

in this issue

4 min
a new way to improve

I grew up on a public course in Philadelphia and took lessons from a Cadillac-driving PGA pro named Joe Hunsberger. He was a good teacher and got me started with solid fundamentals. I was lucky that we clicked. Most golfers go to only two or three pros in their lifetime. The first season I got a job at this magazine, I went to a Golf Digest School in Boca Raton, Fla. Jim Flick fixed my grip. Bob Toski got me out of the sand. Davis Love Jr. tried to teach me good posture. Peter Kostis showed me how to make a descending blow. Chuck Cook kept me laughing. They were the best teachers in the game. Then I started working on stories with Paul Runyan, who gave me a one-lever chipping…

3 min
tricks of the trade

“A tight-lie flop requires commitment, swing speed—and stones.” I’m guessing you’ve hit a miracle shot once or twice. Maybe you threaded it through the trees, or nipped a wedge off a cartpath. Before I joined the PGA Tour, I had a lot of fun making trick-shot videos with my brother, George. I’d hit golf balls in midair with a driver, skip them across ponds to a target on the other side, bank them off trampolines—you get the idea. Miracle shots are really hard to pull off, but when you’re playing for a score, you need to improve your odds. I’ll show you three stroke-saving trick shots that will look miraculous to your playing partners and opponents, but if you follow my advice, you’ll feel comfortable hitting anytime. THE TIGHT FLOP When there’s no…

2 min
can’t chip? look here

When I get students who complain about poor chipping, here’s where I go first: How far are they standing from the ball? If you’re more than a foot away, you’re adding variables that just aren’t necessary. The biggest issue is, the club will tend to swing around your body, with the face fanning open (top photo). It’s hard to hit a good chip from that position. Here’s a simpler way to go. Start with your back foot across from the ball, and get very close to it. That sets the ball position back in your stance. Then, sole the clubhead behind the ball, and aim the face on the line you want the shot to start. Raise the grip, so the shaft is more upright. Finally, put your front foot in…

4 min
tiger: cured!

Did a mechanical tweak help resuscitate the tour’s best short game? STAN UTLEY “When Tiger got in trouble with his chipping, he tended to let the handle move too wide in the backswing. When that happens, the head isn’t really swinging; you’re moving the whole stick together. Then if you accelerate the grip to start the downswing, you bring the grip through impact first, which ruins the engineering of the club. In the swings I see now, the club is setting earlier and releasing earlier, and he’s using the bounce. When you use the bounce, the lies don’t become scary. You’re hitting the turf with the back of the wedge and skidding. You want to land the plane shallow and on the back wheels.” RANDY SMITH “It’s absolutely amazing to me what he’s done…

3 min
jon rahm

Examine the swings of the game’s biggest hitters and you’ll see the vast majority have two similarities: (1) a big backswing with the left arm bending at the top; (2) the club travelling a long way back to the ball to gather more clubhead speed. But that’s not how Jon Rahm cranks drives more than 320 yards. And he does that a lot. “He’s a big, strong man with incredible athletic power,” says Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher Randy Smith. “He keeps that left arm straight and smashes the ball with swing width, not length. Not many can do that.” Rahm’s clubhead speed (119 miles per hour) is a big reason he’s ranked in the top five of the tour’s Strokes Gained/Off-the-Tee statistic. It’s also probably no coincidence that he’s No. 3 in…

2 min
stand and deliver

“Constantly borrowing tees? You need a new downswing.” If you’re regularly popping up tee shots or the ball isn’t rolling very far once it lands in the fairway, you’re hitting down on the ball too much. That’s OK for an iron shot off the turf, but not if you’re swinging a driver. A tell-tale sign your downswing is too steep is if you’re constantly breaking tees in half like you’re splitting firewood. If you want to maximize distance with your driver, you’ve got to hit up on the ball, and a simple fix is to literally stand up during the downswing. Let’s practice this move. As your start the club down, I want you to thrust your hips forward like I’m doing here. I recommend doing this without a ball at first to…