First round of the season? Here are some tips…

Posted in golf on May 18, 2012

After an awful couple of months, the weather looks like might possibly brighten up over the next couple of weeks (touch wood). A perfect time then to dust off the golf clubs and head out for your first round of the season. We asked one of our great golf pros James Irons (upmysport profile) to give us some key points to look for while you’re getting back into the swing (sorry!) of things.

First up we have a look at setting you up for your first driver tee shot. The height of the tee may seem like a trivial point but James thinks it’s important for giving you the best chance of a good ball strike, particularly if you haven’t played for a while:

"Tee the ball high enough, so half of it sits above the club head"

The next tip is slightly more advanced and is something for that first iron strike onto the green. After a long period of not playing you may have lost some yardage, so James advocates creating some lag on the downswing to rediscover that lost power:

"By maintaining the wrist hinge for longer in the downswing you can then release the club with much more power, the later the better!"

One of the most obvious things you will notice on your first round back is the loss of touch and feel around the greens. This can lead to thinning through the back of the green or landing very short on your approach (we’ve all been there!). James advises that with a few simple pointers this can be avoided!

The first point is that your stance and grip should slightly change, with your grip moving down the shaft. Your stance should be narrower with the weight on your front foot, and the ball should rest slightly back in the stance (all encouraging a downward strike on the ball). Lean so that the shaft is ahead of the ball, until you create a straight line from the club head to your shoulder

"Don't use the wrists too much by scooping the ball, trust the angle of the clubface to get the elevation you need"

Finally try to keep a symmetrical length of downswing and follow through, while at all times accelerating through the ball. This can be quite difficult to do as it feels like you are striking the ball too hard, but that’s why it is so important that you trust the angle of the clubface.

Finally we come to putting, where, in the early months of the season things can often go catastrophically wrong! There are obviously lots of things to look for but James says it is important to keep things simple:


"At address, I am looking for my forearms to be parallel to each other, aiming towards the target. Next up is making sure my eyeline is directly above the ball. I am now looking for the putter face to stay on line and the stroke to remain on my intended target line throughout."

Hopefully that has given you some good areas to work on for when you embark on that first round in the coming weeks. If you’re looking for some excellent face-to-face tuition, James teaches lessons at the Dukes Meadows golf course near Chiswick (10 minute walk from Barnes Bridge station & on the 190 bus route) and has a range of booking options that you can find here.