Golf Tips from PGA Professional Jason Fiore
A seasoned golf instructor can impart wisdom to players of all levels. We put PGA head professional at Forest Hill Field Club in Bloomfield, Jason Fiore, to the test by providing him with several scenarios that every player encounters on the course. We asked Jason to offer a tip for The Beginner, The Weekend Player, and The Single Digit Handicapper for each scenario. See what Jason suggests that could help your game!
On the Tee BoxScenario – Players are preparing for their first tee shot of the day. It’s a long, straightaway par 4 with a wide fairway, lined by trees to the left. What would your tip be for:
The Beginner – Avoid those trees! For a right–handed player, most beginners’ natural ball flight is left to right. Take a smooth tempo, trust those golf lessons, and don’t try to do too much. Typically, beginners will pull their shot when the swing tempo gets a bit quick from the top.
The Weekend Player – Try to avoid the big number out of the gate. With trees lined on the left, I would suggest that the player sets up on the left side of the tee box and aim down the right side of the fairway. This will provide the player with optimal lateral forgiveness. If the player hits the ball into the next fairway over to the right, they may not have made a new friend coming down that hole, but at least they will have a play at the green in this scenario.
The Single Digit Handicapper – This player has been training to become a really good player. Whatever the player’s swing thoughts are — takeaway, connectivity, impact position, etc. — narrow it down to two thoughts maximum and let it rip!
From the Fairway
Scenario– The ball sits on the right side of the fairway, approximately 150 yards from the hole. The hole location is in the middle of a large, flat green. A greenside bunker is front right and there is a steep drop–off behind the green. The Beginner has been struggling to hit the ball in the air. The Weekend Player (right–handed) has been pushing balls to the right. The Single Digit Handicapper is hitting balls slightly thin and having trouble holding the green. What is your advice for:
The Beginner – We need to get this ball airborne for morale. The two danger areas are hitting the ball too long and being short to the right of the green. As mentioned earlier, most beginners play their shots from left to right. First, set up to target the left side of the green. Next, do two things: 1) imagine a leaf underneath the golf ball that we are trying to descend upon during the downswing; and 2) finish with your weight on your front foot. Many times, when we fail to get the ball airborne, the player never transfers their weight forward and they swing up at the ball and fail to make contact below the equator of the golf ball.
The Weekend Player – With trouble areas long and short right, we need to fix that push quick! A push could be caused by a multitude of issues: an inside–out club path with an open club face, or the lower body getting too far out in front are two that are the most common. My advice is to set the alignment of your feet towards the left side of the green and feel as though you are closing your shoulders relative to your feet. One of the most common mistakes I see in amateur players is open shoulders to the target line. Once we have the alignment set, feel as though you’re staying connected on the way down by tucking your left armpit to your torso. When the left arm gets away from the body, the clubface opens and causes a weak miss to the right.
The Single Digit Handicapper – Since holding the green is the issue and the hole location is in the middle, start by clubbing down from an 8–iron to a 9–iron. The thin miss will likely hop onto the green pin high, and if it’s hit solid you’ll still be on the green with an uphill putt. For contact, I would focus on keeping the lead hand in front of the clubhead down through impact to promote compression of the golf ball.
We hope these tips help you out on the course. Stay tuned for our next round of scenarios where Jason will offer advice for greenside bunkers and the putting green.