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My story originally appears on PGA.com on 3/6/22
For two straight weeks on the PGA Tour, the golf course is coming out on top after three rounds. With some breezy East winds, and very slick greens, the already difficult, under benign conditions, Bay Hill layout, made for some interesting play on Saturday. When looking at the scorecards from the likes of Victor Hovland, Tyler Gooch, Billy Horschel and Rory McIlroy, you almost get the feel of being on a rollercoaster, like those at Universal Studios, which is ironically right next door to The Bay Hill Club and Lodge.
I’ve been lucky enough to play Bay Hill on 10 occasions. One of the things that has always struck me with the layout are the number of holes that you really need to be cognizant of the lines you choose to hit your drives and approach shots on. Add wind into the mix, like we saw on Saturday, and you’ll need to be even more careful. With those two situations in mind, a strategically demanding course, and windy conditions, I would suggest these two classic tips, that came from the King himself, Arnold Palmer…
Count Down for Lower Scores
Successful golfers follow a pattern of behavior when they set up to a shot. You too should follow a “countdown”, checking off key indicators that tell you you’re ready to fire.
- 4: Put the clubface squarely behind the ball so that it looks at the target.
- 3: Put your feet in position so that the ball is opposite the desired spot in your stance.
- 2: Check to see that your stance is square toes equally distant from the target line.
- 1: Check to see that your shoulder line is also square and parallel to the target line.
Finally, blast off just like the rockets do — slowly and smoothly, gradually increasing in velocity.
Extend the Impact Zone for Accuracy
Many shots stray because the golfer has rolled the wrists to the left, closing the clubface, during impact or moved the club “across the ball” through the hitting area. To eliminate these causes of misdirected shots, continue the clubhead along the target line for a little longer than normal after impact. Extending the impact zone will automatically give you a full extension of your right arm on the follow-through and a nice, high finish position. Remember to not sway toward the target; just “throw” the clubhead down the line.