Men, if you’re ever going to get back into golf, this is the weekend.
The U.S. Open is being held at Chambers Bay Golf Course, a fairly new public track outside of Tacoma, Washington. For much of the country, that means the best action—when the leaders are playing—will take place in prime time on Saturday and Sunday.
Fox Sports will be carrying the championship for the first time, replacing NBC Sports, which has covered it for 20 years.
The Left Coast locale means golfers in the East and Midwest can tee it up during the day, then kick back with a cold one just as the leaders are teeing off in Washington.
Whether you’re a regular golfer or an occasional hacker thinking you’d like to get out there again, listen to the advice we’ve pulled together from some of the top names in golf.
The key: Keep it simple. That’s why there’s not a lot of tips here—just some crucial ones that’ll make your round go smoother.
Hitting It Pure: A Top Teaching Pro Shows You How
Keep things simple. Clear your mind and swing easy with driving tips from Mike Bender, the director of Mike Bender Golf Academy at Magnolia Plantation Golf Club in Lake Mary, Florida.
Feet are just wider than your shoulders, left arm aligns with shaft, ball lines up with left armpit.
Keep the clubhead low as you first take it back. Do not “pick up” the club quickly.
At the top, you should feel a slight tilt to the right as you load up before the downswing.
Arms accelerate and weight starts to transfer. Feel your feet pushing into the ground.
Now rip it—don’t “flip” your hands. They stay ahead of the clubhead until after impact.
Try to stick your landing: weight on your left side, right toe pointed, no wobble. Nice shot!
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Warm Up the Right Way
Golf is a sport, not a game. Treat it that way. Few hackers warm up properly, unless you call screeching into the parking lot and running to the first tee a warm-up. Instead, show up an hour ahead of time and do this:
Start Your Heart
Warm up with cardio to get your blood pumping, says FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel says. He uses fitness-band stretches to open his shoulders and hips. (Try this Unbelievable 4-Minute Cardio Workout.)
Untie Those Knots
Creaky guys, do like former world No. 1 Luke Donald: Use a foam roller on your back, hamstrings, and glutes before hitting balls on the range.
Plan Your Practice
On the range, don’t just bang away with your driver and a couple of favorite clubs. Work your way through your bag, Donald says. Then pretend you’re playing: envision the early holes and practice those tee shots and approaches.
Roll ‘Em Easy
It’s important to practice short putts—you know, the ones that drive you crazy when you miss. But you can never practice too many long putts, says 2006 U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy. Feeling that freer stroke will help you on short putts too.
Roll It Close
“Learn the scoring game before the other,” as Rory McIlroy did, says his coach, Michael Bannon. So practice chipping and putting―a lot. If you’re a guy who shoots 90, about half of your shots will be chips and putts.
Slip These Clubs Into Your Bag
1. Adams Golf Red Pro Hybrid Swap an iron for a forgiving hybrid that adjusts to counter slicing or hooking. $229, adamsgolf.com
2. Taylormade Daddy Long Legs Putter A hefty grip and increased head weight produce a steadier stroke. $250, taylormadegolf.com
3. Nike Vapor Speed Driver Tiger plays a version of this model; its face angle and center of gravity can be adjusted. $299, nike.com
Play With Your Brain
Out on the course, make sure your brain is in sync with your game. You’re not Tiger Woods, you’re just a guy!
Be Realistic Take more club than you think you need and try a three-quarter swing. “You’ll have a better chance of hitting the ball solid,” says Billy Horschel.
Track Your Hacks This is geeky but it works. If you keep track of your stats (fairways and greens hit, total putts) you can pinpoint your weaknesses, Bannon says. “Then fix the worst thing in your game first.”
Note: You can do this after the round. Don’t slow things up with your geeky counting.
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Run It Up Americans love high pitch shots. But on most public courses—including Chambers Bay—a lower, running shot is the safer, easier, higher-percentage shot. “It’s a very simple shot,” says Bannon.