Golf School: Dufner-ing Your Way to Lower Scores

Sometimes all you have to do is forget the bad shots, holes, rounds or even seasons and get back to the fundamentals of the game. Jason Dufner shared his tips to doing-so recently in a Golf Digest article that has us simplifying the way we look at the game.

“Quickly write off your bad days and reboot your game with the fundamentals.” Says Duf as he discusses his win at Memorial in 2017. He opened with 65-65 then shot a 77 on Saturday that would usually cripple a tournament. He took the time on the range and practice green that night to shake it off and came back with a 68 on Sunday and a trophy.

Here are a few of his tips on how to get back to the fundamentals or to start your season off strong next year.

My all-time favorite swing thought when hitting driver is, Keep the left arm connected to my chest. It reminds you to swing with your arms and body rotating together. Staying synced is important. It also helps you swing on an in-to-in path in relation to your target line, which should stop you from slicing. And speaking of slicing, don’t forget the simplest fundamentals to hit it straighter: grip and alignment. I recommend a stronger position holding the club, with the hands rotated a little clockwise. Also, be sure your body is aligned square or slightly closed to the target.

The most common problem I see with golfers who struggle when chipping is that they’re all arms. You have to turn your body, too, when you hit these shots.

A good swing thought: Keep the grip close to your body as you follow through. That will encourage you to turn with the club. I also see too much hand action in these shots. Your backswing thought should be, Take the club back wide with no hinge in your wrists and your arms fairly straight. Also, I know this is tough, but you have to trust that the loft on your wedge will get the ball in the air. Don’t try to help it off the turf with your hands. Just keep turning and let the club do its job.

Whatever you’ve been told about grip pressure, having a steady head, length of the stroke, how to read the break; all that stuff takes a back seat to one thing—speed. The path of your putt is dictated by how fast the ball is rolling, so speed is king when it comes to improving on the greens. Think about it: If you’re not getting the ball to the hole, what’s the point of focusing on anything else about putting? Considering how many strokes are taken on the greens, it’s an important fundamental. Use your practice time mainly on distance drills, really trying to hit putts with the right amount of effort. If you have good distance control, you’ll still have a reasonable chance of making the next one even if you don’t get the read quite right, because you’re hole high. Want a swing thought that helps when you’re playing? Think this: Just get it to the hole. You might be surprised how something as simple as that makes you put a good roll on the ball.

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