Seve Ballesteros: Top tips

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 Seve tips 1

1 Start motion with your dominant hand

Using my strongest hand to initiate the swing enables me to have better control of the pace of my takeaway. This helps me pull the club away on the correct path and keep it travelling on the correct plane and arc. Rather than keeping the back of my left hand facing the target I gently turn mine in a clockwise direction as I pull the club quietly away from the ball with my natural hand. Then, by the time both of my hands have moved a little further past my right leg, the back of my left hand and the palm of my right will be parallel to the target line, exactly the position all good players strive for at the top of their swings.

 

 
 Seve tips 2

2 Square to target at impact – the bottom line to any good swing

Probably the most important lesson I learnt as a kid was that no two swings are identical, except at the most crucial point of the action – impact. At impact, every good player has his left hand, arm and clubshaft lined up with the clubface, which is square to the target, solidly on the back-centre of the ball, and travelling at high speed. To me, this is the number one fundamental in golf.

 

 
 Seve tips 3

3 Improvise for better feel around the green

Try different little games with yourself in practice, like a delicate cut-up shot with a 3-iron! It will teach you how you need to flex your knees, open the clubface, and create a 90-degree angle between the left arm and the clubshaft halfway back in the backswing; all of which you will need to do if you play with a pitching wedge.

 

 
 Seve tips 4

4 Choke down for a delicate splash

By choking down the grip until my bottom hand touched the metal of the shaft, I discovered I could play a delicate shot which climbs fairly steeply, but lands softly from a greenside bunker.

My wrists become active very early in the backswing, enabling me to swing back at the desired steep angle. Keeping the majority of my weight on my left side as I start down, I find I am able to ‘scalp’ the sand perfectly with the club as I ‘flip’ it beneath the ball. The followthrough is short and balanced.

 

 
 Seve tips 5

5 Head steady, putter close to the ground

When putting I focus on keeping my head steady all the way from address to impact. At address I trigger the backswing by gently pulling the putter-head back with my right hand. On the forward stroke my goal is simply to return the putter squarely to the ball. I have the sense that my left hand guides the blade through the ball.

 

 
 Seve tips 6

6 Aim to run the ball a foot past the hole

I think of the ‘scoring zone’ as anything inside 20 feet, and to be a good attacking putter from this range, you must learn to strike the ball with authority so that it holds its line all the way to the hole. To do this you must always accelerate the putter-head through impact. If you decelerate the putter-head you end up with a very weak stroke and a poor strike on the ball. There is nothing worse than seeing a putt ‘die’ off line as it nears the hole. Whenever you face a makeable putt (as opposed to one you would be just pleased to lag close) aim to stroke the ball firmly enough so that, if you should miss the hole, it will run a foot beyond the cup.

 

 

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