Month: April 2014


Do you ever remember the first time you heard your voice on a voice recorder? I’m sure your reaction was similar to wait that’s not me. It works the same way with seeing your golf swing for the first time. What we feel we are doing usually never matches reality. The perception of what our golf swing looks like in our mind never matches the one we see on video.

When trying to make a change in the golf swing whether it’s setup or swing mechanics, it is imperative that you take video of yourself. Time and time again I take video of students and the number one response I hear is “I didn’t know I was doing that”. That’s because the picture that we have in our mind of what our golf swing looks like is distorted. Until you can actually see with video what you are doing, the setup or swing change becomes easier.

Perception is something that can hinder a golfer’s ability to make a change in their swing. I had a student last week that was slicing the ball. I made him aware that the face of the club needed to be more closed at impact. After a few balls the pattern was still the same, out to the right. I then told the student I want you to close the face so much that you hit it into the net on the left. You can probably guess where the next ball went, perfectly straight. His perception was that the face of the club was pointing left towards the net, but in reality it was perfectly square. After he struck the ball he told me I can’t believe that went straight. I proceeded to tell him that you never know what hot is until you experience cold. Sometimes when making changes in the golf swing you have to over exaggerate the feeling of what you are trying to do to get the desired result.

Rico Riciputi, PGA


What was the hook that pulled you into the game of golf? Was it the 10-footer that you made for par or the up and down from 40 yards. No, it was the solid 5-iron that flew 150 yards and landed 5 feet from the pin. Golfers get more satisfaction from hitting a solid driver then they do from hitting a 40 yard pitch next to the hole. Have you ever been to a driving range and took an observation on the amount of golfers working on their full swing vs. their short game? Exactly, the difference is significant. If you were to take that same observation at a tour event you would see an equal amount of players in each area. This is one of the reasons why golfers are not getting better. The driver has become the measuring stick to how you are playing. I believe if you can pitch the golf ball consistently, you can lower your scores rapidly.

What are the short game shots? They consist of putting, pitching, chipping and sand. The number one short game shot is putting because we are doing it on ever hole. The problem is if we don’t pitch the ball close enough to the hole, the up and down becomes more difficult. Pitching the ball is by the far the number one most difficult short game shot for golfers. It is the shot that requires higher spin greater trajectory that lands soft on the green. It becomes a problem when we hit two great shots up near the green, then we decide to play tennis with our wedge back and forth back and forth. The next time you are on the course keep track of your pitch shots. At the end of every round take a look at your pitch shots from 50 yards and in. I guarantee there is a lot of room for improvement.

The issue I find when teaching pitching is the student’s awareness of where the club should be at impact. The student is either trying to hang back and help the ball in the air with their hands and wrist, or push their hands excessively forward at impact where the leading edge tends to dig. There has to be a blend of the two. The hands will be slightly in front of the ball at impact while the torso and lower body are moving to facilitate where the club is going. This will allow for the bounce of the club to work and get the desired result. It is also imperative for hitting consistent solid wedge shots. Take the time to see your local PGA Professional to get some help.

Rico Riciputi, PGA

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