The 3 Essential Ball Control Skills

A typical client of MY CHICAGO GOLF is a beginner golfer needing to hold their own on the course when invited to play by family, friends or co-workers. If you have goals of being able to play and not embarrass yourself, this article is for you.

3 Basic Skills:

  1. Advance the ball while keeping in play (150 yards for men/ 100 yards for women)
  2. Get ball on green within 100 yards
  3. Two-putt once on green

Note that hitting the ball far (200+ yards) is not a requirement for quality golf. Accuracy and consistency is much more important than distance for new golfers. If you are able to advance the ball, hit it on the green once you're close, then two-putt, you’ll be playing bogey golf which equates to a score of 90 for 18 holes. You will be able to keep pace on any course!

  • 48% of golfers shoot above 100
  • 27% of golfers shoot in the 90’s
  • 20 % of golfers shoot in the 80’s
  • Only 5 % of golfers shoot in the 70’s

Attaining the above skills would basically put you in the top 25% of all golfers!

Plan of Action

Step 1) Develop pre-swing fundamentals: Learning how to properly grip the club and stand to the ball are the foundation of the swing. Making sure these elements are correct makes the next steps much easier. Click here for video tutorials: Grip and Stance.

Step 2) Make clean contact with the ball: Start with a short club like a pitching wedge and make small swings brushing the grass. Then place the ball on ground and make the same motion. The goal is to simply gain control of the bottom of the swing in order to pop the ball in the air. Also, using a tee gate at first helps you find the center of the face. Click here for video tutorial: Short Game

Step 3) Add distance: Starting to add body turn and wrist hinge allows you to generate clubhead speed which equates to distance. When done correctly most male golfers will be able to hit their 7 or 6 iron 150 yards (women: 100 yards). Using an alignment rod to practice body pivot and making a swoosh sound are simple drills for speed.

Step 4) Dial in direction: Now that basic contact has been established, the next step is being aware of the clubface. Practice starting the ball on line with an intermediate target only 15 feet in front of you. If the ball is starting too much left or right, adjust the clubface in your hands to make the ball start straight.

Step 5) Learn your distances: Having a good idea of how far you hit your lofted clubs (7i, 8i, 9i, PW, SW) will be important for you to hit greens inside of 150 yards. Hit ten shots with each club and notice the average carry distance. Make sure to discard outliers like mis-hits. Using an indoor simulator provides a controlled environment and accurate feedback to make this possible.

Step 6) Putting Basics: Making solid contact with a putter is essential to good putting. Focus on hitting the ball in the center of the face, keeping the putter low to the ground, while having a pendulum style stroke. Practice short putts inside 5 feet, and long putts over 30 feet.

Although this is a basic outline of the skills required to play quality golf, it's important to note that this process takes time and practice. Some players are able to get through this process in a couple months, while it takes others a few seasons. Understand golf improvement is a journey and you get out what you put in. Click here for Developmental Programs.