By Jack Moorehouse

Occasionally, you hear of a PGA player hiring a new swing coach to help the player change his swing, like Tiger Woods did a few years ago. Or, you hear of a little known player suddenly winning tournaments thanks to a major swing change orchestrated by his swing coach. Making major swing changes takes hours and hours of practice. But when you’re playing for big money like today’s pros, it’s worth it.

Most weekend golfers don’t have that kind of time. Taking a couple of golf lessons a month, hitting the practice range now and then, and playing once a week is all they can muster. That doesn’t mean that weekend players can’t whittle some strokes off their golf handicap. Below are five simple golf tips for making tricky shots. Perfecting them may not make players the best in town, but they’ll help reduce golf handicaps.

1. Making A Wedge Back Up
Getting a wedge shot to back up is harder than ever. Manufacturers do a great job of combining trajectory and spin characteristics in golf balls, but today’s balls just don’t spin the way they used to. But you can make the shot if you execute it right. Use a wedge with extra loft and then hit the ball with a descending blow. Since you must hit the ball first, play the ball back in your stance. Also, swing hard but stay under control. You’ll need clubhead speed to make the ball spin, but if you swing too hard, you’ll lose control.

2.  Playing Out Of A Divot
Don’t try and scoop the ball. Scooping exposes a club’s leading edge, producing sculls and worm-burners. Instead, play the ball back slightly in your stance and lean toward the target. This sets up a steeper swing plane and a downward blow. The ball comes out lower with some run. You can also take an extra club, play the ball forward, and open your stance and clubface slightly. Then, swing across the club, as if you were hitting a bunker shot. This approach lets you hit the ball higher and stop it faster. But it’s harder to execute.

3.  Chipping Off Hardpan
This shot crops up more than you think. So for novice players, mastering this shot can help you whittle a stroke or two off your golf handicaps. Mastering this shot will also help veteran players. Play the ball back in your stance, set the club’s heel off the ground, and make sure the shaft is vertical. To do this, you must stand closer to the ball. Keep the clubface square to the target when you swing, and use a putting type stroke by rocking your shoulders up and down. Focus on ball first contact.

4. How To Hit It Over A Tree
If you find yourself playing a course filled with trees, knowing how to hit the ball high may come in handy. To hit it high, hit the ball from a shallow angle, drive with your legs, keep your head and upper body behind the ball, and create clubhead speed. Also, position the ball farther forward at address, open the clubface, and allow for a fade. Then, hit hard with your right hand. Make sure you’re working “under” the left through impact. Left-handed golfers need to work “under” the right.

5. A Soft Pitch To A Tight Spin
If you’re in light rough, play this ball like a bunker shot. Open your face, cock your wrists early in the backswing, and hit the grass behind the ball with some speed.  The harder you swing, the higher the ball goes. But from a tight lie, you’ve got to make perfect contact and nip the ball off the grass. To do this, keep your grip pressure relaxed and your head positioned constant. Don’t raise or dip it through impact.

There you have it. Five golf tips that can help chop strokes off your scores and golf handicap. You don’t have to attend golf instruction sessions to learn how to hit them. But you’ll be surprised how many strokes they’ll chop from your golf handicap.

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Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book "How To Break 80 and Shoot Like the Pros!". He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicaps quickly. His free weekly newsletter goes out to thousands of golfers worldwide and provides the latest golf tips, strategies, techniques and instruction on how to improve your golf game.