Alan Ochiai
PGA Master Pofessional
Oak Creek Golf Club
1 Golf Club Drive Irvine, C A 92618 (949)653-5387

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Golf Lessons and Tips from Alan Ochiai, PGA
Oak Creek Golf Club, Orange County

This is the first in a series of articles on building and improving your golf game.  Whether you are an avid golfer or just beginning, here are some hints that will help you. 



If you are serious about learning to play correctly in the shortest period of time, I recommend the following sequence.


First, learn putting and chipping before progressing to the full swing.  This will acquaint you with the fundamentals of proper grip, posture, aim, rhythm, rules and etiquette.  It will also give you an understanding of the game.  This approach is especially good for youngsters. 


Try especially to adhere to the correct grip.  This will allow all the correct movements and limit the wrong ones.  This is the most important time to get instruction from a competent PGA professional instructor.  Group lessons are appropriate for this level and quite affordable.  Start with good habits and just have fun.



If you are already an avid golfer, your average scores will indicate where you must concentrate your efforts.  If your scores tend to skyrocket into the 100’s and greater, this indicates inconsistencies in your long game (woods and irons).  “Disaster holes” are usually attributable to this area. 


Play away from trouble.  For example, if there is out of bounds to the right of the fairway, but not to the left, tee your ball up on the side of the trouble (in this case the right side) and aim away from it.


80 to 90 SHOOTERS

Look at your short game.  Your swing is probably pretty consistent and reliable, but you might take three putts or three strokes from just off the green too often.


Concentrate on controlling putting and chipping distance by adjusting the length of your entire stroke (not your rhythm or effort).  Your three putts and poor chips are usually due to a lack of distance control.



Become an expert at the fifty-yard wedge shot.  You will encounter this shot often as your third shot on a par five and as a recovery shot on long demanding par fours.


Practice hitting knock-down wedges at targets 40, 50, and 60 yards away until you can land all within ten feet.  These are much more common and useful than the high lob shots I usually see better players practicing. 



Once you improve the areas of your game outlined above, it’s easier than you think to break these old barriers.  For example, nine bogeys and nine double bogeys will give the 100 shooter a 99.  Seventeen bogeys and one par will give you an 89.  Bogey every third hole and par the rest and you will shoot a 78.  Byron Nelson used to try to birdie the par five holes and par the rest to yield him a 68.


Hopefully, these scores now seem more attainable. In future articles I will share with you some strategies for improving specific areas of your game.