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Poe: Elevate your golf game during your time here in the Valley of the Sun

Mike Poe serves as manager of the Quintero Golf Club. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress.com)

Love of golf is alive and well in Phoenix metropolitan area

By Mike Poe | Point of View

Golf is an outlet to individuals for various reasons — stress relief, exercise, a hobby, or the competitive nature it brings.

However, there is one thing that all golf players have in common: they want to play their best round of golf every time. A quality round of golf does not come without practice and the inclusion of some tips and tricks. Golfers looking to improve their skills should consider the tips below.

How your alignment, stance and grip benefit your body and performance.

Your golf stance is the foundation to hitting the ball the way you want. A proper alignment should include the golf club behind the golf ball and aim towards your target. Your stance should be parallel to your intended line of flight and should emulate a baseball swing that is tilted over 45 degrees toward the ground. Proper posture includes flexing forward from the hips so that your chest is facing the golf ball and your spine should be in a neutral position.

It is important to keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Golfers concerned with their grip should remember that it should feel like you’re holding the club mostly in your fingers. The hands should sit closely together in order to work together as one unit.

Incorporating these tips allows the golfer to have better control of the ball, ensuring accuracy in their game. Additionally, having proper form allows for an upper body workout and helps to avoid possible injury.

Tips to control your ball – hook and slice shot

A hook shot starts its trajectory on one side of the player and then curves to the other side while in the air. This is helpful to avoid obstacles that may be in your path. Golfers trying this shot should close their stance (putting their right foot back 4-6 inches), tighten their grip, and close the clubface (rotate it counterclockwise so it is to the left on impact).

A slice shot happens when a sidespin is put on the ball, causing the ball to curve.

This shot is a result of the clubface being open, meaning it is either outside or farther away than it should be. To avoid this, make sure the golf ball is placed properly, check your grip to make sure it is correct, and aim straight not left.

Course awareness — sand traps and wildlife

Course awareness can help golfers choose the best shot when encountering an obstacle. Knowing a sand trap is coming would allow a golfer to choose a hook shot and curve their shot away from the barrier. It also helps to avoid unnecessary shots from getting stuck in a sand trap. In addition, many golf courses have protected areas for wildlife. Being aware of these areas helps golfers keep their golf balls away from the animals. Golfers also protect themselves by avoiding an encounter with an animal that may not want to have an interaction with a human.

Before you go on to play your next round of golf, remember to check your stance and posture. Also, decide what shots you may take and look at a course map to help avoid unwanted obstacles. Each of these actions will help ensure that you will play your best golf yet.

Editor’s note: Mr. Poe is manager at the Quintero Golf Club.

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