All golfers have "milestone" scores they're looking to conquer. Over the next three weeks, we've enlisted the help of PGA Professional Rob Labritz for the best practices for tackling the barriers for breaking 100, 90 and 80.
In this week's first installment, Labritz offered up his tips for the golfer looking to creep out of the triple digits. Even if you're a better player, it might not be a bad idea to review Labritz's advice.
If you want to break 100, Labritz stressed that his most important suggestion would be this: Instead of going out to work on your full swing, work from the green backwards.
"I do this with all my students," Labritz said. "Most times, a student tells you their goal and then the pro gets to work on their swing. Not me. I go in the opposite direction. I start with work on the putter, then we get to chipping and work our way back to the tee. Since most of your strokes are going to come around the green, doesn't it make most sense to shore up that part of your game?"
If you start from the green and work backwards, Labritz said, milestones become significantly easier to attain.
"When you're putting, pay particular attention to positioning," he said. "Make sure the ball is forward of your sternum and the palms oppose each other when you grip the club. If you do that, the club will swing back in the motion it's supposed to creating a more consistent stroke."
Labritz encourages the higher-handicap player to focus on the "Iron-Cross Putting Drill."
"I like to stick tees in the practice green measuring 3 feet, 4 feet and 5 feet from the hole," Labritz said. "Find some slope and set those tees around four sides of the hole so you have a straight uphill putt, a left-to-right-putt, a straight downhill putt and a right-to-left putt from each distance."
Practice those putts over and over from each distance, Labritz said, until you're able go around the hole from each spot missing only 2-3 putts. The more you practice this drill and get to the point where you can complete it with no misses, Labritz made a guarantee: "You'll be breaking 100 in no time."
The next area of focus becomes chipping, where it's all about feel.
Labritz has a sensational routine that will help you develop that feel.
"Start 3-5 yards off the green," he said. "Hit little chips to 5 yards and go in 3-yard increments with each club. Use one chipping swing with same hardness and length (hip to hip) and use 12 different clubs and pay attention to the different roll out. If you do it properly, your sandwedge will go six paces; your gap wedge will go nine paces; your pitching wedge will go 12 paces. Then, go in 4-yard increments from the 9-4 irons. The 9-iron will go 16 paces, etc. Using all those clubs, you work on one little swing. That will help you into full swing while, most importantly, developing touch."
Rob Labritz, who has played in four PGA Championships (he was low-Club Professional in 2010 at Whistling Straits), is currently the Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in BedFord Hills, N.Y. He was also the PGA Met Section Player of the Year in 2008 and 2013, as well as the Westchester Golf Association's Player of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2015. You can learn more about Labritz at www.RobLabritz.com and you can follow him on Twitter, @Rlabritz.