As one of the most revered instructors in the game, Hank Haney has a lot he is able to teach us. Well known for the success Tiger Woods realized as a result of his world class instruction, Haney is committed to helping golfers of all abilities improve their games. He is author of multiple instructional texts and DVD’s all geared toward helping the amateur golfer lower their handicap. Something that makes his instruction so effective is his brutal honesty. He will tell you how it is, why it is and how to use this information to improve your golf game.
Let’s take a look at ten Hank Haney tips that we can all use to improve our games.
10. Find the Proper Plane - Hank Haney’s swing philosophy is one based on the idea that the golf club should always be on, or parallel to, the shaft angle created by the club at the address position. The reasoning behind this philosophy is that it prevents the club from coming across the line at the top of the backswing (point across the target line). By making sure that the club is parallel to the established swing plane, it prevents the club from having to be manipulated in order to make solid contact..
9. Laid Off is Better - When the club is pointing across the line at the top of the backswing, it often leads to the club getting stuck behind you on the downswing. For this reason, if you are going to have a “miss”, make sure that your club is a little laid off (pointing outside and away from the target line).This is because when you come down the club stays in front of you and won’t get stuck behind. It’s easier to hit a solid golf shot when the club is in front of your torso. Hear Haney talk about the backswing:
8. Fix Your Slice by “Looping It” - Haney teaches that golfers who struggle with slicing the ball can make incredible improvements by learning to feel like they are “looping” the club to create an inside angle of attack toward the ball. A slice is primarily caused by bringing the club back from address too far inside, resulting in a casting motion from in to out at the top of the backswing. Looping to the inside at the top of the swing, can counteract this problem and promote a more efficient descent onto the golf ball. Watch Haney describe this motion:
7. Consistent Grip - Like most teachers, Haney stresses the importance of a fundamentally sound grip due to the fact that it is the only connection there is with the clubface. He advises constantly checking your grip in a mirror to make sure that it is always the same, and that both hands are facing each other. It makes it very difficult to hit consistent golf shots if your grip in constantly changing, and if your palms are facing in different directions. See Haney discuss a fundamentally sound grip:
6. Grip the Club More in the Palm - Many golfer grip the club in their fingers. Haney believes that the club should be more in the palm, for it keeps the club from shifting at impact. Hank tells the story of when he shared this tip with Tiger. At first sceptical, Woods tried it, and in Haney’s words, “He never went back”.
5. Trust the Process - Earlier in his career, Haney worked with Mark O’Meara. They were working on getting O’Meara’s backswing in a better position at the top, but the process was not an enjoyable one for Mark. As this PGA touring pro was topping balls on the range, you could hear Haney saying, “It’s looking better”. Followed by, “Trust it”. Haney encourages those working on their swings to ensure that they have something deliberate that they are working on, a plan for how they are going to master it, and then patiently trust that process. It will feel weird, and you will hit some terrible shots, but that’s what it often takes to get where you need to be.
4. Distance Matters - Haney firmly believes that golf has become a power game, and as a result, it truly does matter how far you hit the ball. In an interview with Eat Sleep Golf back in May of 2013, Haney stated that there are many players who hit it long enough to play at the collegiate level, but are not long enough to seriously compete in the professional ranks. While most golfers may never give a second thought to such a statement, Haney’s words do prove that improved distance does lead to an improved game. That is something golfers of all abilities can appreciate.
3. Use a Bucket of Water for Green Reading - Putting can be simplified by teaching students to focus on getting their ball started on the proper line. Reading the green correctly is imperative for this to happen. Haney says a great way to determine the proper read on a putt is to pretend to dump a large bucket of water on the green and examine the direction all the water would run, for this is the same direction that your ball will move on the putt. He then advises to combine this information with the fact that over 80% of missed putts occur below the hole. For this reason, it is often wise to play more break than you originally believe. Hear Haney describe his green reading strategy here:
2. “(You’re) Not a Good Putter, Tiger Woods is a Good Putter” - Haney made this statement back in May of 2012 when explaining to a group of golfers that we often use improper benchmarks to measure our games. It’s a good lesson for all of us. If we are seriously about improving, we should be looking to those much better than us to measure ourselves, not simply our weekend warrior foursome.
1. The Amount You Practice Determines How Good You Will Get - When a golfer asks how much practice is sufficient, Haney answers the question by posing another one: “How good do you want to get?” He explains that there are so many aspects to practice in this game, and so to really improve, one must dedicate significant time to improving all areas of their game.
About the Author
This article was written by Jonathan Carr as part of our Eat Sleep Golf 'Top 10' series. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a passion for golf, which is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter (@JonathanWCarr) or read some of his other articles here.