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John Garner

Hon. Member of the British PGA
Former Ryder Cup Player
Tournament Winner
National Coach
Short Game "Guru"
Taranaki Golf Coach

Pro Tips

The Right Elbow (for right hand players / left elbow for lefties) is a very important part of the body & must be used correctly to achieve Power. The elbow must bend approximately 90 degrees at the top of the backswing to make THE POWER then pulling it into your side/tummy on the way down, before IMPACT.

THE SECRET is being able to delay straightening the elbow, it’s called “The Late Hit.” If you straighten the arm/elbow too soon which we call “casting” you lose your power!

Now understanding the use of the elbow in golf is like any sport where power is needed, take soccer or rugby when you have to kick the ball, you bend your leg approximately 90 degrees to get POWER.

Cricket, squash, tennis, any bat, racket or club you bend either wrist or arm to create POWER, make the 90 DEGREES then PRACTICE THE LATE HIT for POWER don’t be throwing your “little body” at it or casting.

Lastly, you can think of the elbow on your practice swing but never whilst intending to hit the ball. The reason being, if you are concentrating on the proper position of your elbow just before impact you will push the ball!! You can’t then change your focus from the elbow onto hitting the ball because everything is happening so quickly!


So get onto the practice tee & work on the ELBOW for POWER & when on the course think of your ELBOW during the Practice swing but not on THE BALL! It’s
a hellova GAME!

The Long Putting Tip is long overdue so here it is: Take 5 balls & putt the first ball down the green, but do not aim at any hole just remember how hard you hit the ball, & hold your finish watching carefully where it finishes?? Try to putt the 2nd ball shorter, less power. Putt the 3rd ball shorter, the 4th ball shorter & then the 5th.

If at any stage any ball goes past the previous ball you start again.

I want 100% of your brain focused on FEEL! If you putt to a hole at this first stage you are immediately thinking of trying to hole the putt thus 50% of your brain is trying to hole the ball & the other 50% is on feel. NO! This drill is to teach you FEEL & I need 100% of the brain on the POWER!!! Do this 4 times up & down the green & you will start to LEARN LONG PUTTING &FEEL! (1ST ball only 10 paces)

The one thing that every golfer should have in his golf bag is a Rule Book. You can pick one up free in the Clubhouse. Most years there are additions & changes so it would be wise to acquaint yourself to the basic rules at least:

                         1.   Out of Bounds.

                         2.   Lost Ball.

                         3.   Water & Lateral Hazards.

                         4.   Ground Under Repair (GUR).

                         5.   Unplayable Ball.

My advice would be simply to read about Etiquette on pages 18 – 21 & The Definitions pages 22 – 35.

These cover most of the vital information that you’ll require on a round to round basis. But, if in doubt rather than hold up play, put a 2ND ball in play (a provisional ball). Play out both balls & get a ruling when you get in the Clubhouse. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to give you the benefit of their experience & how many variations to the rule there are!?!?!?    Get yourself a RULE BOOK.

Good Luck & Good Golfing.


We have a saying in Pro Golf – LEARN to drop 1 shot but not 2 – 3 or 4!!!

I know it is sometimes difficult to resist the temptation of attempting the “miracle save,” but believe me only 1 out of 10 comes off & that’s generous. When you reflect on your round in the bar, you finish up saying “if only??”  So next time when in trees or in trouble try the safe shot, sideways with a 5 – 7 iron or even the wedge not the “3 wood !!!”

BLIND GOLFER’S play golf & watching them I realised just how important “a steady head really is.”  If they move their head at all they will miss the ball! If they keep it steady they’ll hit it! It’s a simple lesson to be learnt from our friends who are blind!

  1. The Topped shot - The Head moved up before impact.

  2. The Slice shot – The Head moved & the body turned towards the target bringing the club face across the ball.

  3. The Hook & Pull – The Head has fallen backwards before impact swinging the club left.

  4. The Push or Shank - The Head moves forward towards the ball leaving the face open

Blind golfers are able to play with the help of a caddy/carer who holds them & guides them around the course describing the holes as they go. Giving them distances & explaining where the trouble is bunkers, water & O.B. They also have good grips so if the hands hold the club well they know where the “square club face is.” So keep that head steady & GET A GRIP !!!

A very knowledgeable Professional once described the swing as “TWO TURNS & A SWISH.”

Learn to TURN your shoulders slowly behind the ball. On the downswing move your weight across & “SWISH the CLUB with your HANDS/ARMS PAST your little body” and then & only then TURN THROUGH!!


  • I call this Pro Basics because it is what every good player does! They all turn, how far, how fast & at what angle they are all different but they all      'TURN, SWISH & TURN THROUGH.’

Taking the Club Back Altogether is a common phrase spoken about but not done often enough when playing?


  • It simply means that the left shoulder & the left arm, both hands & club head start the backswing all in one piece! This will definitely help you become a better golfer. So take that Club away Slowly & Altogether.

The Terms “Square Take Away”, “Square Club Face” & “Square Stance” can be very confusing to all Golfers.  The intention of every golfer is to hit the ball forward & the easiest way is if the “Club Face is Square at Impact.” 


To achieve this fact we stand “Square.”  Toes level, hips & shoulders parallel with the intended flight of the ball, ie. “Square.” Now to explain a “Square Take-away,” is a little difficult so read this slowly & I’ll attempt to resolve a few misunderstandings.


We bend from the waist to allow us to create power whether it be 100 metre or 300. We turn on an angle, a tilted plane. When you take the club away to waist high the club face should look closed, but it is actually “Square” to the imaginary Plane of your swing or on the same angle as your spine!


Phew, hope you all got that, if not come for a lesson & I’ll put the kettle on for a “SQUARE CUP of COFFEE!!!”

The Dreaded SLICE

Everyone slices the ball at some stage in your golfing life, the secret is to control it. The
practice area is where you learn to do this. Firstly understand WHY you slice!

1. The club face is coming across the ball, teachers call it the out-to- in swing path.

2. The fault is using too much effort from the “little body” at the start of the downswing & the head the body gets in front of the ball.

3. Also realise that if the body is moving faster through impact than the right hand the club face will usually be open.

4. The feeling should be that your hands square up the club face going PAST “little body” not the other way round. Sit in a chair imagine holding a club, turn to your right as though making a backswing, now swing to the left. There you have just seen the hands go over & past your body!!

5. Take the effort out of your body and get that right hand PAST A STEADY HEAD!!!

Reverse this instruction for you Lefties

ONE – ARMED PRACTICE will improve your Game but most of all your “YOUR FEEL.” Using your left arm or your right arm only for putting, chipping or an 8 Iron full swing develops the necessary “feeling“ of using your Hands & Arms. If you don’t - you won’t hit the ball! It’s what I call forced learning. You have to use your hands & arms properly.

Take putting, you have to work your hands as one unit “togetherness.” YOU CAN’T BE WRISTY & hole the putt. In chipping you must have your hands “leading,” otherwise you’ll duff the shot!! In the full swing using the 8 Iron (from a tee please, it’s just easier, you’ll find out why?)

The left arm is the WIDTH of your swing & also your RHYTHM. The right is the POWER & THE PATH of your swing. When you try this be careful not to overdo it, 5 balls with 1 hand then 5 balls with the other.


REST & repeat once more, that’s all in 1 day otherwise you can hurt your wrists & elbows or shoulders. Just try it & see how difficult it is to keep a “Steady Head” & a “QUIET BODY.” ONE – ARM PRACTICE will improve your game, if you are PATIENT?

Good Luck & Good Golfing.

Professional John Garner.

Golf Professional 

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Tip of the month:

Constantly check your Line up to the Ball.

Your Grip: keep Both Hands Together.

Always keep your Head Up & Steady.

Never lose your Balance.

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