Old Palm News

Golf Tips From Old Palm’s Director of Golf Instruction

March 17, 2022

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Mark Hackett, Old Palm Golf Club's Director of Golf Instruction, has put together a list of his top three tips and drills to improve your golf game. Old Palm residents and members are fortunate enough to gain exclusive access to not only top-tier instruction and practice facilities, but also our 19-hole Raymond Floyd championship golf course. Take a few strokes off your game with the tips below:


Instant Pitching Stance Fix 

Mark Hackett has a few expert tips to help instantly fix your shorthand golf game. Hackett explains that when chipping or pitching, a player's stance over the ball is key to the perfect shot. If the ball is too far back in your stance, it results in the torso leaning away from the target and forcing too much weight on the back foot. This incorrect setup decreases the effectiveness of the club's loft and results in fat contact with the ball—ultimately eliminating the impact of the shot.

To ensure you get the contact and height you want in your pitch, Hackett suggests setting the ball in the center of your feet, with your shoulders and stance slightly open. Hackett refers to this body position as being "titled for success.” A player's torso and weight should be stacked over the front foot. With this stance in place, the wedged club has the chance to shallow out before hitting the ball, exposing its natural loft and angle. Instead of hitting the ground before making contact with the golf ball (hitting it "fat"), the ball will get the correct amount of height and land softly.


Swing Path Drill 

If you are struggling to get your drives moving in the right direction, it might be time to take a look at your backswing motion. Hackett has published a helpful drill on GOLF.com to help you improve: 

1.        Place a foam roller or alignment stick parallel to the target line. 

2.        Put the golf ball an inch from the roller or stick. 

3.        Address the ball, aiming your club toward the target and setting your stance line parallel to the roller. 

4.        Swing the club - notice if your motion is too much from in-to-out or out-to-in. You can tell the difference by the impact point on the foam roller. 

The foam roller or alignment stick is meant to be a guide for your swing. According to Hackett in his GOLF.com article:

"The goal here is to keep the clubhead flush with the roller or alignment stick as you take back the club. Keep your hands inside while moving the club along the foam roller (representing your target line) throughout your takeaway. You’re doing it right if you feel your left arm swing across your chest with the club more in front of you.

You will know whether your swing has been correctly adjusted once you have missed the roller or stick several times consecutively. 


Stabilize Your Body For Crisp Contact 

If your ball strike is inconsistent or you tend to excessively move during your swing, Hackett also offers tips for stabilizing your body for crisp contact. To improve your iron contact, your body needs to be stable. Thankfully, the fix isn't very complex. Aspiring golfers can practice one of Hackett's go-to drills to improve their ball striking: 

1.        Take an empty ball bucket and place it between your feet in your normal address position. 

2.        Place a ball in the middle of your stance - this will promote ball-first contact, which is key. 

3.        Make some practice swings to get the feel of maintaining contact with both the ground and the bucket throughout your full motion. 

4.        Hit real shots. 

If you maintain contact with both the bucket and the ground, you should feel more balanced and make crisper contact. 


Practice Makes Perfect 

After you have practiced Hackett's drills, put your work to the test at Old Palm Golf Club's Raymond Floyd-designed golf course. One of the many advantages of living within the private gates of Old Palm Golf Club is exclusive access to our championship golf course. Revered around the world, this 19-hole course was planned with one thing in mind—love for the game.

Honorary Club Chairman Raymond Floyd, one of the world’s most famed golf course architects, designed the course to challenge even the most experienced players while still ensuring everyone has fun regardless of their level of expertise. No matter how well you play, there is fun to be had by everyone on the greens at Old Palm Golf Club.


About Mark Hackett


At the age of 15, Mark Hackett received his first golf lesson from Davis Love, Jr. at the Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia. This initial lesson instilled in him a love of the game and eventually led him to the instruction of the game.

Continuing his recognition since 2007, Mark Hackett, Director of Golf Instruction, once again made the Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers in America for 2019. Assessed biannually by the Top 100 Teacher Credentials Committee, this prestigious recognition is the only national golf instructor talent search that is a combination of both outside academic and PGA peer review.

Each instructor is assessed on 15 intensive criteria, including teaching experience and accomplishments, student portfolio and peer ratings, overall commitment to the growth of the game, volunteerism, and ability to use digital platforms. Not only are candidates nominated via a public application, but also by the PGA, LPGA, and the United States Golf Teachers Federation.

If you are an Old Palm Golf Club member interested in scheduling a lesson with our very own Mark Hackett, please contact our Golf Pro Shop at (561) 472-5100.


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