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Your golf questions answered
Are you on target?
Are you on target? Nick Bradley can help your golf game

If you're struggling with your swing or need some putting tips then our golf coach is ready to help you.

Nick Bradley has successfully taught professionals around the world and is on hand to reply to your queries.

Below are the replies to the most recent emails we've received but you can send in your questions using the form on the right.

Joanne, 16, Leigh-On-Sea
When you are out on the course and it is raining, what are the best tips you have for playing well?

Previous questions answered

NB: Keep your gloves in a plastic bag in your golf bag because maintaining control of the club is paramount. Keep your towel dry by wedging it into the spokes of the umbrella so that it hangs down under the brolly.

In the wet grass you may occasionally get a flyer, when the ball goes 50 yards more than it should for no reason. Allow for this if you're in any long, wet grass.

Keeping yourself warm is crucial when it's wet and windy in the winter months. Wrapping up will maintain your flexibility and try using a three-quarter golf swing - try and keep everything under control.

Stephen Smart, 52, Paris
What do you do about breathing during the swing? In, out or hold?

NB: You should exhale before the club goes into motion on the backswing. Then to keep your diaphragm still in the swing, and especially in putting, you should hold your breath.

Ross, 16, Edinburgh
I always struggle to get out of bunkers near the green. How can I get the ball up and down quickly so that it stops on the green instead of going right off the back?

NB: First you need a 60 degree sand wedge. You then need to weaken your grip on both hands which means moving them both to the left on the handle (if you're right-handed).

In the practice bunker you need to get in there and practice without a ball and start to get the right sound from the sand. You don't want a dull thud, you want to skim the sand so it's like a pebble going across the water.

James, 15, Knaresborough
How long should you warm up for before a round and should there be a routine to follow? I often find my self hitting longer drives on the 17th and 18th.

NB: It depends on the individual. The rule of thumb is that the better your swing, the less time you need to warm it up. If you've got a swing with a lot of moving parts to it then it will take half a round for it to feel comfortable.

Mark Rowlands, 36, Stevenage
I am an absolute novice. I would like to know if you think going to a driving range is a good idea. Also is it a good idea to join a local club?

NB: Yes on both accounts but thirdly you should enrol and get some golf lessons at the range before you join the golf club.

Frank Lamacchia, 76, Bushkill, PAS.
Are the clubs used by the pros different than ours? They can hit an 8 iron around 180yds.

NB: Yes there are a lot different. Every part of the golf club is made to fit in with the golfer's body. The shaft is stiffer than a normal one you get in the shop. The grip thickness is accurate to their hand size and generally the loft on the club is a lot stronger which explains why they hit it further. So a pro's 8-iron will actually come out like a 7-iron and so on down the bag.

John, 16, Northampton
I am 16 and have been playing golf for five years. I still can't drive over 170 yards, why is this?

NB: You should get your posture lower to the ground. You should feel 'squatty' and start to use your legs in the golf swing. If you're lower you can build up more wind in your body. You should also lighten your grip pressure because if you're gripping it too hard then you'll get no leverage in the golf swing and you won't be able to propel the ball anywhere.

Lee Crowton, 31, Birmingham
I play with right-handed clubs but use a left-handed grip, do the same swing thoughts apply to me as they do for someone else who holds the club 'properly'? I should tell you I've been playing this way for 20 years and am not willing to change now.

NB: I've seen this before many times in Ireland as it's a common grip in hurling. Ever thought about playing it Lee? You're not going to have a lot of mobility in the golf club so continually work on your body motion and let the club respond to it. It's a difficult one but stick to solid fundamentals: Grip, posture, alignment and good body motion.

Niall, 14, Nottingham
How can I get more control with my lob wedge?

NB: Use it less! A Tour player has a lob wedge in his bag and probably only uses it twice during the round. The danger is you can get addicted to it. Nine times out of ten you want to keep the ball as close to the ground as possible in all shots, especially around the green. Only use it when you have an unavoidable shot when you have to get the ball over something.

You should never hit a shot more than three-quarters with a lob wedge. Try and control your rhythm and your tempo in your golf swing. If your distance control is poor then your rhythm is poor. Try and get a 1-2 beat to it. Don't jump at it on the way down.

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