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Hit It Big And Hit The Fairway

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TOPS SHOTS HAPPEN when you lose the spine angle you established at address and “stand up” as you approach the ball. When you get taller, the bottom half of your club makes contact with the top half of the ball (see swing, above right). The result is a nasty top.

To stay in your spine angle throughout the swing, try the drill above, left. Place a stand bag (or some other stable, vertical object) so your backside rests against it. Then place your left palm on the butt end of your grip and, using only your right arm, make some passing motions as if you were swinging one-handed. Doing this keeps you centered, your head behind the ball and your posture nearly the same as it was at address. Make sure that, as you do this, you keep your backside against the bag. Don’t stand up! Now retain that feeling when you swing.


GOLFERS SLICE THE BALL when one of two things happens: They have an open clubface or they swing the club on a path that travels from outside the target line to inside it. (In other words, they cut across the ball, just as tennis players do when they hit a cut shot.)

The easiest of these two “faults” to fix is your clubface position. Since most slicers lose the extension in their forward arm (and create the dreaded postimpact “chicken wing” shown in photo below), make sure your forearms touch each other in the followthrough (photo at left). Doing this closes your clubface through the impact area and minimizes side spin on the ball.

Once you’ve exaggerated your release a few times, your arms should be ready to release in the right way—not quite touching, but certainly not in a chicken wing!

THE FIRST STEP to hitting the fairway occurs in your preshot routine.

First, choose a target (a distant limb, flag or discoloration in the fairway). Then stand be-hind your ball and see a line that runs from it toward the target. Mark a spot a few inches in front of the ball that’ll serve as your intermediate target. Then, aim your ball’s logo at the intermediate spot and set your clubface square to it. Lastly, line up your body so that it’s parallel to your target line.

As you can see here, I’m checking to see if my shoulders and hips are parallel to my target line. I don’t normally do this during my rounds, but I suggest you try it on the range. It’s a great way to make sure your body matches your target line.

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