Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Caddy Knows Best
Five key tips learned from a PGA Tour caddy
#3 Perfect Your Posture
Whether you identify with Ernie Els or Jeff Sluman, Tim Herron or Tiger Woods, having proper posture is critical no matter what body or swing type you have. Good posture leads to proper weight shift and a more fluid release through the ball. Many golfers make the mistake of losing their spine angle through the impact zone. If you lose the spine angle you set at address and strike the ball with a spine that’s too upright or one that’s too flat, the gamut of bad shots can, and will, occur. To practice retaining a correct spine angle, you have to first become conscious of it. I’ve seen some players on Tour during their practice session routinely check their spine angle by addressing the ball and then lifting the club in front of them at address (as shown). Although it seems simple, lifting the club in front of you helps you focus on your body position at setup. As you hold the club in front of you, remember to keep your back straight but not too rigid, your knees flexed and your spine tilted comfortably toward the target. From this position, with your spine tilted, lower the club to the ground holding that correct angle. Do this every few swings to make sure you remember not to address the ball too upright or too flat. It will make a huge difference.
Lesson Learned: How you address the ball dictates how your entire swing unfolds. Take your time, and get used to maintaining correct posture before, during and after you hit the ball.
|Equipment Tips From The Tour
1. Shrink Your Putter Grip. Tour
professionals routinely play on fast greens, and since they rarely have
to hit a putt hard, they’ll fit their club with a skinnier putter grip
to promote good feel—an especially vital asset for testy five-footers.
2. Rotate Your Wedges’ Bounce. Part of
playing Tour-caliber golf around the world—on varying grasses and
weather conditions—is having the right tools. In most cases, Tour pros
stick with the same set of clubs, but it’s not uncommon to hear of
players changing wedges to better fit specific course conditions. The
firmer the conditions, the more players tend to favor low “bounce”
models that resist bouncing off the ground.
3. Tip Your Clubshaft. “Tipping” refers
to how the shaft is cut before it’s placed in a clubhead, most often in
a driver. The standard procedure when shortening a shaft is to cut the
shaft from the club’s grip end to avoid significantly affecting flex.
Tour pros know that for extra stiffness and a boost of added control,
they need to trim their driver shaft at the tip end (where it’s
inserted into the clubhead).
4. Frequency Match Your Shafts. Frequency
matching synchronizes shaft flex across a range of clubs, usually a set
of irons. It works like this: every shaft is put in a device that
counts the number of oscillations a shaft makes per minute. The shafts
are then cut and fitted until each one oscillates at the same, or
desired, rate. Some players prefer more flex in long irons and less in
short irons, while others prefer a steeper slope. Some even want the
same flex in every club.
5. Repel Positive Ions. Managing negative
ions is all the rage on Tour, so bracelets and pendants featuring
technology designed to calm the central nervous system (by neutralizing
positive ions emitted from computers, cell phones, etc.) have grown in
popularity. They claim to help promote a clearer stream of
concentration and focus. Whether they work or not, pros are wearing
them to gain a competitive edge.
6. Check Your Driver’s Clubface. Tour
pros usually carry drivers that are square, or even a few degrees open,
to combat hooks and produce lower ball flight. Vijay Singh is rumored
to use a driver that’s six degrees open, a strategy that helps him
eliminate the left side of many fairways.
7. Change Your Clubshaft. If you want to
be like the pros, ditch that stock shaft and opt for a premium
high-performance one. The proliferation of aftermarket shafts has
boomed and continues to do so, with numerous shaft options for
virtually every kind of player. To sort it out, first consider getting
fitted by a local clubfitter.
8. Counterbalance Your Clubs. By adding
weight away from the clubhead, the club’s balance point moves more
toward the middle of the shaft for a more balanced and harmonic feel.
Some shafts come counterbalanced, while others can be countered with
9. Carry A Hybrid. Yes, even the best
players in the world have replaced their long irons with hybrids. Long
irons are more difficult to hit today than in previous years, mainly
because they tend to be lower (stronger) lofted than they need to be.
In other words, your 4-iron today may be more closely identified with a
3- or even 2-iron of 20 years ago.
10. Play The Right Ball. There are many
kinds of golf balls to choose from, but today’s best golfers generally
play urethane-covered, three-piece models. Three-piece balls consist of
three layers: a core, midlayer and cover. The combination of these
three components generates low-spin drives and high-spin wedge shots.
Page 2 of 3