Tuesday, April 1, 2003
Distance control starts with selecting the right club
The Truth About Lies
The lie of your ball should also be considered as you prepare to hit a shot. In general, the lies that will require you to take at least one more club are the following:
-The ball is halfway or more down in the rough.
-The ball is in a divot.
-The lie is uphill (this lie tends to add loft).
-The ball is below your feet (this one tends to fade, so you’ll need to aim little left and play the left-to-right shot).
The lies that require at least one less club are the following:
-The ball is on top of the rough (a “flyer” lie that produces less-than-normal ball spin and more roll).
-The ball is on a downhill lie (this lie tends to reduce the effective loft of the club).
-The ball is above your feet (the ball tends to fly to the left, and a hooking ball travels farther than a straight or fading one).
No Man's Land
Using the guidelines above for club selection is all well and good, but you may still arrive at a yardage that puts you right in the middle of two clubs. For example, your tee shot puts you 150 yards from the flag. You have a 10 mph wind in your face (plus one club) and the shot is slightly downhill (minus 5 yards), which gives you a total of 155 yards to the target. The 155-yard distance puts you right in the middle of your 7-iron (which you hit a solid 150 yards) and your 6-iron (which travels 160 yards on average). Welcome to the “tweener.”
Now, you have a decision to make. Do you hit the 7-iron in a fashion that will produce a few extra yards, or do you make some adjustments to hit the 6-iron a few yards less? In order to handle a situation that puts you in the middle of two clubs, you need to know how to gear down to hit a particular club five yards less, and also how to take the more lofted club and squeeze an extra five yards out of it.
Getting An Extra 5-10 Yds
There are a few setup and swing adjustments that are required if you need to squeeze extra yardage out of a particular club. To set up for more distance, take a slightly wider stance than you would normally to provide the solid base that’s required to make a bigger, more powerful golf swing. The ball position should be one inch back of standard, which will move your hand position well in front of the golf ball. Not only does this create a more descending blow, but moving the ball back in your stance changes the effective loft of your 7-iron into that of a 6-iron. All that’s left to do is to add a little extra speed to your swing.
To get the clubhead traveling a little faster, you need to create a longer backswing with an increase in the amount of arm swing and body turn. Not only must the swing be a little longer, but you need to pick up the pace of your swing to increase clubhead speed as well. The pace of the forwardswing should be slightly faster than normal. Most experienced golfers, and certainly the pros, have a little power in reserve when hitting their normal golf shots, so stepping up the speed a notch is no problem for them.
Another factor in getting yardage above normal is related to the type of spin created by the type of shot you hit. The sidespin created by “drawing” the golf ball—a shot that curves from right to left—will generally have a more boring trajectory and will land a little “hotter” than normal, running a few extra yards after it lands.
Drawing the golf ball is best accomplished by altering your setup and simply making your normal golf swing. Place the ball slightly back of normal at address, aiming the clubface where you want the ball to end up while you align your body to the right—or the direction the ball should start. This “closed” stance sets up the required in-to-out path, and if the clubface is aimed at the target correctly, it will be closed relative to the path. The grip pressure in both hands should remain light to encourage the clubface to close a little sooner through the hitting area to impart drawspin on the golf ball.
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