Monday, May 1, 2006
Every round requires at least one money-shot situation to win a few skins or to stay competitive when the chips are down
9. Rough Removal
Hitting it close from the rough is critical if you want to stay in the game. Playing your short irons from the rough requires a strong grip and a descending blow to avoid getting caught up in the turf. The key lies in the ability to retain the right angle formed by the club and your left arm at the top of your swing. Holding this angle will help generate the additional clubhead speed as well as encourage a more descending blow because it prevents your arms and hands from releasing too early. And when you release early in the rough, youre going to hit a lot of grass and, sometimes, no ball. Make sure your hands are in front of the ball at address and the ball is slightly forward in your stance. Add more club, choke down and be ready to hold that right angle as long as you can to generate a whip effect through impact. The ball may fly lower, but thats a whole lot better than a short, flubbed shot.
Strength is key from the rough, and no better place to find it than in retaining wrist cock through the swing for as long as possible. Tiger woods is a master at this, hence his amazing power.
10. Hit The High Draw
When it comes time to win the long-drive contest, knowing how to hit the high draw is key to milking a few extra yards.
Begin by using the left side of the tee box and position the feet and body more closed than normal. Concentrate on your rear shoulder and make sure its lower than your forward shoulder at address. Second, tee the ball high—you want to catch the ball in the hot zone, just above the sweet spot. The hands should be slightly back behind the ball, which is positioned just off the inside of your forward heel. Square up the clubface to the target.
As you begin your backswing, follow an inside-out path, and on the downswing remember to rotate and not slide. Rotating will keep your body behind the ball, allowing for an upward, inside-out path. Presto! You have a high draw in your arsenal.
When playing a high draw off the tee, my hands will release sooner, resulting in a high, drawing ball flight.
Paul Ito and Todd Stewart
You can find Paul (top) at Puakea Golf Course (www.puakeagolf.com), where he serves as director of golf, and Todd (bottom) at Kauai Lagoons (www.kauailagoonsgolf.com), where he serves as head golf professional. For more information, check out www.kauaidiscovery.com for all things Kauai!
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