Two Wrongs Make A Right
Don't fear flaws, use them to correct any type of ballflight
No matter how fundamentally superior the swings of the world’s best players are to those belonging to the rest of us, there has never been, nor will there likely will there ever be, a golf swing without at least one flaw. The swings of greats such as Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els may look perfect, but each features a number of flaws—the same weaknesses that plague the swings of recreational players. If that’s the case, then why do these golfers own championship trophies while you can’t even make the A flight at your club championship? Is it because great golfers can overcome flaws by grooving them out? Not quite. The real answer lies in the ability of tour pros to repeat their flaws and effectively apply others to compensate for the error.
For example, Ben Hogan battled a snap hook early in his career. It affected his game so badly that he developed a very weak left-hand grip, a cupped wrist and an open face at the top in order to offset the hook. Not only did Hogan learn to negate his hook, he also managed to win nine majors and notch 63 victories—not a bad effort considering the flaws inherent in his swing.
Like Hogan, you, too, can learn to use swing flaws to your advantage. The key is to identify your flaws and make sure you have an even number with which to work. I believe you can play great golf with an even number of mistakes by balancing them out. With an odd number, however, you’re in for a long day.
A slicer’s golf swing is inherently too steep relative to the ideal swing shape. When you’re too upright, generally the effects are:
1) Deep divots.
2) Toe-first contact with the golf ball.
3) An open clubface at the point of contact.
A steep swing is traveling down too abruptly through the impact zone, which makes it difficult to pick the ball clean and avoid digging deep into the turf. The necessary fix is to inject some width into your swing to help shallow out the steep, descending blow. A great way to add width is to widen your takeaway, much like Jack Nicklaus did in his heyday. The steep-swinging Nicklaus triggered a bigger turn by first turning his head away from the target. Although turned, Nicklaus kept his head stationary, forcing him to stretch his arms low, wide and away from the target on his backswing. This trigger was exceptionally useful with fairway woods.
Despite the awesome information we can get from a videotaped or televised golf swing, it’s darn near impossible to get an exact idea of how close or far we should stand from the ball. Players with naturally steep swings tend to benefit from standing closer than usual to the ball to accommodate their upright swing shape. For a player with a normal swing, standing closer to the ball can put the heel dangerously close to the ball, often causing shanks. But for a steep swinger who misses frequently on the toe area of the club, standing closer will help balance the toe hit caused by the steep swing. Scott Hoch, who has among the most upright swings on the PGA Tour (his irons are about four degrees upright), stands closer to the ball to accommodate his steep swing. If he were to back away, it’d be near impossible for him to hit solid shots. In this case, he didn’t change his swing, he just changed his distance from the ball.