Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Two Wrongs Make A Right
Don't fear flaws, use them to correct any type of ballflight
Stand Away From It!
Take a look at Zoeller in this photo (right). He has taken avoiding heel hits even further by setting up extremely far from the ball. For the normal player, this stance could lead to off-balance toe hits, but for the flat swinger, this stance can help eliminate heel hits without making a major adjustment to the swing. Try this routine with your irons and kiss heel hits goodbye!
Clubface Closing Too Much
If you hook the ball too much, in some cases, it’s due to excessive hand and wrist rotation through the downswing. One of the best ways to beat this flaw is to adopt a slicer’s (weak) grip. Instead of the two folds in the hands between both thumbs and index fingers pointing at the right shoulder (left for lefties), try pointing both folds more toward your sternum. This will help you not only prevent a closed face at impact, but also to get more of your body involved in your swing. Another cure for a closing face is to speed up your turn to the target. Increasing your body’s rate of rotation will delay the closing of the face, leading to less hooks and straighter shots. A good example of someone with great target-side body action is Sergio Garcia. Notice how his hands are in front, and his shirt buttons are facing the target in this postimpact shot.
DRILL: Thumbs Up
Hold your left hand up in front of your chest and give the standard thumbs-up sign. This will put your left hand in a neutral position. Place your left hand on the grip in the same position so that your left thumb is positioned nearly straight down the shaft. ViolÃ ! Hooking the ball is a tall order with this kind of grip.
Turn And Burn!
When you don’t turn your body, the clubface closes too fast, causing a vicious hook (top, far left). To avoid this position, be like Sergio and make sure you clear your hips through impact (top, left). This will make closing the face more difficult and help you hit the ball straight. Also, if your shoulders are level at impact, you’ll come over the top, so keep your front shoulder up!
Many golfers argue that a hook is easier to fix than a slice. A couple of ways to get your hook straightened out is to make a few simple modifications to your equipment.
1. Fatten Your Grips
Hooked shots often are the result of excessive hand rotation. Midsized and oversized grips help lessen hand action, making it more difficult to over-rotate and hook the ball.
2. Shortened Sticks
If you hook the ball, try a shorter-length shaft. Shorter shafts tend to make your stance more upright, helping to steepen your swing and prevent a flat, hooking move. You may lose a couple yards of distance, but a few yards shorter in the fairway is always better than a few more in the rough.
There you have it. Practice these moves and you’ll see much faster improvement than you ever will trying to grind out swing flaws from your natural swing. Remember, all swings have flaws, and the key to improvement is getting those flaws to work as effectively as possible for you. Do this and you’re sure to see some amazing results.
PGA teaching professional and instruction editor Jeff Ritter is the director of instruction at the ASU/Karsten Learning Center in Tempe, Ariz.
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