Myth Busters

Many popular swing tips and equipment theories are just plain wrong

Myth Busters If you practice your backswing at a gas pump while talking on your cell phone, the station will explode. It’s myths like this—though hardly as ludicrous—that can send golfers who need the right answers into a tailspin. The trouble with myths is that most sound reasonable, and usually are passed from one golfer to the next with only good intentions. Nevertheless, the common tip shared across grill room tables and on tee boxes nationwide tends to do more harm than good if only because the true reasoning behind the suggestion is misunderstood. Let’s clear the air, shall we?

Myth #1: Aim At The Target
Aim what at the target? Clubface? Body? Confusion in this area typically cause golfers to mis-aim in two ways. The first is aiming the feet, knees, hips and shoulders directly at the target, leaving the clubface aimed down a line well right of the target. It’s no surprise that golfers who misalign their body and clubface in this manner miss the target to the right, unless they make an adjustment in their swing to get the ball back on line. That usually translates into an over-the-top move and a swipe across the ball and contact out near the toe of the club.

The second misalignment error results from an adjustment to ballflight errors. For example, if a slicer aims left to make room for the left-to-right ballflight, and the mistake that’s causing the slice isn’t addressed, chances are his or her aim will continue to creep more and more to the left.

Retrain Your Eyes On The Range
When you aim correctly, the leading edge of your club sits at a right angle to the target line while your body aligns parallel-left to the target line. Only proper practice will get you into the habit of aligning correctly on the course. On the range, pick a target and lay one club a few feet in front of the ball on the target line. Place another club parallel to the first on your toe line to indicate your body alignment. After a few balls, you’ll train your body and eyes to accept this new alignment and limit compensations.

Equip MythEquip Myth: Less Loft = More Distance
There once was a day when lofts in the 7- to 8-degree range were needed to help keep the ball from ballooning. But with today’s shaft, clubhead and ball technology, nothing could be further from the truth. Due to the larger size of modern clubheads, players are using more loft (combined with lower-spinning golf balls) to produce shots that bore high through the air yet still roll upon impact with the ground.

Finding the correct loft should be determined by evaluating how you ascend through the impact zone. If you have a steep swing, a lower loft may help. If you’re a player with a shallow to normal (less steep) plane, you may be better served by a higher loft to produce the optimal low-spin, high-launch ballflight. More often, higher-lofted drivers in the 9- to 11-degree range work best to attain the desired 13- to 14-degree launch angle. Also, pay attention to the shaft; it, too, can have a significant effect on trajectory.


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