Thursday, March 1, 2007
Many popular swing tips and equipment theories are just plain wrong
Heres an easy way to establish ball position. Start with both feet together, with the ball opposite your left toe. For a short-iron shot, take a little step with your left foot and a little step with your right foot. For a mid-iron shot, take a little step with your left foot, and a slightly bigger step with your right. For long irons and woods, take the same small step with your left foot, and a slightly wider step than with your irons. With this method, your right foot step widens your stance to position the ball so that it matches the low point of your swing with the club in your hand.
Equip Myth: Stiffer Shafts Will Add More Distance
Some players, even though they have fast tempos, may actually find themselves more successful with a more flexible shaft. The critical component is to evaluate how you load the shaft. To illustrate, think of a slingshot. When you pull the rubber band back, youre loading the device. In a similar way, the transition of backswing to downswing loads the shaft and forces it to flex then release at impact. If youre a player with a short, quick backswing and a slow downswing, a flexible shaft may not be right for you because the shaft will flex too much in the backswing and not unload at the proper moment on the downswing. On the contrary, if youre a player with a slow backswing and a fast, powerful downswing, some extra flex might help you better load the shaft at the top of the swing for even more distance. The key? Pay attention to not just flex, but when the shaft loads and unloads. If you can find the optimal load in a shaft, youll not only hit it longer, but straighter as well.
Equip Myth: Premium Balls Are Right For Everyone
What todays premium golf balls can do for players like Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh doesnt necessarily translate to the same benefits for golfers with less than Tour-quality swings (which includes the majority of players). The reason is premium golf balls are, in most cases, three-piece construction models with soft covers and firm inner cores. To reap the benefits of this kind of golf ball, you have to have enough clubhead speed to reach the inner core for added distance with the driver. Most golfers cant swing hard enough to do that. However, some lower-priced balls are made with a two-piece or sometimes three-piece construction, albeit in a different manner than premium balls are made. These types of golf balls not only are better performing for most golfers, but also feature firm or soft outer layers with softer cores to help slower swingers better compress the ball for longer distance. In todays ball market, players can choose soft cores and soft covers for both distance and spin, or a firm cover and soft core for pure distance. If youre a fast swinger, stick with soft covers and firm cores. If you have a moderate to slow swing speed, finding a soft-core model should be your top priority.
Myth #4: The Golf Club Swings Around Your Body
The club does swing around the body, but taken to the extreme, you run the risk of creating one of the most common faults I see among recreational golfers: the inside takeaway (center photo).
Because we stand to the side of the golf ball, its easy to understand why many golfers improperly rotate both the body and golf club away from the ball during the takeaway. This inside move away from the ball produces a rolling of the hands and forearms, causing the clubface to open, and the clubshaft gets out of balance and trapped too far behind them. From this position, the only option is to lift the club to the top, destroying your coil and the path of the swing.
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