Q: My long irons & woods seem to always slice!
A: The Slice is definitely the largest problem for golfers across the world. No matter how hard they struggle, over 3 quarters of amateur golfers watch their balls sail off to the right (left for lefties). With a slice on your hands, it is very hard to improve. In the following paragraphs, we will go into what exactly causes the ball to slice, and how to fix it.
To understand what causes sidespin, and therefore a slice (or hook) on the ball, we must first go over what causes the ball to go straight. If the club face is pointed in the exact direction the club is moving, no sidespin will be created, and the ball will fly straight as an arrow. If however, the club head is moving towards the left, and the clubface is still pointed at the target; left to right, or slice spin is produced.
Therefore, to prevent a slice, you must prevent the club from going out to in. An out to in swing is caused by having the shoulders power your golf swing instead of your arms and hips. Slicers try to generate power by throwing their shoulders at the ball, which does generate lots of power, but almost all of it is lost in the slice. The correct swing has the club moving straight on, or slightly in to out, which promotes straight shots, and draws.
To correctly swing the club you must have the right technique. At the top of the swing, swing down with your arms and hands, and pull them past your body. Don't move your shoulders. Then as you near the ball, think about pulling your arms through the ball. DON'T let your shoulders push your arms through. Mastery of this technique will make you better then you ever dreamed you could be.
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Q: I always hook my shots!
A: For many players, moving the ball from right-to-left isn't the issue; making sure the draw doesn't turn into a hook is. All golfers slip into bad habits. When you miss fairways and greens, you probably miss them left. Chances are you're hanging back on your right side through impact while your hands turn the club over, resulting in too much hook spin. Here's how to make sure you transfer your weight fully to your left side and take the hook out of your bag.
FIRE THE RIGHT SIDE
Believe it or not, a hooking problem can often be the result of the right side being too passive. Instead of the right hip and shoulder driving through the ball, they hang back on the right side. The hands are left to lead the club head into impact, and they inevitably release the club too early and hook the ball, because your center of gravity is too far behind the ball.
To counter this, make your normal backswing, then concentrate on rotating your right hip and shoulder past the ball as you swing down and through. Keep them level with your left shoulder and hip as they rotate. You won't be able to move them past the ball, but that's the feeling you want.
This "firing" of the right side keeps your center of gravity over the ball, making it nearly impossible to release the club early and hook the ball. Your shot pattern will be straight, left-to-right, or slightly right-to-left, depending on your angle of attack. But the big hook will no longer be a part of your game.
Drill: Isolate the Right Side
To get the feeling for activating the right side, isolate it by hitting 5-irons with your right hand only. Tee the ball up as you would for a drive, take your normal stance, except leave your left hand off the club. Swing to the top, then swing through. Only by firing your right side and transferring your weight fully to the left will you be able to make solid contact.
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Q: I top the ball!
A: Usually when a golfer tops a ball its because he or she is trying to get the ball airborne. This is a big misconception in golf. In order to make the ball go up you must swing down. When you take your back swing and start your downswing., try to hit the ball with a descending blow. Also, try not to lift your head up on the back swing. As Sir Isaac Newton once said "what goes up must come down" but in golf sometimes it doesn't, causing you to top the ball!
Also, You must keep your knees and head at the same level and your elbows together throughout the swing. To keep your head level you must keep your center (the upper front of your torso) moving in the forward swing, and to keep your center moving through the hitting area and to the finish you must let your head move with the center. Keeping your head down too long stops the center preventing the arms to continue through the shot.
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Q: I hit it fat!
A: There are 2 different way to hit the ball fat. The first way involves, the shoulder dip. In an advanced swing, the shoulders have basically no up and down movement. In a chunker's swing, the right shoulder drives down into the ground, causing the club head to hit the ground, well behind the ball. If this is what you suffer from, try keeping your head at a constant level throughout the swing. Let it float back and forth naturally, but NOT up and down.
The second way to hit a fat shot is to have your entire body slide toward the target during the swing. As a result, your club head descends at an extremely steep angle, often hitting the ground behind the ball. This is you if all your shots, even your clean hits, are extremely low, but have much spin. The cure for this fault is to concentrate on keeping your head behind the ball through impact. If your head stays back, so does your body. The result, more consistent contact, and higher ball flight.
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Q: How do I hit out of the fairway bunker?
A: The fairway bunker shot is not often used, but when you do, remember 3 things:
Use the correct club
Have the correct set-up
Perform the correct swing
When your ball is in a fairway bunker, don’t just check the distance; see what is in front of you first. Is there a "lip" in front? If so, How High? Club selection is determined by what club will clear the "lip" of the bunker. A good way to check to see if your ball will fly over the lip is to lay your iron on the grass, not sand, and step on the face. The angle of the shaft shows you the trajectory of your ball flight. So choose the iron that will clear the lip. If there is no lip, a #7 wood, #5 wood or club of your choice needed for the distance to the green may be used.
The Correct Set – Up
Stand so that the ball is in the center of your stance. Too far forward will make you hit the sand and not the ball, and too far back will make your posture drop down.
Keep your chin up! If your head is down, you will have a tendency to hit too much sand and not advance the ball out of the bunker. So stand tall, pivot from the hips, and don’t round your back.
Hot Tip! Choke up on your grip a little. It keeps the club head from hitting too much sand
With the correct club and your grip (choked up) and a good tall posture, now swing correctly and get out of that fairway bunker with some distance.
Two keys that will help achieve a correct swing are:
Swinging your arms high above your head will only make the club head dig into the sand too much. Try keeping your arms swinging a little flatter, around your shoulders.
As you are making contact with the ball, make sure your body is turning with your arm swing. If your body doesn’t turn, it will want to drop down to hit the ball, but you will hit the sand and not the ball. So turn and follow through for good ball contact.
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Q: How do I play the greenside bunker?
A: Understanding how a sand wedge works is very important to your success in playing a bunker shot. You must understand that you are using the bottom of the club which is called the bounce. If you look at the bottom of the club the trailing edge is lower than the leading edge. When the club strikes the sand behind the ball the trailing edge hits first and bounces the leading edge under and forward propelling the ball out of the bunker. This is the only shot in golf that you are not trying to hit the ball in the percussion point (sweet spot) of the face. You should not allow the club face to close during the execution of this shot. You are trying to maintain the true loft of the wedge.
Playing the shot: Play the ball forward, about on your front instep, with a fairly wide stance. Dig your feet in so you have a nice solid base, place your weight into your front foot and keep it there during the swing. This will minimize your lower body movement. Hold the club with light pressure in your hands. The club should be in the air and behind the ball with club face pointing at the target. Most sand wedges have enough loft on them so you don't have to open it, just lay it back by keeping your hands slightly behind the ball. This will add more loft to the club and lower the bounce. As you look down at the ball it will be in your field of vision, don't focus on it, look at the club face. That's about where the club will enter the sand. Now create some velocity with your arms and try and splash the sand under the ball all the way on to the green.