Anyone who has played golf for a period of time develops certain tendencies or flaws in their swing that produces golf shots that are not intended. For example, you tee it up on the first hole of whatever golf course you are playing, you aim down the center of the fairway and then hit a big banana slice into the adjacent fairway and never find your ball. Next, you tee it up again, aim way left and hit it dead straight, out of bounds. Not a good way to start your day. You might think the cause of that big slice was leaving the club face wide open, or having an “out to in” swing path, or both. Perhaps, it was just tension. Perhaps you were gripping your driver too tight, or not tight enough. The possibilities are endless. Anyone who tends to slice the ball must learn to control the club face with their hands. The toe of the club must travel a bit faster than the heel of the club through impact in order to have a square club face at impact. Timing and coordination are very important. So, don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t always work. I’m always telling my students that if they could hit the ball where they were aiming, they would never have to putt.
So what about the dreaded hook? Too much hand action? Too soon? The swing “ins” too much inside out? Once again, the possibilities are endless. You may never figure it out by yourself. You might need a good friend with a four handicap or one of your local teaching pros. They have been trained to spot mistakes and figure out solutions.
Most of my beginning students tend to “top” the ball at times. The solution is simple, but not easy. If your head is moving all over the place, your golf shots will tend to go all over the place. Practice your swing in front of a mirror and get the feeling of staying centered and balanced. That’s what the good players do. They refer to it as maintaining their spine angle.
Finally, we experience short game mistakes like “thinning” the ball, “chunking” the ball, and “shanking” the ball. All of these mistakes are caused by poor posture and balance. Have you ever noticed how hard you try to keep your head still, but your eyes are glancing all over the place? Focus, my friends, is a key element in any sport, especially golf. So, hit the ball where you are aiming, and you won’t have to putt.
Rod Sims is the PGA Teaching Professional at Mount Shasta Resort. He would love to hear from you and he can be reached at 209-329-5634.