Archive: March 2009

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March 31, 2009

Ask the Top 100: How to use lead tape to fix your slice

Posted at 1:25 PM by Gale Peterson

Where should I put lead tape on a driver to correct a wicked slice?
John B., via email

Great question, John. I asked Craig Allan, our club fitter at Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia, for help with this one. Here’s what he had to say:

Within every clubhead design there is really only one optimal CG (center of gravity) position, so it is probably best to get fit to a clubhead that creates the ball flight you desire. That is why equipment makers intending to help golfers improve their ball flights are designing drivers with shafts that insert at different positions instead of drivers with adjustable weights.

That said, it is possible to slightly adjust the CG and bias of a club with some specific placement of weight. This type of "tweak" is sometimes necessary when your club is close, but not perfect.

For…
 
More Draw/Less Fade = Weight on heel
More Fade/Less Draw = Weight on toe
 
Adjusting the vertical trajectory is more difficult as loft is really the primary factor, but here are some guidelines…
 
Higher with more draw or less fade = Weight on low heel
Lower with more draw or less fade = Weight on high heel
Higher with more fade or less draw = Weight on low toe
Lower with more fade or less draw = Weight on high toe

Good luck,

Gale

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Gale Peterson teaches at the Sea Island Golf Learning Center in St. Simons Island, Ga.

March 25, 2009

Ask the Top 100: Stop leaving short irons short

Posted at 5:11 PM by Gale Peterson

E-mail askgolf@golf.com to cure what's hurting your scores with advice from the very best teachers in the game. Please include your name and hometown. Do you have a video of your faulty swing? Upload the video from your digital camera to a service like YouTube and send us the link. We'll send it off to a Top 100 Teacher for help ASAP.

Dear Top 100 Teacher,
I love to play but I’ve had this recurring problem hitting my short irons. I just get no distance with them and leave everything short. I just turned 50 and I am still in pretty good shape. So how can I start hitting these clubs farther? Thank you for taking the time to listen to me cry.  I do appreciate your help and this web site for all of us that love the game   
Bill, via email

To hit your short irons farther, the club needs to still have some energy stored in it through impact, resulting in solid contact and a descending blow. Here's how to stop the tears and get some smash on that golf ball in three easy steps.

Step One: Check your grip to make certain the club is more in your fingers than in your palm. The pad of your left hand should cover the grip and the V’s formed by your thumbs and hands point to the right side of your face.

Step Two: Stop halfway through your backswing to make sure your left arm and shaft form an “L” and the clubshaft is pointing toward your right shoulder.  Complete the backswing by turning your left shoulder slightly behind the ball.(You should feel like your weight is loaded into your right hip and the inside of your right heel while your back is facing the target.)

Step Three: Try the pump drill. At the top, let your lower body initiate the downswing getting you back to the address position while pumping the club down in front of your right thigh so the “L” is maintained.  Keep your body and arms moving to the finish.

While practicing your short irons at the range, do two pump drills with the ball on a short tee and then one continuous swing with the ball on the ground.  Two-for-1 is a great ratio for change, and you'll start flying those irons all the way to the green.

Best,
Gale

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Gale Peterson teaches at the Sea Island Golf Learning Center in St. Simons Island, Ga.

March 19, 2009

Help! I always hit my putts too hard

Posted at 4:16 PM by Gale Peterson

Dear Top 100 Teacher,
One of my main problems in my golf game is in my putting distance control, I am always hitting it too hard. How can I fix this?
Alec M., Orting, Wash.

Hi Alec,

If you look at all great putters they have a few things in common. They all have repeatable, rhythmical swings, and they all can control distance and direction. Distance control is a major factor in all short-game shots and especially putting.

The distance a putt travels is governed by two major factors: 1) Solidness of contact and 2) Clubhead speed. All putters have a sweet spot near the center of the face.When the ball is struck on the sweet spot you get a consistent roll with no twist in the putter face. Any off-center shots (that is, not on the sweet spot) deaden the blow.

So the first thing to do is find the sweet spot on your putter. Take your putter and lightly hold
the grip with your thumb and forefinger of your left hand and extend your left arm to about shoulder height. With the club hanging take a golf ball and start tapping the center of the putter's face with the ball. Keep tapping the face until you find a spot that has no vibration or twist in the face. That's the sweet spot. If your putter has an alignment aid and it does not match the sweet spot -- or if there is no line on your putter -- add a line or dot on the top edge of the putter with a Sharpie.

Most modern putting strokes have one power source: the shoulders. When you move the putter with your shoulders, your arms and wrists maintain their angles and your stroke becomes a pendulum motion. The big muscles of your shoulders move more slowly than the small muscles of your hands, wrist and arms, which means a shoulder-powered stroke is easier to repeat. Distance control is achieved by having a stroke that is the same length back as through, with a constant beat. Imagine you have a metronome with you. Then take the putter in your right hand only and start making practice swings that are the same length back as through and match the beats of the metronome in your head. For shorter putts, make a shorter back-and-through motion with the same beat. For longer putts longer strokes back and through with the same beat.

Now set up to a ball and putt to a target retaining the beat and same back-and-through technique. If you can hit the ball on the sweet spot with a rhythmic stroke you are well on your way to becoming a first-rate putter.

Best,
Gale

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Gale Peterson teaches at the Sea Island Golf Learning Center in St. Simons Island, Ga.

March 12, 2009

Free e-book! Join the New Rules revolution

Posted at 12:10 PM by Charlie King

Just a note to alert you readers of GOLF.com's Top 100 Teachers Blog that I have released an e-book for free titled The New Rules of Golf Instruction. You can download it here. I believe my book will give you a clear picture of how to improve at this game we love. And did I mention, it's free!

Newrulesbook The e-book features the nine areas where traditional (Old Rules) golf instruction has failed and introduces the "New Rules," a modern set of ideas and standards for golfers and instructors. I believe the New Rules will pave the way for people of all skill levels to play their best golf and stick with the game.

I didn't have very good instruction early in my career and that put me on a mission. Golfers deserve not to be confused. It's too difficult to figure out how to get better at golf. The New Rules of Golf Instruction is the manifesto that explains how to do this. 

The book includes chapters on the full swing, the short game, the mental side of golf, practice and programs, fitness, the use of video, club fitting and communication. Each chapter explains the Old Rules way of teaching (which will sound familiar to any golfer who has had a bad or ineffective lesson) and clearly contrasts it with the New Rules approach. You'll also hear personal stories from me, as well as my contributors and instructors from across the nation that will help you achieve your own personal golfing goals.

The New Rules of Golf Instruction is 60 pages long. You can read it in one sitting. I'm asking you to read it and if you agree with what it says, use the principles for your own game and pass it on to friends. Join our revolution. We've launched Facebook and LinkedIn groups that you can join to become part of our grassroots movement to improve golf instruction so it benefits you.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Golf Magazine Top 100 Charlie King is director of instruction at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga. He is the star of the most-popular video in golf.com history, "The Proper Way to Throw Your Club," which has been viewed more than 1.8 million times.

March 11, 2009

Help me, T.J., John Daly has taken my swing to Hooters!

Posted at 3:37 PM by T.J. Tomasi, Ph.D.

E-mail askgolf@golf.com to cure what's hurting your scores with advice from the very best teachers in the game. Please include your name and hometown. Do you have a video of your faulty swing? Upload the video from your digital camera to a service like YouTube and send us the link. We'll send it off to a Top 100 Teacher for help ASAP.

Dear T.J.,
I seem to suffer from an out-to-in swing. Sometimes it results in a pull-draw, other times a slice. I would be fine with a fade since I’m not hurting for distance. However, I don't think my current swing is the right way to do it. Please take a look at this video and let me know what you think.

Robert W., via email

Hi Rob,

You have two problems: a face that is closed to your clubhead path and a path that is left of your target. When you stop your swing at the top you can see the problem. You look a lot like John Daly — whose backswing extends way past parallel [insert Hooters joke here]. Daly used to be able to control his over-swing, but as he ages, drinks more beer and gobbles more Buffalo wings, his timing erodes. Johnny Miller has said that when Daly gets to age 90 he'll be at parallel at the top, but you can't wait until then to fix it.

Here’s what to do:

The bottom line is that over-swings are like the kid who’s late for dinner — he doesn't have time to take the normal route home so he has to jump the fence. You do the same thing in your swing: you take the short route home by coming over the top to jump back to the ball. Then, at impact, you work your hands and produce a pull hook.

The fix is to shorten your backswing. Wrap a broom handle in one of those foam noodles kids use at the pool, and ask someone to hold it adjacent to your left shoulder. If your backswing goes past parallel, you'll strike the noodle with your club.

It will take a bit of coordination, but I use this device all the time to shorten swings.

Good luck and keep me posted

Best, T.J. 

March 04, 2009

Ask the Top 100: Help me, T.J.! I'm pushing my irons

Posted at 1:02 PM by T.J. Tomasi, Ph.D.

E-mail askgolf@golf.com to cure what's hurting your scores with advice from the very best teachers in the game. Please include your name and hometown. Do you have a video of your faulty swing? Upload the video from your digital camera to a service like YouTube and send us the link. We'll send it off to a Top 100 Teacher for help ASAP.

T.J.,
I was wondering if there are any practice tips to help me correct a push with my driver and my irons. I am not slicing, I am just hitting it straight right. Any help.
Allen T., via email

Allen,
The first step is to make sure your clubface is aiming at the target. Here’s how to check. Lay down three clubs, [1] one club along your foot line and [2] one on the target line in front of the ball and [3] one on the target line in back of the ball. Leave about 12 inches between the ball and the back shaft [3]. After you make sure that the shaft on your foot line is parallel with the other two shafts, remove the shaft in front of the ball [2] and then actually hit the ball, making sure your downswing is along the back shaft [3]. Hit balls until your divot is in line with the back shaft. That will take care of your push problem.

Good Luck,
T.J.

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher TJ Tomasi, Ph.D., a Class A PGA professional, teaches at the Nantucket Golf Club in Massachusetts. You can learn more about TJ at tjtomasi.com

March 02, 2009

Top 100 Teachers weigh in on Barkley's chances at golf swing rehabilitation

Posted at 3:12 PM by Anne Szeker

We asked our Top 100 Teachers if Hank Haney will be able to fix Charles Barkley’s swing – 58 percent said yes and 42 percent said no. Here are some of their comments.

Miracles do happen. ­ –- Donald Kotnik, Toledo Country Club

A homeless non-golf-playing alien could improve Barkley's swing. -- ­Jim McLean, Jim McLean Golf School

Feb27_barkley_299x378 It would be a shame to lose such a unique motion with such high entertainment value.  Some say it is the finest swing of its kind. -- ­Mike Bender, Timacuan Golf Club

Don't  you have to have a swing to have it fixed? - Dr. Gary Wiren, Trump International

Hank Haney, David Leadbetter, Rick Smith and the U.S. Marine Corps led by Dr. Frankenstein couldn't fix Sir Charles. ­-- Tom Patri, Friar's Head Golf Club

It's not his swing that needs to be fixed, it's his head. He needs Dr. Debbie Crews, because he has the full-swing yips. ­-- Jane Frost, Jane Frost Golf School

Some time ago, I suggested to Charles that he start over left handed. It's too bad he didn't take my advice. He would be having fun playing golf by now. -- ­Hank Johnson, Greystone Golf Club

I'm sure with the time spent with Charles he can help him, but I don't think he will FIX him. ­-- Fred Griffin, Grand Cypress Academy of Golf

His problem is fear. He's hit so many embarrassing shots that he wants to play but doesn't want to make contact -- a tough combo in golf. If Haney understands operant conditioning, then he can help. If Haney doesn't understand, he will probably trick up the results. ­ -- Dr.  T.J. Tomasi, PGA Learning Center

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. ­-- John Elliott, Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club

Does Charles have a year? No. Charles will always have that swing. -- ­Nancy Quarcelino, Kings Creek G.C.

Not unless he uses shock treatment. ­-- Keith Lyford, Golf Academy at Old Greenwood

All of Charles's golfing pals aren't rooting for him. One of his friends told me, "Charles is my annuity and I don't want to see it fixed." -- ­Brian Mogg, Brian Mogg Performance Center at Golden Bear Golf Club

There is no chance that Haney can repair the damage that has been done. Barkley's swing and motor program are beyond repair. -- Mike Adams, Hamilton Farm G.C.

Watch Barkley's swing in the video below. Do you think Haney can fix Sir Charles?

(Photo: AP)


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