Archive: May 2009

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May 27, 2009

Ask the Top 100: How long should my putter be?

Posted at 1:59 PM by Todd Sones

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 am a 5'11" male and I have always used a 35-inch putter shaft. Is this appropriate for me or should I be looking for a putter 34-inch or 33-inch putter? Your help would be appreciated.
Rod M., Davenport, Fla.

Dear Rod,

At my school we have done more than 1,000 putter fittings over the past four years. Our research has found that players at 5'11 would fit somewhere between 33 1/2 to 34." The variable would be arm length. If you arms are a little long, lean toward the 33 1/2.

The correct length putter allows for a player to tilt properly forward at the hips, allowing your eyes to come to rest over the inside edge of the ball, with his weight over balls of your feet and -- this is important -- your elbows rotated slightly inward and connected to the front of your ribcage.

Don't forget that the length of your putter affects the swing weight of the putter, that is, the feel of the weight as the putter head swings back and forth. The swing weight of the putter has a great influence on a player's feel, tempo and distance control. My recommendation for the gram weight of a putter that is between 33.5 and 34 inches would be 350 grams.

If you would like more information on fitting putters, check out my web site www.coutourgolf.com

Good luck,
Todd

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Todd Sones is director of instruction at the Whitedeer Run Golf Club in Vernon Hills, IL. You can read more about Todd Sones at www.toddsones.com

May 13, 2009

YouTube + Top 100 Teacher = No More Hooks

Posted at 1:18 PM by Chuck Evans

Dear Top 100 Teacher,
I am a low-handicap player with decent distance off the tee and with my irons. The one thing I am lacking is accuracy with my clubs. I do play a natural 5-7 yard draw, but lately, my draw is turning into a 15-20 yard hook with the driver and a push with the irons. I know the push and block are related, and I don't want to give up my draw. Can you help? Here is a video of my swing when I played a few rounds in Scottsdale, Ariz. The shot on was on a par 4 that set up well for my hook.
Neal G., via email


Dear Neal,

I took a look at the video you sent and it does appear that you are getting the club under the correct swing plane. Too far under plane can cause pushes, pulls, fades, and draws, so unfortunately you now have a number of shots in your bag. (Ha-ha! That's Top 100 Teacher humor.)

When your plane angle (the path your clubhead travels toward impact) is too shallow or too far from the inside, your ball location becomes even more critical. If the ball is too far forward you'll hook it; if it's too far back you'll hit a push. Flatter plane angles require more clubface rotation through the ball -- think Sergio -- while more vertical plane angles require less clubface rotation, like Chris DiMarco's up-and-down swing.

Ultimately it is the "job" of your left hand to control the clubface. Think of an ordinary door opening and closing: this is the motion you want your left hand to do. Turn your hand to the right in the backswing and roll it to the left from impact until the ball is gone. If you roll too early, you'll have a hook and/or a pull hook. Not enough roll and you have a push or a fade.

You should work on getting the club down on a little steeper plane and experiment with ball location until you find the spot that gives you straight-away flight.  Remember, there is NO one ball position, it's different for EVERY player AND for EVERY club!

You should also make sure that the leading edge of the clubface is at a right angle to the target line when it is in line with your left shoulder. Again, if it is on the closed side of that alignment then it will draw or pull and if the clubface is open to that alignment, you'll hit a fade or push.

Try what I've just given you and if you need more help, we're here!

Regards,
Chuck

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Chuck Evans is director of instruction at Emerald Bay Golf Club in Destin. Fla.


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