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Ask Bill Crowley your golf swing questions banner

Bill Crowley is our resident golf swing expert, former PGA Teaching pro, and all around good guy.

Having trouble with your golf swing? Need a tip on strategy? How to practice? Just ask Bill!

Bill will do his best to post his solution to your problem right here in this forum. As always, try to visit the archives below to see if your question may have already been answered. But since this is a new web site with a brand new ASK B.C. page, you might as well just go ahead and ask!

Click here to submit your question to Bill Crowley.

Bill Crowley

Bill Crowley

CLICK HERE FOR THE MOST RECENT Q & A's from August 2012 forward)

 

PAST GOLF TIPS AND QUESTIONS ARCHIVE

Miss Too Many Short Putts

Stiff or regular shafts?

Hybrid clubs for older golfer?

Slice Cure?

Playing in the wind

Help with my slice!

Loss of distance

Only slices driver

Great at range, inconsistent on course

Buy Blades or Cavity Back Irons?

Trouble with early release and scooping

Oversized Grips?

Lie of club...toe up or flat?

Bends left arm and lifts heel

Popping up his woods

Hitting everything too high!

Help "re-finding" putting stroke

"Rounded Back" at impact

Sometimes hook, sometimes slice

Divots too deep on short irons

Fast Greens

SHANKS

Swing Speed and Proper Fitting Clubs

All Wrapped Up In Shaft Flex, Kick Points and Over Tweaking?

Ball Position

Stack and Tilt or reverse pivot?

Mis-Hits towards the heel

Hitting the sweet spot

Correct Hip Position at Impact

One Hip shorter than other. Adjust setup?

Not taking a divot with my irons.

Flat Swing caused by wrist position?

Closed Face Driver or Square Face?

Equipment change to help cure a pull hook?

In To Out Swing Path and Pushing The Ball

Starting Off The Season Hitting Too High.

Can't Hit Fairway Woods Off The Tee! Can Still Hit Driver. What's Up?

Hitting from moderate to high rough.

Too many waggles. (Can't pull the trigger.)

Getting Stiff as I'm getting older

Alignment Woes!

Chunking or hitting fat

Ball Position and Flight Results

Maximize Driver Distance Tips

What compression ball for any swing speed?

What length backswing for a senior who's not all that flexible these days?

Problem regripping club during swing

Hitting Drives Too High

 

Crowley's Corner Golf Tips

Pre Tournament Checklist

How to stop sucking at golf!

 

MISSING TOO MANY SHORT PUTTS

Hey Bill, I miss more than my share of "gimmie" short putts. Any suggestions on how I can get my confidence back? I'm an overall decent putter, but I must miss at least one or two 2 footers a round. (10hdcp)...Joe, Texas.

Joe, you should not have confidence issues on 2 footers if you are a decent putter and hold a 10 hdcp. Before you next round bang in 20 in a row on the practice green and take that feel to the course. Nerves can cause the big muscles (arms & shoulders) to slow down and the small muscles (hands & wrists) to speed up. The best cure for nerves is practice and the confidence success during practice brings to your game on the course.

 

STIFF OR REGULAR SHAFTS?

Bill, I hit the ball around 260 off the tee. I normally hit it pretty straight but if I do miss hit it's usually a hook. I'm playing stiff shafts now, but I'm considering buying new clubs and want your opinion whether I should get stiff or regular shafts. Thanks. Jim, Sunny California.

Hi Jim, congratulations, 260 of the tee works just fine! Stick with the stiff shafts. If you have a tight hole with trouble on the left you might want to consider hitting your 3 wood just to be safe. A good player (260 off the tee), whose hooks get out of control typically needs to address a swing path that might be coming from too far inside. The better player has the talent to turn the hands at impact to try and square the club to compensate for the inside-out swing path. So it will either work (hit it straight) or be overdone(hook).

It is usually the set-up and back swing path that dictates your downswing path. Look at that first. Try bringing the club back on a straight line from the ball on your back swing for the first 18". This will get you on the proper, more upright swing plane going back, which should continue into your downswing.

 

HYBRIDS FOR OLDER PLAYERS OR EVERYONE?

Bill,

I am a 70 year old golfer and use a load of FW metals 1,3,5,7, and 9.  I usually keep the driver at home and hit the #3 off the tee.  Question is:  are FW metals or hybrids best for the older player.  I've never used a hybrid and would appreciate your thoughts.  Thanks, Dick 

Hi Dick, Thanks for the good question. The hybrids, or utility clubs as they are sometimes called are finding their way into a lot of players bags, even the pro's! (David Toms used a hybrid for his hole in one in the final round of the PGA championship!) These clubs are basically a cross between a fairway "wood" and a long iron. The center of gravity has been moved back and to the bottom of the club, something you can't do with a "regular" long iron. The face on most of these clubs is "flat", rather than rounded, or having that "bulge" that your usual fairway wood has. This causes the ball to climb higher with a higher spin rate than with a fairway wood. You might even want to consider a "hybrid set", where the clubs are matched but the low irons are actually hybrids to give you that added forgiveness that you wouldn't get with a standard iron. (usually the 3 and 4 iron in these sets are hybrids, sometimes the 5 as well.)

So after all that!.. Yes, I think a hybrid set would be a good choice, especially if you use a lot of fairway metal clubs now. The one "drawback" to these clubs is finding one that appeals to you, as they sure look a little "odd" if you're not used to them. But since you're already hitting a 9 wood, you should slide right into 'em like butter!

These clubs are certainly not just for an older player or the ladies either. They're solid clubs that are being used by players such as Ernie Ells, Stuart Appleby, Steve Flesh, and Retief Goosen to name a few. They're also great for chipping around the green, and they even seem to fly farther when you throw them after a bad shot!

Good luck!

 

SLICE CURE?

Hi Bill,

Thanks for taking my question. I can’t get rid of my slice. Once in a while I can manage a long fade, but usually I’m playing from the other fairway. I also hit a few balloon shots off the tee from time to time. I don’t hit it that long, maybe 250-275 on a good poke. I’ve tried everything. Any suggestions? I’m 58 years old, have been playing for about 10 years. If I could lose this slice it would be a lot more fun!

Tom
Tampa Florida

 

Hi Tom,

First of all you must be some strong dude. 58 years old and fairly new to the game with a big slice that gets you 250-275 yards off the tee. I'd like to know who's in your 4-some if you don't consider that long. With that club head speed a 3-wood off the tee would work on 90% of the holes. Slices and balloon shots are caused by a steep approach from the outside on the downswing rather than a shallower approach from the inside. Funny enough the way to address this flaw is in an improved setup and/or back swing. There could be numerous causes but 2 of the more common reasons are the grip and the arms disconnecting from the body on the back swing. Re grip a backup 6 iron and driver with a those special grips that force your hands into the right position on the handle. Work thru the awkwardness of how it feels with practice and try to trust it on the course. A great drill for the 2nd issue(one piece swing) is putting a towel under your left armpit(righties) and hit balls making sure it doesn't fall out on the back swing.

Bill

 

PLAYING IN THE WIND

Hi Bill,

Do you have any tips for playing in the wind?

Karen

 

Hello Karen,

Besides the tip of not spitting into the wind(It's a guy thing),  just take one extra club to compensate for the yardage change, (ball won't fly as far into the wind with your normal swing),then take one more club,(total of "2 clubs more")so you can swing more smoothly and balanced. The ball will stay lower with less backspin.(won't upshoot) If hit solidly this shot will make it through even the toughest of winds. 

To recap and be clear, you're looking at taking a 5 iron instead of say a 7 iron into a strong wind and swinging very smoothly. This will keep the flight down with a more roll and you'll be sure to get it there with optimum control. Got it? Good Luck!

Bill

 

HELP WITH MY SLICE!

Bill,

I'm new to golf and i have a really bad slice with me driver no matter what i do when i swing my driver the ball will slice in to the other fairway and it will only  go about 175 yards if I'm lucky. I have tried a stronger grip and a weaker grip but nothing will make it fly in the same fairway and the harder i swing the more it will slice now I'm not looking for a 300 yard drive but i would like to try to keep the ball in the same fairway would make me happy. My friends tell me i stand crooked and sometime i swing the club like a bat i know the problem is in my swing/stance/grip but they can't help me and i don't have a clue on what to do. Can you help with any slice golf tips?

Thanks for your time,

Scott

 

Hi Scott

If you had been playing for 10 years or so I would tell you that you’re a mess. However, you are new to the game and haven’t consulted with a PGA Professional. As a past PGA Professional I can tell you that some are better than others, with no bad ones, and as a whole an extremely qualified group with lots of patience. Find one you like and trust and take the first step to an improved technique. If he or she has video capabilities, make sure you take advantage of them. And going forward let all advice from your friends go in one ear and out the other. They may notice something unusual (which is not necessarily bad), but are not trained to find the root cause(s) of the flaw. You’ll soon be better then them anyway.

Good Luck!     

Bill

 

CAUSE OF LOSS OF DISTANCE

Hi Bill,

My problem is almost complete loss of power. On the range preseason, I hit my 7 iron 150 yards, now I'm pulling it out for 130. Also, my warm-up swings seems smooth and effortless, but set up to the ball and I tense up and more often than not hit behind the ball. Don't know if these are two problems, but fixing either one would be a big help!

Thanks, Don

 

Hello Don,

You need to find a swing that is reliable and can find the center of the club face when it counts!  Practice swings and even the range game is a whole different animal. When you are on the course playing for keeps  it is normal for tension(pressure) to creep in and tighten up the technique. Garcia and Harrington had to deal with it over the last 9 holes in the PGA. Take a series of lessons with a PGA Pro to sure up your form (and confidence) and when the normal pressure appears in a round you will be better able to deal with it. Jack Nicklaus used to say if he wasn't nervous and feeling pressure on the 1st tee there was a problem. He always shot lower scores when it really counted. Nerves & pressure are  good things and expected  so don't be afraid to welcome them.

Good Luck, 

Bill       

 

 

ONLY SLICES DRIVER

Hello,

I am a lefty, and my drives go straight for about 100 to 150 yards then take a left turn. My irons are straight, my 3 and 5 woods are also going left after a so many yards but not near as drastically an the ball does from the driver. I have tried everything that I can think of or the golf instructor had suggested and nothing seems to work. Although when I go take the driver back s-l-o-w-l-y and bring it through the ball does seem to not slice as bad. Any ideas or tips?

Thanks,
Bob Peterson

 

Hello Bob...........If a golfer puts the exact  same slice move on a driver and a 7 iron the driver will always slice more for 2 reasons. The more relevant one is that the 7 iron has much more backspin(because of the loft) to offset the side spin than the driver does. The 2nd reason is that since a driver travels farther there is more time for the slice to continue. A common cause for the slice is the hands and arms going out and across(over the top) on the downswing. This common disconnection from the body going down all too often starts in the back swing. A slower start to the swing is giving you a better chance for a connected(one piece) takeaway and thus a better position at impact. If  no progress is being made with your teacher it may be time to call another PGA professional.

Bill

 

 

INCONSISTENT ON COURSE

Hi Bill,

Just looking at the I Suck At Golf web site, what a great idea! Just a quick question I was hoping you could shed some light on and maybe offer a few helpful tips.
 
I've been taking lessons for about 8 weeks which have gone well and the teaching pro is happy with my progress. I hit the ball fantastic at the range, usually with a slight draw. However come Saturday at my local club I'm very inconsistent. I can go from a run of pars and the odd birdie to playing like a hacker and spraying the ball everywhere and making stupid scores which ruin a potentially good round. 
 
My teaching pro doesn't really understand saying i should be playing to a 10-12 handicap, but my official handicap is 20. Any tips would be massively helpful as its starting to make me go crazy and very frustrated.
 
Paul K.

 

Hi Paul,

If you haven't been playing long(less than 5 years) I think you are following a natural  progression(it can be frustrating, though) of taking it from the range to the course. As your technique improves the pressure of playing for real will effect the swing negatively less and less. However, If you are a seasoned golfer and this is happening give yourself some more time(8 weeks is really not that long for a consistent change in the fundamentals). At some point if your technique is not improving enough to be more consistent when it matters, it might be time for a new PGA pro to get involved. Till then when it's falling apart on the links out think your flaws: Fairways off the tee(even if its a 5-iron), know yardages to traps and hazards and choose a club that can't put you in them, have a "go to shot"(any club and any swing) that keeps you in play, and improve your putting and chipping. For now enjoy the challenge that a "bad swing day" offers. You'll drive your opponents crazy with your new found craftiness.

Good Luck! 

BIll 

 

BLADES OR CAVITY BACK CLUBS?

Dear Bill,

Should anyone be playing blades these days? I’m a 3 handicap and am looking for new clubs. I’m playing old Pings now. Will I get more control and distance with blades, or am I just making things unnecessarily difficult for myself?

Thanks
T.D.

 

T. D,

Blades! Smades!.....Always go with cavity back irons. They give you much more room for error with minimal distance reduction if miss hit. The reasons some top professionals use blades are feel  & feedback, familiarity(if they have been playing them since they were kids) and less rough interference because of the smaller size.

Bill      

 

SCOOPING, EARLY RELEASE WOES

Hi Bill,
I have had many lessons and had my swing videoed on three separate occasions over a five year period. Early video showed very very early release/scoop.
Over time I have worked very hard on swing fundamentals and tried to minimize this problem and yet latest video shows early release with attendant distance loss ,HIGH SEMI CIRCLE TYPE BALL FLIGHT and obviously never a divot. I am told take away top of back swing and start of down swing is very acceptable. Do you have any swing keys /practice drills that will deal with this issue
I do feel personally that to make sure I have no lateral left hip movement I do not snap my left knee which appears to accentuate the early release problem. I notice that my 5 iron finishes at 45 degrees to the ground at swing completion .Professionals seem to have their club horizontal to the ground. When I practice in front of a MIRROR WITHOUT HITTING BALLS and focus on snapping the left knee, it appears to bring the club horizontal to the ground at finish. Am I on the right track? I would appreciate any comment that you can make to ease this frustrating impediment.

Kind regards
David

 

Hi David,

I suggest hitting balls with a SW and place a head cover approx 10" behind ball and hit some 10 yard pitch shots, avoiding the head cover on downswing.  This drill will help increase lag almost immediately.  You should focus on keeping the RIGHT WRIST BENT BACK PAST IMPACT. 
Loss of lag occurs for many reasons: usually a steep; out to in downswing is most common.  Another common cause is the dreaded reverse pivot which in turn almost always causes the early release because the hands and arms start to pull down as a result the improper body rotation (Always causes the out to in steep downswing except in extremely athletic golfers).  With a proper body rotation there has to be some lateral movement or else the weight would never shift. It should be subtle but it is there. Snapping the left knee (Tiger’s power move that led to his injury & surgery) and no lateral movement through impact to your left side is not a good idea. It will leave you hanging back on the right(reverse pivot).      

Bill

 

OVERSIZED GRIPS

Hi Bill,

I have #7 size Winn grips on my clubs.  Being oversized, will that affect my game any?

Thanks,

Richard A.

 

Hi Richard………Grip size is best judged by taking a proper grip with your top hand (in the fingers and under the heel pad) and making sure the fingers wrap around to just touch skin again. If Winn#7 is oversized for you, as you say, the grip will slide too much into the palm and reduce the efficiency of the release (more slicing). Another thought concerning Winn grips. They are so light that the swing weight increases 3-4 as opposed to standard grips. An oversized Winn #7 may limit this a little. I like the feel of the head at the top with higher swing weights. So as long as it does’t feel too heavy go for it.

Bill

 

LIE OF CLUB AT ADDRESS

My question is - all the books i read , says to place the golf club ( iron or driver ) flat on the ground .
I see pro's and most players with the toe of the club up and the club on more of an angle .
With the flat , the club is still on an angle but not with the club toe up .
Which is correct ?  The club toe up or the club flat ?
With the toe up, you don't have the hole face to hit with
With the club flat you have the hole face to hit with but
it doesn't feel right .

Thanking you in advance for your help
James Boulding

 

Hi James,

The toe should be up slightly(a credit card or two) with an iron at address because the shaft will bend down during the swing. At impact you will then have the flat club that is desired. I wouldn't worry as much about the driver because it's teed up. Remember the toe will be slightly up on an iron as a result of proper club fitting not any hand manipulation on the player's part.

Bill

 

 

BENDS LEFT ARM TOO MUCH? HOW ABOUT HEEL TOO HIGH?

Bill,

Thanks for taking my question. I wanted to know if it is ok to bend my left arm slightly at the top of my backswing if I straighten it back out on the downswing. Also I tend to lift my left heel pretty high sometimes on the top of the backswing. (2” or more) I’m not real flexible and if I don’t bend the arm a bit and lift the heel I can’t make the full turn. It doesn't’t seem to bother my game, but sometimes my playing partners mention it. Any tips on increasing my flexibility?

Thank you,

Ric

 

Hi Ric,

A slight bend of the left arm is ok as we age and get less flexible. However, make sure it is not caused by over swinging. You would be surprised how short the swing can be and still have a solid turn (Alan Doyle, Dana Quigley, etc….).  Avoid lifting the heel because that frees up the hips to turn, not the shoulders. The bigger the gap between a full shoulder turn and a minimal hip turn creates increased power (The X factor) ….. As far as increasing flexibility: STRETCHING, STRETCHING, and more STRETCHING each day, not just days you play. It doesn't’t take long, but make sure your program is effective. Confer with a knowledgeable source regarding this. Additionally, as long as you are taking your partners money at the end of day, let all advice go in one ear and out the other.

Bill         

SKYING MY WOODS

Bill,

I’m sky-ing my tee shots and fairway woods several times a round. What causes this and any suggestions? It happens more off the tee but also off the grass.

Thanks,
Bill B.

Hi Bill ........Popping the woods up is caused by a steep "out to in" downswing. Review my catalogue of previous answers and you'll find many reasons and corrections(almost always setup and backswing issues) for this deadly move. One quick fix is to move the ball forward in your stance as your more apt to catch the ball at the level bottom of your swing.

Good Luck

Bill

ISAG Bonus Tip: Hey Bill B., see also Best Tip Ever! It will help you get in the "slot" and prevent that over the top move of yours.

 

HITTING EVERYTHING TOO HIGH!

I'm 62 and a 14 handicapper but I love to play. I hit everything too high. My driver trajectory is so high that I lose distance and get little or no roll.
I hit a 9 degree Krank. Do they make drivers with less loft? I hit my drive off the inside of my left foot, although moving up or back seems to make little difference. I hit all my irons too high also.

THX WAW

 

Hi Warren,

At your age(a young whippersnapper LOL) and handicap I would not go below a 9 degree driver. Most golfers similar to yourself would benefit more with a 10.5 regular flex. The issue with the pop ups is technique driven. It is caused by a steep(out to in) approach on the downswing. A shallower angle from the inside always optimizes ball flight. Having said this, this common problem is almost always caused by setup and/or backswing flaws. See my previous answers on this topic on the website.

Slice Cure , Scooping , and check out Best Tip Ever from the ISAG Instruction area.

 

Keep Swinging!

Bill

 

HELP GETTING PUTTING STROKE BACK!

Hi Bill,

My name is Len and I’ve got a question for you. I need some advice on getting my putting stroke back. I was always a pretty good putter but lost it towards the end of last season. (lot of short putts missed, mis-reads, etc.) I have lost all confidence and can’t even make one in the living room these days! I use a Titleist Bullseye putter and Titleist balls, if that matters.

Thanks,
Len

Hi Len,

See my April 08 article regarding short putts and confidence. Misreads are a part of golf and even the best tour putters have to deal with it. I tend to look at the green as a whole and even the overall landscape rather then just focusing on the narrow area from my ball to the cup. Also, have an eye exam if the problem is chronic.  Don't over read the shorter putts. Just bang 'em in. Also, its time to donate your Bullseye to your local junior association and upgrade to a more functional putter. It will make a difference.

Bill

 

ROUNDED BACK AT IMPACT

Hey Bill,

I have a problem with my back rounding right at impact. It is stable throughout the entire swing, but as soon as I get to impact it rounds? My spine angle doesn't change, my back just rounds. I have a strong core, and my butt isn't moving forward at all, so I'm not sure what is causing it. Also, I've been casting the club for quite some time, and I've done every drill in the book to fix it, for years. I have proper weight shift, and an in to out swing, so could my casting be cause by the rounding of my spine/back on the downswing?

Thanks,
Zack(age 15)

 

Hi Zack....You and your swing coaches obviously have a good eye to the nuances of a proper athletic motion. So, it is difficult for me to correctly identify the flaw without looking at some video. Also, you state that you are casting the club, but have an "in to out"swing. That can't be. Casting means you are going over the top on the downswing(out to in). Some rounding of the back at impact is normal. If it is excessive consider these  possibilities: there is too much energy(pulling) by the arms to approach the ball from the slot and through the hitting area(path is slightly in to square and back to slightly in).This over effort by the arms will certainly tighten the shoulders and upper back and cause the rounding effect. The arms should fall naturally at the start of the downswing because of gravity and proper body(trunk, core, hips etc...) motion initiating the way. Tiger Woods does not have one ounce of arm pull on his downswing. As explained they just go for the ride. Lastly, your posture and distance from the ball must give the required room for the arms to go naturally through.

Best of luck

PS: Although these are important issues, much more important(at age 15) is the ability to score(up and downs and making putts) and the ability to close a round when those around you are getting nervous.

Bill

Zack had a follow up...

Bill, when I say that I am 'casting', I mean I am releasing the club too early on the downswing, not coming over the top. I hold the angle/lag good for about 75 percent of the downswing, but just before my hands reach my right leg I release the club. It is just slightly too soon.

 Thanks, Zach

Zack,

The number one killer of proper lag is insufficient body rotation leading the way(I like to fire thru with my right hip)and/or a poor grip(weak). The 2nd biggest killer is trying to intentionally do it. Pulling your arms thru or (deliberately trying to delay them for that matter)will cause an early release and also the rounding effect of your spine. A good drill is hitting balls with a 9 iron and letting the arms fall halfway down "gravity" and then rotating your core thru with great speed. If initially this drill feels as though you can't generate enough power then we know you are on the right track. My guess is that the feeling you associate with power is actually the overworking of your arms.

Bill 

SOMETIMES HOOK, SOMETIMES SLICE

Hi Bill,

Thanks for taking the time to offer a service like this to the average Joe like myself.

I've been practicing a lot and been taking a few lessons.  Needless to say, I have had to unlearn a lot of bad habits.  Although I have noticed progress, there are a couple issues I need some help with. 

When I am feeling confident and hitting the ball well, I hit a slight fade.  However, when things start to fall apart a little bit, one of two things happens:

1.  I hit the ball thin, closer to the toe, with a pronounced slice.

or

2.  I hit the ground before the ball, still close to the toe, with a hook.

I am confident that my posture, stance, and grip are not the problem.  My theory (which could be completely wrong) is that I use too much arms, less body, which gives me an inconsistent swing sometimes producing a thin slice, or a fat hook.

Do you have any advice or drills that might help mitigate this problem?

Thanks,
Al

 

Hi Al,

OK. Let's focus on the overuse of the arms and not enough body or more importantly the proper blending of the two. The somewhat contradictory aspects of the clues present a golf swing that is inconsistent. For now, ignore the hook because of the likelihood of it being caused by the ground(fat shot) resulting in the closing of the clubhead (very common) and thus the hook.


When the body and arms are working as a team your body's core, trunk and hips will initiate the downswing and the arms will passively follow with a path that comes more from the inside.This will result in a solid powerful shot that has a slight draw or a straight flight. With your "A" game having a slight fade we are most likely dealing with  an outside to inside downswing path. A great drill is hitting 7 irons with towels under each armpit. A properly connected swing will result in these towels staying put. Since you can't use your arms the way you are familiar with on the downswing, focus on accelerating your core thru and around to your left side's follow thru position. Some proper stretching and exercising of the leg and trunk area will liven up this area and bring some better results.

Have a good season,

Bill

see also "Military Golf" by Barry Goldstein

DIVOTS TOO DEEP

Bill Crowley,

I’m a junior golfer (15 years old.) and I’ve been playing for about 2 years. I shoot in the hi 80’s. I’m having trouble hitting my wedges close. I don’t have a real soft short shot in my bag. I tend to take too much of a divot compared to guys I played with who almost pick it off the grass with lots of backspin. Mine seems to come out hot and I don’t feel like I have real good control over the distance. I have a strong game around the green, out of the sand, and off the tee. But I’m not scoring better just because I don’t score from 60-100 yards in. I’d actually rather be a full wedge out than closer as when I swing all out I have an idea of the distance. Maybe I’m not using enough wrists on the shorter ones? Hope you know what I’m trying to say.

Thanks
Todd
Arizona

Hi Todd .........A few thoughts regarding your situation: laying up to a yardage that gives you a full wedge swing(PW,GW,SW or LW) is the norm among good players who manage their games well. So learn your yardages and make that happen consistently. When you find yourself 60-100 yd's out, a deep divot is not your friend. You are coming into the ball to steep(out to in) and need to work on a more shallower approach. This angle results in clean crisp contact with little or no turf being kicked up. Your wedge game and distance control will be much improved with this action.

A great drill for to help promote a shallower angle of attack is putting a towel under your left armpit(righties) and hit balls making sure it doesn't fall out on the back swing. I would also suggest you take a series of lessons from a PGA Professional  just working on this. Stay cool with the hot summer just around the corner in your neck of the woods.....Bill

 

FAST GREENS

Bill,

My home course has average to slow greens. Twice a month we play at other courses which have faster greens and I have a lot of trouble adjusting and can’t make a good stroke. Usually wind up with at least 2 or 3 three putts when on fast greens. Any suggestions on how to adjust when there’s not much time to hit the putting green or worse yet when the practice green is closed!

Thanks,
Tim

Hi Tim,

If you can’t get to the course early or the putting green is closed here are a few ideas to try: Stop by the course a few days before your round or find another course with greens that have similar speeds. Also,there are practice putting mats/games that are faster than others. Check a few out and make a purchase. Putting in your house/work on linoleum, a wood floor or a hard rug could also be helpful. You could also trick yourself into imagining the hole at a spot ¾ of the actual distance (if you tend to blow it by the hole.) And best of all don’t get psyched out by fast greens. I prefer them because they tend to be in better shape and all you have to do is get the ball rolling.       

 Bill

ISAG Bonus two cents worth: A little trick that you'll see some tour players use on very fast downhill putts is to put off the toe of the putter. It deadens the putt and allows for a longer stroke. Also consider having a lighter putter for when you know the greens will be fast. (if yours isn't very light already.) We wouldn't suggest a putter swap of course when you're putting well, but you sound like you're struggling already. Did you ever notice that with a new putter you putt lights-out for a while? You think this is the greatest club in the world until you get used to it and lose that "new feel". Might be worth a shot. You can call it "The 'ol Billy Barou" for fast greens.

 

SHANKS

I have recently developed an annoying habit of hitting the ball perilously close to the hosel. The results are that my irons have lost distance and have a tendency to fade. Worse, the "s" word is in the back of my mind with almost every swing. Any simple fixes???

Thanks,
Mickey.

 

Mickey....

Although a case of the "laterals" can get in someone's head and increase the likelihood of it happening again the root  cause has to be addressed. The main cause is  the arms and body  not being in sync. The arms go out and across on the downswing which will cause a weak slice and increase the chance of the hosel being involved in the impact. The best drill for a "one piece" swing is hitting 7 irons with a towel under both armpits. This will groove the feeling of approaching the ball more from an inside/straight path. If you are still having problems after several sessions I would look at the grip. Have a golf shop put a training grip on an old lofted iron. I've rarely seen someone with a solid grip have the "El Hosels".

Bill

see also Barry Goldstein's answer to the same question here.

 

SWING SPEED & PROPER FITTING CLUBS

Hi Bill,

I've been golfing for several years now and consider myself well above average. Now that I've gotten much better over the years, I am going to buy a new set of quality golf clubs. I went in to a golf shop the other day and got my swing speed measured. My average swing speed while using my driver was around 92.5 mph and I was keeping it around 250 - 275 yards. I then proceeded to test out a 7 iron and had my swing registered at an average of around 75 mph, launching the balls at around 145-150 yards.

I would like to know what type of shaft would best suit me? Steel/Graphite - stiff/flexible

Thanks!

OTHER INFO/QUESTIONS WE ASKED FOR:


What is your normal ball flight? (draw, straight, fade.)
My Irons are straight for the most part and pretty accurate. My drives however seem to slice or fade to the left during the mid point of the ball flight I'd say. I am a left handed golfer.

Since my irons are straight for the most part and my drives aren't, would this mean that perhaps my Driver Shaft isn't the right one that suits my swing? (I believe my driver is graphite - once again when I bought these clubs I didn't know about shaft stiffness)



How old are you? 24 years old



What is your handicap or average score? Average golfer; I usually break 100, but I'd say I range from 95 - 105. I really think the clubs that I am using are impeding me to achieving a lower score.



What kind of clubs are you playing now? (age, blades or cavity back, shaft stiffness, etc.) These clubs are pretty low quality; they are about 4 years old. My irons are Strada's and are stiff flex and look like graphite. On the back of the iron club heads, it is written 3D flow weight design. My driver also looks graphite as Low torque R-Flex written on it.

AND FINALLY!!! BILL'S ANSWER!

If you are going to invest some well earned money on a top quality set of golf clubs I would take a some lessons and get fitted also. You do not want to be fitted when there is a flaw in your swing(slicing it to the left). With  the driver the degree of loft, length of shaft and grip size need to be factored in also. However, if you are going to put a gun to my head I would go with stiff(250-275 yd's)graphite(I don't know if they even make steel anymore) on the driver. A 10 or 10.5 loft( Tiger's is measured at 10.2) would help eliminate some of that side spin that causes the slice. Also, a thinner grip would put it more in the fingers for a better release and less slicing. Length of 44" to 44.5"  as opposed to 45 inches will also benefit you with more control...On the irons go with stiff steel. Steel is more consistent and at your age(24) the only reason for graphite irons is if you have injuries and need the shaft to absorb the hit a little.

Bill Crowley

ISAG Bonus Answer: We found this general swing speed/shaft flex conversion chart that might prove useful as a guide.

SHAFT FLEX/CONVERSION CHART

(use as a guide only. Best fit is with a lesson and a pro!)

Shaft Flex Driver
Swing Speed (mph)
Driver
Carry Distance (yards)
Club needed from 150 yards
       
Extra-Stiff 105 + 260 + 8 or 9-iron
 Stiff 90-105 240-260 6 or 7-iron
 Regular 80-95 210-240 5 or 6-iron
 Flexible (A-Flex) 70-85 180-210 4-iron
Ladies Less than 70 Less than 180 3-iron/lofted wood

SHAFT FLEX AND KICK POINTS AND OVER-TWEAKING?

Bill,


      I’m 64, 5’10” and 175 pounds. I play golf on average 3-4 times a week and I carry a 7 handicap. I am currently using a G10  9 degree draw driver with a Prolaunch red regular shaft. I attended a demo day at my course and hit both that combination and the standard Ping shaft fairly well with the red feeling more solid to me. I bought the G10 with the regular Prolaunch red shaft, but found that the shaft seemed much stiffer than the demo club which had the quick change shaft. I felt like I had to swing much harder to get the same distance. My driver swing speed is 93-95 mph and my normal drive is straight  and about 230-240 yards. I took my driver in to check the frequency and it appears to be a stiff, not a regular. The golf shop check their G10s with  Prolaunch red regular shafts and they are were in the stiff range. My previous driver was Ping G2  10 degree with an Adila NV65S which I hit straight with similar distance. I bought the G10 to take advantage of the newer technology and to try to gain some yardage so that I can play more competitively with the 40 year olds who insist on going heads up with me. I got the draw face because I hoped to gain some roll by hitting a draw as well. My drives don’t get much roll.  Recently I was curious about whether maybe a softer shaft that I didn't’t have to swing so hard might be of benefit. I Had a chance to hit a friend’s G10  10.5 draw with soft regular shaft. I was conscious of the fact that I needed to be smooth and not over swing so I swung accordingly. The ball flight was higher than normal, but the ball was straight and the distance was a yard or two shorter than the drive I hit with my club. With a 9 degree face, I think I would have been longer. I really liked the feel and I think the draw face helped keep the ball down the middle. I also didn't’t have to swing from the heels to get the distance. I’m going to borrow my friends driver and put in some range time to see if this might be the way to go. Based on what I’ve told you, do you have any thoughts on what might be right for me? Thanks in advance.

Bill S,

 

Bill,

I have to sit down to answer your e-mail because dizziness has set in! One thing I've learned over the years is specs(flex, kick point, tipped etc...) on a shaft and even a clubhead vary from company to company and even from shaft to shaft(especially with graphite). For example, Tiger's loft on  his new  driver is 10.2, even though the head says 10.5 on it. With your access to demos and friend's clubs stick with your analytical mind and choose the one that works best in the field(regardless what it says)

... and good luck with the 40 something's!

Bill Crowley

 

Ball Position

Bill,

I’ve read a lot about ball position for different clubs, and it’s all different! Jack Nicklaus says to play all your irons in the same spot, some say to move the ball back towards the middle of you stance progressively as the clubs get shorter. Some articles say to take a practice swing and see where the divot is…. What do you suggest? I’m trying to become more consistent, and more confident, and I think if I knew for sure I had the ball at least in the right spot I’d play better.

Thank you very much,
Evan

Hi Evan,

In my opinion ball position falls under the heading of K.I.S.S ("Keep it simple stupid"). Golf technique can be complicated and the game itself is very difficult, in fact as our motto states it can sometimes "suck". I recommend Jack's thinking on the subject which I follow in my own game. I'm a right handed golfer and play the irons a hair left of center and I play the driver at my left heel. I think you'd be wise to do the same.

Bill

ISAG Bonus video answer. Jack Nicklaus on Ball Position...

 

 

STACK AND TILT (Reverse Pivot?)

Bill,

Thanks for taking my question. Do you have any “stance” on the Stack and Tilt method? It seems to me to be almost a reverse pivot, which I’ve been fighting forever! Should I just embrace my reverse pivot and try the Stack and Tilt method? If you don’t think it’s a good thing, any suggestion on what I can do to feel the reverse pivot so I can stop it? I watched a video of my swing recently and can see I still have it although I thought I had it beat.
I shoot in the mid 80’s, have been playing about 6 years. Pretty straight ball flight, but of course an occasional push or hook. Not really any slice to speak of anymore.

Thank you, I enjoy your site.

Mark C.

Mark,

A very interesting question. Making some subtle changes to my own swing brought me head to head with this issue. As a musician(I can multi task, LOL) there is an interesting idiom: "You have to know the rules to break them". I think this sums up my feeling on someone adopting the "stack & tilt" who has previously battled with reverse pivots. There is a big difference between a PGA tour player who is coiling very succinctly & tightly with no weight shift reverse or leaking of power and someone who's weight is going in the opposite directions. So at this point in your golf career I would not embrace it. You can keep it on the back burner for the future if necessary. Now, to fixing your issue:The 3 most common reasons for reverses pivots are the dipping of the left shoulder(should turn in proportion to your spine angle), stiffness in the right leg,knee & hip(They should be softer and receptive to the weight coming its way) and thirdly the grip(If its too weak you will manipulate the body to hang back on the downswing and force the release of the arms and hands). Look into these with some lessons with a PGA Professional and good luck!

Bill Crowley

 

MIS-HITS TOWARDS THE HEEL (Yikes!)

Bill,
I’m having trouble hitting the sweet spot consistently. I play blades and when it’s cold a little off center and it stings! I’m a single digit, but I do get into bouts when my miss-hits are towards the heel. This always scares me as I have had the shanks in the past. (thank god not for several years.) Do you have any advice on how I can push those mis hits back out towards the center of the club when it starts to happen?

Dave

 

Dave,

I have a similar tendency. Not so much with the shanks, but I do sneak to the heal. As long as the hit is solid I don’t over analyze it. First of all make sure the ball is addressed with the club at the sweet spot. Have a 2nd set of eyes to confirm because perception can be inaccurate. The cause of shanks & heel hits are almost always caused by casting (out to in downswing path). The causes of casting are numerous (see my previous answers) with most casters being doomed, before they even start their transition down, by a poor grip, setup and backswing. With so many variables it is best to see a PGA Professional. We are looking for a slow and smooth transition from the top. This will allow the arms to fall and the hips to rotate resulting in a powerful connection delivering the clubface to the ball from the inside. As a drill put a towel under your right armpit. If your downswing goes “out an across” the towel will fall out.

Good Luck

Bill

See also.. S-word, Best Tip Ever

 

Hitting The Sweet Spot Inconsistently

Bill,

Maybe you can help me out with this? I'm a solid player who can shoot into the 70's, but I almost never feel like I'm making solid contact! The ball flies off ok, but that "sweet hit" where this ball just goes click maybe happens once a round. The rest look ok, but don't have that feel. I also don't think I'm getting the action I should be getting. I take a pretty deep divot (1/2" approx.) on shorter full shots. Could it be I'm too steep and that's why I'm not feeling a solid contact? I don't know, I'm at a complete loss at this point.

Evan.

Az.

Hi Evan,

Besides the short game (and you can argue that solid contact is the key to good chipping and putting) the most important part to lower scores is finding the sweet spot consistently. You can't have overall distance, distance control, spin control or good wind play without it. I think you are correct to first look at the steepness of your downswing. Besides the deeper divot a steep approach(out to in) will lead to pulls or pull hooks and/or pull slices. If this is your ball flight it's time to work things out. Maybe some lessons with a PGA Professional. I feel your pain. A good scoring round can leave you a little empty (unless you won some money lol) if there were few flush hits. That's kinda why we all play! One drill you can try while waiting for that PGA lesson is the Towel Drill that will help cure a lot of swing flaws and might get you back on track.

Bill Crowley

 

 

Correct Hip Rotation/Position at Impact

Hi,
I've had some lessons in the past from Golftec and I see the pros with their hips open at impact. When i watch videos of myself, my hips are not open at all. My belt buckle points right at the ball. Do you have any advice or drills that will help me? I read article saying that keeping my left side connected would help. the drill involved putting a glove under the left armpit and keeping it there until half way through the follow through. Would this help? I think his is the missing part of my swing that will allow me to compress the ball.

Brandon.

 

Brandon.
Your belt buckle position is definitely a power leak and a sign of disconnection between the arms and body. A lot of contributing factors could be in your grip, setup and back swing. See a PGA Professional to find the root cause(s) of this. If it truly is just a downswing and impact position issue you then need to fire your hips(I prefer the right hip initiating this) thru aggressively and let your arms go for the ride(there will be zero pulling of the arms thru) This hip initiation along with gravity will flatten the arms to come in shallower to the ball with the so called "late hit lag" (Sergio Garcia) incurring tremendous speed at impact. The view from behind is one of the hips rotating thru and around to the left and you can see the player’s butt cheeks at impact. Most amateurs do not even come close to this position. That’s why they have day jobs! The glove drill (actually both armpits) can help with connection but doesn't’t necessarily give the feel of the hip rotation speeds we are talking about.

Bill

See also Barry Goldstein's response to this same question here

 

Compensating For Bad Hip

Dear Mr. Crowley,

My left hip is slightly lower than my right hip, which causes me to waddle a bit when I walk. It can cause some discomfort when I swing a club.

What advice do you have for my setup, etc.?

Thank you,

Denis

 

Hi Denis…..

Guessing that you are a right handed golfer and battle with the most common swing ailment of coming over the top ( slicing or pull slicing ) the left is not the preferable hip to be shorter. If your tendency is to hook the ball then do not change a thing. In that case the lower left hip (and thus higher right shoulder) is preventing you from drawing/ hooking it even more. Try your best to lower your right shoulder at address to balance things out. It should be lower than the left shoulder anyway because the right hand grip is lower on the club. This can be done in the set-up by manipulation, putting more weight on your right foot and/ or making sure the right hand grip is in the underhand handshake position on the grip with your right elbow tucked into your side. A lesson from a PGA Professional would be of great value with this issue. And as always proper stretching and some weight training would help especially with this type of disability.

Good Luck

Bill

 

The same question was also asked Barry Goldstein from our site. Here is his response.

Denis,
If you are right handed at golf, well, I will suggest you try as best you can to set up with your weight more on your right hip than your left...
even if your left hip is lower, attempt to feel more weight on the right hip...even tilt your spine a bit away from the target, so your right side is lower ...I believe this may assist you.

Good luck Denis.

Barry Goldstein

 

Not taking a divot with my irons.

I can’t seem to take a divot. Every shot is swept off the grass. I used to have the great feeling of pinching the ball out. Any ideas?

Thanks,

George Delacruz

 

George.,

Many top players sweep thru at impact with minimal or no divot. It's a sign of a shallow approach and something I personally strive for. A steep approach(over the top) will produce a divot but causes problems such as slices, pull slices and fat shots. Additionally changing ground conditions will never effect this type of player. And you never have to clean out your grooves lol.

Bill

ISAG bonus answer:
Hey George, Ken from ISAG here. I'm not the swing expert as Bill is, but I often struggle with the opposite problem, too deep a divot. I corrected mine by making sure to stand up straighter at address, chest up, shoulders a bit up and chin up. I tended to slouch. Could it be possible you are doing the opposite? (standing too tall and stiff? I believe this could be an issue.) If the point of your question was that you used to take a divot and made better contact, but now are making poor contact and no divot, then you could try the following...(found this on Golf.com btw.)

Step 1
Realize that a divot should be taken only after the ball has been struck, and that the depth of a divot is determined by the degree that the club is descending before it hits the golf ball. If the club is coming from the side and not the top, it is impossible to take a proper divot unless your spine angle or your upper body dips during the downswing. Even then, you are likely to take the divot before you hit the ball.


Step 2
Relax your arms to make a wider arc and take a proper divot. Many golfers make the mistake of tightening up their arms the harder they swing, resulting in the narrowing of the swing's arc. Such a swing will reduce the distance the ball travels, and it makes it nearly impossible to take a proper divot that results in a lot of backspin. In fact, the head of the club will have a tendency to hit the ball thin or actually at the equator of the ball, which will result in topped shots. By relaxing your arms, you will increase the extension of your swing and you will be in a position at the point of impact to hit the ball and take a divot immediately thereafter.


Step 3
Make sure that your body rotates throughout your golf swing. If you're right-handed, that means your weight should be shifted almost entirely to your right side on your backswing, and then it should be shifted to your left side during the follow-through. If you do this correctly and your arms remain extended throughout the swing, your clubhead should be lower during your downswing, which will make ball contact and taking the proper divot possible.


Step 4
Avoid moving your body laterally both on your backswing and foreswing. That will cause you to be higher at the point of impact than you were at the address, and taking a proper divot is nearly impossible. Also, you will find it very difficult to keep your head behind the golf ball throughout the swing, which will result in wayward shots.



Swing Too Flat...wrist postion problem?

Bill,

My swing is getting consistently too flat on the backswing.
I am on perfect plane at the halfway back position but from there to the top of the swing I tend to get a little too low. I may have my right arm to close to my body or I may not be rotating my shoulders under enough? What might you suggest?

Thanks,
Zack

 

Zack,

Both good observations Zack. However, we would see this at the halfway point and you say your plane is perfect at that point. It could be flexibility issues in the shoulders that appear in the 2nd half of your backswing. Try some stretching. Or an inefficient wrist cock could be affecting the completion of the backswing. Remember the wrists break up not sideways.
Tough for me to tell without a video. Discuss these issues with your PGA Professional.

Bill

 

Closed Faced Driver

Hi Bill

I have two drivers first one has a 0.5* closed face, the other is a flat face I have no problems with the first driver I hit the fairways about 240 +
the other I slice with very little difference and I just do not understand can you advise please.

Regards


Kind regards,
Albert

 

Albert,

Half a degree can make a difference when it comes to shut, square or open club faces and the side spin they may cause. The reason is the driver has very little loft and thus very little backspin. If minimal backspin is imparted, side spin becomes the predominant factor in what side of the fairway(or rough) the ball ends up. If the shaft specs are different in the 2nd driver the contrast may also increase.

Bill

Club swing path

ISAG BOUNS TIP: Not sure Albert if you are asking Bill why the ball is going right with the square faced Driver and not with the closed face Driver?. If so, try this. When you set up to the flag on any shot, stop after you're set and bend over and place your club shaft across the tips of your toes to show where your toe tips are pointing. chances are your club is going to point well right of your target. Which means you are aiming right, and coming over the top (outside in) to pull the ball back on line If you have the right closed faced club, it may well compensate for you cutting across the ball and impart less side spin and give you a fairly straight flight.

You can obviously "get away" with this swing fault (outside in swing) by compensating with a closed faced club. But you may well be losing distance as a result. I'd suggest trying this drill by one of our other terrific experts, Christina Lecuyer, to try and straighten that swing path out until you no longer need the closed face Driver. Check it out. How To Stay On Plane and Avoid Slicing.

 

Equipment Change To Cure A Pull Hook?

Hello Bill!

I'm 6'2'', left handed and have long arms. Play twice a month w/ Mizuno Mx-23 irons-R-300 shafts, 2 degree upright. Natural swing is a bit over the top with ball flight starting right of the target then typically drawing/hooking even further. Understand the concept of getting my hands to drop in the slot on the downswing but only can get there if in a very closed stance. Since it's tough to teach old dogs new tricks, is there any iron equipment adjustments I could make with my over the top swing that would keep the ball on a straighter path? Or, do you have any other suggestions? Thank you for your time!

Have A Great Day!!!

John L.
Lexington, Kentucky

John,

Without making any technique changes I can recommend 2 equipment adjustments that will reduce your case of the rights(lefts for the right-handed golfer). Go back to standard on your lie angle. Long arms cancel out the fact that you are taller then average. I am 6'0" with long arms and my best fit is standard to 2 degrees flat. The 2nd adjustment is to go with larger grips. The release in your arms/wrists/hands will naturally slow down and the face will be less closed at impact. March is a great time to work these changes in. Good luck.


Bill

 

In To Out Swing Path and Pushing

Hi,

Thank you for your time! I'm not sure my handicap but I regularly shoot in the mid 80s. I'm a heavy set guy playing 20 yr old dunlaps. Not sure all that is relavant but it may be. My question is about swing path. I have, especially with the driver, a severe in to out swing path resulting in a mega push. Can you give me a drill or thought that could help?

Thank you!

Cory


Hi Cory,

There is nothing wrong with a ball starting out to the right as long as it is hit solid and then draws back. In my years of teaching I've found most pushes, by an amateur who shoots in the 80's, is a release issue. The path should be coming in from the inside on the downswing. The clubface needs to close at this point. I would strengthen the grip(rotate the hands clockwise on the handle and get the grip more in the fingers) and play the rolling draw. Besides keeping you in your own fairway It'll make up the difference in distance that 20 year old Dunlops are sure to cause..... LOL.


Bill

 

Hitting Too High

Hello Bill,

Hope you can help me fixing a problem that I just got recently.
I've played golf for about 12 years now and shoots consistently between 85-90 last year.
I have not swing a club throughout the winter (since last November until March this year).
Since I started golfing again this spring, all my irons are having issue with very high ball flight. Every iron I hit goes very high up and land about 20 yards short of my normal shot, my 5-iron ball flight now looks like a 9 iron.
I.e. 5-iron last year 175 yards, now barely make 150, PW used to be 115 yards now about 90 flying straight up in the air like a lob wedge.
What would be the cause and what can I do to fix this problem?

Thanks,
David

David,

Yes, very strange to have such a change in ball flight from previous rounds(even with the layoff). Adding loft because of poor technique is a killer. Not only is distance lost but you are also more vulnerable in the wind(no time for a trip to Scotland). At address(forward press) and impact the hands should be ahead of the club face and the ball. The left wrist should be slightly bowed when striking the golf ball(look at some photos of the pros). This compresses the ball for a more penetrating ball flight. Many sound fundamentals go into achieving this impact position. A great drill is to hit into an impact bag or tire. It will impart muscle memory and will be painful if you are doing it incorrectly(cupped left wrist). However, since this issue was non existent in the fall I would first monitor(get in front of a mirror) 2 things. Make sure your ball position has not snuck forward on you and strengthen your grip(hands rotate clockwise with the grip more in the fingers). Lastly, it may take a while for your body to wake up coming off the winter. An inactive body(golf wise) will result in the over use of the arms. This can certainly lead to a steeper downswing and a cupped impact position. Maybe a little patience is in order.


Have a good season!
Bill

 

Trouble Hitting Fairway Woods Off The Tee

Bill,

Am a senior golfer with recent 12 handicap, was a 9 last year from senior tees. Used to tee off with my 3 wood with a nice natural draw. Now seem to come over the top with it and can not even hit a fairway metal any more. Hit my driver better off the tee than any fairway metal. Hitting my irons great all year just can not hit my old favorite 3 metal or fairway metals. Should be easier to hit 3 or 4 metal than driver but not for me this year. Have tried keeping hands closer to my body and keeping more weight on left foot but not working. Must have something to do with flicking my right wrist too much but not sure. Can you help?? Thanks Chad

Hi Chad,

Very strange, however since you are hitting the driver well I wouldn't’t lose any sleep over it. Try teeing the 3 wood higher. This will promote a more shallow approach angle and bring your draw back into play. I tend to get steep(over the top) myself with a 3 wood if it’s teed to low. Once you get your confidence back I think the fairway wood will treat you better.

Good luck.

 

 

Hitting From The Rough

Hi Bill,

My question has to do with hitting a ball out of moderate to deep rough say 200 yards from the green. I was told that one has to hit down on the ball. That sort of makes sense except that it raises more questions. Hitting down on the ball seems to guarantee that the club will bury itself in the ground not to mention doing injury to the wrists. Does hitting down on the ball (assuming that is correct) require a change in the swing? And how do you get a follow through in this circumstance?
Thank you.

Jim C.

Jim,

If I have a shot from moderate rough the only thing I may do is aim a little right to offset the grass grabbing the hosel and closing the face. Out of high rough I will also take a steeper backswing thru a quicker wrist break (remember the wrists break up). My goal is to come into the ball from a steeper rather than shallower angle. Don’t exaggerate this adjustment by trying to hit down on the ball. Think Fred Couples rather than Matt Kuchar. On the follow thru I hold the club square as long as I can. This is not always easy so strengthening the forearms/wrists thru dumbbell curls is helpful. Also a more lofted club is a good choice. A little short of the green in the fairway will never hurt you.

Bill

ISAG Chime-in : Here's a good exercise to do for your forearm strength and grip strength. And it's easy!

 

 

 

Too Many Waggles? How To Stop!?

Hey Bill,

I have the Sergio syndrome. I can't pull the trigger on my swings I don't ground my irons or driver..Been playing 12 years and this just started a month ago. I'll waggle the club 10 to 15 times before I can pull the trigger. How can I get swing started faster..Thx

Big George,

 

B. G.,

As you know this issue is more in the mental arena then the physical one, not unlike Charles Barkley’s pause on the backswing or even the yips. Although it’s not causing (directly) a wasted shot like the yips the anxiety caused by the inability to pull the trigger will affect the quality of the swing once it does start. In my opinion if your waggle is the Sergio (milking) kind, it’s not good. It’s amazing how he was able to hit even decent shots re gripping the club and changing grip pressure numerous times. Even Johnny Miller got to counting the milks in the 2002 US Open at Bethpage. My recommendation is to do what I do (although for different reasons). Take your grip once (from behind the ball to help aim/alignment) with unchangeable grip pressure throughout the swing. If you have to waggle do it by relaxing/shaking/bending your elbows and shoulders. This will reduce tension without loosening up your grip. Or, as we like to say at the website, you can always call over the beer cart girl and have a cold one to settle the nerves!

Bill

 

Getting Stiff As I Get Older

Hi Bill,

My problem seems to be towards the end of my round. I’m 47 and getting a little stiff in my old age. When I'm playing my iron shots i seem to hit the ball very low and drag the ball left, almost a hook. I don't feel i’m getting through the ball but cant seem to find the fault and put it right. Any ideas, regards Grant Joel

GJ

I’m 48 and am suffering thru the same issues as I play a winter league schedule in New Jersey. Here’s what I’m currently doing: I’m trying to lose 10 lbs and go from 195 to 185(I am 6” tall). I am going to raise the bar with my strength training(especially leg, core and aerobic). Protein shake before and after the round. Eliminate/reduce alcohol and caffeine leading up to an important round. Consider taking a cart. I’m solid on the flexibility front and stretch every day. I recommend a daily stretching program(mine takes about 15 minutes). It will work wonders.

Good Luck,

Bill

 

Alignment Woes

Bill,

I am a avg. golfer but I have a golf swing now and am very excited. However I'm space challenged. When I am on the course I am always aiming to the right thinking I am lined up correctly. I've tried everything to no avail. Practice range using sticks to get parallel ......looking to see if I'm left of target .....railroad tracks etc. etc. etc. Nothing on the web speaks to what i need. There has to be a trick or something to help me get aligned. I've spent hours at the range. I do great off the mat cuz it has lines but if i turn to hit a target to the left or right my body, feet, shoulder, hips.......do not know where I am!

Jim

OK Jim,

Here are a few tricks to try. Pick a blade of grass, a leaf, a divot etc… a few feet in front of the ball that lines up perfectly with the intended starting path of your ball flight.. Remember that this doesn’t necessarily mean the flag if you play a draw/fade or choose a more conservative portion of the green as your ending goal. Jack Nicklaus has always aimed this way and so do many others. Second of all ask/pay a golfing buddy to monitor you while you’re playing a round of golf. Do this when the course is less busy. Ask for immediate feedback. Thirdly, a chronic aim issue almost always goes back to a bad swing technique and is your subconscious actually trying to help you out. Pretty deep huh?

Best of luck this season,

Bill

ISAG BONUS ANSWER: This David Ledbedder video may help as well. I like his tip of turning your head completely to look at the target with both eyes rather than just the left. This drill may help those that are out of whack but don't know it get back on track. For you Jim, I like Bill's idea of the blade of grass. That will give you the "line" (albeit imaginary) to line your feet up with. Good luck.

 

 

 

Chunking/Hitting Fat

Hey Bill,

I am having big problems chunking my iron shots. I can take nice practice swings all day long, shifting my weight forward and bottoming out my club just after the ball. As soon as I place a ball down, however, I strike the ground before the ball (anywhere from 1-4 inches) and taking a huge divot. I can feel my body hang back to my right when I swing and can not force myself to shift my weight forward like my practice swings. It is frustrating because I feel that I know what I am doing wrong, but I can not, for the life of me, force my weight forward. I am slowly starting to strike more balls, by slightly lifting my toes and outside of my right foot at address and keeping my hips very quiet during my entire swing, and getting some nice straight shots. But I still chunk shots quite frequently. I have hit the ground so hard with my club before that I actually pulled a muscle in me left chest area. I really need to fix my swing.

Thanks,
Doug K

Doug,

Never judge your golf swing by the feel and perceived correctness of a practice swing. The difference is like singing in the shower as compared to an opera at “The Met”. The typical resolution to this flaw(chunking caused by a reverse weight shift) is found in the grip, setup and/or backswing. If these fundamentals are solid it is fairly easy to follow thru properly(unless there is a physical disability of some sort). A lesson with a PGA Professional, along with some video, can get you on the correct road to a balanced, power generating follow-thru.

Bill

Here's a video drill that might help you in the meantime...

 

 

 

 

Ball Position and Ball Flight Results

Hi Bill,

Please explain the impact factors of ball position too far forward and too far back in the stance.

thank you!

Paul

 

Paul,

All things being considered/correct an overly forward ball position will result in a thin slice and a back position ends up causing a fat hook. However the body may slide laterally forward in the 1st case, or hang back in the 2nd. When this happens all bets are off and a proclamation of "fore is inevitable!

Bill

 

How To Maximize Driver Distance

Hi Bill,

This is Dennis,

I'm having problems with my Drives. I only started playing seriously a year ago and now play weekly and hit the range twice a week. I shot between 90 and 95. My problem is my drives take off pretty well but seem to drop out of the sky and not carry like others I see at the range. Can you give me any tips/suggestions that will allow me to get more distance off my tee shots?

Thank you!

 


Dennis.

Distance off the tee is determined by club head speed, solid contact, launch angle and reducing ball backspin. Logic states that a golfer who's technique optimizes the aforementioned will have a longer air time with the ball dropping accordingly. With you only playing a year I would focus on some lessons first. Otherwise band aid gimmicks can be very frustrating. Having said this the adjustments I make to hit it a little farther are a wider stance(it increases the swing arc),gripping it at the end of the club(swing arc increase), teeing it up higher(launch angle and ball spin reduction) and moving it up in my stance(launch angle and ball spin reduction). After the lessons experiment with different lofts and shafts and choose a distance ball instead of a spin ball. A golf facility that can measure these items may well be worth the cost.

Bill

 

What Ball To Play For My Swing Speed?

Hello Bill,

This is John, and my swing speed has been going down the last 10 years. Should I use a low compression ball and what kind would fit a 85-90 mph swing.

Thanks,John

 

John,

With today’s golf balls I wouldn’t be overly concerned about compression. They seem to adapt to different swing speeds. As long as you are happy with the feel/control/spin of a ball always choose the one that goes the longest for you. Go out late in the day when it is quiet and test out a few different balls and find out which one is the traveling fool!

Bill

ISAG Chime In: Bill's right as usual! We weren't sure about Bill's response(shame on us!) so we went to Titliest's website and found this!... "Whether you're a PGA Tour player or lower swing speed amateur, you play a wide variety of shots during your round. Since a golf ball only reacts to the force being applied, different shots will require different swing speed (force) in order to execute them properly.

Ball fitting for swing speed is a myth. A golf ball must perform for all golfers of all swing speeds on all shots, otherwise it won’t perform for any golfer. A PGA Tour player’s driver swing speed is higher than most amateurs. Yet his speed on long or mid-irons may be similar to your driver swing speed. A Titleist golf ball will perform as well on your drives as it does on the PGA player’s iron shots. The golf ball just reacts to the force at impact and Titleist golf balls perform for all swing speeds on all shots."

 

Need to know what a good backswing is for a player who's lost flexiblilty with age.

Bill,

Please show me a correct golf backswing position at the top of the backswing, meaning the hand position, arm position for a senior citizen who can't turn much anymore.
Thanks,


Elizabeth

A picture is worth a 1000 words Elizabeth, and a video even more! I suggest that you opt for a 3/4 backswing, and watching PGA tour pro Stuart Appleby's swing would give you a good example of a great player who uses a 3/4 swing.

Check this video out and please write back if you have any follow up questions!

 

Good Luck, Bill

 

Regripping Club During Swing

Bill,

I've been told I have a good grip...But in the downswing my hands separate ..I am righthanded...And my right hand at the thumb pad will be 1 to 1-1/2" from the left thumb pad at impact. Any ideas?

Bob J.

Bob,

Surprisingly I see a fair amount of re gripping as the back swing transitions to the downswing and had to deal with myself a ways back. It’s one of the worst habits to get into and is just as much mental as it is physical. I believe a big part of this issue is the constant golf speak of holding the grip lightly(as a bird in your hands). I always taught my students to hold the club firmly with all parts(hands, pads and fingers) maintaining equal pressure. I had them do this in their pre-shot routine and not to change a thing in the set up or the swing. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate this pressure as a 7 as opposed to the 3 I hear all the time. The relaxation is in the wrists, arms and shoulders and not in a loose grip. You can work on these ideas at home holding a club while watching TV, just as much as at the range.

Good Luck

Bill

 

Hitting Drives Too High

When I hit my drives the ball is going too high and I am losing a lot of distance. My driver is a 10.5 degree. What can I do to hit a lower drive and get the distance I should be getting? I have all the ingredients to drive 300 but the height the ball is rising to is killing my chances!

Thanks, Gary

 

Gary,

First try some drivers with a 9.5 or 8.5 loft. Also, try lowering the tee a touch(not too much). Finally(and the most common cure) is take a lesson so your approach to the ball is more shallow. Chronic pop ups are caused by a steep(out to in) downswing path.

Bill

ISAG NOTE: This question was also asked of our long drive expert, Rippin' Ray Beaufait. His response was, "You need to go to a 8.5 degree driver.  I don't think you will lose any accuracy.  Most long drivers under normal conditions use an 8.5 or less degree."

 

 

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