Golf Tips and Questions Answered from Top 25 Teaching Pro
Ask Barry Goldstein your golf question here! (free)
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Renowned teaching pro Barry Goldstein has agreed to take your toughest golf swing questions for free! Here's an overview of Barry's resume so you don't take lightly this chance to fix that contorted mess you've been calling a golf swing! Known as one of the best golf teachers in the country, you're sure to improve your game with Barry's best golf swing tips and suggestions!
Barry Goldstein teaches at the famed Inverrary C. C. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Nominated four times by Golf Magazine as "One of the Top 100 teaching pros in America" , and twice selected as one of the "Top 50 Teaching Pro's" by Golf Range Magazine, and Top 25 teachng pro by Golf Tips Magazine! (that's in the world people!) Barry comes with a resume rivaled by few. He's appeared numerous times on the Golf Channel's "Academy Live" and "Your Game Night", and is Senior Instructional Editor for Golf Tips Magazine! He was also named to the "Maximum Golf advisory board",...and now he's taking your golf questions here at ISUCKATGOLF...for free! (how'd we pull that one off? Better get your questions in quick before he changes his mind!)
Barry has been teaching golf for 14 years and says he feels lucky "to do what he loves all day and make a career out of doing it." Barry was trained by the legendary Jimmy Ballard, who was obviously a large influence on his teaching style. He's also spent time with several other legends of golf, including Bob Toski, Jim McLean and Dave Pelz. Barry feels "very fortunate to have learned from the best." Barry in turn has taught many of the PGA and LPGA pro's that you see on TV every week!
Barry is a single Dad of two lovely daughters, Aubrey and Carly Ray. Aubrey is into Soccer and Cheerleading, while Carly Ray has followed in Dad's footsteps and is a golfer. Carly Ray has already won 63 tournaments at age 13, and has fired a 4 under 68 in competition!
Barry also played baseball in college and was one of the captains of his High School Hockey team in Binghamton N. Y.. He says that he relates his golf teachings to other sports often. We've asked Barry a few questions of our own to start things off, you can read them below.
We'd like to thank Barry again for accepting our offer to write for us. (ok, "accepting our offer" understates it a bit. How about, "..put a stop to our begging and pleading"!) We could tell in short order that Barry was a great guy...and just by writing for ISUCKATGOLF you know he's "one of us". SO THANKS AGAIN BARRY!
ASK BARRY YOUR GOLF QUESTIONS FOR FREE BY CLICKING HERE!
PAST QUESTIONS & GOLF TIPS
SPINNING OUT OF SHOTS? (try a closed stance drill..)
What number club does what? (brand new golfer!)
Fixed my slice, now fighting a hook!
Tip to keep my head still?
Blister's and Calluses and Torn Gloves, oh my!
Hitting on the toe. Do I need a flat lie club?
Hitting into a net: Good or Bad?
Pulls Some Shots Left, Why?
MORE Q & A FROM 2012 ON... CLICK HERE!
BARRY'S BEST GOLF TIPS:
8 Tricks to become a better player
Do the pros have many of the same issues with their swings that the average golfer has?
Pro's have issues with their swings just like amateurs. Usually, the basics such as grip, stance, posture and ball position is where I look first with every player.
With a pro, we may just work upon a move such as a backswing flaw that may be too flat or upright, or a downswing flaw where they may get too 'stuck' coming from the inside. I have been told by many of the pro's I teach that I am a 'great pair of eyes' for them since they cannot see themselves. For a pro golfer, another pair of eyes is invaluable.
With an amateur, usually the issues are much larger such as balance, poor grip, and loss of tempo.
In general, the average golfer should really focus on the basics and having a balanced swing. I would say by far, for a typical golfer that shoots around 100 there is one huge common problem. Too much tension! They all strangle the club too darn tight. Relaxing their hands and arms would really help them! Grip it softly folks!
A major difference between a good pro golfer, and a top amateur golfer is clearly the short game, and the ability to hit shots under pressure. Professionals can score no matter how we are hitting the ball. An amateur usually does not have that knack.
OF ALL TIME? (PGA & LPGA)
Who do you feel is the greatest golfer of all time? PGA and LPGA.
I once teed it up with Tiger Woods back when we were both amateurs. He was 16 back then, and I can say without a doubt that he is the greatest talent ever to play the game. Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in my opinion are the two best male golfers to play the game. I would pick Tiger if I had to choose one. Annika Sorenstam is the best female golfer of my lifetime. I am a friend of Natalie Gulbis' and am partial to her, but Annika has no peers, with the exception of Lorena Ochoa if she continues on her current pace.
Thanks for taking my questions. I wanted to know what pro that you teach or have taught in the past that that takes direction the best and who resists change the most.
Well Ben, when I am working with a Tour pro it is very much a 'team' effort between the professional golfer, and myself, a professional instructor. I interview the player and learn everything I can about the golf swing they have played with and the problems they have dealt with over their careers. I will then videotape his or her golf swing, and give the player my professional opinion on what should be improved or tweaked in their swing or setup. Once my suggestions for improvement have been agreed upon, I will then begin working with the player to help them become better and more consistent players. Every Tour pro I have ever taught has taken direction well Ben. I have never taught a Tour pro that resisted a change that will help them become better players. Mike Standly was already a PGA Tour winner when I met him, and while making changes in his swing he referred to me as 'an extra pair of great eyes' for him. A pro cannot see themselves so having an experienced teacher like myself be 'a pair of eyes' for them is invaluable for them. The lovely Tina Miller of ISAG fame has taken a lot of hours of lessons from me, and was a very hard worker who was very hungry to improve her action.
If I only have say ½ hour at lunch to hit balls, what would should I concentrate on and am I doing the wrong thing by rushing to the range to squeeze in this practice twice a week? It’s really the only time I get except for one day on the weekend. I’m only hitting a medium bucket by the way.
Thanks , Ben Ga.
if you only have a half an hour on your lunch break to practice I highly recommend putting and chipping for the entire half hour! Short game pal...that is where you should spend the time. I cannot stress enough that to be a better player, leave the longer clubs in the trunk and just work on putts and chips ...believe me it will pay off. If you are determined to hit balls, hit a lot of short wedges and work on pitching to begin with. Hit a few 7 irons, a few drivers...and finish again with little wedge shots. Concentrate on your grip, aim, stance, posture and ball position Ben. And good balance and rhythm. That is where the heartbeat of your swing is...in the correct fundamentals Ben!
I am at a point where I am wondering if it will improve my game to move up to more expensive golf balls. Right now I rarely loose more than 1 or 2 in 18 holes and am using Intech and Topflite 3000 and 5000 X which you can get for around $8 to $10.00 for 15.
Are more expensive golf balls worth it? What makes them better, and if you have a handicap of 10-12 would the more expensive balls help.
Any recommendations or golf tips for a good ball for a hacker like me.
... and without a doubt switching to a softer ball such as a TaylorMade Red or a Titleist Pro V1 will help lower your scores for a simple reason. You see Gary, to put it plainly, the softer ball will always react better and allow you to have better touch and feel when you are pitching, chipping, putting and even hitting green side bunker shots. The cheaper and harder balls will never spin and bite on the green as well, and more importantly never putt as well. You are putting with a rock which shoots off your putter very violently. Imagine putting with a ball that actually compresses on your putter face! I can say with no doubt that a 10-12 handicap will certainly find the more expensive ball worth the price. Try the TaylorMade Red or Titleist Pro V1. I bet you'll be very glad you did!
And Gary, you are no hacker! A 10-12 is a decent player pal.
Thank you, Barry for the information. It makes sense and I will make the investment. I spend a lot of time at the driving range, and I think that helps. Also, this web site is great, and I am happy I found it. I play at a course that is very close to my home and is a short course with a par 68. My last 3 scores were 77,78,75, although I do allow myself 2 mulligan's. Once I get consistently under 75, I will try some of the longer courses, and my handicap may go up, but maybe the better balls will help.
Thanks for your time, and I’ll let you know how things turn out.
I need help. I played this weekend and shanked almost all my short irons on the back nine. I’ve never shanked before, at least not in years and years. I was hitting the ball pretty well up to that point. My normal ball flight is pretty straight, and I’m an 11 handicap! Any thing I can practice this week at the range? I’m almost afraid to go because if I shank there it will be banging off the the side walls and I’ll look like a hack! Need some hot golf tips fast!
First of all the shanks are easy to fix, so just pay close attention.
Second, every player has shanked a ball if they have truly played golf in their lives, so relax. I had them once at the famous Pinehurst Number 2 course in North Carolina. Drove it 280 down the middle all day, and could not hit the green if you would have paid me $1000. Frustrating. Here's your fix: You Randy, are hitting the ball on the heel of the club, actually on the hosel of the club.
Randy, immediately, stand farther from the ball, a good inch more than you are currently standing.
Also, get your weight more back towards your heels. I bet anything your weight is too much out on your toes, and you are falling out and away towards the golf ball. Keep your weight more centered towards your heels, and avoid leaning or falling out towards the golf ball on your downswing at all costs. Your posture must be less leaning out over your toes Randy. More tall and feeling upright, not slumped and leaning forward.
When you practice, put a head cover, or another golf ball about an inch farther away from the ball you intend to hit. Avoid hitting the outside ball on your takeaway and your downswing. You do not want your club swinging to the outside going back or coming down. Randy, finally, realize that you would rather make contact a bit more off the toe end of your club face than the heel end. The heel end is where you are currently hitting your short irons.
Hi Mr. Barry Goldstein,
I am thrilled that I get to ask you a golf question for free! Whoa, how cool is that?! I have seen you teach on The Golf Channel and have read allot of your articles in magazines too. You are an awesome teacher, and I bet you can help me greatly. I am 23 years old and play to a ten or eleven handicap. I have a simple technique question for you Mr. Goldstein. I struggle with my greenside sand bunker play. I tend to leave them in the bunker often, and leave them well short a lot when I do get them out. I live in Orlando, Florida and we have very sugary sand in our traps. Can you give me your professional opinion on how I can improve my bunker shots?
Thanks so much for your time and answering me Mr. Goldstein! Very cool. And congratulations on your daughter Carly Ray's success. I just read about her, and she is really good! I really do appreciate your time Mr. Goldstein,
I am going to assist you with your green side bunker play very effectively ...please just key on the following fundamentals which I am confident will help you out.
I live in Florida as well Terry, and the sugary sand is actually a good thing if you realize how important accelerating your clubhead through the sand to a full finish is Terry. I bet anything you are making a long backswing and then, you decelerate the clubhead and have a short finish and a small follow through. Remember this Terry: "Short To Long!" What I mean by this is make your backswing shorter, and your follow through longer. Finish fully, with your weight completely on your front foot, and your club head high.
When you set up, dig your feet into the sand so you sit a little bit lower than normal. Make sure the clubface is slightly open, and not closed! Play the ball forward!! Like a driver or 3 wood ball position Terry. Do not play the ball in the center of your stance. Attempt to hit 2 inches behind the ball Terry.
And most importantly, finish your swing Terry! Follow through to a "world class finish".
Short To Long Terry. It will work. And, find a practice bunker and hit nothing but bunker shots for half an hour a week ...guaranteed this will make you more confident Terry. Go hole some, and you will look
forward to bunker shots on the course!
I am very proud of my daughter Carly Ray as she works very hard and smart and has earned her success on the golf course. Most importantly, she is a great person as well as a great golfer. She is a true champion on and off the course.
What can I do to stop hitting behind the ball?..Some times my divots start as much as 6" behind.
Bill, here are some proven fundamentals to avoid hitting behind the ball so much. Realize, you want to hit the ball first, then the grass Bill. We want the divot in front of the ball. In your setup, stand noticeably taller, and get your weight centered over your shoelaces...not way out on your toes! Avoid rising up on your backswing, and then falling towards the ground on your downswing.
On your downswing, you need to shift your weight to your front foot better ...avoid hanging back on your rear foot Bill. To get the divot in front of the ball, you must have your weight on your lead side more prominently. You also should make a great effort to avoid 'scooping' or 'flipping' with your hands prior to impact or at the impact position. The back of your left hand should be straight, not broken down or bent towards the target. Your hands should lead the club face into impact, not the club face leading your hands into impact.
Finally, make an effort to have a world class finish with all your weight on your front side.
Try these tips and I bet you will begin hitting much better shots and lose the fat shots for good.
I recently purchased the Callaway Big Bertha Irons. I noticed, relative to my prior set of knock offs, that the ball position required seems to be right of center, especially for the short irons. That is, the way the clubs are manufactured, the shaft angles much more forward than my prior set. Is my ball placement right of center a correct approach. If I position the short irons at center, my hands are way forward than what feels natural. Am I missing something in my address?
I am going to make this quite simple for you.
It seems as though your new irons currently have more offset than your old irons had.
What I suggest is that you play your short irons in the dead center of your stance, and do not move the ball back in your stance just to accommodate your new irons.
If you cannot get used to the way the irons sit at address, I suggest you go to a club repair person that you trust, and have the new irons bent to your specs. Do not change a fundamental as important as ball position just to 'try to fit' your new clubs.
I am a big believer in having strong fundamentals, and Sidney, I suggest next time you purchase new clubs that you get professionally fitted for them by a qualified club fitter.
Good luck, and I hope this helps you out Sidney.
I found you while searching for answers to my swing problem. I've taken lessons & am now hitting 6-8 buckets of balls per day with little improvement. I don't expect anything for free and I'll be glad to pay you or reciprocate with free medical advice if you can help me. I know you can't positively diagnose my problem without seeing me swing but maybe you can point me in the right direction. I am 50 years old, 6 ft tall, 200 lbs., athletically built. I was a 10 handicap until my problems started. I hit my irons dead straight but my driver & 3 wood are horrible. I tend to hit a low pull-hook with both. Occasionally I top the ball. Occasionally I'll push my driver bad. 80% of the time it's pull- hook city. Often my follow thru is out of balance. I've slowed down my swing & done balance drills with a little improvement. I feel at times I am I am raising up and occasionally leaning back on my finish. Please help me get back on track.
To begin with please remember this: I would much rather see you put in an hour tops on the range ...hitting 60 or 80 balls. Six balls with each club. WITH FOCUS! Don't just hit balls ...practice with a purpose Tom. I believe you are hitting tons of balls, but incorrectly and with no goals or game plan. You may get a little exercise and a tan, but you are not going to improve.
May I make a few suggestions? First, send your video to me here at isuckatgolf... I KNOW I can assist you if I can view your swing Tom. Second, it sounds like you may have a shut or closed club face on your takeaway and into your backswing Tom which is bad news. I also bet you come up and out of your posture on the backswing, and drop back down on your downswing. Make sure the takeaway finds the club 'toe up' as you are halfway back on your backswing. I think maybe your clubface is looking 'toe down' and closed at this point.
And, try to keep your posture very level Tom. Imagine if there was a glass table above your head...do not rise up and bang your head. Similarly, if there were a table below your chin, do not drop down and bang the chin either.
I think these keys can help you. Thomas, send the video, and I am sure I will help.
ISAG Bonus Tip: See Clubhead Position under the Fast Fixes category above for more on the "toe up" or "toe down" tip.
Can you give me some advice on a problem, I have been playing only a year, I have quite a good swing, must have acquired it from my father who played off scratch.
But recently, I have been inconsistent on ball contact,I either top the ball, or dig a grave!in the last few months I had to completely change my swing .I was very army and didn't’t use upper body turning, now its much better.Is it just a case of practice practice practice?
Sam Essex UK
I sense that your are too handsy in your golf swing. That is why you are hitting topped and fat shots.
I also would be you have a lot of spinning of your upper body in the beginning of your downswing. I would suggest you attempt to match your arms and body together in your swing Sam.
A great idea for you would be to hit some shots off a low tee with a 7-iron, with your feet together. This will train your upper body to be quieter from the top of your swing.
Another great drill would be for you to practice hitting into an impact bag, and feeling the correct arrival of your hands, arms and legs and body arriving at impact together... Make sure to hold your impact position and check that your are on your front side with your weight, yet your head is behind the ball.
An old tire is a good substitute for an impact bag. Most golfers that top and hit fat shots need to improve the sequence of the downswing Sam.
Feel free to send me a video of your swing Sam..This way I can be 100% certain I can assist you.
FOLLOW UP : (1 week later...)
Thanks for the tips you published for me, i went out today, (only took up the game 1 year ago) dropped 3 on the first 2 holes, course was still icy, ended up 5 over for the round!!!!!!!!
Most memorable shot, par 4, 2nd shot 149 to the pin, 4 rescue uphill shot, cleared the bunker on the front edge
and when we walked to the green, the ball was balancing on the edge of the hole........... makes the whole thing worthwhile, only topped the ball on the first hole, i was a bit stiff and cold, the rest was a dream
sam ( uk )
The majority of recreational golfers fail to achieve the balance needed to excel at golf or any athletic activity. One of the reasons why most golfers don’t swing in balance is that they swing too hard. A rule I like to impose on my students is “Swing as hard as you want to as long as you finish the swing in balance.”
A balanced finish means that your belt buckle, chest and eyes face the target, with the majority of your weight on the front foot, not hanging back on the rear foot. If you’re not balanced in the finish, it’s likely you weren't’ balanced during the swing and, as a result, brought the club into the ball on an incorrect plane and, of course, with less power than you’re capable of generating. More important, if you’re facing left of the target at the finish, you know you made a solid turn through the shot.
A good way to feel good balance is to swing barefooted. Take off your shoes and socks and tee up a 7-iron. As you make your swings, focus on keeping your feet “underneath” your body. In order to attain this centeredness, you can’t take a mad lash at the ball.
Swinging barefoot allows you to feel what it’s like to swing within yourself. You’ll actually hit better golf shots in bare feet than with your shoes and socks on. You certainly won’t “come out of your spikes” trying to kill the ball.
Hitting golf balls barefooted can help you develop good footwork and good balance. The ultimate goal is to maintain these sensations when you lace up your shoes. Summer’s right around the corner—the grass feels nice, and so, too, will your swing.
When i first started playing, my tutor contributed to me damaging my fingers by not correcting my over tight wrong grip, and advising me to go down the range and hit 500 balls a night! after much ultrasound and laser treatment i have only been able to use the baseball grip, is this detrimental to improvement in my game,
or should i go back and try interlocking or varden again?
The grip is the single most important fundamental there is.
To begin with, no matter what type of grip you use, a tension free grip is absolutely a must.
The club should be held in the fingers, with a soft pair of hands and arms. No squeezing the club!
With that being said, the baseball grip is fine. It will not be detrimental to your game.
I use an overlap grip, like most pro's. Nicklaus and Woods have done pretty well with an interlock grip.
And I have a daughter who is 13 that is a scratch player using a baseball, or ten finger, grip her entire life.
Most important to me, is not which of the 3 you use, rather, how you use it.
Remember, grip it in the fingers, with no tension.
As for hitting 500 balls a day- Sam- hit 100 balls a day, and spend way more time on your chipping and putting.
Believe me, it will pay off.
I'm a high handicap (24) female golfer. My dilemma: I can hit my 5 wood off the ground further than I hit my driver.....any suggestions?
Hi, and your problem is a common one, and quite simple to address.
You have better clubhead speed with your 5 wood, and hit it on the sweet spot more often than your Driver. That is why it goes farther.
I highly suggest you get a driver with a very flexible shaft, and a lot of loft (12,13 or 14 degrees)....
And to hit the driver solid, make sure you are playing the ball well forward in your stance so you catch the ball on the upswing. I suppose you may have the ball too far back in your stance, and you cannot launch it properly.
If you'd like, send us a video of your swing, and I am sure I can give you more help.
I am 70 and in great shape. I hit my cobra driver, senior flex graphite, loft 15.5 150 yards. Can you suggest a shaft to hit longer?
From the limited amount you have said, it sounds as though you hit the driver short, straight and pretty well.
As far as the driver specs, I would suggest you drop down to 11 or 12 degrees loft.... the 15.5 loft you currently use is a 3 wood loft, not a driver.
As far as the shaft is concerned, I would suggest you try a lower kick point in your shaft, yet still use a senior flex.
The less loft and the lower kick point will help you pick up yardage.
I like the Aldilla shaft and recommend you go to any qualified club fitter to assist you.
Many golfers play their entire lives without ever really feeling the pleasure of a solid strike of the golf ball. They fight a poor strike, or a glancing blow of the golf ball through impact. A weak slice, with limited distance is usually the result.
The culprit of the power robbing shot is an open clubface. That is, the heel end of the clubface is leading the way into the ball at impact.
To fix the weak and powerless shot, the player needs to understand how important it is to release the golf club, and the entire body at and through impact.
The goal is to get the toe end of the clubface to actually feel as though it "wraps around" the golf ball. This will lead to powerful draws, rather than the glancing blow of a slicer.
To feel a true release of the club the golfer must understand how the body and the arms work together to fire the clubface through the golf ball for powerful hits.
First it is crucial to realize a release of the club does not simply mean rolling the right arm over the left through impact. Though this is important and does occur in a well released shot, it is not simply the arms that release the golf club. The legs, and body also play a major role in powerful shots. For right handed players, the entire right side should be firing through the ball to your finish. Any attempt to hang back, or keeping the weight on the rear foot will destroy a proper release. The weight must shift to the front side, and the right arm will roll over the left in a properly struck shot.
Next time you hit the range try these two drills to feel a good release:
Take your normal set up, and then simply split your hands apart on the grip about 4 inches or so. Then, without hitting a ball, make 5 or 6 full swings. You will definitely feel the role of the arms as the right arm will be forced to roll over the left. This will make you feel the toe end of the clubface "wrapping around" the ball. Now, with your normal grip, make some swings with the goal being to feel the same sensation.
Then try this second drill. Put another golf ball about 6 inches out in front of the ball you will be hitting right on your intended target line. As you hit the first ball, actually feel as though the toe of the golf club is chasing out after the second ball, and you will strike that second ball with the toe end of the clubface. Use your arms, legs, your entire body to hit with.
Remember, it's not just the arms that release the club. It is your whole right side that does the releasing.
Learn to fire the whole body, and at the same time let the arms play their role. That is a true release, and will certainly lead to more powerful golf shots.
Good luck with the drills, and you will see the glancing blow that you were slicing, soon can turn into powerful draws.
There are very few certainties in the game of golf but here is one:
If you're on the practice tee hitting balls, and someone walks up next to you and begins his practice session by pulling out his driver, that guy is not a player.
No good player begins a warm-up or practice session with a driver-or any long club, for that matter.
All good players begin-and end-their practice or warm-up sessions by hitting less-than-full wedge shots.
Half wedges are a wonderful foundation upon which to build your full swing.
They demand excellent tempo and timing, and they require that you start your swing in a fundamentally sound way - you simply cannot hit a half wedge with any consistency if you pull the club too far to the inside, or lift it up abruptly to begin your backswing.
If you start your practice session by ripping drivers, you don't give yourself the opportunity to develop a sense of rhythm and timing and, if you're not careful, it's easy to allow swing faults to creep into your game - faults that you could spend the rest of your range time trying to sort out.
By finishing your range session with less-than-full wedges, you'll again have the opportunity to focus on rhythm and tempo and smooth out any glitches that have crept into your swing with your longer clubs.
In addition, you're forcing yourself to practice those tricky 40-80 yard touch shots that are so crucial to scoring well.
You'll walk away from the practice tee cooler, calmer and more confident - the perfect state to start your round.
Or, if you're not playing that day, you're ready to drive home happy, with your swing's tempo and fundamentals on solid ground.
See also "Practice" for more tips!
During my downswing, my back gets very rounded. I have a strong core, my butt/hips aren't moving forward at all. My head isn't moving either. I've done every drill in the book, to fix it. I just don't know what to do anymore.
Losing your spine angle is a common flaw, and usually relates to posture problems, and certainly to weight shift problems...
I recommend paying better attention to your posture in your set up. Be sure your knees are slightly flexed, your butt is out, your back is tall and straight. Do not slouch at address...feel your chin is up, and you are upright.
Begin your downswing with a weight shift towards the target, with your feet, and hips shifting their weight to your front side. Your weight should be on your lead leg, not evenly divided.
Try to remain tall with your chin and posture as well. Keep the upright feeling.
Seems you are using mostly arms ...I want your legs and feet to work harder and better.
Your footwork is most likely poor....this is why you slouch and use mostly arms to strike the ball...
ISAG Bonus Tip: Hi Zack, As usual Barry is right on the money here. You can read a little more on the correct posture at address here http://isuckatgolf.net/address.html
I am former student of yours from 2-3 years ago, which you helped with the driver (now my favorite club) short game and putting. At that time my irons were the strong part of my game, but at the end of last year, and the beginning of this year (been out twice) I have either a pull hook, slight push, or a large divot behind the ball. I checked my note cards (now you may remember me) and I just don’t feel comfortable with my setup. I have been putting a slight amount of weight on my front foot to try and stabilize myself, but to no avail. Please work your magic again, and hope to see you in Florida next winter.
PS You also help my wife with her putting, using the Arnold Palmer stance, which see still use with good success.
and I surely remember teaching you pal. Glad your wife is doing well, and let me give you a few pointers to assist your iron play.
To hit solid irons, first make sure your ball position is solid ...wedges, and short irons should be in the dead center of your stance Gary. The middle irons and longer irons can be played slightly more forward of center. Pay close attention to this Gary. It is a huge fundamental not to be taken lightly.
Make sure your weight is evenly distributed, and feel tall in your posture. Do not slouch or hunch over the ball. Keep your chin up and do not drop down towards the ball on your downswing.
Your right shoulder can be slightly lower than your left at address, and make sure your grip is soft...do not squeeze or choke the club Gary. Grip it in the fingers, not the palms.
On your downswing, make sure you have your weight on your front foot at impact...this will help you get your divot in front of the ball, not behind it. Avoid being flat footed at impact.
Also, feel as though you swing down your target line as you swing through the ball..' chase' the ball down the target line with your clubhead.
Finally, make sure you finish in balance. Hold your finish Gary. I recall working on that with you when you were down here for lessons with me at Inverrary CC in Florida.
Hope to teach your wife and you again, and stay in touch Gary.
I just found the site and am so glad I can come here and ask a Teacher some questions I am 28 years old and have been playing golf my whole life. I am a 4 handicap, the other day I started to hit the ball with more of a draw than I am use to hitting about a yard and a half more… I know I can aim different but I am not comfortable in doing so. Can you please give me a tip on how to stop the draw it just comes natural in my swing.
Thanks Chad C.
At the age of 28, you are entering your prime years as a golfer.
With that being said, I believe its possible that you may be playing a set of shafts that are too weak for you, making the ball draw too much.
It is also possible your stance is a bit too closed, and you are aimed right of target.
I also suggest you make sure your grip is not too strong, as this may cause the ball to overturn too much with draw spin.
Chad, this is a good problem to have, as most poor players would love to battle your issue ....however, I know it is frustrating to over play your draw shots....
Check finally that the ball is not too far back in your stance as well....
Feel free to email us a video of your swing, and then I am sure I can diagnose the problem Chad.
Upon viewing my swing in slo-motion I am happy with the general look of my swing but am troubled by one thing: on takeaway my head drops a few inches, especially with my driver, and at impact I lift up and my left heel comes off the ground. As much as I consciously tried NOT to do this it didn't help. Any suggestions or drills you can advise?
Very common issues you are dealing with.
May I suggest you put a dollar bill under your left heel, and make certain to keep it under your foot the whole swing. You do not want to jump up and back on your downswing....
keep the left heel down, and make sure all your weight is on the left foot at impact and into your finish.
The dollar bill will make you feel this Jeff.
As for your head, and your posture dropping, I recommend doing some mirror work.
Take 10 minutes each evening, and just practice in a mirror, assuring that your head and posture stays level throughout your swing.
I've been hitting the ball with heel of club,I broke one of my new graphite shafts doing this! How can i remedy this problem?
Very simple answer. You swing the club down from the outside, not from the inside.
Until you improve your downswing, and shallow your swing plane out, you will continue to hit the heel.
Standing a bit farther from the ball is a band aid.
What you really need to do is put a box, or a head cover down an inch outside the ball, and learn to hit the ball without hitting the box or head cover.
see also "How to Stay on Plane" by Christina Lecuyer
Thanks for providing this service for the average Joe like myself.
I've been taking some golf lessons and have been forced to unlearn some poor mechanics and tendencies. Although I do see progress, an issue that has come up is a slight hook/ fat shot.
I have noticed that when I am swinging well and am hitting the ball flush, the ball comes out with a slight fade. However, when my swing starts to fall apart a little bit I notice that I start hitting the ball a little fat, it comes off closer to the toe, and hooks.
My theory (which could be completely wrong) is that when I start feeling either confident or tired, I start using my arms more than my body, and I hit the ground before the ball, turning my club face over. However, once I get into this mind set it is hard for me to fix it.
Do you have any advice or drills that could help me improve my impact?
You should hit some 7 irons with your weight all on your lead foot. Practice hitting balls with your right foot up on its tip toes, so all your weight is on the left foot. This promotes a good impact position with your weight not being able to hang back.
Also, a good idea would be in your pre shot routine, practice taking a divot slightly ahead of where the ball shall be. Feel as if you are getting through the ball more aggressively.
If you'd like to send us your video, I know I can assist you much more when I see your golf swing.
see also "Sometimes hook, sometimes slice", by Bill Crowley
I am in desperate need of new golf clubs. I've decided to get fitted. I've had lessons indoors at Golftec using cameras and computer software and I also just had an outdoor lesson with a pro at a local golf course. If I'm fitted at the indoor place, I can't see the ball flight, I get fitted using software and data and they can get almost any brand. If I'm fitted by the pro at the golf course, I can see my ball flight, take divots, no cameras or computer info and they only have a few brands from which to choose. Where do I go? Does it matter?
Simple answer pal ..outdoors! You have to see your ball flight!!
I just took out the clubs and have played twice and have gone to the driving range several times. I’ve lost a lot of distance over the winter! I seem to be hitting the ball about 10 percent shorter than normal. Everything feels good, the ball flight is pretty straight but doesn’t seem to “soar” like it normally does. Any tips on getting my “mo-jo” back!!
Thank you very much for taking my question. Hope you have a solution!
Try swinging a weighted and heavy club each evening for 20 swings per night.
I KNOW this will increase your swing speed and in turn give you some much needed pop again.
I also think doing a few push ups each day is a no brainer for you as well.
Also, make sure the shafts in your clubs are not too stiff for you.
Good afternoon Barry,
I hate to bother you but I am so frustrated with my swing I needed to ask for some advice. I have shortened by swing the last year or so and when I keep it that way, I can play at about a 7 handicap level. When my swing gets long, I'm in the teens. (My handicap is about a 10.)
I can go to the range and hit a million balls with the short swing. And all of my practice swings are nice and short. But the second I get over the ball on the course to swing, there is a mental block that keeps me from keeping my swing short. Especially on my driver. My irons I can usually keep the short swing for the most part now. It’s basically my driver and fairway woods. It’s obviously mental. And it’s not like I’m thinking I want to hit it further because my short swing hits the ball longer. And a lot more accurately.
Is there anything I can do to get over the mental hurdle? Any help is really appreciated!!!
I am glad you realize how important keeping your swing short of parallel is.
I have two suggestions for you:
First, every time you practice your swing your driver, and fairway woods....put a credit card under your left armpit, holding it between your arm and chest.
Make your back swing without allowing the credit card to drop out on the back swing. I bet anything you are disconnecting your arm from your chest on your way back.
Second, make certain you are not letting the grip loosen or drop out of your left hand at the top of your back swing.
Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. I have a big problem on my drives. I have started hitting behind the ball. I have a steady fade, can keep it in the fairway, and hit about 200 yards. I am 57 years old and have been doing this for a while. Last year started to hit behind the ball. Teed it up high, moved it back a little, but about every other hole I hit about 4 inches behind the ball on my drive. No problem with my other clubs. Can’t figure out why. Any thoughts?
I believe this is pretty easy to help you with. I would love to have you send us a video of your swing so I can really help you and not guess at what I believe is occurring in your swing. (we don't have to post it on the site if you prefer not to.) However, from what you told me, try this:
Begin by making sure you set up "tall" and not in poor posture. Really feel upright and get your weight over the middle of your feet...not hunched and out on your toes.
Next, make sure on your downswing you get your hips and legs involved. Shift to your front side earlier on your downswing. I bet you are relatively flatfooted and just throwing your arms at the ball.
Finally...make sure at your finish you are completely on your lead foot. No weight should be left hanging back away from the target on your rear foot.
Your driver ball position should be an inch or two inside your front heel.
Good luck...and if you send us the video, I am sure I can assist you better as I can then see it with my eyes...
When I go to the range, warm up slowly then go into full swings, contact is very good, no issues. Once I am fully warmed up but getting tired the shanks appear for the remainder of the bucket. Later in the day I can go back to the range and hit ball after ball for two buckets in a row with no issues. When the shanks do come up I go back to basics and no help. It is though I have to put the clubs down and rest for an hour or so then all is well. Any recommendations to help put a complete end to the shanks. It seems as though I am spot on or nowhere and I would prefer to be spot on. I'd appreciate your thoughts
I will bet anything that when you get tired, your posture falls out too much on your toes. And on your downswing you are leaning too far out towards the ball, getting out on your toes even more.
Make a conscious effort to remain in good posture in your swing throughout your round.
Stay centered with your weight, and avoid getting lazy and sloppy with the falling towards the golf ball issue. I would think this could really help you.
...hitting off heel and 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???
Pay close attention, and you will be hitting the ball on the sweet spot again:
First, move farther away from the ball. You are too close to it. Move an inch farther away.
Second, get your weight much more on your shoelaces, not out on your toes.
Do not fall forward our on your toes on your downswing either.
Also, make your grip a little stronger too...that is, turn both hands towards your rear shoulder Mickey.
I will bet you quickly take contact off the heel of the club and better contact will be easy to get again
Not sure what is being said about keeping a firm wrist, can you explain a little more. I was a 8 handicap for years and the kids came so golf stopped. Now i am topping the ball badly, going to try your advice on my address, i may be bent over too far, I'm only 5'5"any other help is greatly needed, cause i SUCK AT GOLF now.
What you should understand is that the left wrist should not break down or bow prior to impact.
Simply put, there is no scooping or lifting of the golf ball at the bottom of your swing.
Have this feeling: your hands should lead the club head into the ball. The club head should not lead your hands Cecil.
Feel as though the back of your left hand is straight, not bent at impact.
And be sure at five foot five, that you use your body to hit the golf ball as well as your hands and arms.
With your small stature, it is really important that you swing with your big muscles, not just your hands and arms.
See also: Better Contact Drills
My release is BIG TIME “stuck.” I play to about an 8 but am having my worst season ever. For some out of the blue reason I can’t seem to turn my wrists over. Everything is hard, hooking, and very right (I’m a righty). I can feel the club face wide open but can’t get through it. Any drills or swing thoughts I could use to get me back on track? I’ve started using an end weighted 3-iron and a 5-iron Medicus at night for some practice swings. They don’t seem to help. The game is almost becoming “un fun.” Any insight would be great.
I believe it would help you a lot to make right arm only swings....and feel on the way down as if your right arm is away from your right hip and right side.
I also believe you would benefit from moving the ball forward in your stance for the next few rounds...so you have to 'go get it' more.
Being stuck is the result of having the inability to extend your arms.
You have to get the club much more in front of your body coming down.
It is too far behind you Bill.
It's your old upstate NY buddy! I was online checking out the web site and found your column. I am writing because I need professional help, with my golf swing, that is… I have had a terrible time with an outside-in downswing and my divots look like 45-degree beaver pelts. Any suggestions on what I can do to work on keeping my right elbow in or whatever it is I keep doing wrong?
and welcome home from foreign soil and the armed forces. Glad you are home safe and sound, and thanks for putting your life on the line for our country. God Bless you and all your teammates in the armed forces. We appreciate all of you!
Now, let me help you with your golf. Time for Spencer to have fun.
Spencer, for the next 30 days, I want you to do these 2 things religiously.
First, take a much stronger grip!! Turn both hands towards your right shoulder so the V's formed between your thumb and forefinger are pointed to your right shoulder. I really want you to get this grip to a strong position Spencer.
Second, every time you hit balls and play, I want you to pull your right foot back 6 inches from the ball, so your feet are closed big time. I also want you to close your shoulders, so they aim to the right of target.
I KNOW you will begin to shallow out your swing, and get thinner divots, and begin hitting some hooks. When the hooks are dominant, then you can go back to a square setup.
Try this pal, and let me know how it works. I bet it helps you a great deal.
And, I may come home to teach from July 18th-August 28th or so. If I do, get some lessons from me while I am back in upstate New York, okay?
I was fitted for clubs several years ago and they helped me at first. Now I am a little older, a little stronger, etc. My game still has not changed so I am thinking of trying some new clubs. I am not really excited about paying for just a name (I.e. Callaway, TaylorMade, Nike, etc). What other custom club companies are there that are likely more affordable, but just as dependable as regular brand names (i.e. Thomas golf, Command, Ti7 or other "clone" clubs). What about online ordering as many online retailers are now offering this as well. What should I watch out for. Thanks for any help you can be.
If the clubs you currently play work well, I would stick with them.
Too many players change clubs too often. I believe the talent of the golfer is much more important than the club. I think it is foolish to change clubs just for the sake of changing clubs.
It is the Indian, not the arrow that makes a golfer.
If you'd like to avoid the big name brands, I suggest going to a local club maker, and have them make you a set that is fit for you, and has no brand name.
I am in need of a little advice. I am 6’2” and I hit the ball out on the toe of the club 90% of the time and hit a draw or a hook all of the time. When I hit the ball I try to hit just inside of center to help release thru the ball. I just recently went from a 10 finger grip to a interlocking grip which helped with the hooking but still hit out on the toe. I have even tried standing a little closer to the ball but this still doesn’t work. My clubs are a standard length and lie. Do you think that maybe I should try a little longer club? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I can offer you the simplest advice:
Move closer to the all, until you hit it on the sweet spot.
Also, try taking the club back a little more inside on your takeaway. I sense you may be taking it outside to begin your swing.
Longer clubs will not make the toe contact go away ...however, a club expert may be able to bend your current clubs to assist you.
See also "hitting on the toe" by Christina Lecuyer
I have gotten my handicap to 12 and it has been there for a while now. My score is more apt to go up than down.
One of the things that continues to keep me from really improving is my inability to hit greens in regulation. My short game is decent, so I do save some lost strokes during a round, but there aren't a lot of birdie opportunities on par 3s and 4s. On average, I will hit 6 or 7 greens in regulation even when I hit upwards of 11 fairways.
I can't seem to master the technique of hitting down on the ball and take the divot after making contact with the ball. More often than not, I pick the ball losing distance and accuracy.
Any suggestions on what I may be doing wrong and some practice drills to correct this.
Try these tips and I think you will improve your iron play:
First, next time you are on the range, hit some balls with your right foot pulled back from the ball 4 or 5 inches, and up on its tippy toes. This will put all of your weight on your left foot, and help you make a downward strike and get the divot you seek, in front of the ball.
Also, practice a lot of swings to a low tee. No ball. And get used to breaking the tee right out of the ground. To do this, you again have to strike down on the tee to remove it from the turf. Break a lot of tees, then put the ball back in front of you and continue the same way.
A playing tip? Aim for the middle of the green all the time unless you have a wedge in your hands. Then you can aim more at the pin.
Try these Bob, and I bet you will hit more greens.
Thanks for this great opportunity.
I'll make this quick. I SUCK at hitting a 3 wood on the fairway. I cannot stop topping it or just plain duffing it. Any suggestions. I've tried every possible stance and still cannot hit it properly, well, maybe one in 30...
Also, I have recently been given a Ping G10 draw driver because I have a slice. (nice gift) Anyway, now all I do is hook the stupid ball.
HELP! I am very passionate about golf and want to get better at it ...right now I suck.
First, realize to hit a 3 wood off the ground, a very good lie is needed.
Set up with the ball an inch or two inside your front foot...make sure the ball is forward in your stance.
Have your head and eyes, BEHIND the ball...feel as though more weight is behind the ball at address.
Take the club away long and low to the ground...do not pick the club up abruptly.
And, on your downswing, make sure you keep your head back as you strike the ball.
It is okay to feel a slight downward blow. Do not try to lift the ball up off the ground.
Finish with 99% of your weight on your front foot, and in good balance.
I feel you can be a great player and never be great with a 3 wood off the deck...put in most of your time with the wedges and putter. You can never be a great player without being good with those clubs.
As for your new driver. Get rid of it. Get the square faced model.
The closed face is a band aid to deal with your slice. Not a good idea for long term play.
I don't think a good player will want a closed driver face. We would rather learn to hit the normal driver well Eric.
Send in a video of your swing. I am sure I can assist you if I see your swing.
I use to play a little golf back in my 30's and I am 57 now and have started playing again(really trying) since january--for some reason I have a hard time hitting my irons (mainly my 3 iron off the ground) I usually top the ball. and then if I get a little contact it goes right and low--I am so frustrated --my husband tries to help to no avail any advise on how to practice.
Do yourself a huge favor.
Toss the 3 and 4 iron in the lake...
get a hybrid club. You will be stunned how much easier it will be to hit the ball, and hit it high too!
At the level of golf you are at, a 3 or 4 iron is a complete waste of your energy. 99% of all golfers should toss the 3 and 4 iron....and replace them with hybrids.
Trust me, and do this prior to your next golf outing. You'll be glad you did!
Hello my name is Alex and I'm from upstate New York and am sixteen years old. I have been playing golf competitively for about two and half years now. I've gotten lessons and practiced hard, my average round for nine is high 30s and I just cant break that barrier. I know i can hit the shots i want but I'm just too inconsistent, nothing is ever "on" at the same time. I was wondering is that a mental game problem or something else? Please help if you can.
Alex, I can tell you for sure that the difference between par golf and 78 to 80 is short game success and mental game toughness. May I suggest that you develop a world class routine for every shot on every hole...
And, that you practice your putting much more too.
Make one hundred 3 or 4 footers per day.
And as far as mental toughness, I think great players focus on what they can control, such as a routine, course management...etc...not on things we cannot control like the result of a shot.
Good Luck to you, you're almost there.
I seem to be pulling all my irons and hybrids – probably over the top casting. Is there a drill you would suggest to cure this? Or perhaps a drill to develop lagging the club to prevent this? I normally use a strong grip as I feel it gives me more power.
Right off the bat, from what you have said ...leave your grip alone. I am a proponent of a rather strong grip, instead of a rather weak grip.
With that being said, here is my favorite drill to assist you with pulling.
The Pump Drill. I did not invent it, but am a huge proponent of this.
When you practice, make your normal backswing...then pump the club down into a halfway down position and stop when your hands are waist high. Here is THE KEY to this drill. Make 100% certain your back and in particular your left shoulder has not opened up and are still facing the target.
Then take the club back to the top again...and again pump the club into a halfway down position, making sure you have kept your left shoulder and back facing the target again.
Take it back to the top one last time, and on this downswing, fire away.
In essence, what you are doing is trying to keep your back to the target longer, and keep your left shoulder from spinning or opening to soon.
Great drill. Send me a video of your swing Eric, and I can assist you much more effectively.
Good golfing, and good luck.
ISAG BONUS ANSWER: We found a nice video of the pump drill. The explanation is slightly different, but the idea is the same.
See also: Best Tip Ever
What is causing me to pull my drives dead left off the tee? I shoot in the mid 80's and once in a while I will start to pull ball dead left off the tee..Most of the time I'm straight down the middle. Not long but straight.
You are swinging across your target line when you pull the ball.
Try extending your swing more down the line.
And, make sure not to spin your shoulders from the top of your back swing....
Allow your arms to swing the club down the target line at impact and after impact, and the pulls will go away.
Hello Barry, quick question.
Should I have my clubs substantially cut down? I am 5 foot 4 inches (age 27). I have a tendency to consistently choke down on most my clubs - except my driver, sand and pitching wedge. I am hitting a very straight and accurate ball with all clubs choking down but lose considerable distance (I hit my 7 iron consistently 155 yards)... however when I tend to not choke up I am gaining the distance but vary many yards right or left... what is your advice...
a) continue to choke down on my clubs - play the distances I know I can hit accurately
b) have my clubs reduced in length - and continue to hit same distances
c) learn to swing with standard length clubs to gain distance
I just feel more confident choking down and wonder if my clubs are just too long for my small stature.
Thank you in advance.
I like your choice A.
Don't cut your clubs down. They will never be the same and are not designed to be cut down.
Also, a 155 yard 7 iron is surely not a short hitter.
I would stay as you are Adam. And just get a better short game! Seems your full swing is good.
I am currently shooting in the high 80’s low 90’s. I swing the Slingshot Nike irons with regular graphite shafts and hit them pretty well. I do not hit Woods of any kind. Don’t ask me why I just won’t. My question is; can I improve my iron game by switching from graphite to steel shafts?
I need to upgrade my game so any suggestion from you will be appreciated. Thank You very much.
I think steel may give you more accuracy and better distance control than graphite.
You also may hit the steel clubs a little lower than the graphite.
Steel may go a little shorter, but a bit straighter.....you will have to make the decision based on what you seek in your game.
Steel in general is a more consistent shaft than graphite. Good luck..and learn to hit your woods!
What is the most common cause for hitting fat shots with your irons?
Fat shots are caused by flipping or scooping your hands at the bottom of your swing...do not let your left wrist flip or break prior to impact. Also, keep your weight tall and over your shoe laces...do not fall out on your toes!
ISAG Bonus Tip: See "Impact" for more on how to practice keeping that left wrist firm.
I have played golf for 30 years and hit the ball descent. I have a problem that has bothered me for years ..I either pull the ball, hit it fat or slice. I seem to bring my shoulders around…should I try to bring them more back and forth? If I do bring them under more, I sometimes have a V-shaped swing and I don’t want that. My handicap is a 9 but I would like to get it to scratch.
Any advice would be appreciated
Thank you, Deena
You are a good player, and I would like to see a video of your swing to help you more.
From your description, try hitting a lot of balls from a closed or hookers stance. Sounds like you spin too much with your upper body and closing your stance to practice will quiet this down.
Just beginning and could you please let me know the proper use for each of the numbered clubs. What determines which to use after you tee off..
The club you will use after teeing off is determined by your distance to the hole Alan..
Your job is to practice with your clubs enough so you can accurately determine how far each club travels for you...
for example..let's say you hit your drive, and then you have 150 yards to the hole for your next golf shot Alan.
You would then pick the number club that you have determined goes 150 yards when you hit it.
Then, being into the wind or downwind, uphill or downhill, etc..will alter your decision for each particular situation.
First I swing left handed and stand about 6ft6inches tall.
When I hit the ball of the tee it starts of great for about 130 yards. and
then it really goes south I mean a hard turn to the left.
I have had so much advice, that now I am frustrated and I am losing the
thrill for this great game.
I need so good advice.
Tim, plain and simple: you fight an open clubface...
I would like to see a video of your swing so please send us one..
however, here is a simple tip that I am confident will help you:
Make your grip stronger. Turn both hands towards your rear shoulder. And, set up closed in your stance too..that is, pull your rear foot back from the ball about 4 inches.
Go ahead and try and hook some drives.
I think once you can hook a few, you will be on your way to losing the open clubface for good.
As for being 6 foot 6..that is good. Lots of power when you do it well!
I am five ten, and hit it long ...would love to be 6 foot 6 with the same swing!
So, go work on it and send me your video ...I would enjoy helping you more.
The course I play at has a practice putting green that always seems to be closed! Do you have any suggestions of the best way to practice putting and/or chipping at home if you don’t have access to a green except on the course? It kills me to get to the course early to practice putting only to see that damn “green closed” sign!
How strange that the green is always closed!
However, try this...putt to a penny..or a nickel.
If the greens are fast at your course, use the tile or linoleum floor...if they are slow, use the carpet.
Use the penny for a target, it will make the hole seem huge on the course.
Focus a lot on your set up, your aim, your club face being square, etc...
good luck, and find a real green soon as possible to practice upon!
It has been one heck of a ride for my golf swing this year. I finally decided to take lessons after 10 years of playing golf and my entire swing has changed. I started the year with a huge slice off the tee and shanking every iron shot I hit. Then I finally fixed my grip, flattened out my swing and got my hips more involved and starting drawing the ball nicely.
The last few rounds out, my “nice draw” has turned into a huge, low, ugly hook. I am finally hitting my irons better when I focus on keeping my left arm straight in the backswing but I cannot hit my driver anymore … and this was the most consistent part of my game a month ago. I can feel my arms turning over early in the downswing and it doesn’t feel right, but I just can’t seem to do anything to correct it. Any advice would be much appreciated.
I suggest with your driver, to make certain your takeaway is square, not closed.
Sounds to me as if you are taking the club away in a shut position. This is a very poor position.
Make sure that the first foot or two of your swing finds the clubface opening so halfway back the toe of the clubface points to the sky. I bet yours is hooded or closed.
Send us your video, and let me really help. By seeing your swing, I am sure I can assist you.
What determines in your opinion when it’s time to upgrade your clubs? I’ve had people tell me since I’m hitting my clubs well that I should stick with them. But I’m sure Nicklaus was hitting his first or second set well and upgraded at some point. I mean at some point your clubs have to hold you back. I mean can’t a well coordinated player adjust his swing in order to hit say a regular shaft when he really could play better with a stiff shaft? Hope that makes sense and you can shed some light. I don’t want to just go to the club fitter’s blindly as I know they just want me to buy something no matter what. I don’t really have a pro or such that I really trust as I just moved here.
Justin, I have a simple answer...if the clubs you are playing, in particular your driver and woods, are models made before 2002...go get new clubs!
The technology since then has improved greatly. If your clubs are from 2005, 2006...well, you won't see a huge improvement in technology.
Also Justin, make sure you hit a club outside prior to spending money ...almost all good club sellers will allow you to leave a drivers license or credit card with them, and you in return can take a demo club to the range or course.
See LPGA pro Diana D'Alessio's response to the same question here.
My set up and backswing look pretty good and on plane. However, I still tend to hit many shots near the hosel or on the heel of the face. It's very frustrating. I tend to hit some really good shots but the occasional shank creeps in during my round which then gets me frazzled and my game falls to pieces. I am about a 14 now.Any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Listen closely and your days of hitting it off the heel, or the hosel, and of course shanking it are over.Back away from the golf ball half an inch to an inch...you need to stand farther away from the ball since you are fighting contact off the heel. You are too close to the ball I bet.
Also, make 100% certain your weight is more over your shoe laces..not on your toes! You need to get off your toes..shankers are falling too much toward the golf ball and getting too much out on the toe part of their foot...feel more centered with your weight at setup, and stay that way on your entire swing ...especially the downswing.
Bet these rid you of heel contact Jody, and good luck!
When the pressure is on, I’ve found spot putting to be especially effective. In fact, two of the great pressure putters of all time, Dave Stockton and Jack Nicklaus, employ the spot technique.
One of the main benefits of spot putting is that it helps you maintain your putting posture throughout the stroke. Most golfers tend to rise up out of their posture prematurely, usually because they’re anxious to see the results of their efforts. Rising up from your stance usually forces a stroke that strays off-line and sends the ball away from the intended target.
Spot putting can help you beat this flaw and improve the quality of your putts. Try this: Choose a spot on the green an inch or two in front of your ball and directly on the line you’ve chosen to roll your putt. I typically look for an unusual blade of grass or a colored spot on the putting surface. When you’re set to putt the ball, focus your eyes on your chosen spot—not your golf ball. Now, make your stroke with the goal of rolling the ball right over the spot. Remember, don’t rise up from your putting posture until your putter face has passed your spot.
Spot putting effectively takes the hole out of your mind, which typically translates into a smoother stroke. Also, by focusing on the spot rather than the ball, you’ll tend to properly accelerate the putterhead down your intended line, which will result in more putts finding the hole.
by Barry Goldstein - America's Top 50 Teacher's
Quick and easy tips to play better golf right now
TRICK 1: Align The Clubface
One of the most common mistakes amateurs make is improper alignment. Some think they should align their feet at the target, others try to get their shoulders parallel to it. Hey, some golfers try to align everything at the target! They’re all wrong.
The correct way to align your shots is to always begin by first assessing your target from behind the ball. This will give you a perspective of the entire hole and help you aim right where you want the ball to go. Secondly, before you make your actual stance, set the clubface behind the golf ball and align it directly at the target. Do this before, not after, you get into your stance. PGA Tour players have a knack for aligning the clubhead in this fashion. Pay attention to how they do it the next time you tune in.
After you have the right clubface alignment, then comes time to situate the rest of your body. Most players benefit from aligning their lower body left of the target line and their upper body parallel to the target line. There’s actually no right answer as to what works best for you, but one thing is for sure. Aligning your body directly at the target rarely works. It usually leads to crossovers and over-the-top swings. Keep your body aiming left of the target line, and experiment with what works best for you. But be sure to align that clubface first!
TRICK 2: Choose The Right Club
Most amateurs choose what club to use based on length. On shorter holes, they use shorter clubs. Longer holes, longer clubs; and so on. But better players know there’s more to selecting the right club than that. It also includes things like natural shot tendencies, wind, hazards and whether or not hidden dangers lurk in prime landing areas. But most of all, a better player looks at what type of approach shot is to follow. The hole may be only 365 yards long, but with a good drive, that leaves a touchy 70- to 80-yard approach. Who wants that? The right play would be to avoid awkward distances and hit a 3-wood, leaving a full wedge approach.
Lastly, a better player acknowledges that a shot with a 3-wood has a greater likelihood of hitting the fairway than a driver shot does. And with today’s new groove rules, hitting the fairway has become more important than ever.
TRICK 3: Don’t Change Your Stance
Instinctively, you might assume that the stance changes, depending on the club. Not true! When it comes to full shots (not pitches, chips or putts), maintaining a consistent stance is critical to becoming a better ball striker.
That’s not to say there are minor adjustments in spine angle, ball position and stance width, but generally, how you stand over an iron should not be far off from how you situate yourself with a driver. Notice the similarities in the photos above? This is what you want.
TRICK 4: Make A Good Grip
Better players always, and I mean always, have a fundamentally solid grip. To start, grip the club with your gloved hand and emphasize the handle’s placement in the fingers between the first knuckle and the palm. Then, apply the ungloved hand so it wraps comfortably around the handle. From there, the thumb and index fingers of both hands form two Vs, both of which should be pointed somewhere around the right side of your chest or right shoulder. Follow this advice and you’ll have a solid grip.
TRICK 5: Play With The Wind, Not Against It
Many amateurs fret about playing in the wind, but better players know how to use wind to their advantage. For instance, better players know that no matter what type of shot you’d normally play, whether it’s a draw, fade or whatever, how the wind blows changes everything. You have to make adjustments to make the wind work for you, instead of trying to hit a shot to fight against it. I’ve seen that happen time and time again with amateurs.
Put it this way, no matter how big a fade or draw you’re capable of hitting, it’s likely the wind will always win. So what do you do? Play with it! In the photo above, I’ve got a stiff wind blowing from right to left. Instead of battling it, I’ve opted to hit a drawing tee shot with hopes that the wind works alongside me to move the ball from right to left. Also, since I’m playing with the wind and not against it, it’s likely my draw will be more pronounced, so I need to make sure I aim farther right to allow for it. And by the way, if, by chance, my natural ball flight was a fade, instead of hitting a draw, I’d play for a straight shot and aim a little less right of the target. Either way, I’m letting the wind move the ball back into the fairway.
Still not convinced? Well, had I played a fade, I’d have run a greater risk of pulling the tee shot with the ball not fading enough or at all. And with that right-to-left wind, things would only get worse. I’d be hitting my second shot from the bear grass! If the wind were blowing the other way, a better player knows to never fight a slice wind. The play is to aim left and let the ball drift to the right back into the fairway.
Lastly, when playing in the wind, no matter which way it’s blowing, don’t think you need to swing any harder than normal. Just accept the fact that wind is blowing, and although it may be in an undesirable direction, the key is to avoid going to war with it. This will foul up your rhythm and tempo, not to mention your scorecard.
TRICK 6: Play For More Break, Not Less
Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s always better to miss it on the pro side of the hole”? How about, “Never up, never in”? In case you haven’t heard these sayings, what they mean is quite simple. Better players know that, no matter how well you judge the speed and break of a putt, if you consistently miss on the low side of the hole, you’re never giving yourself a real chance. (The low side, by the way, refers to the side of the hole that’s actually lower than the hole.) Since golf balls don’t roll upwards naturally, unless you hit the putt from below the hole up the hill, the ball has no chance to go in.
On the other hand, if you tend to miss more often on the upper side (the pro side) of the hole, once in a while, the ball may actually find the hole. The key is speed. Having the right speed, even if you aim a little high and for a little too much break, the ball actually may slow down more and start to break into the hole even though you were a little off with your aim. Better players understand this (whether they’re aware of it or not) and generally miss to the higher side of the hole rather than the lower side. They also cite speed as more important than direction, for this very reason.
That said, next time you practice, find a breaking putt to the right, and then one that breaks to the left. Practice on both holes until your misses start trending toward the pro side of the hole. Of course, the goal is to make more than you miss, but with the right kind of misses, you may find yourself making a few more putts, as well!
TRICK 7: Finish The Shot
Another one of the higher-handicapper’s biggest fears on the golf course is the sand shot. Better players know that with the right fundamentals, hitting good bunker shots isn’t as hard as it looks. There are a few fundamentals you ought to follow to get the job done, such as hitting down and behind the ball and letting the sand lift the ball. But here, I want to focus on one thing, and that happens to be the finish. So many of my students seem to believe that it’s necessary to dig the wedge into the sand as you would an ax into a piece of firewood, all in order to excavate the ball. They make a steep backswing and “THUD!” The wedge stays stuck in the sand in most cases, and so does the golf ball.
Instead, try to make a full finish. Swing all the way through to a balanced and comfortable finish position. If you think of a full finish before you swing, you’ll be less inclined to drive the club deep into the sand and, in the end, make a shallower sand divot and get the ball out of the sand. Also, thinking of a full finish before you swing helps you to relax and avoid flipping the hands over and prevents the ball from getting up and out of the sand. So, think of that full finish before your sand shot. I’ll bet your sand game improves in a hurry.
TRICK 8: Stack Your Chips
I think chipping is too often overlooked. Hey, maybe it’s not the most glamorous shot to hit, but that doesn’t make it any less important. A great chip can help you make or break par faster than any putt.
To become a better chipper, concentrate on stacking your impact position. This means that, at the moment of truth, the left arm, the shaft and your weight should all be stacked over your left leg. This helps you better control the shot and ensure you hit it crisp and solid. If you aren’t stacked, your chipping will be inconsistent, and it’ll be hard to judge distances and how much the ball will fly and roll. But if you stack it, all you need to do is judge how far you want the ball to go and lengthen or shorten your backswing so it fits the shot.
This tip, like the others in this story, are quick and simple ways to turn your game around and become a better player. Practice them and you’ll see the better you get, the simpler your swing and swing thoughts should become. And remember, have fun out there!
Barry Goldstein teaches at the famed Inverrary CC in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and is director of golf at the Maine Golf and Tennis Academy. Contact him at email@example.com
Can you help? I am in the market for new clubs and don’t know where to begin. I don’t want to go in for a club fitting without having some idea of what brands to narrow it down to. If I read reviews on line at places like golfdigest.com, they all seem to coddle to the manufacturers and say nothing but good things about every club. Every driver can’t be the best; every hybrid can’t be the best. But Golf Digest never says anything bad about anyone. It is all just about the advertising in that magazine?
I am a 15 handicapper and am playing with 17 year old irons. I have a couple of hybrids but they are off-brands that I bought just to try. I am pretty confident that new clubs will improve my game but how do I possible narrow it down? According to the “experts”, it apparently just comes down to the look of the club. What questions should I be asking? Where on line should I be asking them?
Relax and let me make this simple and less stressful.
Right off the bat I can tell you Wil, you are due for new irons. The technology will be far superior to the technology from 17 years ago. It's a win/win for you!
Okay, Wil, here goes.
TaylorMade, Callaway, Cleveland, Mizuno and Ping ....there, I narrowed it down to 5 for you.
Find a demo day near you in Colorado (or go to a big store that has demos), and hit these irons ..immediately 2 or 3 will just not be as much to your liking...
then, after you fall in love with the looks and feel of one particular brand, get fit for that brand.
I am a TaylorMade man, and recommend them highly...try them!
All in all, hitting the iron will give you the best feel and you will just KNOW which club is for you.
Do not stress Wil..any of the above will be vastly superior to your clubs. Promise.
I played Pings for 25 years...and TaylorMade for the past 10 years ...I love iron play as it may be the thing I do best ...hitting greens.
Wil, you will FEEL the club that delivers you the best strike. Take my advice...try the above and chill out and hit them..you will know ...you'll see.
My question is about golf clubs. I like the hybrid sets but can not find a ladies set that is within my budget. I have seen several hybrid senior sets for men within my price range. Can you tell me the difference between the ladies and senior sets? Thanks for your time.
Senior clubs will have a thicker grip, heavier weight and stiffer shaft than a ladies model.
If you are a big, strong girl with big hands and good clubhead speed, the senior clubs may be fine...
have a local pro or club fitter advise you.
All in all, most women are better off with women's clubs, except for better and stronger lady golfers who can play the senior clubs.
Do you have a good exercise to keep your head from moving?
Wow...tough question and this has been asked since the game has been played...
1) use a mirror, and monitor your head motion each swing by observing it..
2) have a friend or better yet a pro place the grip end of a club on your forehead as you set up and keep it there as you swing...you will quickly feel any extra movement..
3) finally, Jack Grout, who was Jack Nicklaus' teacher would actually grab a handfull of Jack's hair at address, and literally hold his head in place!
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.
Here is a simple, effective drill to learn to use your legs and hips well.
Get an impact bag...or an old tire...
swing into the bag (or tire) and stop at impact...hit it hard...
you want your shoulders just about square and pointing down the line...yet, your hips should be open and pointing left of target...as though you were 'pushing' off your right foot and leg and thigh and driving your weight forward.
Sure, keep a glove under your left arm..BUT...you still need to properly use your lower body, and the glove under your arm wont teach you that.
Practice this often, and you will learn a lot better lower body action I am sure.
See Bill Crowley's answer to this same question here.
I have a swing speed of 108-112 should I stay with the factory stiff
or should I go to the xstiff? I have a 10-15 yard fade, and I can't
draw and I want to. Even a straight ball would be better. What should
I do i'm looking to buy a new driver very soon. Thanks Brian
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.
I lift my left front heel off the ground pretty far on my drives. 4” or so. I take a pretty good rip at it and always put the foot back down of course. I’m not all that flexible and lifting the foot makes it easier for me to take a full turn. My playing partners mention it once in a while, which bugs me as otherwise I have a really good swing. I’ve tried keeping it down more but feel too restricted when I do. I can hit my driver 290 or so when I get a hold of it. I recently drove a 315 yard par four with a 285 yard carry over water. Any suggestions on whether I should deal with the heal raise, just forget it and swing, or find a happy medium?
Thank you Barry,
I love the detailed description you gave, and this is why I say to play as you are Kyle and ignore comments from your partners. The lack of flexibility is the reason for your high heel raise, so just continue as you are. A man named Nicklaus did pretty well lifting his heel Kyle. ;0)
Go beat them and the comments will all be gone.
"Golf Grip Help"
I’m getting blisters and calluses on my fingers, even the gloved hand. I go through gloves pretty quick also. Holes in the fingers and the butt of the hand area. Do you think I’m gripping to hard?
Thank you very much.
Blisters, and eventually calluses on our fingers and hands are common for us serious lifelong golfers. But, Evan, get the club more in your fingers, and HOLD it...get it out of your palm and stop SQUEEZING it tightly...the blisters and eventually calluses, well ...should be in your fingers, and maybe where the pad of your hand meets the fingers...not in your palms at all.
And, on a scale of 1 to 10...a 1 being super loose, a 10 being a death grip ...a 3 or 4 is where you want to be Evan. Good luck.
I live in a cold part of the country. Any tips on playing in the cold weather?
First of all, make sure to keep your hands warm! That's crucial. Gloves, hand warmers..whatever it takes.
Keep your golf balls warm too ..don't let them sit in your car and be ice cold prior to teeing off. You will lose distance and feel.
And realize you are going to hit the ball shorter than in normal weather. Maybe as much as 2-3 clubs with your irons. And 20-30 yards with your Driver.
Also, the ball will tend to fly lower in the cold, so make certain when carrying a lake or bunker, you take plenty of club.
Another tip for playing in cold weather is to realize some long par 4's will play more like a par 5. A par 72 may play like a par 74 or 75.
So realize your score may be a bit higher than in nice weather.
Good luck, and play well and stay warm!
See also Christina Lecuyer's answer here.
Just discovered the site, It's Great!!
Had a question, I hope you can help me with. I'm a 5 hdcp. Recently I went to get custom fitted for new clubs. We arrived at to dynamic testing for confirm the proper lie angle for a 6 iron. The fitter note the recommended lie angle for me was 63* Once we started to test clubs to find out which were best for me, and decided on Ping I-15. The fitter wanted to check the lie angle again to insure all of our prior test was correct. The results were basically the same no matter what lie or what club. The marks left by the hitting board were always toward the toe. Not once did I leave any marks toward the heel regardless of what lie angle we tried. So it must be my swing. Any thoughts or ideas??
Glad you love our site! I am going to give you the simplest, most effective advice:
Mo, simply move closer to the ball until you are striking the ball centered...
I know that will assist you.
Also, just make certain you are swinging your arms out to the target line, it seems as though you may be pulling your hands toward your belt buckle into impact.
Do you recommend hitting balls into a net? I was looking into getting a big net for my backyard to practice, but my buddy who is a better golfer than me says I could groove bad habits and not even realize it because I can’t see the ball flight. What do you think?
I agree with your buddy. I am not a fan of hitting into a net unless you have to. For example, winter weather, or no practice facility for you to use ...otherwise, hit your balls out doors and watch them fly and roll out. Ball flight is critical to view for your improvement! Good luck Dave.
I am pleased with every aspect of my game except fairway woods drive me crazy! Most of the time I top them straight and occasionally spray them. Should I try to hit down on the ball like an iron? People say it should be a sweep shot, but all I do is sweep over the top. Please help!
Yes ..strike slightly down on your woods...thats a good goal.
Set up with your head behind the ball, right shoulder lower than left..make a long, low takeaway, and surely go ahead and make a slight divot with your woods. Finish with all of your weight on your front side and in a balanced position too. Bet they begin flying long and high! In this video I give a few tips that should help you.
I am writing because I'm desperate for help. It involves my driver. I have gotten the other parts of my game to be solid. I've never hit my irons better and my short game is good. But I can not hit a driver off the tee right now. I can go to the range and hit 50 drives and well over 40 of them are good. And the other 10 aren't horrible. But for some reason, on the tee over the ball, I can't do it. My practice swings are fine. But over the ball, as I come down towards the ball, I can't allow my hands to release freely like I do on the range or in my practice swings. It's completely mental. The ball then goes completely right...not a slice ....a block. It is to the point where I am thinking about quitting golf even though it is my favorite thing to do. But I'm so frustrated that I am leaning towards giving it up. If I can't get off the tee, it's not fun. My fairway woods occasionally run into the same issue but the driver is the key. I even just purchased a new driver and after hitting the range I was never more excited to go play. But of course, the first tee shot of the day was a disaster and it didn't get better.
Any help would be greatly appreciated ...there's nothing I like more than golf but I'm close to quitting.
Brian its quite simple...you have to overcome the fear you have with your tee shot.
I would suggest getting the easiest driver to hit ..maybe 12 or 13 degree lofted ..a soft, flexible shaft.
And, you have to relax and breathe and stop thinking about past failures, and only think positively about the current shot you are hitting.
If you continue to beat yourself up over your past failures with the driver, you will never be able to put it behind you and move forward.
Also, try gripping the club much softer, especially on your downswing. I suspect you are choking the daylights out of it.
I'm an average golfer, shoot in the upper 80's and sometimes I can go lower. Avg. length off the tee. I want to get a new driver and maybe a new 3 and 5 wood. I'm really looking for more distance. (isn't everyone? lol) I know sometimes pros don't like to recommend particular clubs, but i see a lot of pros hitting the white head Driver. (The R-11?) Can you name one or two specific clubs you've maybe hit or have gotten great feedback on from your students?
Thanks very much,
Carlos, this is simple pal. Taylormade R 11 or Superfast.
The white head just like you said.
Longest hitting driver and woods.
I recommend them!
One currently on sale for $339.95 at Amazon.com.
I tend to drive well and usually end up in a good position on the fairway but then stuff it up by pulling my next shot into the trees or rough, both with irons or woods. This doesn’t happen every time but enough times to spoil my round.
Why don't you check two major components in your swing to lessen your tendency to pull your irons.
First, make sure your club is square, and not closed at all on your takeaway and backswing.
I see lots of closed club faces on the takeaway and backswing. Not good...lots of pulls. Get it square!
Second, try to make your downswing 'chase down the target line' better ...I sense you may be swinging across your foot line too much.
Make your divot a straight one...not a pointing left one.
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