Employees often roll their eyes when they hear the phrase ‘team building’. For them it conjures up images of forced fun and a waste of time doing something they do not want to do in muddy fields or embarrassing situations. Whether they like it or not, team building is a huge part of any corporate culture and companies spend a fair chunk of cash on physical activities such as paintballing, assault courses or similar team-based activities.
Whilst it may give people a day out of the office, such team building activities can alienate certain people who are not as physically able or willing to partake in particular activities. That is why a driving range is a perfect place for a day of fun and gentle competition with colleagues. More relaxed and forgiving for new players, golf ranges are more accessible for a wider range of personality types and physical abilities.
Golf is usually seen as a somewhat exclusive community, with clubs that would not be willing to put up with a large group of people taking too long at each hole. Furthermore, time spent on a full-sized course can become frustrating for new players and may eventually lead to boredom.
Golf ranges are a better option as the games are quicker and more relaxed, allowing for larger groups to enjoy themselves with no pressure (apart from some gentle ribbing from co-workers of course). Modern ranges have state of the art simulations that allow users to partake in a selection of different games that everyone can get involved in such as target practice and score attacks.
Last, but certainly not least the facilities at driving ranges allow for further enjoyment after the games have ended. As things are all closer together, employees can enjoy food, drink and some down-time after an afternoon of gaming.
So, the next time you are considering taking out your workforce to a muddy day of paintballing, consider a driving range for a more relaxed and inclusive activity.
‘Tom Logan works for TopGolf, a driving range with several UK locations.
I went golfing today with my son. As usual, I hadn’t done any practicing this winter. I played once last month in 3 layers of clothes and today, in 45 degree (7 Celsius) weather that was a bit warmer. Not exactly the peak of the season form for my game.
I ended up shooting 3-over par for 9 holes at Everett Country Club here in Washington. Like you, I finished the round thinking “If only I’d have executed that ONE shot better….
You know the one shot I’m talking about. The one shot that would have saved you 2 or 3 strokes if it would have gone well.
I was this close (holding my thumb and index finger barely apart) from hitting par.
Anyway, my son was struggling hard with his driver blocking everything out to the right and this course is tree lined on every fairway. I told him that he looked really stiff and robotic and to loosen up. It didn’t work.
I finally told him to dedicate this practice round to one concept….Trust.
“How do you do that” he asked, “when I have no confidence in my driver right now?”
I said: “Well, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying something different right?..why don’t you pretend that you can speak or communicate to the driver head and tell it to square up at the moment of impact and then travel down the target line? Stop trying to guide the club and TRUST that it is going to happen. Let go of control.”
That’s unconscious golf.
I told him to go up the tee with the idea that you want the ball to go down the middle of the fairway but that you don’t care if it doesn’t. He was completely lost with that one 🙂
“He said I don’t know if I can do that” and I said, “I know…just go ahead and PRETEND that you can” and see what happens.
He ended up parring out for the last 3 holes after that. It was fun watching him. He surprised himself.
You see, every round shouldn’t be a round where you are trying to beat your best score. Some rounds are a buildup to that day. How many rounds have you played poorly and then left the course in disgust or disappointment.
The goal is to have fun and learn and improve in the long run. With that kind of attitude and a certain TRUST that your body knows what to do, has done it before, and will do it again, you can stop trying to force every shot and let them happen to your natural ability.
Dedicate each round to focusing in on one thing that if you were to incorporate into your game without having to think about it, you would drop scores.
It’s too late to do much about your swing when you are out there playing. That should be done off the course or with your instructor.
Oh, and by the way. Did you know that some pros actually purposefully go with a block shot sometimes when they really need to hit a fairway because it is really reliable and easy to replicate.
Ray Floyd wrote about this in his book. I told my son about this and I’m thinking that just maybe, that’s what freed him up to start trusting and letting go of trying to “fix” his swing.
There’s many ways to get a low score on any given day.
Greens and fairways,
There’s advice, videos and everything under the sun from every golf instructor who ever lived about how to hit your longest drive possible with your skills and body. Let’s face it, golfers want this and there are definite benefits as you know.
Very few people are really qualified to actually teach anything worthwhile however and so I went about to find someone who really is. Eric Jones is someone who actually has won the World’s Long Drive Championship. The really astounding thing is that he is one of the smallest competitors out there. If you’ve ever seen a long drive competition, you know that most of these guys are hulks! Either totally ripped muscles and/or very tall. Eric wins with maximum efficiency of movement. Extremely impressive.
He still competes to this day and teaches golfers daily at his facility in California as a PGA instructor.
If that isn’t enough, he also has a Masters in Sports Psychology. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for his secrets for about an hour. I was planning on making this interview a bonus as part of a paid product. But what the heck, I’m giving it to you now right here:
If you want some free video instruction from him, Go here: Eric Jones
This guy is amazing and I highly endorse him and his teachings.
Greens and fairways,
If you want more of Eric Jones and some free instructional videos, Go Here
I have been playing a Tour Edge driver for about 6 years. If you’ve followed the development of drivers over that time, you know that they have gotten bigger and more interactive. You can actually make adjustments to some of these drivers…interesting. I don’t quite understand why since if the driver doesn’t fit you, get a different one. Am I missing something?
The maximum size has gone up to 460cc since 2007. Don’t you wonder what drivers might look like today if they hadn’t limited them?
Anyway, my Tour Edge has been pretty darn good to me over the years. I have had plenty of rounds where it felt like I could pretty much call my shots and they would happen. Of course, plenty of days where I had to put it away and use the 3 wood as well…that’s golf right?
So, at the beginning of this year, my 16 year old Varsity golfer son gets a new Taylor Made R9 and what the heck, a few months ago, I give it a try.
And I’m shocked! I hit 10 perfectly straight shots in a row and then I almost TRY to make a bad shot and I can’t!
He tells me, “sorry Dad, I need it” when I ask if he would sell it to me…
I go home and I catch it, you know what I’m talking about…I catch the “new driver” bug. I start imagining what my scores will start looking like with 2 more greens in regulation than normal per round. I totally forget all of the advice I give in this website and start looking for an R7 like me son’s. I go on ebay and craigslist, I check out the used club sellers (there’s no way I’m paying full price for last year’s model).
I finally find it! It’s a 460 Taylor Made R9 and I buy it online. A couple weeks later, it shows up at my door and boy am I excited! I immediately go in my yard to take a whack at some whiffle balls with it…and it feels soooooo good.
My first holes with it are magical. I hit almost every fairway! Only problem, is, the grip is not what I’m used to and by the 12th hole, I can’t even barely hold onto it anymore as my hands are raw. (I’ve never used a glove). I think I posted an 80 and I beat my son in a little side bet where he now owes me 5 car washes.
The next round with it, I get prepared and buy a glove. I do pretty well with that driver but you know what, not much different than my old driver actually. But I’m in denial about the whole thing because, dang it, I’ve got to justify that purchase. I have a really good round because I made a bunch of putts outside of 4 feet. The really funny thing, is that the magic had worn off that driver.
Where did the magic go? How can just buying a new club instantly fix my swing to perfection? Can we create that magic even if we don’t get a new club? What’s going on here?
I’m now of the belief that our body will adjust to whatever driver or other new equipment we get, according to our setpoints. That belief may change.
You know, my old driver is still there in my garage with that nice, cushy grip that doesn’t hurt my hands.
(I drove around for weeks with the new driver in my car vowing to drop it off and have it regripped but I never got around to it)
I’ve got a lot to think about and find some lessons here. What’s your experience and how can we make that magic last? Love to hear your comments below.
Greens and fairways,
1. TRUST YOUR SWING YET DEVELOP A “YIP-PROOF STROKE.” It has become a cliché to trust your swing. However, most swingsters do not deeply trust what they have. They have omnipresent little doubts and always seem to be tweaking something. These patterns eventually lead to flinches and freezes. The bowling great Billy Welu advised, “Trust is a must or your game is a bust.” Think right now: what does it really mean to totally trust your swing? Take your time and specifically answer this question to your satisfaction. Your answers are important. They provide a foundation for not only implicitly trusting your swing, but deeply believing in yourself again.
During this time, you might want to take a series of lessons from a trusted teaching pro who understands your predicament. At the very least, these lessons will confirm some essentials about your swing. Feeling solid with your fundamentals can go a long way to resisting the yips. Your pro may find a couple things to alter. You may also learn some new shots. Remind yourself that these mechanical emphases are the building blocks to a trustworthy and repeatable swing.
As you rediscover the essentials of the full swing you then have to honor them. Whether they may be a full takeaway, powerful coil, hands set on top, smooth transition, purposeful tempo, or a powerful release, reacquaint yourself with your core swing. Then create one (AND ONLY ONE!) swing cue which encapsulates your core swing. During a round emphasize this one swing cue from the first tee shot. Trust that this cue encompasses everything. Stop thinking about everything else and throw yourself into this one swing cue.
Believe your core swing will be quite good enough. Build on your strengths. As you reinforce your swing it becomes more consistent. This is good in itself and it helps prevent the yips.
HOWEVER, you also need to develop a backup swing for when the yips seep into your game. I call this a “yip-proof swing” (YPS). This swing won’t look as nice and the ball won’t go as far, but it will hold up under the stress of the yips.
Typically, this YPS is shorter and has less moving parts than your full swing. Such a swing relies more on your larger muscle groups instead of the smaller (and more susceptible) muscle groups of the arms. Develop an abbreviated three-quarter, punch, or knockdown swing which can be used in a pinch. Have your hands lead during the downswing and purposefully accelerate through these shots. You will discover that such a swing is easy…and even mindless…to execute. And that’s the point.
Employ this yip-proof swing when you feel queazy and need to survive a shot. Punch, swipe, or even bunt the ball down the fairway. This is not giving up. Rather, it is a positive response to the yips.
So rely on your full swing until you feel the onset of the yips. In such situations, automatically and unemotionally shift to your yip-proof swing. Don’t think nor fret. Just do it. Succeeding with your YPS will distance yourself from yipping. Many times you can return to your regular swing in a hole or two. Even if you have to stay with the YPS, recognize that this a victory in that you have successfully coped with the yips. And each time you cope with the yips you weaken them and empower yourself.
Think of these two types of swings as different performance “gears.” Like a race car, you automatically shift between these two swing gears depending on the situation.
B. SWING RELATIVELY EASY YET OCCASIONALLY TAKE A RIP AT ONE. Trusting your swing means tuning into your optimal rhythm. A rhythmical swing is a repeatable swing. It also holds up under stress. Finally, smooth swing rhythm helps connect mind and body.
What is the ONE point of your full swing from which your rhythm emanates? Whether it is in the forward press, a long takeaway, complete turn, an uncoiling of the hips, starting down slowly, firing the rear hip and elbow simultaneously, or even posing on the followthrough, find one emphasis on which your rhythm depends. Feel this and think this.
Rhythmical swings which hold up throughout a round are grounded in swinging relatively easy. At this level one is more apt to release the club and make consistent contact. Such swings tend to be consistently performed. Hence all rounds should be approached with swinging relatively easy. Battling swingsters typically try to force and blast all swings during a round. An important step to regaining overall control is to learn again how to swing relatively easy.
How does one find this optimal swing zone? In human performance there is an important distinction between optimal and maximal. Not all full swings should be executed full-out. I define a “100% maximal swing” as the hardest you can swing while remaining in balance. Given this, at what percent of maximum is your optimum swing? As you discover and define it, refer to it this way: an 85% full swing. Whatever your number, always attach the word “full” after it. This will remind you that your optimal swing rhythm is NOT 92% OF a full swing, but a full swing AT 92% power. This is a critical distinction.
So during a round you can keep your mind engaged by “calibrating” the full swing on particular shots. For instance, on my first drive or approach shot, I may calibrate these early swings to be at “76 full.” On the important tee shot on the first par 3, I might calibrate this at a “90 full.” Or if I am playing into the wind or to a back pin, I might calibrate this at an “84 full.” Or whenever I am engaging my YPS, I might calibrate this at a “79 full.” After you find your optimal number, experiment with various swing speeds on the range. Predict each swing rhythm and determine if you can perform it. This exercise will empower your swinging, ballstriking, and even overall control.
HOWEVER, at certain times during a round you may choose to swing all-out on a shot. When you determine it is worth the risk, swing one at “100% full.” On a drive on a par 5, going for that green in two, or wailing one downwind, it is okay to occasionally calibrate a “96 full” swing. Just make sure that the couple subsequent full swings are back down into your optimal zone. You don’t want to become giddy and start swinging out of your shoes on every shot.
Especially with the onset of the full swing yips, one good tactic is to go all-out on a swing. Show the yips who is the boss! Give yourself plenty of margin for error and go after it. You see, it is a natural reaction for swingsters to become more hesitant and even timid. Throw in what I call a “What The Heck” swing to reassert control. Don’t care where the ball goes. Such a WTH swing is the best way to confront any fears you have about missing a shot. Even with your Yip-Proof Swing, occasionally calibrate this at a 95 full level. Shrug your shoulders, clearly commit yourself, say “What The Heck,” and let it loose!
Swing rhythm can be felt and sensed, but it also can be thought and calibrated. So feel your rhythm, ground you swings in your optimal zone, calibrate each one, and occasionally throw in an all-out flail! Rhythm will bring you back and see you through.
Swingsters, there is hope. There are answers. Believe it. You are now on your way!
Dr. Tom Kubistant, CSP
You knew it had to happen. For readers of my articles in these pages, you know that I have a special affinity for those poor souls afflicted with the yips. The responses from “yipsters” and “chipsters” have been gratifying. They have overcome their flinches and, as importantly, soothed their tormented psyches.
Just about every day I receive emails from golfers throughout the world who experience some type of yips. I wish you could read some of these heart-wrenching stories. They have lost control of the fine motor skills necessary for playing solid golf. It is like some kind of demon is in control of their bodies and minds. They are embarrassed by their ineptness and frustrated with the inability to maintain control. Beyond that, the yips have sapped the joy out of playing the game they love.
From the systems we have created, golfers of all abilities have learned how to better accept, respond, and even overcome their putting and chipping yips. However, there is still one variant which has never been formally addressed…until now. It is the full swing yips. You knew it had to happen!
THE TANGLED WEB OF THE FULL SWING YIPS
The full swing yips are a relatively rare form of this performance affliction. They take on some very specific forms. Some full swing yipsters (whom I call “swingsters”) are unable to take back the club. They are literally frozen over the ball. Other swingsters shutter during the takeaway. Still others freeze at the top of the swing. Others “hitch” (one of my swingster’s term) on the way down. Finally, some uncontrollably flinch at impact, raising up as if they are afraid to hurt the ball.
Each of the three major types of yips are unique and separate unto themselves. I have very rarely seen golfers who have, say, the putting and pitching yips. The full swing yips have quite distinct dynamics. Whereas the putting and chipping yips are subtle and covert, the full swing yips are obvious and overt. They are almost violent. In teaching and playing pros’ circles, the full swing yips are that “dirty little secret” to which is rarely admitted, much less discussed and addressed.
In a game where the full swing is the visual and symbolic hallmark of mechanical mastery, yipping is embarrassing. Beyond the physical flinches, the mental and emotional responses become almost agonizing. Swingsters constantly struggle and eventually become ever-rationalizing, discouraged, and even dour. Indeed, the full swing yips create a tangled web.
The more swingsters try to combat them, the more these yips control through elusiveness. At the other extreme, trying to ignore them hoping they will go away does not work either. And of course, pressurized playing situations bring them out more dramatically. Swingsters can sense that long before they reach the ball they will yip. They become tunnel-visioned, short of breath, and experience queazy stomachs. In a game where self-control is elementary, it is personally humiliating to have something else in charge.
Like the other two forms of the yips, swingsters tend to be very intelligent and aware. Their abilities to analyze and be sensitive can actually work against them in that they frequently get in their own ways. The yips develop and flourish in the overly analytical and sensitive. Now, it offers little solace for those afflicted with the yips to tell their jesting partners, “I have the yips because I am much more cognizant and perceptive than you clods!” However, just as a swingster’s intellect facilitates the yips, it also provides a pathway out of this morass. (I used these big words here to titillate your intelligence!)
BEFORE WE START…
Okay, are you ready to work? Are your really ready? Are you totally committed to overcoming your yipping? Answer these questions truthfully. I have encountered some swingsters who say they are committed to change, but really aren’t. It is as if their yips have become grudging friends…like a crazy old uncle. They seem to be comfortable with their yips and actually fear giving them up for the unknown. As the old saying goes, “The devil you know may be better than the devil you don’t know.” Do you really want to change?
Even though I have helped a couple hundred yipsters and scores of chipsters, I have only seen 32 swingsters. However, some definite trends have emerged. Here are a couple of important perspectives before we embark.
(1) Believe the full swing yips can be overcome. This process is usually long, nonlinear, and even illogical. AND they can be conquered.
(2) You have to let go of your pride, self-image, and old ego attachments of how you used to swing. Accept that you will have to learn new ways of swinging and playing the game.
(3) Convince yourself that you are doing battle not only with those yips, but with your mind as well. Part of this struggle will be in direct confronting. However, a big part of this battle will also be in learning how to accept, allow, and remain detached.
THE DUALITIES OF HANDLING THE FULL SWING YIPS
There are four core dimensions in overcoming the full swing yips. I have found that each of these dimensions needs to be addressed in two almost antithetical ways. That is, you will have to develop almost contradictory techniques within each dimension. Rest assured that one of these mutually exclusive techniques will be effective for each yipping situation you encounter.
Before you proceed, please one word of warning: as you read through these strategies, resist the temptation to apply all of them at once. This will only exacerbate your yipping. Diligently read each of these dimensions three times. Then exclusively emphasize the first for a full two weeks. Then work on the second. Next month I will present the third and fourth dimensions. This will give you time to completely understand and implement the first two. In this manner, you will build an interlocking system of your new game.
Part 2: Golf Swing Yips-2
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I am going to assume for purposes of this article that you want to know how to do it off the tee and with your driver because, let’s face it, if you want to hit the ball longer with anything less than your driver, you simply just pick the next longer club and you’re done.
Having said all that, I do know that there are golfers who want to keep up appearances with their choice of iron for a particular yardage. It’s usually men who have this ego thing going. In other words, they get a little humiliated when they are on a par 3 hole for 150 yards and their partner ask “what club are you using?” The man replies “6-iron.” And then his partner says, “I’m using a 7” and the first man feels weak and then wants to increase his distance to “catch up.”
This may sound silly to some of you but trust me, it happens every day out there on the course. If I just referred to you, then you need to read the rest of my mental game articles or get my Break 80 Without Practice because you have lost sight of the fact that the whole point is to get a lower score and not to look good.
Anyway. The no-practice ways of increasing your distance with your driver comes down to these 2 possibilities. Improving the flexibility and strength of your body and hitting the sweet spot of your clubface more often. Neither of these require any practice.
To increase distance using your body, the advice is simple: stretch more and incorporate some resistance exercises and you can do this at home. One simple thing you can do that will have dramatic effects for an increase in distance is to regularly and often squeeze a tennis ball while kicking back at home and watching TV or at the office. This absolutely strengthens your forearms, hands and finger muscles which will translate into a quicker, more powerful whip-like motion right at impact during your swing and thus put more club speed on the ball and send it farther.
Stretching should be often and everywhere throughout your life. Simple stretches for the shoulders and lower body feel great and allow your muscles to really move the body for a more powerful swing. I’ve been doing yoga a lot lately and I have really been pleasantly surprised at how this has helped my golf game. Many pros are doing it as well. Just stretch yourself a lot more if you want to increase distance.
The problem with this tip is that it’s too simple and most golfers will go back to trying to find the perfect swing because of all the brainwashing coming from the golf industry. I’m sorry to make things so simple and effective that they’re not believable but I am an efficiency fanatic from my days as a Fedex manager.
Then next tip is to focus on that sweet spot of your driver. Put your INTENTION into that spot as the center of your golf world. The more mental energy and attention you expend on communicating to your unconscious mind that that is what you want at the moment of impact, the more likely it is to respond with guiding your body to the balance and precision of movement to make that happen. Think about the sweet spot striking the back of the ball as you drift off to sleep each night for the next week. Bring your driver with you to work each day this week and stand there for just a few seconds holding the club against the ball with both hands in the perfect spot.
The object here is to get the message to the unconscious mind in no uncertain terms that this is the way you drive the ball. When you want to take this to the next level and turbocharge the process, then you’ll want to do golf golf hypnosis and send that message just like a telephone call. Mentally rehearse in a daydream or in golf hypnosis or in slow motion for real with the club in your hands and stop the club at the place of impact with the sweet spot making contact. Freeze that picture in your mind and visit it often.
The more intention you give to this process, the more you WILL hit the sweet spot and your average driving distance will increase. Long distance drivers always advise us: “If you want to hit the ball farther, hit it more solid”
At his peak, when Palmer put the ball on the golf tees, there was nobody better. In his own words on his shots off the tees:
I’ve been telling you to hit the ball hard, but let’s pause for a minute and qualify that.
No good player ever swings as hard as he can; that is, he doesn’t throw everything at the ball. Rather, it’s a matter of timing, not of overpowering the ball off the tees.
Some people can turn farther than others. The bigger the turn, the longer the arc of the club head and the better the chance to speed it up.
Every player has to stop his turn at some point. When further movement back will affect the grip on the club or alter the stance, the limit of the turn has been reached. Each player has to find this point for himself.
With my left foot pointed slightly toward the hole and my right set at a right angle to the intended line of flight and slightly behind the front foot, I have room for the turn. My hips can rotate along with my shoulders, and my head will remain fixed without impairing my vision of the ball. My feet are almost exactly as far apart as my shoulders, and my knees are Hexed slightly, giving the impression I’m about to sit down.
If I can get back to this same position at impact, I know I will hit the ball right off the tee. If I position myself wrong at the start, my chances of hitting the ball properly are reduced, unless there is some compensation in the swing. Compensations create bad habits. You cannot do the same wrong things the same way all the time because they are unnatural. But you can get in the habit of doing the right things most of the time.
Golf clubs are constructed for different distances by changing the loft of the club. The face of the driver makes almost a right angle to the ball and propels it the longest distance. The brassie or two-wood is cut with more loft and so on down to the wedge, which lies almost flat on the ground.
The feet are spread farthest apart in the stance for the driver and get closer together as the club loft increases. The stance opens, too, to the point that the wedge is hit with the feet barely apart and the left foot well behind the right.
The ball is positioned from the front toward the back. With the driver, the ball rests on the tee opposite the instep of the left foot. When you get to the five- iron, the ball rests halfway between the feet. And when you reach the wedge, it is opposite the instep of the right foot.
On my drives I concentrate on moving the left shoulder under my chin with a slow, deliberate action until I reach the top of my backswing. Now is the time to turn on the power. I have the feeling that my left hand is pulling the club down.
You should be able to feel the weight leaving the right side before you start thinking about hitting the ball off the tee. This prevents a quick uncocking of the wrists at the top of the swing and the resultant loss of all power. It also helps avert a slice, which takes all the distance from the hit.
Few things give a greater feeling of accomplishment than striking the ball with the middle of the clubface and watching it go straight and far. And there are few worse feelings of despair than those when the ball is hit with the heel of the club or with the top half of the clubface and dribbles away or shoots off into places where it was never intended to go.
It’s no disgrace to hit a golf ball crooked. There are so many things that can go wrong off the tee that even the best players have their bad days. Sam Snead, who is recognized as a picture swinger, occasionally hits the ball with a hook that makes a pitcher’s best curve ball look dinky.
Ben Hogan, who holds four Open titles and record scores in both the Open and Masters, was a notorious hooker and ready to quit the game until long hours of labor on the practice tees got the ball moving in the opposite direction-from left to right. With few exceptions, most power hitters produce hooking action, which I believe is the correct way for the ball to fly.
In 1958, when I first won the Masters, I hit a drive on the seventeenth hole that hooked a little too much, smacked into a tree, and almost put me in the land of bogey.
Fortunately it bounced back into the fairway and I was able to reach the green with an iron and get my par. I was lucky there since all players make mistakes. The idea is to reduce these mistakes to a minimum.
Until you get a slight hooking action, you aren’t coming into the ball right. The average player, I mean.
At most courses, there are four par-five holes and par is 72. When you can hit the long ball consistently off the tee, the par fives are reduced to par fours and par for you is 68. The shorter hitter is at a disadvantage most of the time. When the long-baller is on the green or mighty close, the shorter hitter has almost a full pitch shot.
He’s playing an easy par-five hole with this shot, but the long hitter has only a chip or two putts for his birdie-and is within eagle range.
One of the most important factors in setting yourself up for the long hit is the grip. You must hold the club firm, and use the strong position. That is, have the left thumb alongside the shaft on the right side rather than on top. The right hand will fall in line if you overlap the right pinkie be tween the first two fingers of the left hand and place it firmly in the valley there.
I’m convinced that most players who slice take the clubhead back outside the line of flight the first six inches from the ball. Concentrate on moving the clubhead straight back. This will force you into the correct hitting position at the top. There is no breaking of the wrists until the hands pass the right hip.
Use a driver with a medium to soft shaft in the beginning. The softer shaft with more whip will give the ball a longer flight with less physical effort. The stiff-shafted club must be swung much harder to produce an equal amount of force.
The length of the driver is a factor in hitting the long ball, too. The longer the club, the bigger the arc and the more speed. It is harder to control the longer driver but, once you get the feeling of the long ball, it is easy to move back to a club of average length.
Many times I have been accused of swinging so hard that my eyes bulge. No doubt I have slashed at the ball on occasions when the heat was on and my temperature was a few degrees higher than normal. For the most part, though, I think it’s the last-second release of the club as it comes back to the hitting position that gives this impression.
I hit down on the ball more than most because I believe that the club- head and the ball should meet at the bottom of the arc of my swing. The more popular conception is that you hit the ball on the upswing. When you do hit the ball on the upswing, the ball gets a higher flight. This shot is more difficult to control if there is any wind; it does not have as much roll and thus costs you distance.
I have the feeling of starting back to the ball from the top with my left hand. At one time I was a bad hooker, but I always managed good distance and gradually learned to control the amount of hooking action. I still have a tendency to hook because I’m hanging onto the club for dear life with the left hand.
I love this article by The King, Arnold Palmer. I have always been one to swing hard naturally and then work on accuracy through trusting my unconscious mind. My height is 5′ 5″ and I am able to sometimes hit it 300 yards. More often, it’s about 260-270. This comes from my fearlessness at going at the ball with most of what I have in this body! I don’t think you get more accuracy by swinging easy as Arnold says.
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Arnold Palmer teaches how to hit the driver
by Horton Smith
You’ve been out-driving your weekend golf partners all season. Then one day you suddenly discover that you are short man off the tee. When this occurs it is time to review your swing, preferably under the guidance of a professional.
The golf swing should be a connected and coordinated unit, within which proper timing is paramount. Good timing gives the player all the mechanical advantages which have been built into his equipment. When loss of distance occurs, chances are good that the player’s timing is at fault.
However; “timing” is a general term, and proper timing is based on several swing fundamentals. If one or more of these fundamentals are executed improperly, bad timing – and loss of distance – result.
Fundamentals upon which good timing is predicated include: Good posture and balance; proper shifting of weight during the swing so as to achieve maximum control and momentum of the clubhead; and, of course, true alignment of the hands – especially the right – with the clubface both at address and at impact.
Ways to correct any possible short-circuiting of these Basic Require- ments for good timing will be discussed and illustrated on following pages. However, first I’d like to suggest a practice technique that has helped me regain distance.
Strangely enough, this involves practicing puffs from 5 to 50 feet in length. In such practice, power as such is de-emphasized. The premium is on elements of “precision,” such as “touch,” timing, square-to-target alignment of hands and clubface, and simply hitting the ball squarely.
Then, when the player progresses from puffing to short approach shots to full shots, this emphasis on precision will pay off in added distance. Thus, putting practice provides a foundation for full iron and wood shots. It’s like opening a door – once the key (in this case precise putting) is properly inserted into the lock (your swing), the door (longer drives) opens quite easily.
When practicing putting to build a base for longer drives, concen- trate on contacting the ball squarely in the center or “sweet area” of the clubface. Strive for a sharp and crisp sounding “click” as the putter meets the ball. Seek club-ball contact that produces a minimum of jar, shock or vibration.
My friend Frank Walsh used to advise that “as you swing you should train yourself to listen for the click.” Anticipating the click serves both as a goal and a check for a precise swing. Try it the next time you play.
In puffing, though force is a minimum objective, I am happy to “get distance” wit.~out consciously striking the ball hard. The more distance I get on puffs with the least effort, the better I like it. This tells me that my stroke is well-timed and in the groove so that the clubf ace strikes the ball squarely. Then I know that I can expect these same virtues on full shots.
Now let us turn to specific causes for loss of distance and suggestions on how these causes can be eliminated.
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