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Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10 to 4

Sunday: 9 to 1

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Tips, Stories & Articles

Sep 8

Written by: ehanczaryk
9/8/2012 5:28 PM  RssIcon

Sometimes it is a Game of Perfect

While teaching on the lesson tee, I will often ask a student: “on a scale of 1 to 10, how solid did that shot feel”. I discovered that many players are getting used to mediocrity, giving a 9 or 10 to what to my eye and ear seemed slightly fat or thin, less than perfect.

The topic of this article is solid contact, and how to repeat it. Ask a golfer after a career best round how they played, and the answer is often `I hit the ball solid’. I would like to talk about what are the conditions of a solid golf shot, the one that has a `click’, and feels like the ball is not even there.

Harvey Penick, the great golf-philosopher, spoke about the importance of getting the bottom of the arc in the right place. When I taught in Bhutan, the juniors had a hard packed bare-dirt range to practice on; they learned quickly that the only way to hit a ball off the ground, was to `pinch’ it, catching the ball first, with the club continuing down to the ground after contacting the ball.

Modern technology proves that good golf shots occur when the bottom of the arc is a good four inches past the ball. We see good golfers shift their weight, and create lag in their swing, but we cannot see what they are thinking to make that happen. I can assure you that they are not thinking about the ball, or even worse getting under it.

Another question I ask golfers during lessons is: “what were you thinking about when you hit that shot?” The most common answer is `the ball’, or `hitting the ball’. I follow that question with an exercise: “point at the spot where you want the bottom of the arc, that place where the club begins to go upward”. High handicap golfers usually think they should bottom out before they reach the ball, catching it on the upswing. Even good golfers will point under the ball, which is also incorrect.

You have all seen the pro’s take a divot on good shots. When amateurs take a divot, it usually means a poor shot, because the divot starts too soon. Make it happen later and you are going to be a player.

Bobby Clampett, a golf commentator on TV and a former full time tour player, did a study that he describes in his book Impact. What he found is that a good player bottoms out after the ball. Even with a driver on a tee, the club is slightly descending. This completely blows away the advice to hit the driver on the upswing, which I previously thought was a set-in-stone law.

If you want to improve the quality of your shots, IMMEDIATELY, just mentally boycott the ball, and instead place your mind (not your eyes), 4 inches ahead as the place to reach bottom.

Practice exercises:
On the Range: count out 10 balls with any club. Only the ones you hit dead-solid-perfect count. See how many points you can make (at first, 5 is good). Don’t worry about direction, only contact. This is a self correcting exercise; as the player gets more proficient, his or her standards go up.

On the course: Do the same thing, but while playing the course. Forget about score and direction, only solid contact, including putts.


Opposing Forces in your Swing
Sometimes it IS a game of perfect
Try harder Illusion
Illusion #1, On Stage
Golf's Illusions
Open Focus
Greatness in Golf
Six Steps to a Strong Mental Golf Game
At a Teaching Workshop: Stan Utley
At a Teachinhg Workshop: Aim Point Green Reading

The POWER TOWEL...hit it a mile

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