Readers on our instruction: Keep it simple, guys.
By Bob Carney
At Golf Digest, we live and die on our instruction stories--and your games live and die on your understanding of them. You're quick to tell us when we're getting too complicated, but this week you were quick to compliment us on recent stories that were clear and effective. In general, you tend to like the short, simple tips--one lesson at a time, eh--and two recent efforts drew your praise. One belonged to Hank Haney (left), a simple suggestion about hitting irons in our October Basics section. Haney said:
"As beginners, [golfers] all have the same instinct: The swing is about lifting the ball off the ground, not projecting it to the target. They don't rely on the club's loft to get the ball up."
Instead, said Haney, hit down on the ball to make it go up. That hit home with many reader.
Just want to comment/compliment the article "Down Equals Up." So simple and so effective. Hank Haney is tops! Thanks!
Sometimes it takes readers a while to get to all of the instruction, which is why Golf Digests sit around the den a long time before being tossed out. Here's a letter from a fellow who just got around to trying Ron Kaspriske's tip from April. Kaspriske talked about an "aha" moment after reading instruction by Bobby Clampett.
If my goal is to get my swing to bottom out in front of the ball, why am I looking at the ball?
He began looking at a spot in front of the ball and everything changed. It worked for this reader, too:
Congrats on you article from by Ron Kaspriske, "What are you looking at?" I have seen tremendous results using his tip (aim for the red circle) My iron game is vastly improved 5% to 10% farther with a solid flight that is not changed by the wind. My handicap went from 14 to 12 over the summer and I continue to get better. I had 3 2's in one round, hitting lasers. Also shot 36 on the front. Please tell Ron "thanks" as I have never hit the ball so solid with my irons. I even put my 4 iron back in my bag!
Like Keith, some of you give this topic of game-improvement a lot of thought. Listen to this letter from a Minnesota reader who is obviously a "feel" player:
All teachers I have experienced or read in the pages of Golf Digest tell you what a swing should look like from their objective perspective. [It gets] compared to the video of some tour pro--Ben Hogan in my case. The lesson didn't help much. Since I don't tee off with a big mirror, I now have to convert those objective comments to subjective checkpoint cues that I can feel from my [own] perspective. I tell myself to turn hips and shoulders as far as I can, etc., etc. I don't know any teacher since Harry Vardon perhaps who taught the subjective point of view. I heard one Golf Channel commentator say Harry didn't swing like he said he did. That's because, for example, swinging all the way back (feeling) may not look objectively all the way back, etc. Harry had a point.
For a feel player, that's pretty analytical, Richard. But like Vardon, you make a good point. Thanks!