By Matthew Rudy
Hank Haney had a busy day Tuesday. He was in Mexico, swimming laps and playing golf with recently un-retired swimmer Michael Phelps in Phelps' charity tournament. But instead of going radio silent while out of the country, Haney kept his normal daily Twitter schedule, responding to a stream of photographs some of his 100,000 followers send of their swings.
This week, even readers who don't follow @HankDHaney had the chance to get a quick lesson. Haney picked a handful of our #HelpMeGolfDigest submissions and offered his analysis.
The first swing comes from @caitlinmoyer, an avid golfer and blogger for baseball's Milwaukee Brewers. Her attempt to beat the shanks with a head cover guide is a good first step, but Hank gives a more detailed plan.
"You obviously know those shanks are coming because you're hitting it off the toe, and the headcover guide is the right idea to change your swing path," says Haney. "Put the headcover even closer to the ball, and then push the ball out of the way. Make a bunch of swings where you miss the headcover repeatedly, then start to reincorporate the ball. The goal here isn't to hit the ball. It's to miss the headcover. Two keys to focus on are to make sure your head doesn't move closer to the ball on the downswing and to produce a more up and down swing. The flatter your swing is, the more you're likely to hit it on the heel."
The second swing comes from @emerqon, who has a terrific swing motion but could produce some more power with a few adjustments.
"First of all, you have a very nice swing," says Haney. "With your grip, trigger your right forefinger and put your right thumb slightly off-center from the top of the handle. These adjustments will help you release the club down more, which will give you more compression on the ball. At address, your clubface is set just a bit too open. For a club with that much loft, work on extending your arms through the hit and going to a three-quarter finish. This will help you make more solid contact and produce a lower, more penetrating trajectory."
Reader @shrimps13 can improve his swing with some adjustments to his setup and more coordination between his body turn and arm swing.
"If you can straighten your head at address, you'll be able to see the back of the ball--which is what you're trying to hit," says Haney. "A key component of the golf swing is timing, and that means coordinating the body turn with your hand and arm swing. To get things working more together, tighten and shorten your swing in both directions. In the backswing, keep your left arm straighter, and make sure you keep hold of the handle with the last three fingers of your left hand. Think wider and shorter in the backswing and more together with your arms and body on the downswing."
Keep sending in your swings via Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #HelpMeGolfDigest and you could see yourself in the next installment. To see more average-player swing fixes from Hank Haney, check out his monthly column in Golf Digest, where Fixed on Twitter debuts in the June issue--which comes out this week.