By Matthew Rudy
You've probably read about how three of our editors will be spending the summer using the free Golf Digest Handicap tool to chronicle the ups and downs of their golf games on GolfDigest.com. We asked Golf Digest Top 10 instructor Mike Adams to give a "spring training" scouting report on each of them as they start the process, and a tip to help them kick it off.
Golf Digest Associate Editor Steve Hennessey is an avid-but-raw player who gets to play a lot more than he gets to practice thanks to a New York City address. The key to improving his 25.3 Golf Digest Handicap will be working on his takeaway.
"Steve has what's called a left arm fan," says Adams, who has his summertime base at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, NJ. "His left arm moves out and away from his body on the backswing, which lays off the club and opens the face. To get the right feel going back, he needs to hold a glove between his left bicep and chest and hit half shots off a tee."
Keely Levins is an Assistant Editor at Golf Digest and played four years of college golf at Middlebury in Vermont. Her Golf Digest Handicap is a flashy 5.4, but could go even lower with more speed and power.
"Keely has obviously played a lot of golf, and she has a pretty good swing," says Adams, a fixture on Golf Digest's 50 Best Instructors list since it debuted in 1999. "She does have too much knee flex, and she's crowding the ball. This forces her to make an early turn, and her club gets too deep on the takeaway. She then has to lift and reroute it, which costs her a lot of power. She needs to adjust her setup by standing farther from the ball and bending forward from the hips until her fingertips touch her knees. From there, if she starts her swing with her arms, she'll generate a lot more speed."
GolfDigest.com editor Sam Weinman loves hockey almost as much as golf (maybe more during the Stanley Cup Finals), and plays to a 16.7 Golf Digest Handicap. His grip is making it hard for him to square the face and compress the ball, which costs him distance (and any chance for office bragging rights).
"Sam's left hand grip is way too weak, which causes him to roll the face open on his backswing," says Adams, who teaches at The Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, FL in the winter. "He needs to turn his left hand stronger, so that when he looks down he can see the last three knuckles on the top of his hand. He should also try a great drill to reinforce the feeling of keeping the face square. Set up to a ball with an iron and put a board directly behind the clubhead. Practice hitting shots while pushing the board back and out of the way to start the swing."
Keep submitting your swings via Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #HelpMeGolfDigest. Top teachers will be picking the most interesting ones to analyze throughout the summer.