A lot of golfers never get over the instinct to lift the ball off the ground. They swing off their back foot or flip their hands through impact, both of which make the club bottom out too soon. As a result, they hit the ground first (fat shot) or catch the ball on the upswing (thin shot).
If that sounds familiar, let me give you two simple keys. First, make your initial move from the top a little bump onto your front foot. Feel like you’re shifting toward the target, so your chest is over the ball. Second, get to impact with the back of your top hand facing the target (left), not pointing upward. A good image is that you’re back-handing the ball, like a tennis stroke. If you get those two moves right, you’ll swing into impact with your weight forward and your wrists firm—two things every good ball-striker does.
FUNCTION OVER FORM
In the 2003 Presidents Cup in South Africa, two of the sweetest swingers at that time, Adam Scott and Stuart Appleby, were matched against two of the most unconventional, Jim Furyk and Jay Haas. As they warmed up, murmurs from the crowd suggested the “pretty” swings had it made. At one point, Jay said to Jim, “I bet those people don’t give us much of a chance.” Jim laughed, and the Americans went on to win, 6 and 5, one of the most lopsided victories in the history of the event. Don’t get me wrong, Adam and Stuart are tremendous talents. (I taught Adam for years.) But the only real barometer of a golf swing is the shots it produces.
THE WIDE CHOICE
If you’re playing irons with thin heads and soles, you’re missing out. Clubs with wider bottoms, especially hybrids, are a lot more forgiving on off-center hits. The wider soles also help shots get in the air, and with more mass behind the ball, your strikes will feel really solid. Also, consider graphite shafts that give you a little kick at the bottom of the swing for a softer feel and higher trajectory. —WITH PETER MORRICE