The con­fi­dence to hit the ball to­wards the green

Isis Town and Country - - Sport - – Paul McCar­ragher

OKAY, so you re­mem­bered the stance, the grip and the swing, kept your head down and didn’t try to hit the skin off the ball.

Your drive has flown down the fair­way right in the cen­tre. Af­ter the ini­tial shock, you re­alise your next shot has to be with the smaller broth­ers of the driver and panic once again sets in.

Many a player, me in­cluded, has seen their near-per­fect drive spoilt by not fol­low­ing the sim­ple steps for us­ing the fair­way woods.

What should have been a 150m-plus shot drib­bles just a few me­tres, or flies off into the rough and out of bounds, with the player re­sort­ing to us­ing words that shouldn’t be used in po­lite com­pany.

It’s a phe­nom­e­non of golf: usu­ally staid and up­right peo­ple of the com­mu­nity sud­denly be­come quite an­i­mated and ver­bal, and the other play­ers seem to ac­cept this as com­mon prac­tice, as they them­selves of­ten rely on those same an­tics to de­scribe their fail­ures with the club and ball.

Hope­fully this will give you some idea of how the pro­fes­sion­als do it and give you the con­fi­dence hit the ball to­wards the green, straight and long.

Al­though in our mind’s eye we all see our­selves as the next Greg Nor­man or Karrie Webb, don’t try to em­u­late the dis­tances the pros hit, as they prac­tice ev­ery day with coaches to fix ev­ery prob­lem, whereas the week­end hit­ter plays once or twice a week and maybe some­times goes to the driv­ing range and hit purlers each and ev­ery time, only to see them evap­o­rate once on the course.

A de­cent hit down the mid­dle is bet­ter than a hit us­ing all your force that ca­reens off into the un­known of the rough, or worse.

Have a look at the lie, take the ap­pro­pri­ate fair­way wood and ad­dress the ball – and by that I don’t mean writ­ing on it “In the Hole” – but take your stance as though you were about to hit the ball, but a step back from the nor­mal dis­tance from the ball. Have a few prac­tice swings and al­low the club to just sweep the grass. Now this is where it dif­fers from the driver. The ob­ject is not to hit the ball on the up, as you did with the driver. or on the down as you would with the irons, but a level hit. When you are ready, step closer and re­mem­ber the fol­low­ing:

The stance is al­most the same as a driver but the grip should be chocked down about an inch. You don’t want to hit the skin off the ball, but let the club head do the work and this in­cludes al­low­ing the loft of the club to get the ball in the air, not re­ly­ing on keep­ing your weight on the back foot to achieve this ac­tion.

Keep your weight even on both feet and place the ball about two to three inches in­side the line of the left heel for right-han­ders and right foot for left-han­ders. This will en­sure that the club strikes the ball level with the ground, giv­ing the op­ti­mum dis­tance.

Start your swing by al­low­ing the club to sweep across the fair­way grass – the prac­tice swings will make this a bit eas­ier.

The ba­sic swing is the same as for the driver and the weight dis­tri­bu­tion on fol­low-through the same, us­ing the non-lead­ing shoul­der to do the work as you come for­ward. Keep your swing path shal­low. Down­ward force that’s too steep will cause your swing to lose ac­cel­er­a­tion and the ball yardage.

If you try to hit the ball on as­cen­sion, you’ll end up top­ping the ball and drib­bling it down the fair­way.

The best way to get it right is, of course, to prac­tice and the Isis Golf Course on Good­wood Rd at Doolbi has a prac­tice fair­way just for this pur­pose sit­u­ated be­tween the 5th and 6th holes.

Mem­bers and guests should take ad­van­tage be­fore the game or af­ter work to hit a few balls and not only prac­tice their fair­way woods but get the kinks out of the body and warm up – a key com­po­nent that is sadly missed by many play­ers.

Have a great game this week and hope­fully th­ese steps will im­prove you game. Next week: The irons.


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