Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

Q Is there a tech­nique or drill to break the habit of look­ing up too soon? I have heard of a cou­ple, but they seem very painful.

AWhat, you don’t want to tie a rope to your crotch and in­flict your­self with ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain on ev­ery swing? Sounds like some­body’s lack­ing com­mit­ment.

We kid.The truth is, you shouldn’t even be wor­ry­ing about look­ing up, says Josh Zan­der, a Golf Di­gest Teach­ing Pro­fes­sional.“It’s a myth that some­how has per­pet­u­ated through­out golf.” Peo­ple typ­i­cally cry,“I looked up!” af­ter a topped shot.The most com­mon ac­tual cul­prits: (a)Your swing an­gles are too shal­low, or (b) your down­swing is a shal­low re­ac­tion to a swing that is too steep. “You want to fig­ure out the real rea­son for your topped shot, not your buddy say­ing you’re pick­ing your head up,” Zan­der says.An im­por­tant note: Zan­der does rec­om­mend keep­ing your head (and eyes) still when putting. I went solo to a course re­cently and got teamed with three other guys. At the 18th hole, I saw one spit di­rectly into his hand to clean his ball. When the fi­nal putt went in and the hand­shakes be­gan, I was dis­gusted but not sure what to do. I shook his hand, but what you have done?


You could have gone with the fist bump, or, be­cause you didn’t know th­ese guys and prob­a­bly won’t see them again, the sim­ple ig­nore-and­walk-away. But hon­estly, there is so much filth on your hands at the end of 18 holes – in­sec­ti­cide, fer­tiliser, hot-dog rel­ish – we al­ways use your ap­proach: a hand­shake fol­lowed by speed­walk­ing to hot wa­ter and soap. (By the way, af­ter you’ve washed up, avoid the peanuts in the club­house bar. They’re no cleaner than your hands were.) I pulled two coins from my pocket. I used one to mark my ball and put the other one back, then went to tend the flag. When I re­turned to my mark, I saw two coins about 30 cen­time­tres apart. One must have fallen from my pocket. I wasn’t sure which was right, so I played the one fur­thest from the hole. Is there any penalty?


Our two cents (sorry) is that you’ve got to fix that hole in your pocket. When golfers see stuff rolling out of your pant legs, they’ll as­sume you’re the kind of player who might drop a ball down the same hole while look­ing for an er­rant shot.

You, clearly, are not that kind of player.We know this be­cause you in­stinc­tively did the right thing. First, you met your re­quire­ment to mark the po­si­tion of the ball be­fore lift­ing it (Rules 16-1b and 20-1). The Rules of Golf doesn’t say any­thing about mis­taken ball mark­ers, but there is a rule (1-4) that says:“If any point in dis­pute is not cov­ered by the Rules, the de­ci­sion should be made in ac­cor­dance with eq­uity,” by which they mean “treat it like other sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions un­der the Rules.” In eq­uity, you should re­place your ball at the marker that’s fur­thest from the hole. With­out penalty! Do tour pros of­ten switch clubs or balls for spe­cific events?


If you had ac­cess to un­lim­ited free equip­ment, wouldn’t you mix it up a lit­tle? In one of the most ex­treme ex­am­ples, Phil Mick­el­son dropped a 3-iron into his bag just for a play­off at the 2005 Bel­lSouth Clas­sic.They were play­ing the 18th hole, and he knew it would come in handy. He was right – and won. (The play­off was tech­ni­cally the start of a new round, so Mick­el­son could se­lect new clubs.) Balls are an­other mat­ter. Be­fore mul­ti­layer, ure­thane-cov­ered balls, play­ers used to switch them up more reg­u­larly. Now they pretty much stick to the same ball no mat­ter where they’re play­ing.

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