ASK GOLF DI­GEST

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?

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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?

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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?

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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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