CON­FI­DENCE KILLS

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Golf Digest - Wein­man By Sam

What if ev­ery­thing you’ve been told to think is wrong?

• most am­a­teurs strug­gle to get the club swing­ing down into the ball on a path that lets them hit their drives straight or even draw them. It of­ten stems from a lack of mo­bil­ity in the shoul­der and hip joints and the mus­cles of the mid-back, which pre­vents ad­e­quate ro­ta­tion in the backswing. If you hit a lot of slices and pulls off the tee, there’s a way to set up that can eas­ily fix your ball flight. It’s a cool hack. Ad­dress the ball with your left foot slightly flared to­wards the tar­get. Now drop your right foot back 15 cen­time­tres and flare it 45 de­grees away from the ball, but make sure your shoul­ders stay par­al­lel to your tar­get line (above).This setup will al­low you to cre­ate good ro­ta­tion dur­ing the backswing, and swing the club more from in­side the tar­get line on the way down. In essence, you’re giv­ing your­self a head start to a bet­ter swing path. Prac­tice or play with this setup, and you’ll start see­ing more pow­er­ful drives.

2 hy­brids / woods

•• the mis­take many make with these clubs is swing­ing down too sharply.A steep swing path will lead to poor con­tact and a low ball flight that negates the chief pur­pose of us­ing a hy­brid or wood, which is to hit a green from long dis­tance.To shal­low your swing path, fo­cus on the right arm.As you swing down, the right el­bow should drop be­low the left arm (above, right).When you do this, you’ll no­tice the right side of your body con­tracts, and the hy­brid or fair­way wood ap­proaches the ball on a flat­ter an­gle in re­la­tion to the ground.You can re­hearse this move by stop­ping your down­swing when your left arm is roughly par­al­lel to the turf.Take a look at where your right el­bow is at that point. If it’s lower than the left arm, re­peat that move when you swing.

3 irons

••• it hap­pens in the blink of an eye, but many good ball­strik­ers bow their left wrist slightly as they start down from the top of the swing. Note how my wrist is slightly con­vex (be­low, left).Try this bow­ing ac­tion if you want to bring an iron down pow­er­fully into the ball and com­press it.This will help cor­rect an out-to-in (slic­ing) swing path and will get you hit­ting your iron shots from the cen­tre of the club­face.

4 pitch­ing clubs

•••• the most ef­fec­tive way to hit 30-, 40-, even 50-me­tre pitch shots is to make a mini draw swing.The club should track down to the ball along the tar­get line or from slightly in­side of it. It then should move back in­side the tar­get line quickly af­ter im­pact. You’re not cut­ting across the ball like a tra­di­tonal open-face wedge shot.This is a medi­um­tra­jec­tory pitch that makes it eas­ier to con­trol dis­tance.To put the club on the cor­rect path for this shot, fo­cus on mov­ing the han­dle of the club around your belt line on the backswing and through-swing as quickly as you can (above).Trace the path around your waist, and the club­head will move through the im­pact zone and pro­duce crisp con­tact.

5 chip­ping clubs

••••• your setup when chip­ping greatly in­flu­ences your club’s path.To en­sure solid con­tact and get the ball on tar­get, ad­dress the ball with your feet, hips and shoul­ders aligned slightly left (open) to your tar­get and your club soled five cen­time­tres in front of the ball (be­low). No­tice how your shoul­ders are level and your right hand is on top of the left thumb. Now lift your club and sole it be­hind the ball with­out chang­ing any­thing else about your setup.When you swing, you’ll find that your wedge moves along the tar­get line back and through, and the club­face stays square to your tar­get.You’ll be sur­prised how much bet­ter your ac­cu­racy gets. Chip well, and you’re re­ally on the right path to lower scores.

3 For power, bow the left wrist as you start your iron down­swing.

1 Let your ad­dress po­si­tion help you make a bet­ter backswing.

2 Shal­low­ing your an­gle of at­tack is how you hit hy­brids and woods high and far.

4 Trace your waist with the han­dle of the club to hit crisp pitch shots. 5 Your chip­ping will im­prove if you act like the ball is in front of its lo­ca­tion be­fore ad­dress­ing it.

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