I have been very fortunate in my golf career to spend some time around some really great and talented players. Without exception, they have all been very generous with their time and expertise. Often standing on the lesson tee, something will trigger my memory of a conversation with a certain player that pertains to what the current player and I are working on. So I thought I would share my favorite advice in the hopes it will help you as well.
“Feel the ground with your feet.” The first things to go when you are hitting the ball poorly are your tempo and balance. This used to happen to me on a regular basis. The pro I worked for at the time asked me if I could feel the ground with my feet. When I told him yes, he asked me to swing the golf club and not lose that feeling. I hit the ball better right away.
“Control the clubface with your right hand.” Great players control the face of the club and with that the shape of the shot with their right hand. Of course, it is the left hand for lefties. They use the palm of their hand to control the clubface. If your palm is facing up at impact you will slice. Going to toward the target at impact and the ball goes straight. If the palm rotates over so the palm is facing toward the ground the ball will go right to left. Most golfers, when things go bad, skip the most important fundamental of the swing, to control of the clubface. By connecting the clubface to your right hand mentally, you have more control and more predictable shots.
The last one is the hardest to for my students to believe, but when used the most effective. The difference between people who putt well and those who struggle is that players who struggle steer the putter through the ball to the hole in an effort to control the direction, while the great putters swing the putter with no sense of direction. That is the tip. Swing the putter with no sense of direction. Let your body alignment and posture dictate the shape and direction of the stroke and not by steering the putter where you think the ball should go. To prove this try the following drill - regular readers of the column have read this before – aim the putter, take your stance, close your eyes and swing the putter. You will find that your direction improves immediately.
The next time you play a round of golf try to follow these three simple suggestions. Don’t worry about mechanics or if you are doing anything right or wrong. If you stay connected to mother earth, control the clubface with the bottom hand, and swing the putter with no sense of direction you might have one of the best rounds of your life.