Class Continues August 30, 2011

By Martin HallAugust 30, 2011, 11:00 pm

Q: I’ve been listening to Jim Hardy about one-plane and two-plane swings. What works for one, doesn't work for the other and vice versa. Are your drills for a two-plane swing? Can you talk about the differences in the two swings -- a Ben Hogan versus a Jack Nicklaus?

-    Mike L.

A: I am great friends with Jim Hardy and think he is a wonderful teacher.  Jim would tell you that the one-plane swing is a move that requires less timing than the two-plane swing, but is physically more demanding.  The preference I have has many parts of Jim’s two-plane swing since we were both influenced so much by John Jacobs, the great British teacher.  I think it is a little easier on the body for recreational golfers but I must say that if you apply what Jim says either model can be excellent.  By the way, I am a certified “Plane Truth” instructor.  If you are relooking for a good two-plane swing to mimic, use Tom Watson.  Best of luck.

Q:  I am a 5 handicap, but after playing golf for 46 years, I am still perplexed as to what is the best left wrist position at the top of the swing: flat, bowed (laying off the club face) or cupped (opening the club face)? I can play all three ways, and have, but I want your take on which is best. Cheers!

-    Jack T. (Miami, FL)

A: The best left wrist position at the top is dependent mainly on your grip type.  If your grip is strong, probably the left wrist should be cupped at the finish of the backswing.  Otherwise, you might hook it.  If your grip is weak, your left wrist should be bowed at the top, otherwise you might slice it.  If your grip is neutral, your left wrist should be flat and in line with your forearm.  Hope this helps.

Q: I’m 71-years-old and have switched to a baseball grip on my driver and am steadily improving.  Should I switch to a baseball grip on all my clubs instead of switching back and forth after driving?  Do you have any pointers for the baseball grip?

-    Chuck H. (Wright City, Missouri)

A: Certainly you should use the same grip for all clubs, other than perhaps the putter.  The grip you refer to as the baseball grip, I prefer to call the two-handed grip.  When thinking baseball, it would be too easy to pick the club up too much in the palms, and also have both thumbs off the grip; no good for golfers.  Whether you overlap, interlock or two-hand the grip, the club must sit somewhat in the palm and somewhat in the fingers of both hands; the left thumb needs to rest on the trailing side of the shaft and the right thumb needs to sit on the front or target side of the shaft.  Hope this helps.

Q: I have a problem with letting the chicken wing maneuver take over in my swing during a round. I feel myself doing it and start to hit my shots thin. Any tips?

-    Brandon H. (Facebook)

A: Golfers often talk about the “Chicken Wing” as if it is some mystery virus that attacked their swing; not so.  It is just a measurement issue.  What causes the left arm to bend is the right hand getting closer to the left shoulder than it was at set up.  When you stand to the ball, if the left arm is straight, then there is a distance from the left shoulder joint to the right hand.  Keep that distance through the swing and it is impossible to “wing” it.  It really helps to think of keeping your left shoulder moving through the hit.  If the shoulder stops, the right hand keeps moving and the arm will bend.  Good luck.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.