Class Continues July 19, 2011

By Martin HallJuly 19, 2011, 11:00 pm

Q: Off of the tee box, I am getting no air under my ball; only line drives. I've tried teeing the ball higher and moving it up in my stance, but still I'm hitting low drives. Any suggestions?
-    Mitch (Williamston, SC)

A: You must be de-lofting the club at impact, very often caused by a strong grip and hands too far ahead of the ball, both at address and impact. I would start by having the grip end of the club point at your belt buckle at address, and in so doing, see that the lead arm and club shaft do not form a straight line. Almost certainly you will feel some angle in the back of the left wrist at address that you haven't recently been feeling. Have a 'V' formed by the thumb and forefinger of each hand point upwards to your chin, not outside your back shoulder. As you glance at the club you should be able to see plenty of club face, keeping the loft on the club. This should do it. Good luck.

Q: I have trouble keeping my right elbow tucked in my downswing. As a result, I hit a lot of shots straight right, fade & slice. Any ideas on keeping the right elbow tucked in on the downswing?

-    Louis B.

A: I wouldn't recommend that you try and keep the right elbow tucked; that may well cause you to leave the club face open. To stop your fade and push, you need to close your face more by impact. You might start with your grip: make sure the heel pad of the lead hand is on top of the grip at address and try turning both hands more to the right, to strengthen your grip. As you take the club away from the ball, feel like you keep the club face looking at the ball for the first 18”. At the top, feel the right wrist is bent back, as if carrying a tray - - this helps close the club face. And if needed, on the downswing turn your right palm down to the ground to help close the club face. All of these are more likely to stop your slice than tucking your right elbow. Good luck.

Q: I’m thirteen years old and I have always had trouble on the putting green. I just don’t know how hard to hit it. I was wondering if you knew any drills for me to get my feel down?

-    Simon L.

A: I have two suggestions that will help. Firstly, on the practice green hit putts from all types of distances looking at the hole when you putt, not the ball. Address the ball, then look at the hole, then putt. Let your hand-eye coordination tell you how hard to hit the ball; you'll be surprised at the results. Secondly, after every putt, whether you are practicing or playing, hold the finish of your stroke until the ball has stopped rolling, no matter how good or bad the putt. Without going into too much detail this 'still' position at the finish allows for the brain to store and evaluate the result of the putt and gradually create a bank of information to draw on, otherwise known as “experience”. All a very underrated discipline to develop, but suggest strongly you make this a habit. Good luck.

Q: My biggest problem is with irons, especially off the tee. I have a 5-hybrid that I hit long and straight but I pull out a 6-iron and it shanks off to the right and only goes about 90 yards. Why am I having such trouble and what can I do to fix it? Thanks!

-    Chris O. (Facebook)

A: It sounds almost certain that you are hitting the ball right in the heel of the club and shanking it. My suggestions are to make sure you are balanced at address, weight under the arches of the feet, not on the toes. Secondly, I would want you to check that your backswing is not too flat, as this can lead to a shank; strive for a fairly vertical plane to your backswing. Thirdly, on the downswing, under no circumstances must you 'reach' for the ball, rather have the feeling of crowding your legs with your hands, keeping the hands feeling close to the legs just before and after impact. Hope this helps.

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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.