With the weekend warrior in mind we created Bump and Run, a weekly Q&A with some of the game's top instructors. Each Friday, a teaching professional will occupy this space and answer questions directed toward improving your game. This week it's Fred Griffin, director of the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf in Orlando.
Director, Grand Cypress Academy of Golf, Orlando, FL
- Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers
- America's 50 Greatest Teachers, Golf Digest
- 1989 North Florida PGA Section Teacher of the Year
- 2009 East Central Chapter of North Florida PGA Section Teacher of the Year
Griffin has been with Grand Cypress since it opened in 1986, and has had the privilege to work with many great players, including Greg Norman, Payne Stewart and Seve Ballesteros, and teachers over the years. Both Phil Rodgers and Kathy Whitworth served as guess instructors at the Academy. Rodgers was a five-time winner on the PGA Tour and a terrific bunker player, and Whitworth still holds the record for most wins on the LPGA Tour with 88.
'I played nine holes with Phil one year and he didn’t hit one green in regulation, and still shot 1-under par,' said Griffin. 'He holed one out of the bunker, and got it up and down on every other hole. He would sit there and call the shots with his students. He’d say the ball is going to hit here, bounce twice, then roll about four feet and go into the hole. And he’d do it.'
To submit a question to Griffin or one of our teachers, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and check back every Friday to see if your question got answered.
One of our readers is 6-foot-7, which, as you know, has its advantages and disadvantages on the golf course. Apparently, he's having trouble with his accuracy. Any advice?
The most important thing is he needs to get the lie angle on his irons right. (Lie angle is the angle measured between the sole of the club and the center of the hosel.) Most clubs are built for guys in the 5-foot-6 to 6-foot-1 range. Once you move beyond that range you start having to make adjustments. You need to find equipment that fits you the best.
How does one go about checking if the lie angle is correct?
You need to check your divots. If your divots are deep toward the toe of the club, that tells you the lie angle is too flat. You would need a club that is a little more upright. If the lie angle is too upright, your ball is going to have a tendency to be pulled left quite a bit.
Take a look at the front end of the divot, closest to the target. If at the end of the divot the toe is turning over that’s going to indicate the club is too upright. If the lie angle is just right, the divot will be nice and flat, like a rectangle; it will be the same width of the club as it enters and exits the turf.
How do you consistently carve out a divot that's flat and rectangular?
Your ball position must be in the right place and your swing path must come from the right direction. The fulcrum point in the swing for a right-handed golfer is the inside of the left shoulder, by the armpit, so you want to clip the ball slightly forward of the middle [of your stance], between your left shoulder and left ear. This way, the club is going to hit slightly down on ball with an iron. You also want to make sure your path is not too much inside-out or outside-in because either one of those is going to cause you to mishit the ball.
Speaking of consistency, a lot of golfers are unsure if they're standing the correct distance from the ball at address. Is there a way to check this?
Take your grip as you walk in from behind your ball, and put the clubhead down behind the ball with your feet together. This is extremely important: The clubhead has to be positioned down behind the ball. What this will do is allow your arms to hang down directly beneath your shoulders. If your arms are inside your shouldes and your elbows are touching your body, you're standing too close. If your arms are reaching out away from your shoulders, and they’re more underneath your nose or chin, you're standing too far away from the ball.
Any advice for the weekend warrior? Something that may help them drop a shot or two during their Saturday or Sunday round?
If you can, make an extra effort to get there 45 minutes early so you can find out what your game is like for that day. That will give you an idea as to how you should prepare yourself before you arrive at the first tee. Play whatever ball flight you’re seeing that day. If you’re hitting it to the right, you know you’ve got to be cautious when there’s trouble to the right because that was your tendency warming up. If you’re worm-burning the ball and hitting it along the ground, then don’t try and carry a lot of water. You want to find the shortest carries or play around the trouble.Related Videos from Fred Griffin