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Class Continues August 16, 2011

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Q: I am a 'Divot Virgin'.  Since it is difficult for me to hit under the ball in a greenside bunker explosion shot, can you give me a drill to make that task more successful?  

-    A.J. (Mount Laurel, NJ)

A: If you are hitting an 'explosion' shot, it sounds as if the ball is somewhat buried or even fully plugged. When this is the case, use the “bounce” - - the back edge of the sand wedge. Trying to splash the sand from under the ball is certainly NOT the way to go; you won't dig down under the ball enough. Instead, actually close the club face slightly at address, put the hands ahead of the ball and in so doing, have it be the digging edge, the leading edge of the sand iron that goes down into the sand. Weight on front foot, an early wrist break on the backswing, and a sharp downward blow into the sand should get that divot you want. Good luck.

Q: I have a real bad problem where I hit more ground than I do ball. Could you help me out?

-    T.J. (Facebook)

A: There is a very good chance that at the moment, when you hit the ball you have too much weight on your back foot and your hips have not turned enough to the target. It’s also very likely that your hands are behind the ball at impact. So, on your downswing, concentrate on both shifting your weight to your front foot and unwinding your hips to face the target. As you improve the movement of your lower body, also think of swinging the grip-end of the club with your arms, not just slinging the club head at the ball with your hands. To put it briefly, turn through as you swing your arms; this should get rid of that fat shot.

Q: I have a 7-year-old son that has a great swing for his age, but he always asks what he can do to get more distance off the tee.

-    Jaba T. (Facebook)

A: Greg Rose and Dave Philips have done wonderful work in this area and their tips can be found in the Instruction section of GolfChannel.com. Their suggestions are to play lots of different sports with special emphasis on throwing and jumping sports, and sometimes to practice hitting the ball as hard as possible; (however, not to the extent that you lose control of your golf ball.) There seem to be two times in a youngster’s life when they can develop terrific distance producing speed: from about 7 to 9 years old and then from 11 to 13. These are your speed developing years and during this time encourage your boy to 'bash it'. Hope you embrace this for your son; it will make a big difference.

Q: I need help with one problem: using impact tape on my driver. I see that I am making contact with the ball from the center of the face toward the toe. I cannot seem to hit the ball more toward the heel. Do you have any tips?

-    Gary C.

A: It sounds like there is a lack of outward force in your downswing. You clearly need a bit more reach in your move into the ball. I would look at the plane of your shoulder move as a potential problem. When the right shoulder works too much under and down as you swing at the ball, you will tend to hit it off the toe. Try moving your right shoulder down and out at the ball from the top, with emphasis on the out.  A more level shoulder plane back and through almost always eradicates hits off the toe. Good luck.

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