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Class Continues - June 14, 2011

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Q: I play baseball and frequently slice my drives. Are my baseball mechanics making me slice?

-    Chadwick

A: Not exactly. It’s an open club face at impact that will make you slice. Many players seem to think that golf and baseball are similar motions. I don’t agree. In golf, the ball is on the ground and in baseball, it isn’t. In golf, you hit with the end of the stick and in baseball, you hit in the barrel of the bat. The only baseball analogy I will sometimes use to help players stop the slice I got from the great Harvey Penick. He said players should try to hit to third base to get the draw and lose the fade. Many try to swing to first base, and not very often is that helpful. To kill your slice, you have to get the toe of your club to impact earlier, and the third base thought has helped many. I hope it helps; good luck!

Q: Where should the eyes be when you are making the putting stroke?

-    Zach D. (Facebook)

A: I think the eyes should be focused on the back of the ball as if there were a small tack coming out of the equator of the ball. See the putter head as a hammer and watch that tack as you hit it with the hammer. This thought I picked up from Ray Floyd, one of history’s best putters. Well worth trying.

Q: I am having problems with good strikes of the ball. I have read Harvey Penick and Ben Hogan’s books. If I try to use Mr. Hogan’s thoughts, I pull the ball. This could be from me not getting my hips turned. If I use Mr. Penick’s, I seem to lose height with distance of the shot and I have to think of moving the ball up on the higher clubs. Can you help?

-    Dale W. (Hanover, VA)

A: Very Interesting! When you use Hogan’s thoughts you pull the ball most likely because you overdo the clearing of the left hip, and then the right shoulder comes into the ball too high giving you an out-to-in swing. When you employ Mr. Penick’s “Magic Move” (weight to front foot as you tuck the right elbow into your side), you probably get your upper body too far ahead at impact creating too low a ball flight. A suggested compromise is clear your hips (Hogan) as you get your right shoulder under your chin (Penick). That very well may do the trick. Good luck!

Q: What tips do you have for playing when it’s wet? I have trouble making good contact and usually hit it fat.

-    Nathan G. (Facebook)

A: Above anything when it is wet you must keep your hands and grips on the club dry. Keep a big towel in your bag and also a plastic Ziploc bag to have three or four extra gloves in. A good umbrella and good rain-suit also help. For the swing itself, I tell players to go one-inch down on the grip. Take a shorter backswing and follow-through. This gives you more of a sweep in the hitting area and just eliminates the fat shots. In addition, I’ll sometimes tell students to keep their height as they swing into the ball. Stay dry and good luck.

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