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Class Continues March 23, 2011

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Q: You talked about the great Bobby Jones, and how he stressed the importance of unwinding the hips. Unfortunately, about a year-and-a-half ago I had my left hip replaced. Do you have some tips to improve my swing since I have lost much of my twisting capability and have this new physical challenge?

- David H. (Monument, CO)

A: Thoughts for allowing for the hip replacement would be as follows: Play the ball more back in your stance, thereby reducing the amount of weight shift you need to your left side, but realize anytime you put the ball back in your stance you have to aim left because as you contact the ball, the club will be swinging well from the inside. Also try bending and straightening your right arm as your main power source rather than body twisting to propel the ball forward. Hope this helps.


Q: What are your main factors in choosing between a lower flight pitch with spin and a higher loft shot from 75 yards in?

- Sean F. (Colorado Springs, CO)

A: The two main factors are the lie of the ball and the pin position on the green. Any wind and firmness of the greens should also be considered. If the flag is at the back of the green most times you should hit a lower shot, pin up front, most times a higher shot. If the lie is tight or not so good, a lower shot will usually give you a more predictable outcome. If the lie is good, high is fine. Into the wind a low shot; downwind a high shot. Good luck.


Q: How can I know my distance in my shots, especially the short irons? Most driving ranges aren't marked unless you happen to be right in front of one of the markers. And for the longer shots, there is no way to tell how far I actually carried the ball and the amount of roll.

- Glenn H. (Winston-Salem, NC)

A: All caddies on every professional tour use 'range finders' to get and plot accurate yardages in a practice round for their players. As a serious golfer, I strongly recommend you get one to understand how far you really hit your shots; most players over-estimate their capabilities. Get one - - it will help you.


Q: I consistently strike the ball toward the toe with my driver. Needless to say I struggle to prevent a slice. Also my ball flight is quite low. If you can help I will be eternally grateful.

- Keith (B.C., Canada)

A: When you hit the ball on the toe too often, one of two things, or a combination of these two, is happening. Either somewhere in your swing you are getting too upright, or in the hitting-area you are shrinking the orbit of the club head. Two corrections are to turn your right shoulder away from the ball on the backswing which helps flatten the swing somewhat, and reach out or stretch the arms in the downswing to enlarge the orbit of the club head. Turn and reach to eliminate the toe hit; that should help.