Q: For some reason, I have started hitting everything off the toe and thin to the point of barely disturbing the grass. Any ideas?
A: It sounds as if you are shortening the radius of your swing at impact to be hitting it both thin and off the toe. That means your lead arm and wrist are almost certainly bent or buckled at the point of contact. Try hitting shots with a 3/4 backswing and a restricted follow-through. After impact, concentrate on having both arms straight and the club head as far away from the lead shoulder as possible; that should help.
Q: I keep pulling up and/or leaning back when I hit the ball. If I aim to the far left, I hit the ball straight down the fairways. How can I aim straight and hit straight?
- Ann G. (Gulf Shores, AL)
A: That you have to aim left to hit it straight suggests that your swing is too much ‘in-to-out’, with the club going along the line for too long, which is not a good thing. Try aiming straight but as you swing through, concentrate on turning your body to face the target and try to wrap your right arm across the chest instead of extending to the target. The swing is a tilted circle; no straight lines in a good move. As I say almost every day, the only thing that goes down the line in a good swing is the ball, the club goes inside to inside, and it moves on an arc. Good luck.
Q: What drill do you suggest for laying the club off at the top? I've worked with a couple different instructors and one said it was in the backswing and the other said it was the beginning of the downswing. Thanks.
A: 'Laying the club off' is another way of saying the club is off-plane or pointing in the wrong direction, which would make the downswing more difficult. The best simple tip to fix that comes from one of my early mentors, John Jacobs. He would always say on the backswing 'turn your shoulders and point the club at the target.' At the end of your backswing, try pointing both thumbs and your club head at the flagstick; that should help.
Q: I'm a 2 handicap, but my biggest struggle is hitting my long irons high enough to stop them on the greens. Any tips?
- Brennan (Fort McMurray, Canada)
A: Getting the long irons in the air with solid contact is no easy task. Many players do better by using some sort of hybrid. However, if the ball is not up in the air enough, there is a good chance you are either getting your upper body ahead at impact or de-lofting the club by having the hands too far ahead at contact. At setup, make sure your head is behind the ball and look into the back of the ball. At impact, have the sensation of throwing a ball underarm up into the air so the hands are not too far ahead. And one last thought: practice off an uphill lie to learn to hit it higher; this is what you should feel to launch it in the air.