Class Continues April 27, 2011


Q: Whenever I go to practice my wedges I do fine with my pitching wedge, sand wedge and gap wedge. But when I start hitting the 61 degree lob wedge, all the shots go straight to the right. What is going on and how can I fix this?

-Thomas F.

A: If your pitching wedge, gap wedge and sand wedge all go straight but your 61 degree goes to the right, my suspicion is that unknowingly you are actually hitting a semi-shank with that club. I wonder if you open the face seeking height and if you do that it is easy to hit the ball in the hosel and it will go to the right. Try and hit the ball off the toe of that 61' wedge and see what happens, and also check that the lie angle is correct for you. Good luck.

Q: I feel like my putting stroke is consistent, but I am struggling with keeping my wrists solid on the backstroke. I think I may need a thicker putter grip; is this the usual fix?

-John G.

A: Using your wrists on the backswing is not necessarily a bad thing in putting. Dave Stockton, putting guru to the stars, recommends that you do use wrists going back. Using your wrists on the forward swing is quite another story. I feel you need to pull or drag the club head slightly through the hit, giving the stroke and club head more stability. Use some wrists going back and preferably none going through.

Q: Hey Martin, Love the show! Recently you gave a tip for a guy that was having trouble from 40 yards and in, and you told him to master this area of the game the best tip was to feel like the club head was going open in the back swing and closing in the through swing. In Phil Mickelson's Secrets to the Short Game, he says that the club head should never close in the follow through. Are there different shots you would use one or the other on? Is Phil's book geared more towards lower handicaps?

-Justin K. (West Virginia)

A: Excellent point about Mickelson saying the club should never close in the follow-through. If it does, you may lose some height. On the show, the reason I told the player to go open-to-closed was to help him make better contact; ball then turf. He was Code Red, 911, Emergency! For some people trying to keep the club face open after impact can have them hit the ground before they get to the ball. Obviously for Mickelson that is not the case. If consistent contact is not the problem, keeping the face open is the best way to go, but for some players that is a very big 'If'.

Q: Most of what is said on School of Golf focuses on right-hand low putting. What about those of us who putt left-hand low? Any special tips or drills for us?

-Warren S. (Redwood City, CA)

A: For me, the main principles of path, face, pace and contact point really don't change if you are a left-hand low putter. For some players it seems to be helpful to stop the club face from closing and missing putts left. I have no preference one way or the other and would say if one style isn't working for you then try the other. Hope this clears things up for you.