Class Continues April 7, 2011


Q: I would like to know two things about grip pressure. Does it change from shorter to longer clubs; for instance do you need to grip a 3-iron harder than a 7-iron? Does it change throughout the swing, getting harder as you swing the club through impact?

- John (Downingtown, PA)

A: John, a great two-part question. It is my opinion that no matter what club you hit, the grip pressure should be the same. Some hold it too tight but just as many are too loose. It helps many players to think “firm fingers, relaxed wrists”. On a scale of 1-10, I think the grip should be about a 5 for pressure. Does it change through the swing is a little more complicated. Yes it does, but not because you grab it. Centrifugal force will exert a pull on the club in your hands and the pressure will increase unconsciously. Your feeling will be that you keep the pressure the same throughout the swing but in reality it does not. Hope that helps.

Q: When setting up on the ball is there a different approach to have with irons, wedges, or woods?  Should you line up with the ball in the middle all the time?

- Gary H.

A: With the woods, it is probably best for distance if you hit up at the ball slightly, so putting the ball forwards in the stance is a good idea; left heel/instep usually works well. For the irons, a downward hit is necessary; hit ball then turf, so a ball somewhat towards the middle of the stance is good. The shorter the club the more to the middle you would play it, although rarely should it be back of center. Good luck.

Q:I’ve practiced your drill with the box in the 3 position. I’m amazed at the results. I’ve also been practicing the drill (without the box) on a 30-degree downhill slope. With my shoulders parallel with the ground, I have had success by placing the ball back by my back heel. Is this the proper way to treat a downhill lie?

- LeRoy W. (Reno, NV)

A: The downhill lie is no easy shot and getting sufficient height is often very difficult. Take plenty of loft, play the ball back, put the majority of your weight on your front foot and keep it there through the swing. You need a feeling of hitting down the slope, not trying to lift the ball up. The ball flight will be low without much backspin but contact will be solid. Making solid contact should be your highest priority in this situation.

Q: Do you have a swing that will take pressure off the back? I've had a couple of back surgeries but I need a new swing.

- Pete I.

A: Where you aim and how you move your body to get the ball to the target can increase or reduce back pain. If you aim left and have to arch your body on the downswing to get the ball online, it can put a lot of strain on the lower back, like Fred Couples and Lee Trevino do. If you aim right and have a little upper body over-the-top move to pull the ball back to the target you will put less strain on the spine, like Sam Snead. Aim right and pull it left with more of an upper body swing. That should help.