Class Continues August 2, 2011


Q: Should a beginner use a premium ball rather than a low-end ball when learning the game of golf? And, would a beginner's progress in learning the game of golf be faster with the premium ball because they would have to learn to control all aspects of the game at the same time, i.e., contact, distance control, spin, compression, etc?

-    Mr. Mack
A: I suppose if there are no budget constraints, a premium ball would be the best way to go as it is easier to judge distance on, and around, the greens.  However, the difference is not that significant to a beginner. A low-end ball would not stop you from learning a good short game.  I hope this helps.

Q: My grandfather was a lifelong admirer of Bobby Jones. I recently obtained Mr. Jones’ “How I Play Golf” videos. What a beautiful swing!  Research tells me his swing was based on the old 'Carnoustie' swing of Stewart Maiden.  Is there a reason this swing and the “swing the club head” concept are no longer taught for the average golfer?

-    Bob G.
A: Clearly the swing Mr. Jones had was magnificent, and his timing perhaps was as good as we have ever seen.  The old hickory-shafted clubs had a lot of torque which demanded a substantial amount of more opening and closing of the club face than the new equipment does.  Also, the clothing worn back in the 1920’s (tie, jacket, etc.) made the swing more difficult to time, so the swings were easier, more flowing, more “swing the club head.”  In this day and age, equipment and attire allow the action to be more aggressive and less dependent on timing.  The “Carnoustie” swing also had an inside or off-plane takeaway that nowadays we feel complicates the move for most players, so it is rarely taught.  Hope this answers your question.

Q: I'm 65-years old and my swing speed with the driver is 75 mph.  My problem is that I'm hitting the ball low with a draw or hook.  I've been told I need to get my launch angle up.  When I do get my launch angle up, I hit a high draw.  I hit my irons and hybrids high and straight but I can't hit my fairway woods; I'm always hitting the ground before the ball. What do I need to do to hit the ball straight or fade?

-    Jim S. (Los Angeles, CA)
A: Jim, with your swing speed, getting anything but lofted fairway woods in the air will be a challenge.  I would suggest a 5-wood and 7-wood but no 3-wood off the fairway.  As for hitting the ground before you reach the ball, it very well might be that your hips are not unwinding sufficiently by impact.  That could be a flexibility problem which some stretching would help or if not that, then it will probably create a more solid contact if you aim a little more to the left as you set up (taking it that you are right-handed).  Best of luck.

Q: After watching Dustin Johnson’s left shoulder pull-up and then Martin's sit-down drill during Chapter 22 to attain that +5%, I wandered out into my backyard to try it.  But oh no, Mr. Bill!  Perhaps more information from the Professor is needed.  I thought of not stepping into the slime, and engaged the leg muscles - particularly the thighs - but as I put the downswing in its 'L' position and moved to complete the swing, I contacted the ground before reaching the ball! Help!  

-    Walt (Pasadena, CA)
A: As you sit down to push the water out of the ground, you must be tilting the left shoulder up and the right shoulder down – AND the right arm must stay bent at the elbow well into the downswing.  If the right arm straightens too soon, you will hit the ground before you reach the ball.  The right arm should be bent at the elbow at impact and straighten after the ball has been hit.  My opinion is that you must have straightened your right arm too soon.  Hope this helps.