Q: I've recently begun to 'duck hook' my driver off the tee box. Do you have any suggestions or exercises that could help to correct this? Thanks very much.
- Garth (Cumberland, MD)
A: A duck hook occurs when the direction the clubhead is moving at impact is substantially different from where the clubface is looking at impact; the clubface is closed to that swing path. As often as not, it is caused by a faulty grip - very likely your grip is too strong. If you play right-handed, this means your left hand is too much on top of the shaft and your right hand is too much under. Weaken your grip - turn both hands somewhat counter-clockwise and you will probably lose the duck hook.
Q: I am 69-years young. I have a horrible problem of coming over the top and hitting everything with a weak slice. My friends tell me that my lower body is always moving forward during the downswing and that I am not staying behind the ball but rather getting the body out in front of the ball. I need help and need it in a bad way. Can you help or is it time for me to just give up?
- Edward Moore (Oklahoma, City, OK)
A: Slices come from clubfaces that are open at impact; the lower body may contribute to that but not for sure. I would look first at your grip and make sure it is not too weak. Then I would make sure as you take the club away from the ball that you’re keeping the clubface looking at the ball in the first part of the backswing. An early rolling or opening of the clubface will more often cause a slice than anything you do with your legs. Good luck.
Q: Regarding your recent show on the grip, what are your thoughts on a strong left-hand grip? It's my understanding that all but a few Tour players either have a strong grip or a very strong grip. Is it true that a strong grip is consistent with the modern golf swing which is more of a body swing and less manipulation of the clubface with the hands? Thanks for your time.
- Steve (Chicago, IL)
A: A strong left-hand grip has some advantages and some disadvantages. It is easier to draw the ball and does encourage more body rotation through the ball, but usually causes problems in the short game, unless you are a Tour pro. The short game issues tend to be too low of a ball flight and/or contact issues. I certainly prefer a weaker grip for shorter shots and a power grip for full shots. A finesse grip, or weak grip, for short shots is more the norm that many recreational golfers would know.
Q: I'm a high handicap golfer. Can you please explain 'The Release'? This is really a hard concept for me. Everyone says that you have to release the club but no one says what that is.
-Michael A. Thomas (Silver Spring, MD)
A: 'Release' is a term that is just thrown around by many people, and somehow many people take it to mean it is a wrist throw of the clubhead at the ball, independent of the arms and body. NO, NO, NO!!!!! As good a definition of release as I know is that just after impact both arms must be straight and the clubhead must be as far away from the left shoulder as possible. Take some practice swings and stop just after impact, checking that both arms are fully extended and the clubhead is as far from your left shoulder as possible. By the way, that definition of release came from Jack Nicklaus!!