Class Continues March 7, 2011


Q: I've heard that when putting have the ball either back in your stance or forward, helps to control the break. I'm confused on which is which: ball back for left-to-right or ball forward for left-to-right and vice versa?

- Josh B. (Illinois)

A: There is a grain of truth in this, but only with short putts inside of 6 feet. It helps eliminate the miss on the low side. On right-to-left putts, play the ball back in the stance, maybe 1-inch, and address the ball slightly off the toe. This helps hit the ball with the face a fraction more open than normal and makes it less likely to miss to the left, on the low side. With left-to-right putts play the ball 1-inch forward and address slightly in the heel. There are some players who do the above and many who do not, use trial and error to find what works best for you.

Q: What would be your best suggestion to fixing the yips? It's the only thing holding me back and it's extremely frustrating!

- Blake

A: On the assumption we are talking about putting, what seems to work best is a radical change. The pencil grip, claw grip, broom handle, long putter, left hand low putt with eyes closed. Create a style that has no history in failure. Hank Haney's book, Fix Your Yips Forever is an excellent read and full of great ideas. It should help you out of your darkness. Good luck.

Q: I notice as I get better with my irons, I get MUCH worse with my driver. What is different about the mechanics of the swing?

- Charlie (Hawaii)

A: The mechanics of the iron and driver really are not that different. With the iron, the ball position and angle on the clubface creates some divot after impact, which is not the case with the driver, but the feel of the swing remains the same. If you’re driving is so bad, my strongest suggestion is to tee off with a 3-wood. Unless you are a 15-handicap or lower, you will almost certainly score better without using your driver. Good luck.

Q:The major problem I have with my driver is I seem to hit down on the ball with a 'ballooning' trajectory. Any ideas?

- Jason N. (Charleston, WV)

A: It sounds like your upper body is getting ahead of the ball on the downswing. When you set up, try tilting your right shoulder down a little, and be very aware of looking into the back of the ball. Keep that 'into the back of the ball look' until after you strike the little pellet. A feeling of staying behind with your upper body through the strike should help.