Q: I have never stepped on a golf course, let alone play golf. I am a fan and would like to try my hand at it. Any advice on inexpensive clubs for a beginner, and should I seek some coaching first?
- Shane T. (Altamonte Springs, FL – from Facebook)
A: I would certainly suggest at least a few lessons before you venture out on the course. Some basic understanding of chipping, pitching, bunker play and the golf swing would be very helpful. A few trips to a nearby driving range where you could rent some clubs and take some group lessons would probably be the most cost effective way to do it. I would also suggest a basic 'how to get started' golf instruction book to give you a big picture view of golf. I hope you get started soon.
Q: I am 12-years old and love to golf but I have a hard time transferring my weight. Do you have any tips on how to transfer your weight in your swing?
- Caleb I. (from Facebook)
A: How and when you transfer your weight in the golf swing will most definitely affect the distance and direction your ball goes. How you turn will affect how you transfer your weight. I am going to assume you are a right-handed golfer. On the backswing, turn your back to the target and feel the weight get on your right heel. Many good players think of loading up the right hip. On the downswing, shift your weight to your left foot then turn your belt buckle and chest to the target. Learn to have the body motion be the motor; the driving force of your swing.
Q: On the practice green, I always seem to miss my putts to the right. I don't push the putt, I just seem to aim right. I am right-handed with left eye dominance. Is it normal for most golfers to miss more on one side than the other?
-'Big John' (Sayreville, NJ)
A: I think all golfers have a tendency to either miss putts to the right or the left; no one putts it perfectly straight all the time. Since you aim right and push your putts right, let me suggest the following: 1. Put the ball more forward in your stance; 2. Draw a stripe on the ball with a Sharpie and aim that stripe where you want the ball to start, then place the putter face at 90 degrees to that line when you set up; 3. Watch the back of the ball very carefully during your stroke; try to see the club face hit the ball squarely. Hope this helps you stop that push. Good luck.
Q: I consistently go beyond parallel in my backswing. Should I stop doing this or should I not worry about it? I feel this causes me to collapse a bit at the top. Any drills?
- John (Lithia, FL)
A: There have been a few good players with long backswings, but for the most part, a shorter backswing seems to make people more consistent. I would suggest a 'YouTube' search for John Cook; this would show a length of backswing that is highly repetitive. A simple thought to shorten your backswing is to feel that your trailing arm bends very little at the elbow during the backswing. Try this as you have someone videotape your swing; you'll be surprised how much that thought helps shorten the swing. Good luck.