With the weekend warrior in mind we created Bump and Run, a weekly Q&A with some of the game's top instructors. Each Friday, a teaching professional will occupy this space and answer questions directed toward improving your game. This week it's Mike Adams, author of 11 golf instructions books, including The Laws of the Golf Swing and Total Golf.
Director of Instruction, Hamilton Farm Golf Club, Gladstone, N.J., and The Wanderers Club, Wellington, Fla.
- Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers
- Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers in America
- Author of 11 golf books, including The Laws of the Golf Swing (1998) with T.J. Tomasi and Jim Suttie
Students (past and present)
Briny Baird, Brett Wetterich, Mark Brooks, Michelle McGann, Rosie Jones, Betsy King
Contact: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
We recently caught up with Adams to talk about the impact that hybrids are having on people's games, and how these utility clubs differ from their predecessors, the fairway woods.
To submit a question to Adams or one of our teachers, please e-mail email@example.com and check back every Friday to see if your question got answered.
What are the main differences between a hybrid club and a fairway wood?
No. 1, the length of the club. Secondly, the sole [or bottom] of the club. And, thirdly, the performance of the club. The hybrid has a lot of camber in the sole, has a shallower face, and a smaller head. I myself put a 2-hybrid in [my bag] and took my 3-wood out because I hit them the same distance. I find the hybrid is easier to hit.
How does the hybrid swing differ from a fairway wood swing?
You swing the hybrid more like an iron, and with the 3-wood you have to try and sweep the ball off the ground. The ball should be more centered in your stance with the hybrid because you’re trapping the ball and hitting more down on it. With a 3-wood, you’re taking a wider stance and playing the ball slightly more forward so you’re sweeping it.
Most amateurs, their swings tend to be steeper, so they have trouble hitting fairway woods.How do you help a steep swinger hit their woods better?
You tell them to hit a hybrid and take the fairway wood out of the bag.
Three things you need to know about hitting a hybrid out of the rough?
I use the expression 2-2-2. Choke down on the club two inches, move the ball back in your stance two inches, and open your stance two inches. Choking down gives you more control, moving the ball back allows you to hit down on it, and opening the stance restricts your turn going back and makes it easier to swing through.
Opening your stance also assists in moving your weight forward, to your left foot, so you're less likely to sit on your back foot and try and help the ball out of the rough.
Perhaps the most common mis-hit with a hybrid or fairway wood is the topped shot. What causes it?
There’s two reasons why you top it. Either your swing gets too long, which throws your weight to the left. (You get to the top and tip forward, so you have to fall back to hit it.) Or you try and change the speed. You swing back nice and slow and try to accelerate the club, which throws the whole tempo off.
Best fix you know for a topped shot?
Stay compact with the swing and swing at a more even tempo. I want to see a medium to fast tempo, not slow. The worst thing you can tell a golfer is to slow down. If I give you a chain and have you swing it in a circle, if you slow it down it wobbles all over the place. As you pick up the pace of it, it doesn’t wander all over the place; it stays on its path. The golf swing is the same way.
The purpose of the backswing is to create momentum. Every time you go back slow and accelerate, there’s a force going down forward. Your body has to back up to maintain balance.
Most amateurs tend to struggle hitting greens from 150 yards or more, even with a hybrid. Any tips on how they can make more solid contact from this distance?
I’d have them hit a punch shot with a long iron. It forces them to hit down on the ball and get their hands ahead of it. If you hit a 5-iron 175 yards take a 4-iron and punch it.
Any advice for the weekend golfer that might help them drop a stroke or two the next time they play?
In the short game, putt everything that you can putt within reason, even off the green. If you can’t putt it, you chip it – it's nothing more than putting with a more lofted club. If you can’t chip it, you pitch and run it, and if you can’t pitch and run it, you pitch it. Everything is dictated by how much green you have to work with. The amateur would do a lot better if they could putt from off the green instead of taking a lob wedge and trying to loft it up there.
Mike Adams Instructional Videos