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Class Continues May 31, 2011

Q: What's the best way to line up your shot and make good contact when the ball is either on an incline above your feet, or decline below your feet?

- Allyson M. (Facebook)

A: When the ball is above your feet, bend over less than normal from the hips and shorten your grip on the club.  Make a flattish, rounded swing and with the more lofted clubs. Expect the ball to hook. When the ball is below your feet, bend over more than normal and hold the club as long as you can. Make an up-and-down type of swing without much depth to it.  Stay in your posture during the downswing; the ball might fade a little but not all that much. Good luck.

Q: When I hit my irons from the fairway, I seldom leave divots. How do I correct that?

- Steve S. (Facebook)
A: Divots don’t have to be deep for good shots to occur; sometimes a slight brushing of the grass after impact will suffice, just like Tom Watson or Greg Norman.  However, my guess is that when you make contact with the ball that your hands are not in front of the club head which is a must for ball–turf contact.  As you start your downswing, try getting your weight to your front foot as the initiator and feel you are swinging the grip end of the club with your arms, not just throwing the club head at the ball from your wrists.  Weight forward and hands ahead at impact should help you make those divots you are looking for.

Q: I've been playing golf for around eight years. I learned to play with right-handed clubs, but have always swung a baseball bat left-handed. My swing feels more comfortable and smooth left- handed. I struggle to break 100 on 18 holes. Is it too late to try and play left-handed or should I stick with the right-handed clubs that I learned to play with?

- Colby S.
A: No, it’s not necessarily too late to switch, but it would probably take a couple of years to learn to break 100.  I think the change to the full swing would be easy but it would be the short game, the finesse shots and the putting that might take some time.  Having played baseball “lefty”, I think you would most likely be more powerful playing like Mickelson.  I encourage you to have a go.  Good luck. 

Q: I am fairly new to the game and am on the verge of throwing in the towel unless I can cure my slice! I can hit the ball perfectly straight with any iron, but put a driver in my hands and forget it. Please help!

- Marc R. (Northern California)
A: Since your irons go straight but your driver slices, I am first going to recommend you look into the new club technology such as the Titleist or TaylorMade drivers that you can adjust the weighting to create draw spin.  They are most effective and I’d suggest looking into getting one and it would definitely help.  Secondly, you must learn to turn your trail hand (right hand if you are a right-handed golfer) so its palm looks somewhat at the ground at impact.  Turn the right palm down to lose the slice; this will get the toe of the club to pass the heel at, or even before, impact which will create a draw - - bye-bye slice!!!  Good luck.