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Class Continues July 19, 2011

Q: Off of the tee box, I am getting no air under my ball; only line drives. I've tried teeing the ball higher and moving it up in my stance, but still I'm hitting low drives. Any suggestions?
-    Mitch (Williamston, SC)

A: You must be de-lofting the club at impact, very often caused by a strong grip and hands too far ahead of the ball, both at address and impact. I would start by having the grip end of the club point at your belt buckle at address, and in so doing, see that the lead arm and club shaft do not form a straight line. Almost certainly you will feel some angle in the back of the left wrist at address that you haven't recently been feeling. Have a 'V' formed by the thumb and forefinger of each hand point upwards to your chin, not outside your back shoulder. As you glance at the club you should be able to see plenty of club face, keeping the loft on the club. This should do it. Good luck.

Q: I have trouble keeping my right elbow tucked in my downswing. As a result, I hit a lot of shots straight right, fade & slice. Any ideas on keeping the right elbow tucked in on the downswing?

-    Louis B.

A: I wouldn't recommend that you try and keep the right elbow tucked; that may well cause you to leave the club face open. To stop your fade and push, you need to close your face more by impact. You might start with your grip: make sure the heel pad of the lead hand is on top of the grip at address and try turning both hands more to the right, to strengthen your grip. As you take the club away from the ball, feel like you keep the club face looking at the ball for the first 18”. At the top, feel the right wrist is bent back, as if carrying a tray - - this helps close the club face. And if needed, on the downswing turn your right palm down to the ground to help close the club face. All of these are more likely to stop your slice than tucking your right elbow. Good luck.

Q: I’m thirteen years old and I have always had trouble on the putting green. I just don’t know how hard to hit it. I was wondering if you knew any drills for me to get my feel down?

-    Simon L.

A: I have two suggestions that will help. Firstly, on the practice green hit putts from all types of distances looking at the hole when you putt, not the ball. Address the ball, then look at the hole, then putt. Let your hand-eye coordination tell you how hard to hit the ball; you'll be surprised at the results. Secondly, after every putt, whether you are practicing or playing, hold the finish of your stroke until the ball has stopped rolling, no matter how good or bad the putt. Without going into too much detail this 'still' position at the finish allows for the brain to store and evaluate the result of the putt and gradually create a bank of information to draw on, otherwise known as “experience”. All a very underrated discipline to develop, but suggest strongly you make this a habit. Good luck.

Q: My biggest problem is with irons, especially off the tee. I have a 5-hybrid that I hit long and straight but I pull out a 6-iron and it shanks off to the right and only goes about 90 yards. Why am I having such trouble and what can I do to fix it? Thanks!

-    Chris O. (Facebook)

A: It sounds almost certain that you are hitting the ball right in the heel of the club and shanking it. My suggestions are to make sure you are balanced at address, weight under the arches of the feet, not on the toes. Secondly, I would want you to check that your backswing is not too flat, as this can lead to a shank; strive for a fairly vertical plane to your backswing. Thirdly, on the downswing, under no circumstances must you 'reach' for the ball, rather have the feeling of crowding your legs with your hands, keeping the hands feeling close to the legs just before and after impact. Hope this helps.