Q: I am a 6 handicap and have been focusing on striking the ball from the inside with great results lately, except on severe sidehill or downhill lies where I will shank the ball! Please help!
Fred Lee (Seattle, WA)
A: Any time you are on severe sidehill or downhill lies the number one priority to make solid contact must be balance, not the direction of the swing. If the ball is above your feet, place a bit more weight on the balls/toes of your feet at address to avoid falling away from the ball. If the shot is severely downhill, place most of your weight on your front foot and hit down the slope. If uphill, place your weight on your back foot and hit up the hill. Good luck.
Q: I am a 10 handicap with a long backswing, a-la John Daly, and hit it long but inconsistent. I feel that taking it back that far is causing the mistakes and keeping me from getting a consistent shot pattern. Any suggestions on how to go about shortening my swing?
Joel (Oceanside, CA)
A: As a right handed golfer, the secret to shortening your swing lies in your right arm. Almost all players who swing back too far over bend the right arm at the finish of the backswing. Ideally the angle between the right upper arm and right forearm should be 90 degrees as you complete the backswing. Many have success feeling that they never even get to 90 degrees, almost as if the right arm is straight during the backswing. Try this thought to shorten your backswing.
Q: Martin, love love love the show! I am going through some minor swing changes trying to get my weight shifted properly. I play to a 6 handicap and have a decent swing, but still seem to struggle with proper knee, hip and shoulder weight transfer to my right side without swaying laterally. Help!
Kevin Stanko (Murfreesboro, TN)
A: It sounds as if you are all weight shift and no turn, all lateral and no rotary. The Great White Shark, Greg Norman, struggled with the same issue and he would give himself the thought of R.P.B. to fix this alignment. What is R.P.B.? It stands for Right Pocket Back. As you swing the club to the top, turn your right hip behind you as you make your backswing. Try this, it should stop your sway.
Q: I enjoy your tips on bunker play, but not sure how to apply them under public course conditions. Where I play, the sand in the bunkers is typically coarse, not too deep and lays very close to a clay base which can be anything from hardpan to stiff mud depending on when it rained last. After sculling a few shots I've gone to more of a chip out shot when the lie is pretty bad. Do you advise this and if not how would you do it?
A: If the bunkers you play out of do not have much soft, fluffy sand then trying to use the bounce of your sand wedge would be a mistake. Better off to dig it out of hard sand, clay, etc. Play the ball back in your stance, put the weight forwards and have the hands ahead of the club head at address. Cock your wrists early to pick the club up sharply on the backswing and thump down into the hard sand somewhat behind the ball. There will not be much follow through. I think this will be better for you than chipping the ball out of the sand.