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Martin's Blog - February 3, 2012

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Facebook Questions From the Class
Q: I have some trouble keeping my balance on my down swing I have very stiff ankles. Is there any drill to help? (Brittany Reynolds)

A: Good balance essential to good golf. For me, balance would be defined as being able to swing on a balance beam as you might hit a golf ball. Not something I recommend you try but picture this. Imagine standing on a skyscraper 200 stories in the air. Take a golf stance with your toes just over the edge of the skyscraper. Now take a swing without falling off. Cautionary note, this is only an imaginary drill!!

Q: Martin, I have taken some time off of playing over the past few years and now my swing feels like it collapses on me and I feel very constricted which causes me some very wayward, inconsistent shots. Is there some drill I can do on the range to get my swing back extended and prevent the collapse that I am feeling? (Scott Cmelik)

A: If you've taken some time off, some stretching exercises are the best place to start. A book by Roger Fredericks, 'Secrets of Golf Instruction and Flexibility' is my recommendation.

Q: I am topping my fairway woods on a regular basis. What is going on? (Leslie Jones)

A: Two possibilities, either you're changing your posture between address and impact (standing taller) or you're bending your lead arm at impact. I would say stay down and reach down, that should eliminate the topping.

Q: I have been playing for about a year and watch and learn from Golf Channel, but sometimes I feel an information overload. What are the most basic movements I should focus on? (Josh Persinger)

A: The single most important thing for a golfer to develop is getting the bottom of the arc at the correct place, because that causes solid golf shots. A simple drill that is as good as I know is to push a tee into the ground about an 1/8 of an inch showing and take practice swings clipping the tee.

Q: Martin, I've been learning the stack-and-tilt method for the past year now but I'm having trouble hitting through the ball and making a consistent divot.  Where should my weight be at the moment of impact using this method? (Chris Scott)

A: Stack & Tilt has a lot of benefits. I think the lead hip needs to be over the lead foot at impact, which would usually put at least 80% of your weight on your front foot.

Q: Hey coach, love the show! Can you define and explain forward shaft lean? (Donnell Jackson)

A: Forward Shaft Lean is a term used to describe an ideal impact condition. It means the grip end of the club would be pointed at the lead hip at the moment of contact. It results in more powerful and accurate golf shots.

Q: Martin, I went from low 70's to high 80's from one week to the next. I can't stop hooking the ball. I don't know what's going on. Can you please help me? Thanks love the show! (Robert Savarino)

A: Two place to look immediately. First, your grip could be way too strong. Second, there could be a severe lack of body rotation through the hit. To avoid the hook, have the feeling that the chest turns faster than the club swings through.

Q: Martin, please help me figure out how to get a consistent swing. I have a fairly good swing, but sometimes it decides to hit the clubhouse before I'm done with the round. How can I practice training and maintaining muscle memory in the proper way? (Real Time Paradigm)

A: Generally when people are very inconsistent, there is excessive wrist action somewhere in the swing. Could be in the backswing, could be in the downswing or possibly the follow-through. Try hitting shots feeling as if your wrists are in splints, almost always works.

Q: Martin, I'm a low handicap but have a issue every once in awhile coming over-the-top and of course the next 9 holes are over. Please help! (Ricky Kelly)

A: Probably need to make an extra effort to start the downswing with the lower body. Slight slide then rotation of hips to commence downswing

Q: Hello Martin and thank you for your show. I have a chipping problem. Every time I attempt to chip the ball, the ball goes dead right on my shot. Everyone has some correction but there seems to be no fix. (JB Quigley)

A: Sounds like you're suffering from the dreaded shank, which is the ugly way of saying you're hitting it in the heel. Address the ball in the center of the club and as you come into the hit, try and hit it off the toe.

Q: I am having trouble hitting my middle irons. I am not catching the ball cleanly. I end up hitting down too much and taking a divot when I don't want to. Any suggestions? (Carol Richards Peske)

A: You are singing to the choir, know what you mean. Deep divots mean that you're upper body is getting ahead of the ball on the downswing. Instead as you start your downswing, try and keep your head behind and feel that your left shoulder goes up as you start your downswing. May even feel like you're hitting up at the ball.

Next Week’s Show

Chapter 3: Bombing the Driver (February 8, 2012)
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