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DON’T “FINISH” AT THE TARGET!!!
By Deb Vangellow, LPGA Master Professional, Sweetwater Country Club, Houston, Texas
We have all heard it. When getting information about aim and alignment, we often hear to “finish facing your target”. Don’t do it…you will likely hit a shot that will not end up on line!
Yes, finishing with your belt buckle facing the target line is stopping short of the full completion of the swing circle. When you finish a good golf swing, your belt buckle will actually be facing LEFT of your target if you have completed the swing circle. The ball will track towards the target on the line you established in your set-up position, but your body will not finish facing the target. If it does, it could result in a shot that leaks to the right of the intended target.
Understand that the target line is the “ball target” and the parallel line you have lin
ed up your body on is the “body target”. The two lines are parallel at address and remain so during the swing motion, but it is just the golf ball that (hopefully) ends up on the “ball target” line you established.
Ideally, you will end up in a balanced finish position, facing the “body target” line you set at address, clearly left of the ball target line. The swing circle motion has been completed, allowing both the operator and the equipment to hit a shot “on line” to the target!
Understanding this very thing has been instrumental for improved aim/alignment/result with my students. See if this perception change alters the directional reality of your golf shots!
Deb Vangellow is the Director of Instruction at Sweetwater Country Club in Houston, Texas. She is a two-time LPGA Central Section Teacher of the Year (2002 and 2009), an LPGA “Top 50” Teacher, a Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine “Top Teacher”, a US KIDS GOLF “Top 50 Kids Teacher”, and was continually featured in the now retired Golf For Women Magazine as a “Top 50” teacher. Deb serves as the National Vice President of the LPGA Teaching And Club Professionals and is a longtime lead instructor in the LPGA National Education Program. An educator/coach who offers wellness based developmental programming integrated into her “student centered” philosophy, Deb can be reached at 281-980-4100 X296 or online at www.debvangellowgolf.com.
Learn To Be A Clutch Putter
A simple drill to simulate on-course pressure
By NICOLE WELLER - Class A LPGA Professional
2011 Southeast Section Teacher of the Year
Most amateurs should pay closer attention to the speed of their putts. Speed is more problematic than direction, and getting it wrong is the cause of most three-putts. Here's a drill I modified from one used by performance coach Rick Jensen.
Pick a flat putting line and lay a flagstick or club two feet behind the hole. Just to the side of your line, place a tee in the green every putter-length; go back six tees, about 18 feet. Your course is now set up.
Start with three balls at the tee closest to the hole (above). Your goal is to make the putt or end up in the "safety zone" between the hole and the flagstick. Once you do that with all three balls, go to the next tee. If you leave one short or hit the flagstick, you have to start over.
After five minutes, go back to the first tee with only two balls. Same rules apply. After five more minutes, repeat the process with one ball. You'll start to feel some pressure and mental fatigue. In this third stage, go through the pre-putt routine you use on the course. Your focus will sharpen, and so will your speed control.
How to Hit a Draw
Golfers come to me all the time wanting to learn how to draw the ball. They understand that they can hit the ball farther by hitting a draw (right to left shot for a right-handed golfer).
But before you start trying to learn how to work the ball, please also understand this fact: if you can hit the ball in one direction and be consistent in that direction, you can play great golf! You will be able to hit many fairways and greens in regulation if you just play your "stock golf shot".
Your stock golf shot is the shot you normally hit. For me, I hit a draw all the time. That is my stock golf shot. It is very hard for me to hit a fade. I can do it, but it is not easy for me, and I am not successful all the time.
But, you want to learn how to draw the ball…… right? Well, here is how you can get more distance. The simplest way to draw the ball is to close your club face. For a right-handed golfer that means you turn the toe of your club to the left or an 11:00 position (as if you were looking at a clock). The score lines on the face of your golf club will now be pointing to your right heel (a square club face has the score lines right down the middle of your feet). Now, grip the club so the club stays closed in your hands.
Next, aim the club face (closed) to the target you want to hit (the pin or the fairway) and aim your body to the right of your target. If you happen to be behind trees and need to draw the ball around the trees, your body will be aiming to the right of the trees. When your set up is complete, you will now swing toward your feet line or right of the target. Because the club face is closed or aimed left, the ball flight will start to the right of your target and then draw back in (left) to your target.
Hitting the draw shot when playing golf, takes practice. The day will come when you will have the opportunity to use this shot. But if you haven't had the chance to practice the shot at hand, you may end up being better off by just hitting your "stock shot"!
LPGA/PGA Class A Member Nancy Quarcelino - 2000 LPGA National Teacher of the Year
GOLF MAGAZINE Top 100 Teacher - Golf Digest Top 50 Best Women Teachers in America
Nancy is the co-founder of the Nancy Quarcelino School of Golf and teaches in the Nashville, Tennessee area.
Squareness of Contact
To consistently hit the sweet spot for maximum distance, you should strive to swing with a square club face at all times. Unless, of course, you are trying to hit an intentional curve ball.
If your grip is correct, then it will be easy to return the club face square impact. If you have a faulty grip, then the club face cannot be squared at impact or you will have to make compensations. To determine your club face position at address and impact, hold the club out in front of you so that the shaft is parallel to the ground. The leading edge should be straight up and down. Then stretch your arms out as far as possible and check the club face. Ideally, the leading edge should stay square. If the club face twists open or closed, then this is how the club face will hit the ball at impact. If you continually hit shots to the right, then your club face is open at impact. When the club face is closed at impact your shots will shoot off to the left. Adjust your grip and setup until you achieve a square club face.
Experiment with your grip positions to find the one that suits you best.
LPGA Teaching Professional Karen Palacios-Jansen, 2008 LPGA National Teacher of the Year, has been voted one of America's "Top 50 Best Women Teachers" by Golf Digest Magazine since 1998.
Jansen has her own golf events company-Swing Blade Enterprises in Mooresville, North Carolina. Jansen, a CHEK Golf Performance Specialist and an AFAA certified personal trainer, developed a golf-specific fitness system called Cardiogolf available on DVD