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          GOLF TIPS - Friday, June 27, 2008
 "Tips... News... And More... All For The Love Of The Game"

Fellow Duffers,

This weekend's forecast is not sounding very golf friendly, so
I'm off early to try and squeeze in a round before the storms
roll in.

Have a great weekend.


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Varying Shot Height
By John Elliott, Jr.

One of the most challenging opportunities that we have in the
game of golf is the various types of shot that we have to play.
Regretfully I see a lot of players continually playing the
same shot all the time, especially a short game shot to a green.
Let me show you three different options you have simply by
altering your follow-through and set up. We would call this low,
medium and high.

I have set a shaft up in front of me so that you can see when I 
set up where the ball is going to be, where my sternum is going
to be and where my handle is going to be. I am going to alter
those three parts to effect what the golf ball is going to 
do. In setting up to hit a medium shot I try to get the three
parts; the ball, the handle and the sternum, directly in line.
Medium also means to me the same amount of motion on both sides
of my body during the swing. I swing equally back and forward
and that will hit the ball on a medium trajectory.

But we don’t always want to play medium height, sometimes we 
want to play the ball higher than that, so now we will set up
for a high shot. As I set up for high, the ball is now forward
of center, my sternum is now behind the ball and the handle of
the club is now between the ball and my sternum. The mere
connotation of the word ‘high’ means finish up. That shot went
about fifteen feet higher and the same distance as my medium
shot because the one thing I am not changing is the length of
my backswing; that affects my distance. What affects my
trajectory is my set up and finish.

Now let’s move to the third shot, and this should be the shot
that you play the most. I place the ball back and lean the
handle and my sternum forward so I am now braced over my front
leg. The idea is that I am going to hit this shot low, so my
finish is going to be low as well. Now when I make my swing
that ball goes about half as high as medium. So it is kind of
interesting, low goes low, medium goes about twice as high as
low, and then the highest one goes even higher than those two.

Did I change my backswing to do that? No, what I did was
change my set up and my follow-through. You should get your
mind to say I want to get my finish to match my shot intent.
If I intend to hit the ball low then I finish down. If I want
to hit the shot medium then I finish out, and if I intend to
hit it high then I finish up. The other variable is in your
set up, where you are always altering where your sternum is,
where the handle is and where the handle is depending on the
type of shot you want to play. Please don’t get stuck in the
rut of always playing the same shot into the green. What ends
up happening is that it is not going to work sometimes because
it is the wrong shot. This will help you with your scores
tremendously and also help you with your full swing.

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Create More Distance
By John Elliott, Jr.

As you know golf is a game of distance and direction. The bad
news is that most people associate their driver with distance
and their putter with direction. No, they are both distance
and direction. Now I am going to talk to you about how to gain
more distance with your putter, nah, I’m not really going to do
that. I am going to talk to you about how to hit your driver a
little farther. It is not just your driver; it is your whole
game where you want to put more distance in your golf ball.

The simplest way to do that is to hit the ball more in the
center of the clubface more often. Every time you hit it towards
the toe, towards the heel, towards the top or towards the bottom
of the club, you are not only losing distance, you are losing
direction. Now what causes those mis-hits, and many times it is
simply a misidentification of impact. What is impact, well that
is the compression of the face of the club meeting the ball and
the position that the face of that club is in. too many of us
when we hit the golf ball, our hands, wrists and arms are in a
position where the hands are behind the face. When the hands are
behind the face at impact and the hands are towards the rear leg,
the face of the club is going to be wide open and you are not
going to have much power.

To have more power like the Tour players that you admire so much,
what you need to do is learn how to have a forward leaning shaft
at impact. Even with a driver a forward leaning shaft. Backward
leaning in its simplicity does one thing to the club, look at it,
it adds loft to the face. So my nine and a half degree driver now
has somewhere around fifteen or sixteen degrees of loft, so the
ball is going to go way up here but it is not going to go very far.

Watch the difference when the face arrives in this position,
where the shaft is in front of the head, now that nine and a half
might be seven, or seven and a half. So the ball will take off
lower and travel farther because I have the ability to deloft the
clubface through the ball. You say, "How do you do that?" One
thing we want to understand is that the hand position at address
is not the same as the hand position at impact. Let me give you 
an illustration. When I grip the golf club there is a small 
indentation in my lead wrist. But when I hit the golf ball that 
indentation should flatten out.

Now your question will be "How does that happen?" Well it does not
happen at impact, it happens at the top of the backswing. The
indentation in the left wrist that we have at address, by virtue
of our wrist cock, if it is correct, takes the indentation right
out of the wrist. So now I have a flat left wrist at the top, a
flat left wrist at the top produces a forward leaning shaft at the
bottom. And a forward leaning shaft, as you just heard, delofts
the clubface which increases the distance.

So for all of you that are hitting your irons and/or your woods,
and you are hitting the ground behind the ball, you are losing
distance not in feet but in yards, tons of yards, because you are
losing the angle and you are not hitting the ball squarely. So
again, remember, the position of your lead hand at address, and
the position of your lead hand at the top are different. But the
position of that lead hand at the top and the position of the lead
hand, my left, at impact, are one and the same. That will deloft
the club, making the ball go considerably further. Learn more
about that by studying, reading, watching more videos, but address
and impact are not the same. When they are you are not going to
like what the ball does. It won’t go very far. Good luck with that.
That’s a tough one, but good luck with it.

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Creative Greenside Play from the Rough
By Denis Pugh

Apart from being great talents, the players on the world
professional tours have to be creative thinkers as well because
they are being challenged all the time by the green staffs all
the time around the world. With this rough growing up so close
to the putting surface, over the years the players have used
many different ideas in order to play delicate shots with
success from this thick rough. I am going to show you a few
ideas that I have learned over the way from a few players,
beginning with a shot I learned from watching Tiger Woods play.

Tiger Woods introduced to the public domain the chip with the
wood. It is ideal for when you are in this type of thick rough
greenside. The broad sole of the wood runs through the thick
grass. You play this shot very delicately, as if you are just
trying to putt the ball on to the green. It is a combination of
a putting and chipping action but you do not need to hit it very
hard. The base of the club just slides through the grass.

We can thank Tiger for that one, but we can move on to a shot
that I saw Freddy Couples play. Similar shot, a little bit closer
to the green. The ball is lying deep down in this rough, what he
used was a putter. It is the bullet shot with the putter because
you use the toe end of the putter to make contact with the ball.
A pretty inventive shot, you use your putting action, the big
thing here is that there is not much wrist action. It has to be
a smooth flow through the grass, do not try to hit the ball, just
swing the putter and you catch it with the toe. It is the bullet
putt through the rough.

Then, of course, Lee Trevino was the first player I saw play the
belly wedge. You take a sand wedge, come up to the side of the
grass where the ball is lying and place the leading edge of the
sand wedge to the middle of the ball. Again, a putting stroke,
hands slightly forward, you must not try to hit the ball, you
just sweep through the ball. Any attempt of hitting at the ball
you might scoop it in the air and double hit it. So this shot
is played with a gentle touch, putting stroke, no conscious hit.
All the time the players are thinking about better ways to play
the shots around the greens. You might not be destined for the
US Tour, but you might be destined to try to learn from the
players who are talented and do think about different shots to
play around the greens. Keep watching on TV, you might pick up
something new.

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