Saturday, February 21, 2009

FAQ From Beginning Golfers

I have taught many group classes with beginning golfers and usually the same questions arise from every class. Here are some of these questions and answers.

How can I hit the ball longer?

First of all, you must know all the correct fundamentals such as the proper grip, posture, alignment, and ball position. In order to gain more distance, you need to swing with consistency, rhythm, timing, balance, as well as hit the ball with the sweet spot of the club. This will take time and a lot of practice to develop. In order to improve your swing speed, you need to become stronger and more flexible. If you work out, talk to your trainer about improving your strength, balance, flexibility, core strength, and cardio conditioning.

Why do all my clubs go the same distance?

When you first begin you will not have much swing speed, and therefore, the loft on your clubs will not make much of a difference. This will develop over time. Once you have increased your swing speed, you can swing harder while still maintaining balance, and you will begin to see a difference in your club distances. Typically, you will see about a 5-10 yard difference between clubs. For instance, a nine iron may go 135 yards, and eight iron will go 145 yards, and so on.

Why do I slice?

There are many possible answers and a pro would need to watch you swing first to give you the correct reason. Typically, there are several reasons for the slice. First, most likely your grip needs to be stronger. This does not mean to grab the club harder. This means you will need to move your left hand more to the right side of your club grip so your left thumb is on the right side of the grip. This allows you to roll your hands over through your swing.

Another possibility is that you have an outside-in swing path. This leads to a fade or slice. If a player wanted to intentionally fade the ball, they would swing outside-in. It sounds weird, but in order to hit it straighter or with more of a draw, you need to swing inside-out and roll your hands.

Another possibility could be that your club face is open at impact. Your club needs to be squared up to your target at impact.

It could also be that you are not shifting your weight to your front foot. If during your swing, your weight stays on your back foot, this can lead to slicing the ball.

How do I get the ball to go in the air?

Many beginners have difficulty getting the ball into the air, especially when hitting irons off the ground. They feel they need to help the ball into the air, and try to hit up on it, or scoop it. In order to hit the ball into the air, the opposite must happen. With an iron, you must hit the back of the ball with a downward and descending blow. If struck properly, you will hit the ball first, and then the club will hit the ground in front of where the ball was, causing a divot.

How is the swing different when hitting my driver?

When you are teeing off with your driver, the ball needs to be up in your stance, typically off the inside heel off your front foot. You need to sweep the ball off the tee and hit the ball on the upswing in order to get the ball in the air. Normally you should have the ball teed up so the top of your driver is lined up with the middle of the ball.

Why do I hit it well on the range, but when I play the real course it’s a disaster?

There is no pressure at the range, you are hitting from a flat surface with no rough or hazards. If you mess up, you can hit another ball. On the course, there is pressure, water hazards, bunkers, trees, wind, uneven lies, etc. You only get one chance for each shot. It will take time to get used to the real course. You need to keep playing over and over in order to get a feel for it and adjust to all the different shots you will face.

There is so much to learn, how can I remember all of this information?

It can be helpful to write down the important tips that you learned through a lesson or during practice. Keep a log of all the most useful tips, drills, and strategies that you have learned. Frequently reviewing and updating this will provide you with a history of all the most important keys to your game.

Why am I not seeing greater improvement?

Golf, like anything else, takes a lot of work to improve and get good. In fact, it’s the most difficult sport to be good at. There are many different aspects to the game, and in order to improve you must put in sufficient practice time. Take a lesson on each aspect of the game, learn the fundamentals, and then practice as much as possible. Practicing is the only way to get better, and you must practice with a specific purpose.

How do they make it look so easy on television?

Imagine if you stopped going to the office 40-50 hours a week and played golf instead. You would probably get pretty good, right? These guys and girls have been playing their entire lives. They play all the time, practice all the time, and take lessons from the top teaching professionals in the world. Many of them are in top physical condition and work with personal trainers, mental game coaches, nutritionists, etc. They also have access to all the top of the line equipment which has been tailored specifically to their game, and they play and practice on the best courses and ranges in the world. They are also highly coordinated, mentally sharp, and can handle a lot of pressure.

Why is Tiger so good?

First of all, he is a phenom and a freak of nature. He has been playing consistently for thirty years, is naturally gifted, and wants to win more than anyone else. He is the most mentally strong player in the world and also one of the best conditioned athletes in the world.