THE PERFECT GRIP
By, Derek Nannen, Director of Instruction at Eagle Mountain Golf Academy.
The grip controls the clubface, the clubface tells the ball where to go!
A pretty simple statement, but yet very misunderstood in golf. For most golfers, a slice is a common sight with every club in the bag. Easily fixed with the understanding of how your hands are positioned on the club. The grip is either in a weak, neutral, or strong position depending on where your “V’s” are pointing at address. (The “v” is formed between your thumb and index finger.) A strong grip will have the “V’s” pointing towards your back shoulder and “V’s” pointing towards your front shoulder would be considered weak. A neutral grip is with the “V’s” pointing towards your chin. Remember, the “V’s” from both hands need to point in the same direction.
Set Up Guidelines:
• Handle rests diagonal across the fingers
• “V’s” pointing in same direction
• Top hand ¼ from the end of club
• Grip pressure light
• See 2 knuckles of your top hand when you look down
On the Course Quick Fix:
If the ball is curving right, turn your both hands to the right to fix it. If the ball is curving to the left, turn both hands to the left to fix it.
THE MOST IMPORTANT CLUB IN THE BAG—DRIVER
By Derek Nannen, Director of Instruction at Eagle Mountain Golf Academy
The game of golf requires you to hit several different shots throughout the round, but none more important than your tee shot. The first shot on every hole sets the tone for your entire round. Hit one down the middle and you give yourself a chance at par or birdie, or hit your tee shot out of play, and you are already starting with a penalty stroke. The added confidence of hitting a long, straight drive down the middle will take stress off of the rest of your game.
The Driver is typically your longest and lightest club in your bag and is swung on a flatter swing plane than the rest of your clubs. With an average loft of 10-12 degrees, the driver can be the most difficult club in your bag to hit. The driver will strike the ball in the equator, which has a greater chance of producing more sidespin than backspin if the clubface does not strike the ball square. If a ball has more sidespin than backspin, it will curve off line.
A perfect driver set up will give you a much greater chance of producing the correct swing. The Driver set up should be as follows:
Feet wider than shoulder width
Ball position forward in stance
Stand slightly further from the ball
Weight 70-30 on back foot
Hands slightly behind the ball
Tee ball up so the ball is entirely above the top edge of Driver
The swing for the driver is different than all your other clubs. As the clubs get longer, you start moving further from the ball, enabling you to swing on a flatter plane than your irons. A more rounded swing plane is critical with your driver to help you square the clubface at impact. If your swing stays too upright like an iron, you will notice shots more towards the toe of the club and slicing offline.
When you are playing a course that has narrow fairways, the first thing to consider is teeing off with a 3 wood or 3 iron. The higher the loft you have on a club, the closer to the bottom of the ball you will strike, producing more backspin on the ball. When it flies, the extra backspin will help offset the sidespin producing a straighter shot and keeping the ball in the fairway.
GREENSIDE BUNKERS: ESCAPE THE BEACH!
The single most important thing to do in the sand is to GET OUT! The greenside bunker is the only shot in golf where you are trying to miss the ball. The design of the sand wedge allows for this to happen and still enable the ball to get on the green. Unlike all other clubs, the sand wedge is built with the trailing edge of the club higher than the leading edge. The angle from back to front is called the BOUNCE and a typical sand wedge will have 10 degrees. This type of design allows the club to glide through the sand splashing the ball out on the green.
To allow for the sand wedge to work properly, you must position your body and club correctly. Below are the set-up guidelines for the Greenside Bunker shot:
- Set the face open
- Normal grip
- Dig feet into sand 2 inches
- Ball forward in the stance
- Normal distance from the ball
- Weight forward 60%
During the swing, make sure your grip pressure is light to allow for an earlier wrist break than normal. With a full shoulder turn, make a long relaxed swing with enough speed to throw the sand onto the green. One of the most common mistakes for amateurs is the lack of speed through the sand. If the sand does not fly onto the green, neither will the ball.
LEARN TO CHITCH!!
A “chitch” shot can be a very valuable and often used shot in your bag. A combination of a chip and a pitch, the “chitch” is a shot used from around that will help lower your scores dramatically.
All great players have a wonderful imagination around the green to “CREATE” shots. With the short game consisting of approximately 70% of your score, the more shots you can execute around the green, the better your chances are of being a low handicap short game player.
A “chitch” shot will combine the characteristics of a low running chip shot with the loft of a pitch. Played in the middle of the stance, clubs such as a sand wedge, pitching wedge, and a 9 iron can be used.
A simple straight back, straight through motion can be used to execute this shot. When you are faced with a task of going over an object and have a lot of green for the ball to run, the “chitch” is the perfect shot.
MASTER UNEVEN LIES
Some of the most difficult shots in golf are those in which you a standing on an uneven lie. Uphill, downhill, ball above your feet, and ball below your feet are all situations you will be faced with throughout your round. Being able to adapt to each of these situations is critical to producing a quality shot.
Prior to hitting an uneven lie, you must first decide on the severity; Easy, Moderate, or Severe. Whichever level you’re faced with, you must adjust you set-up to accommodate the lie.
- Match your shoulders with the slope
- Swing “up” the slope
- Use more club to reduce loft
- Match your shoulders with the slope
- Swing “down” the slope
- Use less club to add loft
BALL ABOVE YOUR FEET:
- Choke up on the club
- Weight more on your toes
- Stand tall
- Ball position normal
- Use less loft to reduce the hook
BALL BELOW YOUR FEET:
- Grip at the end of the club
- Weight more on the heels
- Add more knee flex
- Ball position normal
- Use more loft to reduce the slice
Always remember when you attempting to hit an uneven lie:
- Take several practice swings to get a feel for the slope.
- Swing at 75% tempo
- Use a ¾ length swing
Putting is one of the most unique parts of the game with equipment that ranges from 30-72 inch length putters; golfers use whatever it takes to put the ball in the hole. Whether you use a conventional putting grip, split grip, or the new “claw” grip, putting still comes down to how well you can control your distance.
Distance is the primary variable in good putting. Those who cannot control their distance will have a hard time with 3 putting. The speed of your putt will determine how much or how little your putt will break. The line you need to be aware of is the line about 18 inches behind the hole, not the line to the hole.
Golfers are too concerned with how much a putt breaks instead of the speed. The average PGA Tour professional makes only 55% of their 6 footers and 90% of their 3 footers. A typical amateur will have a greater chance of 3 putting from 6 feet than they will making it. If golfers would have the mentality of “where they want their next putt to be from,” they will have fewer and fewer three putt greens.
Here are a couple tips on how to control your distance:
- Place a tee on the toe and heel of your putter and swing the putter through the tee’s. This will ensure you are hitting the center of the putter.
- The distance of the stroke should be the same length back and through. Control your distance by rocking your shoulders instead of using your hands and wrists.
These Free Arizona Golf Tips are compliments of Eagle Mountain Golf Academy. Located just minutes from Scottsdale, Eagle Mountain Golf Academy is based at the award winning Eagle Mountain Golf Club in Fountain Hills, Arizona.
For more information on the Eagle Mountain Golf Academy visit www.eaglemtngolfacademy.com