Lost length with slice

Edwin Ram of SUVA, FIJI ISLANDS writes:
I am playing of 6 and seem to have lost my swing. I have lost about 30 to 40 yards on my drive and am slicing them almost on all occasions.some how I feel as if I may not be swinging with all that power. Something in my swing or feel. I just can’t figure it out. It is giving me a lot of struggle on scoring as a result of this. please give your professional advise! and its only my drives that I am slicing. My irons are o.k

Steve Brown: Edwin, It seems strange to me that you would only be having this particular problem with only the driver. The symtems sound like a sequence problem or an over rotation of the hips and legs. Assuming a right handed player, on the take away, you want to brace the right leg and pivot around the right hip. By bracing the right leg (knee) and rotating your shoulders, you create torque that will unleash your potential power. If you are over rotating your hips, the right knee will drift to the right, creating a sway. Most people then make a dramatic shift to the left and get in front of the ball creating the slice. With the over rotation of the hips, there is little torque created between the upper body and legs, resulting in a lack of power. I would suggest getting with a qualified instructor and have them make sure this is what is really happening in your swing. Good luck!

Trouble with short putts

Jason Askew in Tuscaloosa, AL writes: I have trouble making the 4-6 footers. Whats a drill I can do to get over this problem?

Steve Brown: Jason, I need a little more information to make a truly accurate diagnosis for your particular problem. Generally, when people miss putts from this range, they are having a problem with leaving them short or just long on one side of the hole or the other. The best thing to work on for these putts is to make sure to address the ball with the hands slightly ahead of the ball so that your target side wrist is flat or slightly bowed with the wrist leading the stroke. You will have created a slight “L” with your trail side wrist. You want to make a stroke using your shoulders to take the putter away from the ball. Make sure to maintain the initial setup with your wrists throughout the stroke. This will ensure that the putter head does not pass the hands at any point during the putt. Letting the lead wrist “collapse” has been the cause of many a poor round of putting. Good Luck!

What causes a golf ball to slice

Brady in Acworth, GA writes:
I’m doing a project and I need some information on “What causes a golf ball to slice”. I would really like it if you could send me some information soon. Thanks, Brady

Steve Brown: Brady, Thanks for your question. As far as the golf swing is concerned, a ball will curve when the club face is open or closed in relation to the swing path of the clubhead. To what degree, depends on how open or closed and can be influenced by the dimples on a golf ball. For the aerodynamics involved I would suggest contacting the USGA or one of the major golf ball manufacturers such as Titleist or Spalding.

Gripping too firmly

Jim Hust of Lincoln, NE writes:
I have trouble gripping my clubs too firmly. I know what alll the experts say about thinking the grip should feel like a tube of toothpaste and trying not to squeeze so hard as to push out the toothpaste. However, no matter how loosely I grip in the practice swing, I tend to put on the deathgrip when I start the downswing. Thanx for any help with tips, or practice techniques.

Steve Brown: Jim, Yours is a question that I hear many times that can be a hot topic of debate as to the pressure to apply when gripping the club. I will start out by saying that above all else, the pressure should be consistant throughout the swing. In my opinion, your deathgrip on the downswing is caused by too light a pressure on the take away. I disagree whole heartedly that you want to “avoid squeezing out the toothpaste”. Your grip must be firm to control the club throughout the swing. Too loose a grip can cause serious problems in transition at the top of the swing resulting in an inconsistant “set” to begin the downswing. When you begin the downswing with your lower body, a light grip will cause you to “grab hard” so as to gain control and not drop the club. Byron Nelson in his 1943 book “Winning Golf” says “My grip on the club is designed for firmness, above all else”. (Page 20) In Ben Hogan’s “Five Fundamentals” he discusses the grip. On Page 20, he states “One essential, then, to insure your self a firm two-handed grip is to get your left hand on the club absolutely correctly.” Firm is the key word here. You definately do not want a “white knuckle death grip”, but you should strive for a firm, “alive”, reactive grip. One that you can sense where the club is at all points of the swing. Contact your local PGA Professional for more help. Good Luck.

Fast tempo

Jerry Dresel of Oakdale, NY writes – My tempo and swing is very fast, I tried everything to slow it down but without luck. Any tips? Thanks

Steve Brown: Jerry, you have tried to slow things down without luck, my first question is this….are your legs and hips (lower body) rotating at the same speed your arms and shoulders are rotating (upper body)? Secondly, are you swinging at a speed that is out of control and causing you to loose balance? Third, is your swing “violent” or a jerky motion to start the downswing? Your focus should be to create a smooth swing where the lower body iniates the swing. The lower body starts the swing, pulling the upper body through at the same rate of speed, The key to keeping the swing in control is a smooth start to the downswing. Your thought process must be “smoooooooooooooooth”! See your local PGA Professional for additional help and good luck to you.

Becoming a pro golfer

Jesse Winkel of Harbor Beach, Michigan writes: I am doing a report on becoming a pro golfer and I would like to ask you a few tips on what to practice on. I would like to know what it is like to be a professional golfer.

Steve Brown: Jesse- As far as tips and what to practice on, I would highly recommend that you call a PGA professional in your area. I do not know if there is a course in Harbor Beach, but I see a listing for a Verona Hills in Bad Axe (30 miles or so west of Harbor Beach). Set up an appointment with the pro you select and let him/her evaluate your game and together, build a practice plan.

Being a professional golfer is just one of many hats that club pros wear. The professional golfer is generally a player of the game. A Golf Professional (aka club pro) is an educator of the game, as well as a business manager, promoter, etc…. I wish you luck with your report and hope that you develop a deep love for the game as many of us have.

Thanks to Steve Brown for answering these questions.