Jeremy Wilson in Dakalb, Illinois asks: Do you think racism is a part of the PGA? If you don’t do you think it was back when the PGA was sanctioned?
Kim Brown: The focus of this service is instructional in nature and I note that it is a free service. I have no idea what the thinking was in 1916. I will say that the PGA of America has been “very” aggressive in the last handful of years in trying to make special opportunities for minority Americans to get involved in the PGA Programs. Other than that, I guess you should talk to the PGA directly about it.
Brian Barker in INDPLS. IN. asks: HOW OR WHAT CAN YOU DO TO CURE THE DREADED SHANKS, SPECIFICALLY USING WEDGES? SHOULD YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU HIT YOUR CHIP SHOTS WHEN SWITCHING FROM BENTGRASS TO REGULAR RYE OR BERMUDA?
Kim Brown: Suggest taking out 20 balls and intentionally trying to shank them. Line them up on the hosel and try to shank them severely. Sounds weird, but it works. Shanks are from deceleration that results in the hosel leading the club into the ball.
Mike Zientek of Memphis, TN writes: I seem to be hitting the ball on the toe of the club, but not all of the time. As a result, I lose distance and accuracy. When I hit is in the center of the face, it goes where I am aimed. Any suggestions?
Kim Brown: Although I cannot analyze your exact situation without seeing you, the “toe” hits can be caused by the following:
* fundamentally, the path of the swing is moving to the left of where your feet are aligned.
* this tends to happen when the shoulders are aligned too far left when compared to the feet and / or hip alignment
* also tends to happen when the hands are too active in the swing – try to maintain “quiet” hands on the club
* swing to a good finish position and practice holding it there
Jay Lawrence of Jacksonville FL writes: I’ve recently started playing golf (8 months.) Why do I consistently hit the ball “fat”? I think its called “chili dipping”.
Kim Brown: Tends to happen when the hands are too active in the swing and the length of the radius (left arm) breaks down in the swing. Try to swing the club by moving your shoulders more and your arms and hands doing less. Swing the “triangle” and keep your hands relatively still on the grip. Follow through longer than you take the club back and accelerate through the ball to a good finish.
Hector Eglaisis of Mexico City, Mexico writes: Dear Kim: Please offer your advice to a low handicap amateur, who tends to hit low, right to left tee shots. Also, I struggle with a “slight” pause at the top of my back swing. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Your compadre, Hector.
Kim Brown: Sounds like you have an insufficient shoulder turn resulting in the arms being too active on the downswing and possibly “coming over the top”. Try to coil your upper body and don’t let the right arm bend more than 90 degrees. That will reduce your “pause” and will allow you to utilize the big muscles in your body better and reduce the hand action slightly. If in doubt, just focus on “turn and then finish”.
Elliott Riebman of Arlington Heights, IL, United States writes: How can I hit my approach shots from within 115 yards with my wedge closer to the pin? How can I put backspin on my short iron shots?
Kim Brown: Reduce the “hand action” by practicing with a 9 iron from that distance and a 3/4 feeling backswing. Backspin is a result of a descending blow or in other words a steeper angle of attack.
Justin Aliono in Tennessee writes: I think I have a good swing, but I keep fading the ball with my 3,4,5, and driver. I tried moving my right shoulder in, but that made me pull the ball. Do you have advice to make me stop doing that. Moved your shoulder in?
Kim Brown: Try to align your shoulders slightly right of the target or at least right at the target. If you move your right shoulder closer to the ball that will cause a push, fade, or a pull as the path of the downswing tends to follow the shoulder alignment.
Bill Robertson of Coral Gables, FL: I find that after working out by lifting weights, I can hit the ball longer. However, since I perform a lot of different weightlifting maneuvers, I can’t pinpoint which one is actually contributing to a stronger swing. Are there any specific weightlifting exercises that you know of which emphasize the muscles used in the golf swing?
Scott Robbins: Bill,
All weightlifting is good as long as you concentrate on maintaining balance in your muscle structure and flexibility. Tour professionals concentrate mainly on legs, shoulders forearms and wrists to build strength and avoiding injury. Bicycle riding and weight lifting for the legs and shoulders and arm work for the torso and stomach work to help strengthen the back are all recommendations I would make. Living in Coral Cables, I would investigate some of the golf clubs that have exercise programs or some of the health clubs that are attuned to helping golfers and getting their recommendations also.
Usually though, the best thing to strengthen the “golf” muscles are swinging a weighted club like Hogan and his contemporaries did and/or hitting lots of golf balls.
Omar Taborda of Miami, FL writes: I start the downswing with my upper body, I hit the Irons very well but the Woods I push (Driver). I score in the lower 80’s
Kim Brown: Make a bigger shoulder turn and swing to full finish. Try pinching your elbows together at contact.
Bruce Farrell of Redwood Meadows, Alberta, Canada writes: My technique for fading or drawing irons is to line up square to the desired ball direction, then loosen grip, and open or close the face for where I want the ball to end up. With woods however, this technique causes the head to sit funny due to the head shape. Trying to align the face at the target and then moving the body position left or right creates a strange relative hand position. Any suggestions? I am a nine handicap and would like to try and develop the ability to work the ball in some cases with the woods.
Kim Brown: “Center” your hands and then repeat the same procedure. If the club looks bad, try a different club.
Tom Eddy in New Lenox, IL asks: How can I keep from slicing the ball?
Kim Brown: Close your shoulders at address
Take a full shoulder turn
Pinch your elbows together at contact
Swing to a full finish
Al Leonitti in Wilmington, DE writes: I need to communicate with Fred Couples, can you possibly supply me with a mailing address or other info that can help me to get in touch with him.
Kim Brown: You might try to contact Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, where Fred belongs or send mail there attention of Fred.
Peter Meadowcroft of Germantown, MD, USA writes: I’m a six handicap, and normally play reasonably well, but under amateur tournament play pressure, I have a tendency to heel the shots, more so with the longer clubs. Can you offer any advice? I suspect that my swing cramps up under tension but heeling will do that to anyone!
Kim Brown: Sounds like you make less of a shoulder turn and less “uncoiling” can happen on the downswing under pressure. Focus on making the full turn and then smoothly unwind all the way to a good finish position when under “the heat”.
Mark Russo of Baltimore, MD writes: I am a 16 handicap and I want to lower my handicap at least into the single digits. What are the specific parts of my game that I should work on to acheive my goal? Thanks!
Kim Brown: Main focus should be on putting and chipping. Keep the ball in play and then having a great short game is the quickest route to single handicaps!
Dave Ash in Germantown, TN, USA writes: My close in pitching game ( within 50 yards of green) is very poor. What drill or aid can you recommend to improve this part of my game and others who have the same problem?
Kim Brown: Play “chip and catch” with a friend. Use a tennis or cayman ball, start out approximately 10 paces from each other and try to chip the ball in the air to the friend so they can catch it. Swing from “8 oclock” to “4 oclock” for that distance. Then both of you take 2 big steps backwards and repeat the process swinging from “9 oclock” to “3 oclock”. Continue out in this fashion until you can do it with a real ball from 30 to 40 yards. It will not only enhance your technique and FEEL, but you will have fun doing it and you might even find out who should play goalie on your soccer team!
Thomas Abernathy of Buffalo, NY writes: Please help me with a rules question. The other day I hooked a 5 iron into a another fairway. I went into that fairway and tried to hit the ball back into my fairway; all the while getting screamed at by players. Uh…is that considered out of bounds? How many penalty strokes?
Kim Brown: It is not a penalty. It may be an etiquette issue if you just charged out into the wrong fairway without consideration for those that have the “right of way” playing their own hole. However, there is no penalty according to the rules of golf.
Frank Fontaine in Detroit, MI writes: I used to hit my irons pretty decently – not too high and not too low. Now, I’m starting to really pop them high. I used to hit my 7 iron about 170 yards; now they go about 150 because of the skying. Any tips on how I can regain my once perfect trajectory?
Kim Brown: Did you change clubs? If not, then you are probably hitting your shots with an “open” club face. In other words, the club face is pointing to the right of where the swing path is headed. You may still be hitting them straight, but your swing path might have changed and be heading left. Get a good lesson on your alignment, particularly your shoulder alignment, to get squared away again. If you are open in the shoulders, that is condusive to swinging across the ball and leaving the clubface open which would result in a higher, weaker shot.
Travis Jenkis in Kingwood TX asks: WHATS IS THE STANDARD CLUB HEAD SPEED, WHEN USING A DRIVER, AND IRONS FOR THE PROS. WHATS TIGER WOODS CLUB HEAD SPEED.
Kim Brown: Standard would be around 115mph, Tiger’s I am guessing around 121 or so.
Larry Koerner of Crete NE writes: I am a right handed golfer, and I have a tendancy to pull my shots. My swing plane must travel on an outside to inside path because occasionally I’ll hit a shot off the heel of my driver which sends it to the extreme left. Is there a drill I can work on over the winter months that will help me with this problem. Thanks.
Kim Brown: Rotate your shoulders more closed (to the right) at address. Practice hitting 3/4 wedges with a glove under your left arm, as this will promote the proper balance and connection. Also, practice “holding” the finish position for a 3 count, regardless where you hit your shots.
Helen Bryan of Toronto, Ontario, Canada asks: What’s the best way to improve my swing?
Kim Brown: Take lessons. Get good set up fundamentals. Don’t force for distance. Swing to a full finish position. Use the “big” muscles, not the little ones. All of these are “food for thought” type tips as I cannot possibly give you a generic fix all tip without seeing your motion.
Mike Aversa of NORTHVILLE, MICHIGAN writes: FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS I HAVE BEEN PLAYING WITH A KNOCKOUT OF A BIG BERTHA DRIVER. I BROKE IT THIS YEAR AND SWITCHED TO THE NEW NICKLAUS DRIVER. THE OLD DRIVER WAS GRAPHITE WITH A 9.5 LOFT. THE NEW IS A STEEL SHAFT WITH A 10.5 LOFT. MY QUESTION IS THAT I SEEM TO HAVE LOST A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF YARDAGE. COULD THIS BE DUE TO THE EQUIPMENT OR SHOULD I LOOK ELSEWHERE?
Kim Brown: Obviously, a graphite shafted club with 9.5 degrees loft SHOULD go further than a 10.5 degree club with steel. By design.
Buddy Nuttall in Hyde Park, New York asks: Can you describe what a “flier lie” is, how to recognize it, what to expect from it?
Kim Brown: A flier lie happens when the ball is sitting in a situation where grass will get between the clubface and the ball at contact (like when it is sitting in deeper grass, but up off the ground for example). They are difficult to always predict but one learns to get a clue about it after playing for a while. A flier lie will result in the ball flying unpredictably long and with very little backspin. You might normally hit 7 iron 150 yards but as a result of the “flier”, hit the ball about 165 in the air with no backspin.
Albert Wright of Union City TN writes: I have lost 20 yards off my iron shots. I think as a result of a shanking problem I sometimes have. I am trying to ease up to control the club. My divots are always outside in and only the heel of the club and middle are making the divot. I hit my woods well most of the time. What can I do to help? improve my iron game and get rid of the shanks?
Kim Brown: Flatten the lie of your club 1 or 2 degrees. In regard to your swing, it sounds like your hands are doing most of the work in the swing. Practice hitting wedges with a glove under your left arm and don’t drop the glove out. This will force your bigger muscles to start doing the work and will slow down your hands and force “connection”. A gimmick to quit shanking is to line up on the range with the ball right on the hosel and intentionally try to shank 20 balls in a row. Usually, by the time you get to the 10th or 11th ball, you CAN’T shank it.
C. Roth in Napa CA asks: How do I get in touch with a particular Pro, specifically Ed Sneed? He was at the Seniors Tournament in Napa at the Silverado CC in Oct.
Kim Brown: Contact the PGA Tour.
James Smithfield of Boise, ID writes: I tried using the tip you gave to Albert in Georgia about drawing the ball. Whenever I do it, I hit a horrendous duck hook. I tried keeping my elbows together and used a good swing. Any more suggestions?
Kim Brown: Anything can be overdone. Try a 1/2 way approach to keeping your elbows together. If you keep your elbows together but overuse the hands, you WILL hit a big hook.
Michael Porter of Cleburne, TX writes: I am having problems with a fade the right when I hit the golf ball. What should I do?
Kim Brown: Get your alignment of your feet shoulders and hips all in the same direction. Make a swing that results in a divot that goes straight down the target line instead of to the left of the target line. Keep your elbows close together at the moment of impact, and swing to a good finish position.
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