Down the line

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By Eddie Anderson, Edinburg Director of Golf

Spend some time on the first tee or practice range of nearly any course on a Saturday morning, and you will see every form of punishment ever to be afflicted on a golf ball.  Many players take the latest golf tip they received and take it to extreme limits.  “Low and slow” on the backswing ends up being a club that never gets above knee level, or “up and away” results in a motion suited for clubbing rattlesnakes to death in a phone booth.

One of the best images of swinging a golf club is to think of your body as a rubber band.  If you pull it one way on the backswing, it’s going to rocket in the opposite direction on the way back.  For example, many players take their club too much to the inside of their target line on takeaway.  This simply means that instead of keeping their hands the same distance from their body when taking it back for the first few feet, they tend to pull the club toward and around themselves and the club head travels to the “inside.”

You see this often with beginners.  The arms simply follow the body by instinct and go too much around the body and behind them to the top of their swing.  As the club is returned to the ball, centrifugal force takes over.  It comes around and is pulled out and over the top of the ball.  They are told by well intentioned friends that they aren’t watching the ball.  The truth is that they simply do not have the strength to offset the force of a club head traveling 70 mph or more in the wrong direction.  If they are lucky to make contact, it is usually a big slice or sharp pull.

Here’s your simple fix.  Find two clubs – preferably older ones or ones that belong to someone who keeps beating you every week.  Place them on the ground parallel to each other and about six or seven inches apart.  If right handed, the grips should be pointing to your right and the heads should be pointing at your target.  There should be a little more than an inch on each side of your club head when you place it between the two clubs.  Place a ball on a tee about midway from the grip end and between the clubs.  Hitting from a tee encourages a better, and less steep, swing path.

Hit half shots with the club going back through the ends of your grip on the backswing, and then swing with a feeling that you are traveling back down between the ends of the two grips.  Keep it up until you can move to full swings.  This simple motion will make you look less like Stretch Armstrong for eighteen holes, and more like the guy who takes in all the money each week in the 19th hole.