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As Seen on TV!
Watch Olympic View's Kevin Maxwell with Global TV's Jay Janower on the "On Course with Global" segment chatting about warming up for your golf game.
The two most common things I see at the academy with students who struggle to hit fairway woods are the following:
- The ball position is too far forward.
- There is not enough loft on the club they choose.
Ball position with a fairway metal should be a couple of inches inside your leading heel. The key is to make a slightly descending strike on the ball to ensure that it has enough spin to stay in the air and get some carry. The common flaw is the ball is too far forward in the setup and a swing that is trying to help the ball in the air. The result is usually a fat shot or a thin line drive that won’t go far enough. Watch the PGA and LPGA tour, both the men and ladies will take a small divot with their fairway woods and you should too.
Loft on the club. This is more of a fitting aspect than swing. As a certified fitter for PING I have seen the tremendous results we can get in total distance by getting a club with more loft in a players hand and ensuring that slight descending strike. Most people actually hit a 5 wood within 5-10 yards of a 3 wood when measured on our Flightscope launch monitor. On mis-hits, the 5 wood can actually go farther. The major difference is it is easier to hit high and out of the rough. Many of my fittings see skipping a 3 wood in favour or a 4 wood or 5 wood and then including some hybrids to replace long irons.
As always, if you have any other questions feel free to get in touch with your local PGA of Canada professional.
Chipping is a part of the game that is easy to learn and can drastically lower ones score but very few people practice it properly. We utilize chipping when we hit the ball just a few steps off the green and we need to give ourselves a chance to get it up and down.
- Rule #1 - Weight forward, hands forward at address and keep them there. This allows you to hit down on the ball and catch the ball solidly.
- Rule #2 - Pick a spot the same distance on the green (a few feet on, just past the fringe). This being said when the hole is close in proximity choose a lofted club to allow for less roll and keep it close, and if the hole is further on the green (lots of green to work with) choose a lower lofted club ie 7 or 8 iron to let the ball release to the hole with a shorter swing. With smaller more concise swings you will get more consistent contact and better overall results.
- Rule #3 - Consistent tempo. Make sure you have the same rhythm both backswing and forward, this will allow for predicted results on how far the ball will roll out. If you get quick with the tempo the ball will come out hotter with more rollout and thus the opposite if you decelerate through the shot.
If you focus these 3 basics the next time you go to practice I believe you will see increased results in your chipping and therefore lower your overall scores. Always remember a good short game can make up for a lot of mistakes that can happen throughout a round! As always, consult your local PGA of Canada professional with any questions and they will be glad to help. Email Gordy Scutt
Keep Your Head Quiet Not Down
How many times has someone else you were playing golf with told you to keep your head down? I am guessing you have heard that many times in the past. Unfortunately, this prevents the upper body from rotating properly, making it very tough to get to the proper athletic finish position.
I prefer to have my students thinking about keeping the head quiet throughout the golf swing. By quiet I mean that I want the movement of your head to be minimal throughout the swing so the rest of your body can rotate under the head from the start of the swing to the finish. As you practice on the range feel like your head stays level and quiet and you will see your shots improve and you will find it easier to rotate to a better finish position.
Getting Ready for the Golf Season
With the golf season lurking right around the corner it is time to start thinking about how to get the ball in the air and in the hole again. While spending a lot of the cold winter months couch surfing, the thought of wielding a long iron to a tucked pin is about as attractive as gum surgery. Here are some tips to help you get loose for the golf season:
- Start stretching now! Whenever you get the chance start stretching the important golf muscles - hamstrings, shoulders, quadriceps and lower back stretches - will all help your flexibility and strength for your first round.
- Work on your core. Buy a swiss ball and work on that spare tire that has inflated over the winter. Crunches, side ups and back exercises will help you get back in shape to swing the club and protect your lower back. Try 3 sets of 12-20 reps working all around your core four times a week.
- Practice trunk rotation. Sitting on a bench or a chair take a golf club and place it behind your head, resting on your shoulders and holding onto the shaft with both hands. Rotate your trunk back and through while trying to keep your feet flat on the floor. This will complement the core exercises and increase your rotation which is paramount to distance and control.
- Work on your short game early in the season. This time of year you should spend most of your practice time working on your short game. Concentrate on your chipping and putting as this will save you strokes until you find your swing. Working on bunker shots will also help build up the muscles in your forearms which will help pave the road to hitting the ball solidly as you make full swings.
By Gordy Scutt, Academy Instructor and PGA of Canada Professional