Golf 2018 Blog
Get your golf season started on the right track by working on the fundamentals at address. Going back to basics is always a good bet, especially when you haven’t swung a club in months. So what are the “fundamentals”? Well that depends on who you ask. So we will say that these are the set-up fundamentals according to Crystal Mountain Golf School. Here we go;
1. Get a Grip
This is the number one fundamental because the way you hold the club controls the club face and the club face is the biggest influence on the ball. If you participated in a golf school with us this would have been one of the first things that we looked at. We may have suggested a change. In case you forgot exactly what that change was, here is an explanation of how the grip works. You want the club in your fingers, not the palm. To oversimplify it, the more the hands are twisted away from the target the more the club face will be closed and the more the hands are straight (thumbs straight down the shaft) or worse yet, twisted towards the target, the more the club face will be open. Check out the pictures from the Lesson Guide to remind you of your correct grip. A strong grip is the most efficient manner in which to maintain a square clubface throughout the swing. The clubface will not open or close on the backswing unless the player rolls the forearms. A grip in a weak position will tend to create an open clubface, and a grip that is too strong will tend to create a closed clubface. The weak grip is called weak because of the shots it produces.
Chin up? Back straight? Butt out? NO THANKS. Remember we are not trying to power lift 500 pounds. That might be good posture for weight lifting but not for golf, or any other athletic endeavor. The chin should be down. Why? Simple, the ball is on the ground, not floating 3 feet in the air. Both eyes should be fixed on the ball. The back should be rounded. Why? It is not natural to have a straight spine. The spine is curved, no need to force it straight, so relax. Butt out? The tailbone should be under at address. Why? The tailbone is under at impact and the more it is out at address the farther it has to move to impact. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Ideally you will return to a similar posture just before impact as you had at address.
3. Ball Position
This fundamental is the positioning of the ball relative to your stance. Position the ball in the center of the stance for the short irons, in the front third of the stance for long irons, hybrids, and fairway woods, and off the inside of the left heel for the driver.
4. Get Stacked
You don’t want to set up crooked. The upper body should be stacked on top of the lower body. A vertical line should almost split your body in half. Your head will be right of center due to the fact that your right hand is lower than your left which also pulls the right shoulder lower than the left.
We hope that this article helps you understand the fundamentals of the address position. A good setup does not gaurentee a good shot but it certainly increases the odds. A poor set up almost always results in a poor shot. Don’t make the game any harder than it already is by having poor fundamentals at address. We hope to see you this season for a Crystal Mountain Golf School!
See Impact, Don’t Keep Your Head Down
One of the oldest pieces of bad advice is “Keep your head down”, often followed by “I’ll watch your ball for you so you can keep your head down.” I have never seen a Tour player hit a shot and ask their caddy where the ball went! It’s much easier to find your ball when you watch it. Plus, you can learn a lot about your swing from carefully following the ball flight.
Instead, a piece of GOOD advice is “See impact, then follow the flight of the ball.” As shown in the photos below, good players do NOT keep their head down. Their head does tilt to the right, but it actually comes up. If the head stays frozen after impact, the swing stops being an athletic movement. So keep your eyes on the ball, see impact and the divot for a split second, then watch that white ball against the blue sky. After all, you want to see your great shots.
Turn Around the Center
“Shift your weight!”
“Load your right side!”
“Get behind the ball!”
These are all examples of bad advice golfers give each other all the time. In golf, the ball does not move until you hit it. Moving your head before impact makes it difficult for your eyes to keep the image of the ball stable. Golf is easier when your eyes are steady and relatively still, with the head only rotating a little to allow for a full shoulder turn on the back swing. Your head should not bob up or down, left or right and/or forward or back. Your hips should not move, either – they should simply turn. Sliding the hips to the right, aka “loading the right side”, causes a reverse pivot if the head stays steady Sliding those hips also causes “fat shots” if the head sways right along with the hips.
What you should do is “Turn around the center”. The line drawn through the center of the player below at address is the axis that the player should turn around in his back swing. This is also called “get skinnier”. Notice how wide his shoulders look at address, and how much thinner they look at the top. This is because he has turned, not slid, his hips. So- stop making your game harder by moving too much during the backswing. Simplify it by staying centered!
Ditch the 3 Wood Off the Ground
For most golfers using a 3 wood off the ground is simply not worth the trouble. In fact, most golfers are actually losing distance rather than gaining it when using a 3 wood off the deck. The loft of the club that will hit the ball the farthest is different for every golfer. Most golfers don’t have the necessary club head speed to get 3 woods to launch at high enough trajectories to stay in the air for any significant time/distance. It’s pretty simple: the higher the club head speed the higher the launch angle.
Think of shooting water out of a hose. If it shoots straight up the water won’t go very far. The same is true if it shoots out parallel to the ground. There is an exact angle to hold the hose for maximum distance. A golf ball doesn’t care what the club number is. It’s how the club’s angle launches the ball. So don’t assume the 3 wood goes the farthest.
Which club carries the farthest? Test all your fairway woods and hybrids by taking them all out to the golf course. Hit three or four balls with each of your clubs and see which go the farthest. (It’s best if you can use a different number or colored balls for each club). Which club went the farthest not only overall, but also on average? Sometimes that ultra-rare best long shot is with the 3 wood, but the other 3 wood shots were terrible. Maybe your 5 wood won the contest – or your 7 wood - on both best shot and average. It doesn’t really matter. Just remember that loft is your friend.