So, about a year ago, I was hitting drivers better than I ever had. Not particularly long, given my medical limitations, but straight and on the button just about every time. Of course, as often happens with this game, the success waned and I started in trying new things and quite quickly the divil got into my game. I lost the good driving, and hence a reason to even continue with this dastardly beast of a game. Right, if the driving’s gone, why even continue? Isn’t that what we handicappers play for. Approach shots are so daunting the only technique is active prayer, the more ritualistic the better like a divot being offered at mass in place of the cracker or a perfect scorecard replacing the Torah or the sacred rules of golf the Quran.
Now where was I? Oh right, this dastardly game. No, no, I was talking about driving. Well, I’ve got it back, and here’s that odd tip I mentioned to get your attention. After however you get the club back, start the transition with the arms and hands a split second before you re-turn the core. I like to think of keeping the back facing the target at the top, and letting the arms being the first troops over the trenches as you head for impact. Timing is important here. If the core leads, you run the risk of the shoulders and chest outracing the arms, often resulting in an open clubface at impact. If the arms start without the core very shortly following, you face a closed clubface at impact and a pull or worse, a pulled hook. Either are likely in the woods on a parkland course or the gorse or bunker on a links course. With golf being essentially a harm reduction sport, the more you keep it in the short grass, the better.
Of course, the head remains steady throughout, a bit behind the ball on the drive and even with the ball on irons. This facilitates the upwards movement of the clubface at impact for the driver, and the down and through action for irons at impact. OK, but returning the clubface to square is only part of the story. Distance is also part of the picture.
And distance is, perhaps, what is most on a golfer’s mind. So the next part of this tip might also be debatable, for golf instructors are like lawyers: They all have differing opinions on the antecedents of distance. Mine have to do with the arms: The stronger and more supple they are, the farther you can smack it. They used to call Arnie’s arms guns, and I think The King set the tone for the modern player and the emphasis on distance. When he reached the green on the 347 yard par 4 first hole in the last round of the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills and went on to win his first and only Open, I think that got the distance ball rolling, so to speak. You want more distance, build up the arms and core, and, like I said above, let those guns lead the way. Period.
I’m a bit shocked at the 80 shot by Jin Young Ko in the current LPGA tourney in South Korea. She is #1 in the world of women’s golf and one of the best who’s ever played in my estimation. But, at only 25 years of age, she has suffered with a wrist injury over the past year or so. It shows us how important the wrists, hands, and fingers are in this game. Without the proper function of any of these, it’s extremely difficult to play our game at all. So take care, y’all, and good wishes to Jin Young Ko.
Have I mentioned that I have a couple of cool golf books on the market? And with the holidays approaching they’d make some welcome gifts under Christmas trees, Hanukkah candles, and Kwanzaa fruit bowls. They are The Mindful Golfer, available at Amazon and at bookstores; and Golf 360, available at Amazon.