Paging “Doctor” Drumm
Are you singing the golf swing blues? I’ve heard that tune far too many times. Peculiar, isn’t it? I actually very much dislike that genre of music, yet I seem to spend a great deal of time around those who have become addicted to its depressing beat. It so happens that I thoroughly enjoy the journey of helping others. In this case, those chained to the frustrating melody of golf swing maladies can find a peaceful rhythm and a new song to sing while strolling the fairways. Under my direction, I have helped many orchestrate a complete change. Not surprisingly, when it comes to golf, most would give just about anything to hear a new type of music playing between their ears. That tempo would have them brimming with confidence. This transition, under appropriate tutelage, takes time. As a man who wears many hats, however, I intend to take you in a different direction. I have conducted many fun-filled lessons over the years. I have met so many great people with an incredible desire to improve their play. My experience has taught me that most golfers learn backwards. They are inclined or encouraged to focus on the long game. I’m sure you can guess where this is headed. Put that driver back in the bag. Allow me a moment to don my new cap, and let’s go greenside!
Though there might not be a quick fix for what ails your full swing, and I’m not about to recommend using Band-Aids, there exists a panacea for your short game. So, if you are interested in receiving an inoculation against chunky chips, I can cure that problem. If you desperately need a remedy which will prevent those painful skulls and mis-hits, I’ve got a solution. Are you tired of exhausting strokes around the putting surface? Are you sick of leaving yourself lengthy putts hole after hole due to serious issues with your chipping skills? Do you often pull out your putter, because you are terrified of what might happen? A check-up with the short game doctor is guaranteed to save you from the terrible agony you’ve been experiencing. It’s time to make an appointment to get some much needed relief. I can guarantee that its positive effects will last well beyond your initial visit. Yes, I am saying that your disorder is very treatable.
Now, as your primary physician, I am going to prescribe the following steps which will aid in your recovery:
1. Narrow up your stance significantly.
2. Load up more weight on your front foot
3. Physically move yourself closer to the golf ball
4. Position your lead hand just off the inside of your lead thigh
5. Place the ball in the middle of the stance
6. Experiment with different golf clubs
7. Relax your body
8. Count 1,2,3 in your head and chip away
9. Eliminate your wrists for easy control
This might appear to be some lengthy and intense rehabilitation. However, don’t worry. The key is in your set-up position, and it really is as easy as 1,2,3!
Maintaining balance is not going to be a problem as you chip the golf ball, so get those feet close together. Stick the head of the club between your feet to get an idea of just how narrow you can go in the set-up. You cannot afford to have any body weight drift aimlessly away as you swing the club back. Thus, when you plant more of it on your front foot, leave it there! This set-up position can help promote a slight descending strike which is desirable.
Constancy is the key to consistency.
So, never change the position of your lead hand in relation to the body. Regardless of whether you are chipping, pitching or taking a mighty full swing, set your lead hand in the identical position. Don’t make things complicated. Don’t fiddle with the golf ball and move it all over the place. If you start changing its position, then you increase the likelihood that you will tinker with your hand position as well.
I repeat. Keep it simple in the set-up.
Let me remind you of your previous approach? Your hands were pressed well forward, the ball was way back in a much wider stance, and the club face was hooded or de-lofted because of the severe angle of the shaft. What a mess that created! Most of my patients used to be trapped in the “one club” for all chipping situations mentality. All chip shots are not created equally. The worst case scenario: using a high lofted wedge everywhere around the green regardless of the distance to the cup, the lay of the land between you and the hole, and the manner in which the ball is sitting. Because of the fact that your big muscles are not actively involved in the chipping motion, it can quickly become a tension filled adventure. You are not attempting to move the golf ball very far. This requires precision, not power.
So, to be as stress-free as possible, relax your body. To control the distance and direction, you have moved closer to the ball and are almost making a putting stroke. You cannot possibly expect to become a good chipper if you are, in relation to the ball, standing just as you would for a full swing. If you use too much wrist action, you can’t reasonably hope to accurately gauge how hard to hit your chips. Conversely, if your arms and shoulders do the work, your expectations will change dramatically. You can and will begin to feel confident that you will hole-out shots from off the green. Yes, it is as easy as 1,2,3! You may take an extra practice swing or two when chipping. Unlike in preparation for a full shot, the additional rehearsing will aid your effort to develop the proper feel for how to play a particular chip shot with the specific club you’ve selected. When you “feel it”, step right up to it, count to three in your head, and show off that magical touch. If you follow my prescription, your fear of chipping will disappear. The days of mis-hitting these shots will be a distant memory.
Can you imagine the improvement you’ll see in your putting statistics? Those scary long putts are now stress-free tap-ins. Just as the doctor ordered! What a great feeling! Now that is something to sing about!
photo credit: Technology for medical use via photopin (license)