Tip of the Week: Busting short game myths

Western NY PGA Tips

There are more myths in golf than most amateur players realize.

“Keeping your head down” can actually hurt a swing.

Ridgemont Country Club’s director of instruction, Paul Sanders, knows another one that has to do with the short game.

“A person will try and take the hands and come down because of the phrase ‘I’ve got to hit down to make the ball go up’.” Sanders says. “They will hit down in the ground and you’ll see this big violent motion of the body. That is to try and pull the club through impact.”

What Sanders describes is the classic chunked chip shot. You won’t see any of these on the PGA Tour.

“When you watch a tour player swing and hit these shots, they are very calm and very under control,” Sanders says. “There is a very even pace, tempo and rhythm.”

Sanders’ prescribed solution is to take the club further away from the ball on the takeaway, being careful not to let the club get inside or outside too far.

“When we try to come back to the golf ball, we just re-trace the path of the club on the way down,” Sanders says. “Then, we’re going to release the shaft. Releasing the shaft is when the head sits in front of the handle. We’re going to take the head and use our hands to push the golf club through the shot.”

The clubface needs to remain pointed at the sky through impact. Sanders says to pretend there’s a wine glass balanced on the face of the club. Don’t let it spill.

Near the bottom of the swing, Sanders says most people don’t realize the handle of the club will stop or significantly slow down. It’s the hands that generate the speed and transfer that speed to the club head.

You also may not realize that those wedges that work in May are no good in August and vice-versa. It’s a fact of life playing golf in the northeast.

“There’s a lot of time when the turf is wet (in the spring) and there’s a lot of time where turf is really, really dry and almost hard. The sole grind is different for the turf conditions,” Sanders says. “You almost need two different sets of wedges.”

He adds that figuring out what works for you is best determined by working with your local Western NY PGA pro. He might even help bust other myths that have been hurting your game.

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