Instruction: Seven deadly sins

Darren Hodgson takes you through the last of the sins that ruin your game...

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Darren Hodgson
Thu, 11 Jan 2001

Instruction: Seven deadly sins

Sin 5
Posture…or lack of it!

Once you have learned to swing a club pretty well, bad habits come in many guises like this classic fundamental that is abused by even the top players in the world at times...Posture.

Stand straight, chest out…

In everyday life, people are normally at their computer and hunched over. This becomes natural in your posture and thus comfortable. However, it doesn't mean to say that it is right and invariably, you may develop lower back problems and be unable to take that nightly trip to the range and practice…or any other nocturnal activity you may think of!

Internet golfing buffs like you… take note of what I am saying because I can attribute your poor golfing posture to the way you sit at your PC.

The best way to try and achieve a good posture is to try and imagine that you are in the army and on parade standing straight to attention.

Tip forward from the waist…

Chest out, stomach in, but with the feet nearly shoulders width apart. Then, holding the club so that the shaft is parallel to the ground at about waist height, lower the club down to the ground by bending at the waist, keeping the legs straight, until the sole of the club touches the ground.

Then allow the knees to flex slightly with your body weight favouring towards the front of your feet. Your hands should be about four to five inches away from your thighs and while keeping your legs still, lower the top of the grip down and it should touch the middle of the left thigh.

…then flex knees…Good posture!

If it doesn’t then shuffle the feet until it does. This is a good indicator that you are the right distance away from the ball and have enough room to let the club go past your body during the downswing at high speed without risking serious injury to any valuable parts of anatomy!

The relation between the grip and the left thigh will always remain the same when playing any full shot with any club, but because the clubs are all different lengths the ball will obviously be a different a distance from your body.

Sin 6: Bad Balance

When on the range I am sure you have seen a few people trying to hit a golf ball looking like they are in a Shakin' Stevens look-alike contest. This is due to them setting up to the ball with their weight on the outside of their shoes.

Shocking position!
Squeeze your knees at address

If balance is a serious problem for you, the best tip to give you would be to set up with your weight evenly distributed on the inside of each foot. This can be done by setting up and then slightly squeezing your knees together to create a bit of resistance.
When swinging, try and keep your weight towards the front and inside of each foot. Only on the follow through does the weight move from this position.

Perfect setup!

To practice and see if you are getting it right, take a few continuous slow, deliberate swings from the address position and keep in control of the club and your balance until you can swing the club at full speed. Imagine you are swinging in a jar of honey…slow and sweet!

Sin 7: Equipment from the dark ages.
Now, I am not advocating that everyone should go straight out and burn a hole in the gold card on a £500 driver and a £1500 set of clubs. But, if you still use Wooden or hickory shafted clubs, Gutta Percha balls and wear tweed suits, there is something missing from your game.

Which ones would YOU play with?

Golf has evolved enough for everyone to realise the full potential of new technology and how it can benefit your game and scores.

You are probably playing with grips that have not been washed since you bought the clubs and that is the most important part of the club. It is the only place that you can hold it to make a powerful swing.

Why do new clubs feel so good?
This is down to the new grips that are on them. A lot of people only change their grips when they buy a new set. Grips that are warn and cracked can cause bad shots because you have to hold onto them so tight through fear of the club slipping out of your hand causing tension in the swing. Tension is a killer in golf.

Check your grips

You should change your grips at least once a year maybe twice if you play often enough. This will help in such for that important smooth swing.

How do the professionals get backspin?
This is a frequently asked question. They are able to do this as they have their clubs cleaned every time they use them. If you looked at them after a round you would not find a speck of dirt anywhere in the grooves. Not cleaning the grooves helps towards bad shots as backspin actually helps keeps the ball straighter. Dirt in the grooves can lead to adding sidespin and thus bad and wayward shots.

Have you slipped when playing a shot recently?

And your spikes...

When was the last time you looked at the underside of your shoes are all your studs still in place? Look at new shoes and compare the length of those studs to yours, if there is a big difference then it might be time to replace those studs and stop slipping.

Darren Hodgson is a PGA Teaching Professional at Wycombe Heights Golf Club in Buckinghamshire.

Your Internet tutor

Darren has coached some of the top players on the European Tour including last years Portuguese Open winner Van Phillips and he is also an expert in club repairs and club building as he used to work for Taylor Made building clubs for the staff tour players such as Retief Goosen and Paul McGinley.

If you would like to book a lesson with Darren or have him build you a set of clubs, you can contact him on 01494 812862