Virginia Irwin is much more than a “Jill of all trades” around Golf Queensland.
Although she had turned her hand to varied tasks under the GQ umbrella, Virginia’s real passion is coaching where her commitment and skill has been recognised by appointment to the Golf Australia national panel. Continue Reading→
One of the questions I often get asked from club level golfers is how can they improve their games and what components of their golf should they be practicing.
Let’s start with exactly what practice is for. We practice to train, acquire, or polish a new skill. In golf this might mean to be able to play a new shot (higher, lower etc.), or to reduce the amount of movement our golf ball makes in the air (slice, hook), we might even need to alter our swing due to an injury or to help us play with less pain.
If your chipping is inconsistent, the fix could be as simple as standing closer to the ball. This will encourage you to swing the club more straight-back, straight-through instead of on a rounded arc. A mental image that works great is to think about swinging the clubhead as if it were a Ferris wheel, straight up and down.
When you stand too far from the ball, the club starts at a flatter angle, which causes it to move quickly to the inside. An inside swing arc can be desirable on full swings, but there’s no need for it on a simple chip. With such a short swing, attacking the ball from the inside makes it difficult to hit with a descending blow, so it promotes that bad instinct of scooping the ball. How close should you stand? The first time, get close enough so it feels a little uncomfortable, like you’re crowding the ball. Then you know you’re doing it about right.
On November 28, the USGA proposed a rule change that will prohibit anchoring the putter when putting. This proposed rule change would take effect January 2016, but would still allow for the use of belly and long putters as long as they are not anchored to the body.
I have tried using a belly putter, but it did not work for me. I felt very restricted and lost the feel. With that said, I have never had a problem with other players using the anchoring method. There are many reasons why golfers use it, including to protect the back and to steady the wrists.
The USGA says it is making the proposed rule change not because they feel anchoring a putt is an advantage, but because they feel it hurts the integrity of the game. The USGA said that the long-term interests of the game would be served by confirming a stroke as the swinging of the entire club at the ball.
“Throughout the 600-year history of golf, the essence of playing the game has been to grip the club with the hands and swing it freely at the ball,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “The player’s challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that challenge. Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club,”
When it comes to protecting the integrity of the game, I am all for it. But with almost 1 million golfers leaving the game each year, we need to make sure we keep the game friendly and fun. I don’t know if this rule change will hurt the game, but I don’t see how it will grow the game either. No matter what the outcome of the proposal is, this is a big decision in golf. Many players around the world and especially those on the pro tour, will have very different perspectives.
From shafts that anchor into your belly to wild-looking mallet heads to unorthodox grips, putting is the one part of the game where you can really tap into your creative side. Your goal is simply to roll the ball in the hole, and there are many ways to do it effectively.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter which method you use, as long your wrists stay still during the stroke. You can see the variety of ways that tour pros have had success gripping their putters in recent years. As long as your grip makes it easy to minimize wrist action, then use it.
The most consistent way to roll the ball on line is with a torso-driven stroke–your upper body moves back and through like a pendulum. Your hands move the handle, but the wrists stay still for the most part. A hinging or unhinging of the wrists often alters the face angle and makes it difficult to roll the ball where you want. Because putters have so little loft these days, the position of the face at impact–not the path of the stroke–is almost completely responsible for the direction of the ball.
My advice is to try several different grips until you find one that helps you keep those wrists nice and steady.
Every golfer has probably heard the terms “chip” and “pitch” before but sometimes the distinction about what differentiates those shots can be tough to figure out. Typically the answer relates to what happens with the ball during these shots, most notably whether it stays on the ground for the most part (chip) or flies through the air (pitch). What is similar about both shots, however, is that they are key to having a strong short game and often times both require short swings, something many golfers don’t practice enough.
Through my experience as an instructor, I have watched countless students have difficulty executing short swings on the course when they are called for, and the lack of understanding of how to execute such swings when it comes to the short game, especially as it relates to distance, leads to too many wasted shots. Here is a good, simple tool to use on distance control for your short game that we call the three-ball drill. Continue Reading→