I had a discussion with my father-in-law one day that really opened my eyes about how much the golf media has made things too complicated.
To digress a moment, the more you try and manipulate the club face the more that brings the hands in and that increases the chance of hitting a bad shot.
Players on the PGA Tour try and minimize how much club face manipulation they do. The simpler the better.
Jim Furyk changes the angles of his feet to hit draws and fades to reduce how much he has to manipulate the club face…as one example.
Getting back to my father-in-law, he shoots in the high 90’s and low 100’s. One day I noticed all sorts of contrived hand manipulations and there was way too many to count. Out of the trees, chips around the greens and even some on putts. I asked him if his body was hurting or something. He asked me why and I told him about all the hand gyrations. He said he was “hitting shots.” He would hold the face open to keep the ball low out of the trees (even if there was a need to manipulate the face, that was the wrong one)…and he was trying square to square putting with a putter that wasn’t face balanced (don’t get me started, I’ll write about putters not matching putting strokes in a later post).
I asked him how many “shots” a round he tries to manipulate the face and he said, “not very many, only about 20 or 30.”
After I shook my head, I explained that I hardly ever go over 5 and PGA Tour players on a good day may not have any. As I explained with Jim Furyk before, 90%+ of all “shots” are done with setup and length of back swing and follow through changes, not with club face manipulations.
The worst one he tried was on an attempted flop shot (a shot which someone at this skill level shouldn’t be doing anyway) where he tried to massively fan the face open at impact.
The result was a decel, the club stopped right at impact and the club went under the ball and he advanced it about 3 feet.
I asked him what that was all about and he relayed an article he read in a golf publication 10 or more years before. I told him not only was he not good enough to be trying that shot, that was the wrong way to hit it. My father-in-law, who is an awesome guy, then told me he had taught dozens of people to hit the shot that way over the years.
I then lost it…”you are a chop, what are you doing trying to teach people how to do anything?” That is the problem with golf, everyone thinks they can read or see something on TV and immediately become an instructor. Do any of you take legal advice from people who watch Law & Order?
My jerkness aside, he laughed and I went on one of my patented rants about the golf media and all the horrible and complicated info they make available to us.
Of course high level players can do different things because of skill level and practice time, but every day golfers need to simplify things. Here are some examples…and all of these end with the phrase, “then just take a normal swing.
1. Flop shot-aim left, open the face and…
2. Low punch shot-narrower stance, more weight on left foot (for right handed golfer), ball back in stance and…
3. Big draw/hook/slice/fade- Aim your body where you want to start the ball, aim the club face where you want the ball to finish, grip the club normally as if the face were square*(see below) and…
and so on…
*to be more clear on this, when people are trying to hit draws, fades, hooks, slices, they take a normal grip and turn their hands to open and close the club. That is incorrect. You want your hands to be in a normal position, so you grip the club normally so the club is pointed left or right without moving your hands.