No matter where you’re teeing off on the East End, there are certain mistakes that you cannot make when swinging a golf club. There have been many champion golfers who swing the club in an unorthodox manner but stay away from any death moves. Players like Jim Furyk and Bubba Watson have very different golf swings but still manage to get the ball in the hole. Here are a few of the areas that you must get right regardless of any unorthodox habits you might have in your game.
In order to hit the ball the greatest distance, you must swing up on the golf ball. We know with today’s technology that you can gain more yards if you change your angle of attack from down to up without swinging faster. The most common mistake I see that prevents players from swinging up begins with the setup. First tee the ball up as high as you can. This is the easiest way to allow you to swing up. My junior golfers have the best angle of attack with their driver because their club heads are small, allowing them to get under the ball and swing up. Second, tilt your spine away from the target. This tilt will also give you your best chance to hit the golf ball after the golf club has bottomed out.
It is essential to have slice in your short game. Slice will allow you to create finesse, which is the end goal when trying to get the ball close to the hole. To create slice your clubface must be open to the direction the club is swinging. The direction the golf club should be traveling needs to be along the target line or slightly from the outside to the inside. Only on rare occasions should you swing from the inside to out. Swinging the club from the outside to the inside will give you your best chance to hit down with the bottom on the arc occurring in front of the golf ball. This will ensure good contact. Finally, creating slice means the clubface is open and will allow you to use the bounce of the club. A closed clubface will create too much dig and inconsistent contact. The finesse game involves all areas from pitching to chipping, and especially your bunker game.
The greatest iron players in the game all have one thing in common—they strike the ball with the shaft leaning toward the target. This allows them to swing down on the ball, in turn controlling trajectory and hitting the ball first, then the ground. The most common mistake amateurs make with their irons is they fall backwards, which adds loft to the golf club and creates an upward swing. To ensure a downward strike, start with your hands ahead of the golf ball and finish with your momentum on your front foot.
Great putters control the length a golf ball rolls, the key word being roll. If your golf ball gets airborne off the putter face, your ball will have some backspin and then some skid affecting the distance a ball will roll. In order to get the ball to roll immediately, a player must strike the ball above the equator with an upward strike.
There are many different ways to play the game of golf, but there are a few things that will never allow you to succeed. Look at each of these different areas and make sure that you are not suffering any of these fatal flaws. No swing, personality or imagination should be the same in golf. In the end, stay true to your own style—but do not dig a grave for your golf game.
Darren deMaille is the Head Golf Professional at The Bridge in Bridgehampton. Prior to The Bridge, Darren worked at The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, FL. and The Country Club of Fairfield in Fairfield, CT.
Darren has had many top 100 instructors influence his philosophy but most of his principles are based on Jack Nicklaus’ way to play golf.