Saturday 1st April 2006: Tudor Park Kent
The following notes were made at the "Introduction to Golf" event held at the Marriott Tudor Park venue on the 1st April 2006.
They are designed as memory joggers for those who attended. ( Care should be exercised if you are reading them without having attended the session ).
Professional Golf Teacher providing tuition: Nick McNally
- The amount the shaft can flex is the major difference between ladies and gents clubs. There is a small difference in length but this is of less significance.
- The way you hold the club is very important. You hold the club very much in the fingers and not the palms. The four fingers of the left hand wrap around the shaft about half inch from the top. The left thumb should sit slightly to the right of centre. ( Some grips have small marks on them at the bottom which show the centre line ). The right fingers ( not the plam ) wrap around the shaft and the palm of the right hand should largely cover the left thumb. There are 3 different types of correct grip.
1) All fingers of the right hand wrap around the shaft - this is sometimes called the baseball grip as it is similar to how one would hold a baseball ball .
2) The "vardon" grip which is where the little finger of the right hand sits on the crease between the first and second fingers of the left hand
3) The interlocking grip - link the little finger of the right hand with the first finger of the left hand.
- The bottom of the club head should sit square on the ground. The lines on the face of the club should be perpendicular to the direction in which you want the ball to go.
- The routine for getting in the right posture: With the club in your hands held out so the club is level with the ground....
1 ) Lock both of your knees
2) , Bend from the waist keeping your back straight until the club head is very nearly on the floor
3) Flex your knees until you feel your weight is on the balls of your feet - not the heels or the toes.
- Rule of Golf: The club and the body should move in the same direction. When you swing the club back your body moves back. When you swing forward your body moves forward. An analogy is to imagine you are swinging a bucket of water. You can only swing it effectively if your body is moving aswell.
- You swing the club and the ball gets in the way
- It is improtant to complete the swing. Your weight should be on the front foot and if this has occurred your back foot will be on it's tip-toe. Your belt buckle should point in the direction in which you want the ball to travel. Try and hold your finish - don't quit on the swing half-way through.
- Question...should the front heel ( i.e left foot ) lift on the backswing?
Answer: If it happens it is not incorrect, although it is recommended that you try and keep both heels in contact with the floor if you can as it will give you more stability.
- Question...does the head need to keep still?
Answer: Your body should move back as you swing the club back. It is impossible to keep the head perfectly still if your body is moving back. This "rule" is more to do with keeping your eye on the ball whilst you swing. You do not need to stare at the ball.
- Regarding the direction in which you want the ball to go. The way you stand to the ball dictates the direction it will go ( Imagine a train track. You are standing on one rail and the ball should travel on a parallel flight on the other rail. You therefore cannot aim half-way through the shot. You have effectively already aimed the gun before pulling the trigger.
- The head of the club moves in an arc. With a 7 iron the bottom of the arc will be just to the left of centre between your feet- hence this is where you need the ball to be. With longer clubs ( say a Driver ) the arc will be more opposite the instep of the left foot.
- When using a club such as a 7 iron the ball is actually hit just before it takes the divot out of the grass. When using a Driver ( sometimes called a 1 Wood ) the ball is sat up on a tee and the ball is actually hit VERY slightly on the upswing of the arc - this is so there is not so much backspin on the ball, and so it will not fly as high ( but farther ).
- As Nick demonstrated a 9-iron flies very high . A 6 iron flies not so high . A 3 iron flies lower still. The higher the number of the iron the higher it flies ( but not as far overall !!).
- The higher the number of club, say a 9 iron, the more LOFT it has on the face. The more LOFT the higher the ball will fly but not as far. The more LOFT there is, the more backspin, rather than sidespin is imparted on the ball. The less sidespin the more straight the resulting shot. Nick demonstrated that he could bend the flight of the ball from left to right with a 3 iron, but could not do the same with a 9 iron.
- Nick considers golf to be made up of five distinct games
1. The Power Game - hitting long shots
2. The Scoring Game- hitting shots of between 20 and 50 yrds onto the green
3. Putting - getting th eball in the hole
4. The Mental Game- thinking positive
5. The Managment Game- this is the strategy of how to play each hole. i.e should I tee-off with a Driver or an Iron for example
- Tips on the Scoring Game. Imagine you are throwing the ball onto a target landing area to help judge the pace of swing required. Avoid trying to help the ball into the air i.e scooping it. The ball must be struck with a slightly decending blow and your body moves forward as your club moves forward.
- Putters come in lots of shapes and sizes. It is largely a process of trial and error to find out what you like best.
- When putting try and employ these tips. The feet should be about shoulder width apart. Your eyes ( and more specifically your left eye ) should be directly above the ball. It is beneficial to stroke the ball with a slightly accelerating blow - to achieve this take a shortish backswing and a longer follow. The body and legs should be kept still - the shoulders rock to perform the stroke. The hands should be kept still in relation to the arms- keep the wrists firm . Practise putts of around 4ft in length ( these can be done at home on the carpet! ).
- Practise and experience will help you judge how hard a putt needs to be struck. Treat all putts as STRAIGHT- this means that if the ground is obviously not level you pick a spot that is appropriately offset from where the hole actually is and put in that direction- gravity will do the rest in governing the actual route the ball takes.
Nick recommended that you should visit your local Professional Golf Association registered professional for club buying advice. These can be located through the website www.pga.info Nick recommended that a starter set of around 7 clubs is ample for beginners- sometimes this is called a “half-set”.
That's about it folks- if you have anything to add please email.
Check out our other Introduction to Golf Article
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