Solutions to Common Problems
Bruce Patterson, Director of Golf
Butler National Golf Club
The player is having difficulty hitting bunker shots, mainly the miss is either too heavy or the shot is bladed. He is sliding forward in the downswing motion.
A set-up change, and the not the “norm” type of a setup for a bunker shot, but a more radical one. There is a common thought about the golf swing, and it is that wherever your head is at impact, that is where the bottom of your swing is. With that in mind, I recommend the following set-up:
Place a ball in the bunker and draw a straight line from the ball through the middle of your stance. Then set-up as usual, and take your right knee (back knee) and point it to the ball. Now lock that knee in position and do not let it move during the swing. Position your head slightly in front of the ball and swing attempting to hit 2 or 3 inches behind the ball. This really works.
The players downswing is coming over the top (outside in) and the path of the club at impact is an opening club face.
Back to the target drill.
The player should address the ball in a normal setup position and should turn their entire body back on a 45 degree angle and reset the club to the ball. Next, you will need to learn how the proper rotation of the forearms work. Imagine wearing a wrist watch on your left arm, you want the face of the watch to point to the sky on the backswing and then to rotate so the watch faces the ground through impact. Continue to attempt to hit the ball with your back remaining closed to the target and only allow your arms to swing through to the target, making certain that you are keeping the watch rotating both back and through.
The result is this drill will instantly allow the club to swing down on the proper path and also allow the club to rotate to a closing position. This can quickly carry over to the full swing and hitting high draws become a reality.
Putts that come up short of the hole or consistently miss on the low side of the hole.
The player is adding loft to the putter at impact, meaning the shaft of the putter is leaning backwards at impact. When the loft is added you put backspin on the ball causing the ball to have side spin. The ball does not complete it’s roll out thus coming up short and below the hole.
Your goal is to impart top spin on the golf ball. In tennis, the forehand shot where the player swings up with the racquet hitting the top half of the ball, or in the art of shooting pool - you impart top spin by hitting the cue ball with the cue stick striking the cue ball on the top have and the cue stick is ascending on a upward angle.