May 28

Fix My Swing!

Needing Swing Tips

Calling all pros – calling anyone who knows or thinks he or she knows something about the golf swing. Come on, you can do it. You spent the time finding Waldo. You spent the time shooting at Emperor Zarg of Planet X. You can take a minute to do this.

george golf 1I’m 5’11” and getting on, but still relatively strong. I drive about 240 with a conservative stance and slightly shortened backswing, but hit a lot farther than that with a wide stance, a John Daly over-the- shoulder backswing and the downswing ferocity of Tiger on a par 5. However, it almost never goes anywhere good when I do that.  The hot rod years are gone, and I’m looking for straight (within an acceptably limited version of the term) and reliable. I have a natural draw, perhaps from the habit of moving my right foot an inch or two back, go for an inside-out swing, and from time to time, get just the reverse, an insane long-distance slice and a looping outside-in.

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In the best years of my playing, I shot consistently in the lower 80s, sometimes a bit better, because I played all the time. I have a scratch brother who is very analytical, and it works beautifully for him. I am a little more experiential, and it works on-and-off for me.  In recent years, I have begun to regain some of my previous lower scores, because I’m not only playing a lot again, but I am a calmer person with a generally calmer approach to the swing and the game in general. I shouldn’t fail to mention that despite our personality differences, everything I AM able to do comes from my brother’s help, from childhood on.

george-golf-downswingGranted, there are just some ways in which we cannot recreate our twenty-year old selves. If I tried to recreate a Tiger swing on the tee, I’d be picking up limbs (mine) off the fairway in addition to clubs. But, in certain areas of finesse, we can exceed what we once did. As I grow older, upping the technology keeps me at a reasonable distance, but I putt better than I used to, having so far avoided the yips, and am better around the green, if I’ll make myself go out and practice the short game as much as I should.

OK, pros, here’s an issue for you. From time to time, I get into a terrible period of “shanking” irons, including wedges  through 7 around the green and mid-irons off the tee. Here’s what it feels like. I notice how much shorter the club is, and change my backswing. It feels crumpled, not stretched out like a driver or fairway wood swing. In some fashion, the it comes down in a distorted way, although I can’t tell why. I’ve begun to leave my pitching wedge at home, and almost exclusively use a sand wedge for everything close up. For some reason, I never shank a sand wedge. I feel more control, and that it won’t go off on me so badly if I blade it. The comfort from that results in blading it much less often.

george-golf-follow-thru My best irons are 5 through 8, but 1 through 4, I’m just as liable to kill somebody’s cow over the fence (yes, I still carry a 1 iron – maybe a little stab at grandiosity – “like, dude, you carry a 1-iron…you must really know what you’re doing.” There are a few areas in life in which I believe that I’m “almost good at this.” For some reason, though, that belief really ticks me off in golf.  When I walk off 18 and my playing partner says, “Well, you hit some really good shots,” I want to dismantle the place, board by board.

So, get me over the hump, folks…and try to get back to me before this weekend. I’m counting on you.

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