By Tom Abts
Well, I’ve been down South for a month … and I’ve totally mastered golf.
Guess I have to move on and master something else … maybe the violin … I’m sure if I devote myself … I can master that in a month too.
On a more serious note, I think I’m playing better than I was a few weeks ago.
So … with all of this playing … I have a bunch of thoughts about the golf swing. Of course, I’ve been experimenting … even during our weekly Monday game for big bucks (I won $6!).
My new left foot move is working. I’m making a much better turn and backswing. But … I still have to hit the ball. A baseball pitcher with a good wind-up still has to throw the ball.
So of course, I’ve been monkeying with my downswing and ways to make contact.
Years ago, I read an interview with Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman. When asked which hand they emphasize in their swing … Seve said his right-hand … and Norman said his left-hand … though they both made a right-handed swing.
I’ve monkeyed with this for many years. I’m very right-handed. I have way more feel and control with my right-hand.
However, I make a better golf swing when my left-hand is in control … it’s more on plane and has more extention.
But, if my left-hand controls my chipping and wedge shots … I don’t have much feel and might even have poor contact.
So … I use more left-hand on full shots … especially using a tee. The tee can help with mediocre contact and these big-headed drivers have a lot of room for error.
Greg Norman was one of the most accurate drivers of all-time. Seve Ballesteros was one of the wildest drivers of all time.
But Seve might have been the best chipper of all-time.
While at the Masters in 1995 … I watched Seve play basically alone on Saturday morning. He was the last one to make the cut and was paired with an Augusta member so he wouldn’t play alone (this Augusta member had won the US Amateur – so it wasn’t some goofball playing in the Masters).
I was about the only person following these guys. The other one was Seve’s coach – Mac O’Grady. They were constantly signaling each other back and forth. Seve hit the ball everywhere – it was crazy. But he could get it up-and-down from places that were impossible. I wish I had a movie of it.
Obviously emphasizing my right hand won’t give me Seve’s short game … but it’s better than if my left-hand is in control
And obviously emphasizing my left hand with my driver won’t give me Norman’s driving … but it’s better than when I emphasize my right hand.
But … what about long irons or fairway woods off the ground? Using a tee is my magic weapon on those shots.
Well, I’m not bad if I have a nice lie … but down here (and especially on some courses) … the lies during the Winter are very skinny. So, do I go right hand for contact … or left hand for a better swing?
And it’s not just golf shots … this also applies to putting. The other day a golf magazine had an article saying that forward-lean-shaft players were the worst putters on TOUR.
My son Ryan sent me the article … because I’m a forward-lean-shaft guy … he’s not … and he’s a much better putter than I am.
My instinct is to put my hands way in front of the putter and basically punch it with my right hand. This is not conducive to a good roll. Sometimes I do the opposite: I put the ball way forward in my stance … stand tall … and swing the putter with my left hand and hit the ball on the way up. It does roll the ball well … and I have putted well that way. But I don’t trust it. The only way that I can make my punch-putt work … is to hit it off the toe of the putter to make it roll.
How crazy is all of this???
I’m not making any of this up. This is the goofy stuff I think about and try when playing golf.
Not surprisingly … most of my best rounds have happened when I’ve had a few drinks. And I’m not thinking about any of this stuff.
This is good stuff to understand and practice. I wrote this to be helpful. And to make you not feel alone if golf info gets overwhelming. I’m actually trying to make it simpler!
Well, the weather is supposed stay nice and I’ll keep playing every day. Hopefully I’ll be better next week than I am now.
But after a month of golf … I probably won’t have it mastered. If I do … I’ll let you know.