Hall of Fame golfer and master of the wedge game Doug Ford died on May 14 at the age of 95. Ford won 19 PGA tournaments from 1952 to 1963, including the 1955 P.G.A. Championship and the 1957 Masters.
The golf swing should be as simple as possible, but no simpler (Albert Einstein?)
When your swing goes south during a round, re-group. Play the next hole with your 8-iron. 8-iron off the tee, 8-iron down the fairway, then a lesser club to get you on the green, where two putts will get you a bogey. On the next hole after that, go back to your usual game and swing whatever club you use just like you swung the 8-irons.
Close to breaking 100, or 90, or 80, but just can’t shed those one or two strokes? Play a round from the forward tees once, and break through. Now that you’ve done it, the monkey is off your back, and you can return to your regular tees and enjoy golf again.
Anything you want to do with a golf ball, hit it straight, far, curve it, spin it, high, low, anything, starts with hitting it on the center of the clubface. That, is golf’s fundamental skill.
Ben Hogan said that in the forward swing, you can’t turn your hips too fast. That is good advice as long as you do not swing out from under yourself. The hips turn, but they must carry the torso with them and not leave it behind.
Try playing a round in which every shot into the green, from no matter from how far away, ends up past the flagstick, and see what that gets you. If you think a 6-iron will do, take a 5, grip down an inch and swing away. If you’re chipping, make sure the ball stops past the hole, not short of it. You score by getting the ball up to the hole, not by sneaking up on the hole.
I really like 2s. When you put a 2 on your scorecard, everyone knows exactly what happened. A 3 could be several things, so could a 4, and a 5 could be a double bogey. But a 2 means only one thing. I like 2s a whole lot.
It is true that the less tension you have in your swing the faster the clubhead can go. At address, you should be completely relaxed–not limp like a noodle, but have no tension anywhere. Most of us are OK on the backswing, but when the forward swing starts is where tension can come in, especially if you want to hit the bill hard. What you really want to do is hit the ball fast, and that means…no tension. I have found in my swing that the place where tension comes in and slows down my swing is in the muscles of the upper torso. If I keep this area relaxed, the clubhead screams through the ball with ungodly fury, yet it is still under control. Try it. Try keeping that part of your torso relaxed on the forward swing and see how much more clubhead speed you get.
Just before you take your putter back, lift it up so the sole is off the ground and just touches the top of the grass. Now you can start your stroke. The difference between starting the stroke by swinging straight back and going up a bit first then back, is significant.
The April 2018 edition of Bob’s Living Golf Book is now available.