For a while now, longer than I want to admit, I have been suffering from driver depression. You know, you’re bummed out because you can’t hit this thing to save your life?
At one time it was my best friend and as straight as any club in the bag. Now? One duck hook after another.
I thought it was several things, which I won’t go into, because none of them were the reason.
But there is this book I have, titled Golf Doctor*, by the legendary British teacher, John Jacobs. He presents 25 “lessons,” each of which is a description of a particular (poor) ball flight, why it’s happening, and what to do about it.
And it’s not just, do you slice or do you hook. It gets much more detailed than that.
This is the one that described me:
“Lesson 7: Shots with all the clubs start out on target but curve to the left thereafter. Shots with all clubs fly lower than normal. Your driver, the least-lofted club, is practically unplayable.”
That’s me, especially the last. And you know what? It was all in the grip.
The first correction was to see if the grip is turned too far to the right. Too strong. Yes, my right hand had drifted over that too far to the right. I should be placing my right hand so the V made by the thumb and hand is nearly centered on the handle (see photo).
But that wasn’t all. He suggested a very fine point. At address, the pocket formed by the right hand rests firmly on top of the left thumb. If this pressure releases during the backswing, the right hand is free to get active and overpower the left hand through impact, closing the clubface.
That was my biggest problem. My right hand was separating itself from the left. There was a big gap between them by the time my backswing was finished.
When I was young, books talked about putting a blade of grass between the right hand and left thumb, and not letting it fall out when swinging the club. I don’t see that pointer too much anymore, though Tom Kite’s method book has it. There’s a picture of it in Jacobs’ book about five pages later where he uses that concept to fix something else.
So that’s it. Two things to work on. So I worked on them at home. When the winter weather cleared, I went to the range to try it out.
No luck. Same as before. But with two balls left in the bucket I realized I had gone back to my old habit and my hands were coming apart. More practice at home.
A few weeks later, and another trip to the range. This time I had “hands together” down pat.
Driver. I haven’t hit it that well in years. LOUD sound. Square in the center. Ball launching off the clubface, up in the air, straight down the “fairway” a long way. Again and again.
I’m happy now. No more driver depression.
You might look into getting a copy of this book.
* Also published as Quick Cures for Weekend Golfers.