More Questions From Regular Clients

qaThe golfing public often may ask us questions that, on the surface, seem relatively easy to answer, but we might find ourselves looking for the right words to provide an accurate picture. Below are some questions regular clients will likely ask, along with the suggested responses.

How do I avoid the dreaded skulled sand shot?
Well, we could say “hit the sand first,” but that might be a slight bit condescending! Seriously, this usually occurs when the angle of approach is too shallow. The twin brother of skulled sand shots is the extremely fat sand shot, because when the angle of approach is too shallow, the margin of error is greatly decreased from a geometric point of view. Make sure the weight starts and stays on the front foot, the wrists are cocked quickly on the backswing, and the arms accelerate on the downswing before the hands get involved. This should steepen the angle of approach.

Should the right hip be forward, even with, or behind the hands at impact?

Although the hips should be rotated open at impact, the right hip will remain behind the hands at impact. Both hips, though, will be more forward (towards the target) than they were at address.

Should I use one club or many clubs to chip with?

There are teachers on both sides of this debate, so we’ll just list the pros and cons. The main benefit with chipping with just one or two clubs is simplicity. Most people don’t find it that hard to learn many feels with one or two clubs. After all, we don’t use a different putter for each length of putt, do we? The con is that some versatility is lost. The advantage of using many clubs with which to chip is maximum versatility, while the main negative is that, since each club has a different feel, each club must be practiced with in order to effectively use that club. Many people do not have that kind of time.

If I lay the rake in the bunker prior to my shot, have I incurred a penalty?
No, provided nothing is done to test the condition of the bunker.

If my club touches the sand in the bunker after I hit the shot, have I incurred a penalty?
Yes and no. Yes, if the ball is still in the same bunker. No, if the ball is no longer in the bunker.

hat advantage do hybrids have over the traditional irons they are replacing?

The center of gravity on hybrids is lower and farther back than with irons, making it easier to get the ball airborne. In addition, perimeter weighting is made more effective, allowing for a greater moment of inertia in the clubhead, which means more forgiveness.

On a scorecard, what do the handicap ratings mean?
This shows the order in which strokes are given in a handicapped match. Contrary to popular belief, it does not mean which holes are the most difficult to make par on.

hen I hit my ball into a water hazard, why do I not have to play a provisional?

The rules do not provide the possibility of playing a provisional ball in case the ball is in a water hazard, except through a local rule that is very rarely used. A provisional ball can only be played if a ball might be lost or out of bounds.

With an undulating lie, how do I position my body in relation to the slope?

On upslopes and downslopes, general instruction calls for us to get our spine as perpendicular to the slope as possible, with our shoulders parallel to the slope. This mimics to some degree how our spine and shoulders are on a level lie. This helps the arc of the clubpath to stay the same in relation to the ball as if we had a level lie. With a ball above our feet, we stand slightly more erect, while with a ball below our feet we will hinge from the hips and bend the knees a little bit more
than normal.

Why is shaft flex so important to the average golfer?

A: It’s also important to pros! Professional golfer Chad Campbell fought a hook most of the year with his driver until he changed shafts. He then proceeded to win the next week. An incorrect shaft flex for average golfers will lead to timing, distance, and accuracy issues. In short, incorrect shaft flexes will not allow the golfer to play his or her best.

When the announcer on TV says the pro “held on,” what does that mean?

It is his way of saying the player restricted his hands from releasing in the hitting area, resulting in a pushed or blocked shot to the right. This might have been due to tension, but the main mechanical cause is that the player’s clubhead was approaching too much from the inside.

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