Do golf swing training aids really work?

Question: “I’m struggling to get keep my hands ahead of the club on the downswing. I
“unwind” the wrists to early, and I usually end up with an outside-in divot in
front of the ball, even if it feels like my right arm is glued to my torso. This
results in weak and high shots. Are there any drills or “swing thoughts” to
avoid unwinding or allowing the club to get down too early in the downswing?”

A Swing Aid  is a really good training aid for this problem.  There are a
couple of variations.    If you cock your wrists
properly on the backswing, your leading forearm will connect with the forked
portion of the Swing Aid.  Then, it’s just a matter of maintaining that
connection to the top of the backswing, and as long as possible on the
downswing.

I’ve compared videos of my swing, with and without the Swing Aid(s).  I most
definitely see a later release on the swings.

**********************
Question: “I am in a FUNK!  I can’t seem to do anything right.  I used to shoot in the
80’s quite often, but now can’t get the ball off the tee, or if in a fairway,
can’t seem to get any lift on the ball. Even my putting has evaporated.
Suggestions?? (Golf Books haven’t helped)!”

I was in the same boat a few years back.  I’m still a hack, but can string
along a few good holes and usually break 80 fairly easily now.  You have to get
all these swing thoughts out of your mind. That is the first thing!!!!  Everyone
has a unique swing, based on their body type and flexibility….you need to find
yours and stick with it.  Start with chipping and get that down pat.  Than go to
pitching.  And advance to your irons.

I once read that you should swing a
driver with the same swing you use a 7 iron.  Maybe this imagery will help.  I
have read a lot of golf books in my day.  You are right, they are all
conflicting.  But that does not mean they are all wrong.  There are many ways to
skin this cat.  Find one instructional guide you like and stick with it. Give it
a chance to work.

With each change you implement, you will probably hit a lot of poor shots in
the beginning, until you get the timing and coordination down.

You’re in a funk (obviously).  Take two weeks off…. then come back and give
it up completely.  :-))  Seriously, if you don’t have the cash for professional
help, get yourself the best training aid available.  That is the only way to
work out your  problems by yourself.  The only one I know of that will
effectively teach you a decent swing is one of the “noodle clubs”.  Otherwise
known as a Whippy, or Swing Aid.  All you have to do is keep swinging the thing
and hitting balls with it.  If at first you are hitting it terrible (or not at
all), that’s good… you are one that it can help the most.  Try it, you might
be surprised.

Always carry a club around.  Hit something, a post, a cat’s scratch post, your
mother-in-law, the cat, the dog (ok, but you get the idea).  Whatever it is, aim
for the same point each and every time, keeping your address position with the
various clubs.  You can buy a golf ball on a string, but you’d have to do a
google search or other type of search to find it.  I also recommend that!

How to play great golf shots out of the rough

Shots from the Rough

When faced with a shot from the rough, use your head to think your way out of
trouble. The best rule to follow is to play it safe and choose the shot that
offers the best recovery with the minimum risk of leaving yourself in an even
more difficult situation. Trying an almost impossible recovery shot seldom
succeeds and a double or triple bogey usually follows. Treat the rough with the
respect it deserves, striving to incorporate the following general tips into
your recovery strategy.

Use a more lofted club to get maximum loft quickly. ‘Pop’ the ball out of heavy
or high rough. If you are a mid to high handicapper, choose the 5 wood over a
long iron. There is less tendency for the clubhead to get caught up in the
grass.

Choke down on the club 1″ to 2″. Open your stance slightly. Take the club up
more abruptly than a regular shot with the wrists breaking early.

In heavy rough, open the clubface slightly. Grass can wrap around the hosel and
close the clubface.

In light rough, take a more upright swing and hit down and through the ball.
Uneven Lies Most rounds of golf will produce abnormal lies. Handling these
situations is not that difficult if you approach your shot with a positive
mental attitude and adjust your swing accordingly.

Uphill lie. Take a normal stance, standing perpendicular to the slope. Take the
club back parallel to the slope and swing easily. Balls hit from uphill lies
tend to hook. Aim right to compensate.

Downhill lies. This is the most difficult lie to hit from. Stand perpendicular
to the slope and play the ball back in your stance. Follow the slope on the
backswing and stay down through the impact zone. Don’t lift your head!

Ball above the feet. Choke down on the club. Play for a hook. Ball below the
feet. Bend the knees and waist and stay down through the shot. Play for a slice.

Buried Balls / Buried Lies in Greenside Bunkers When you plug a ball into a
bunker so deep you can only see the top, you are in trouble. Any questions about
that?

Take your normal address position for a bunker shot – Keep your stance open,
and play the ball forward in your stance.

Now, close the face of the wedge. Make it look like a two or three iron!! Now,
swing with conviction (but don’t lose your form. Keep your natural swing, but be
aggressive). Don’t forget to follow through!!!

Remember from previous lessons: You still want to hit the ball as if it were on
a pancake, or sprinkler head (obviously, imagining this). Hit the front of the
pancake (in other words, hit behind the ball about 2 inches). Thickness of the
sand matters: If relatively loose, hit about 2 inches behind. Relatively hard,
hit closer to an inch behind.

And if you fail, get the ball, step on it and pound it in the sand, and try
again!!

Remember, most of us practice on the course!! (Just don’t hold up play).

Hard Ground/Divot Holes/Pine Needles When hitting from difficult lies, try not
to let yourself get ‘psyched’ up over the prospect of a poor shot.

Instead, take a three-quarter backswing for maximum control and make the
following swing adjustments.

On hardpan, play the ball farther back in your stance.

Play a normal ‘hardpan’ shot making sure to hit down into the ball.

Keep your hands ahead of the ball at the address position and be sure to hit
down into the ball.

Hit down into the ball when the ball is centered in a divot.

Depending on where your ball is in the divot you should do one of the
following:

1. Either firm up your grip and close your clubface a little to prevent the
edge of the divot from opening the toe at impact.

or-

2. Firm up your grip and open the clubface slightly to prevent the divot from
catching the heel and closing the face at impact.

How to fix bad golf shots

Definitions and Fixes

Topped shots.

Topped shots are caused by hitting the ball above its equator.
Tee your drives so that one-half of the ball is visible above the clubhead.
Tee the ball inside the left heel. Stand more upright if you find yourself
crouching too much at address. Too much crouch in the set up will cause you to
compensate by jerking your head up on the downswing and topping the shot.
Trying to ‘overpower’ the shot sometimes causes the head to lift at impact.
Center the swing around your head and concentrate on a smooth, relaxed swing.

Fat Shots.

Let’s make things simple: if you’re hitting fat shots, your swing is
bottoming out too early. The golf swing is essentially U-shaped and the bottom
of your U is occurring before the ball, causing you to hit the ground first.
You’re chunking it. Chili-dipping it. Laying the sod over it. Hitting the big
ball before the little ball. (The big ball is Mother Earth, by the way.)
Tour pros’ swings are exactly the opposite. Their swings bottom out after the
ball. They hit the ball first as the clubhead is descending, then take a shallow
divot.
Here’s a drill to help you do the same:

on the practice tee, put a tee in the
ground an inch or an inch and a half in front of the ball.
Sink it into the ground about as deeply as you would if you were teeing up a
4-iron on a long par 3.
When you swing, your goal is to hit the ball and knock the tee out of the
ground. With some practice, you’ll soon be hitting the ball first and then
taking a shallow divot. You’ll strike the ball much more crisply and solidly,
and notice dramatic improvements in both distance and accuracy.

Skying the Ball.

The ‘pop fly’ of golf. The ‘skied’ shot flies high into the
air because the clubhead contacts the ball’s center. Skied drives are often
caused by teeing the ball too high.  Correct by teeing so that one-half of the
ball is visible above the clubhead.
Start back ‘low and slow’ with good extension away from the ball. Center the
swing around the head. Avoid lifting the head and chopping down on the ball.
Point your chin at the ball.
With skied short irons, check your grip. Try strengthening your grip a bit by
rotating your hands ‘clockwise’. Move your hands ahead of the ball in the setup
and lead with your hands through the impact zone.
Position the ball more to the center of your stance, 2″ to 3″ inside your left
heel.

*—————–HOT TIP——————*
How far should you stand from the ball?   Take your regular left hand grip.
Hold the club straight out.  Slowly lower to the ground.  There you go.  Set up
to shoot.  You should have no more than a fist and a half between the end of the
club and your body. Feel uncomfortable?  GOOD!!  You know it must be right.
*—————–HOT TIP——————*

My tip has to do with feeling how
much your grip can be loose and still hit the ball a long way. I still have
trouble breaking an old habit of a very tight grip.

I used a very deep snow bank in the winter time. Just keep loosening your grip
and swing into the snow bank or sand.  You will be very surprised at how loose
it can be, because the force of the swing moves the snow or sand.
You need a loose grip and wrists and forearms so you can speed up your swing
without really trying.

Greens and fairways,

Craig