In watching the PGA and LPGA tournaments on TV, I'm sure you think there are many different swings among the best players in the world. Well, to an untrained eye that is true, but there are three things that all excellent players do, regardless of size.
1. In their grips, their palms are directly opposed to one another, whether or not their grip is strong (hands to the right of shaft center) or neutral (hands facing center).
2. Their posture at address shows a straight spine from their hips to their head. One can achieve this by making a fist and placing one's little finger on the chest and the thumb under the chin then tilting from the waist. One's spine cannot bend if the vertebrae in the neck remain straight.
3. Now here is the hard part: Maintaining that same angle throughout one's swing, past impact. One can learn this sensation in a number of ways.
My favorite is getting a hula hoop, holding it in your hands so the hoop is around your back and the angle is angled to where the ball would be.
Just simply turn back and forth, trueing to maintain the same angle with the hula hoop throughout the swing.
Notice if your spine becomes more erect or slouches toward horizontal how the angle of the hula hoop changes. The hoop represents the angle of your golf club throughout your swing. Try this while looking at your reflection in a window or a sliding glass door.
Some of you will experience flexibility problems doing this, I'm sure, so try stretching exercises until your flexibility improves. Some of us older folks, like me, may have to shorten our swing to maintain this angle.
You also can get feedback by placing your club across your chest and crossing your arms and holding it against your shoulders.
Now when you turn back and forth, you want the club shaft to retain the same angle throughout your pivot. I actually prefer something longer than a club, such as a closet pole or the like.
Until you can learn to maintain that spine angle throughout your swing, you can never gain consistency in your swing. Sorry folks, but it's true.
A player marked his ball on the putting green and when it came time to replace his ball to play he couldn't find the marker. He discovered it was stuck to the bottom of his shoe, having accidently stepped on it. Ruling?
Answer to last
A player's ball struck a tree and ended up on the teeing ground. There was a tuft of grass behind his ball and he pressed it down with his foot. Ruling? No penalty.
John Lucas is the professional at Sky Ridge Golf Course and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.