Thursday, February 22, 2007
Top 100 Teacher:
  • Position: Head Golf Professional, Shadow Hawk Golf Club, Richmond, TX

  • Lesson rate: $125/hour

Student: Jim Redmond

  • Age: 46

  • Home: Sugar Land, TX

  • Occupation: VP, construction company
Problem

"When Jim first came to see me, he had a reverse weight shift that robbed his swing of power and accuracy."

Solution

For Jim to find more fairways, he first needed to shift behind the ball, then let the club square itself at impact, rather than manipulate it with his arms and hands.

Jim: "Seeing my swing on video was amazing. I thought I was doing one thing, but in reality I was doing something else.

"Paul got me focused on posture, takeaway and weight distribution. Now if I hit a poor shoty, I can make adjustments. It's given me more confidence, and I'm now stronger in competition."

Tighten the turn

Here's how it works:

Â- Stop the takeaway when the shaft is parallel to the ground.
Â- Check that your weight is shifting toward your back foot and your left shoulder has not lowered from where it started at address.
Â- Finish your backswing, pausing again at the top.
Â- Be sure all of your weight is over your back leg and your wrists are hinged.

Round it out

Jim had a steep, handsy downswing which required compensations to square the clubface. To combat this, the arms need to swing freely with minimal tension. In the best swings, the weight of the clubhead and natural rotation of the forearms squares the clubface. The trick is to trust it.

One of the best ways to develop this flowing swing is to round it out: make baseball swings with your driver at waist height, then knee height and, finally, just above the ground. After about 10 practice swings, tee a ball and hit it using the same motion.

Handicap

Shaving strokes off your handicap at this level is tough, but with the help of his couch, Jim Redmond did just that. Before the lessons he was 6.2 and after two years of lessons he is now a 2.2.

Top 100 Teacher: Glenn Deck

  • Position: Director of Instruction, Pelican Hill Golf Club,
    Newport Coast, CA

Student: Don Sheridan

  • Handicap: 22

Problem
A narrow swing: "Don had been making inconsistent contact and that cost him yards," says Deck. "He lost that distance because his right elbow folded too soon on the backswing, robbing his swing od width. He needed to swing the club back and hinge his left wrist first, without folding that right elbow, and then let it bend naturally at the top."

Solution
An unusual drill: Don was instructed to grip down a few inches on a 7-iron and start his backswing as if he were bringing his left hand back to shake hands with someone. Doing that, he hinged his left wristbut kept his right elbow in. The drill worked so well that Don even uses it on-course as a practice swing when he feels his swing breaking down.

Private Lessons Bonus

You've heard top players say they "have a number in mind" that they need to shoot before a big round. You should pick a target score before your next big round, too, because it will simplify your thoughts in two ways: 1. It directs your focus inward, erasing the feeling that you must react to what your competition does; and 2. It will allow you to be more decisive in stategic situations, because if you know you need a certain number on a given hole, you can attack (or not) appropriately.

Make your number achievable by basing it on a solid -- not career best -- performance.

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