Ask the Top 100 Live: Eddie Merrins here to help your game

Eddie Merrins, aka the Little Pro, will be online from noon to 1 p.m. EST
on Tuesday to answer your golf instruction and swing questions live. Learn from a
legend who played against Sam Snead, Byron Nelson and Arnold Palmer,
and has taught pros like Bob May and Duffy Waldorf and celebs like Jack
Nicholson and Tom Brady. Leave your question in the comments section
below and the Little Pro will give you the answer.
Read past installments of Ask the Top 100 Live

1:51 p.m.

Thank
you for all of your questions and I apologize if I was not able to get
back to you this time around.  Come back next Tuesday at noon for
another Ask the Top 100 Live.  I am off to the lesson tee!  --The
Little Pro

1:48 p.m.

Bob
writes:
I have
a bad habit of swaying to the right on my backswing, and have been told that I
should narrow my stance to avoid this.Is this really the answer?

No,
the narrow stance would not be your cure.

What you need in your swing is a little more depth as opposed to height and
width. Going back and up in your backswing has created the sway tendency.

If, as well, you swing around to the right more, learning to turn against your
braced right leg, you will overcome the “sway.” Specifically, you should
use your forearms to swing the handle of your club over your right hip in the
backswing, then over your left hip in the forward swing.
Eddie Merrins

1:42 p.m.

Paul
Edder writes: I am having a terrible time trying to determine the best way for
me to initiate my downswing. If I "fire" my right side I usually end
up pulling the ball to the left of my intended target. If I initiate the
downswing with my hands I usually I hit the ball everywhere. If I initiate the
downswing with my left shoulder moving upward I lose a lot of distance. Any
assistance would be greatly appreciated.

 

Consolidating
your thinking regarding the swing will be the key to your improvement. Learn
to swing your club from one side to the other with your forearms, you really
can’t do it any other way.

You can swing your club handle from the right side to the left side (through
the ball) as soon as you like. The role of the hands is to hold the club,
not swing it. The shoulders will react properly if you use your forearms
to swing the handle. If in doing so you keep your elbows level, then the
left shoulder will not be bobbing up and down.

Moving the club from the right side to the left as soon as you like with the
forearms creates the proper “firing.”
Eddie Merrins

1:31 p.m.

Another
question from Sal: I have a huge fear of my sand wedge when chipping. Consequently
I use my pitching wedge and get more roll than I'd like. Any hints?

My suggestion is that you learn to grip and stroke
your pitching and chipping clubs as you do a putter.  Then, make your
putting stroke apply to these clubs.

This will tend to remove the excess hand and wrist action which in turn will
change your fear into confidence.Eddie Merrins

1:25 p.m.

Sal asks: I'm 79 and play
to a 20 hdcp. Yet I can't take a divot with my irons. I scoop the ball 99% of
the time. Can you help me?

You
can take a proper divot!  It must be taken past or beyond the ball rather
than before.

To help you learn to take the proper divot, find a small hillside and place your
golf balls on the hillside. Then, with your heavy sand iron, start with your
club held in the air just above the ground and to the right of the ball. As
you make your swing, concentrate on swinging through the ball but into the
hillside to the left of the ball.

This drill conveys to you how you contact the ball and how you enter the ground
beyond the ball. It also teaches you how to impart the correct backspin that
causes the ball to rise in the air.
Eddie Merrins 

1:13 p.m.

Sudesh Sharma
asks:
I
am a player who hits between 95-100 any given day ....my problem is driver
..should I just use woods?

The
purpose of your drive is to put the ball in a place that makes your next shot
easy. Certainly you must know your own limitations.

With this in mind, take whichever club you choose in order to safely secure the
position of your drive.

Learning a golf swing that fits all clubs is going to be the key to your
success.
Eddie Merrins

1:05 p.m.

Matt asks: I live in the
northern states, how do you keep your swing fresh during the snowy season. Are
there any exercise techniques to do this?

Here are two
suggestions to help you profit during the snowy season:

First, a heavy club, like the Momentus, is the best training instrument I know
to improve your swing as well as stretch, strengthen and loosen your body.

Second, take any club, other than a putter, and hold it in the middle of the
shaft with the handle end of the club extended beyond your left side (assuming
you are a right handed player). Notice that the club is free and clear of
the body and the body is clearly behind the club. This is the relationship
between club and body that should be maintained throughout the swing.

The second drill will help you understand, much more clearly, your
fundamentals, dealing with grip, setup, swing and wrist action. If the
handle end of the club is hitting your body during the forward swing, you are
not “Swinging the Handle”, but rather, the clubhead. A no-no in my book!
Eddie Merrins  

12:50 p.m.

Bill Melnychuk asks:
I've noticed that on sidehill, downhill, right-to-left-breaking putts, that often
my putter seems to twist on the backstroke and I end up pulling the putt badly.
I figure that gravity must pull the putter and try to concentrate on not
allowing the putter to "sag."I noticed during the President's Cup
that Tiger missed about a 5 footer ( I think it was late in the third round)
and I thought I saw his putter do the same thing that I struggle to avoid. Is
my analysis of this correct and is there a god thought to prevent this from
happening?

You
are right to understand that the gravity pull on the ball accents the curve
right or left.

To simplify your stroke and keep the putter face square to the target line,
make sure you are holding the handle of the putter more in the palm of your
hands.  Beneath the heel of your thumbs, more in the “Life Line”, secured
by your fingertips.
Eddie Merrins

12:40 p.m.

Dru from
Annapolis writes:  Here is a video
of my swing
. Been meaning to put it on here for viewing over the past couple weeks.
My ball flight tends to be a fade and from what i have been told i am swinging
with my arms too much. I shoot low 80's usually. Looking to break that next
barrier.

You have a great swing and good rhythm. A perfect combination. Your arm swing
is precisely what you want, so don’t change that!

To affect a draw versus a fade just time the movement of the club through the
ball so that the club face touches the outside portion of the ball to create a
draw, or the inside portion to cause a fade. It’s like touching a pool
ball on one side or the other to impart a curve spin.
Eddie Merrins

12:34 p.m.

JJ
asks: On the downswing I get the club extremely flat/laid-off and come excessively
from the inside, any good drills/methods to overcome that?

Take
both a golf club and a tennis racket in hand simultaneously and make a practice
stroke from one side to the other. The club and racket face should both be
facing forward, as in a normal golf swing.  You will notice that in this
swing your hands never leave the side of the shaft as your forearms move the
two instruments.

This is the answer to your dilemma. Treat your golf swing accordingly.  

Eddie Merrins

12:26 p.m.

Aaron
Mann asks: I recently overcame my horrible out to in path on the downswing.
However, even after fixing this fault, I am still slicing/pushing shots almost every
shot. I just can't get my clubface square through impact. I've tried a couple
different things, but all it seems to amount to is a sore left wrist and no
success. Would too tight of grip cause me to have problems squaring the
clubface? Are there any drills you can recommend that would help me?

I
doubt your grip pressure is too tight. You should be holding the club with
equal pressure in the fingers of each hand. Holding the club off the ground
tells you how much grip pressure is required.

To solve your swing-timing problem, take a 6- or 7-iron in hand. Address the
ball by nudging the face of the club to the ball, then, accenting your forearms
and club handle, move the ball forward as far as you feel without taking a back
swing. This drill is more successful if your elbows are free (not tense and
locked).

You have just become acquainted with the right movement through the ball. Adding
the back stroke should be quite simple. Understanding the forward stroke is the
key.
Eddie Merrins

12:20 p.m.

Eitian asks: As
a young father I get very little time to play golf or even hit the driving
range. When I do play my swing seems to start breaking down around the
mid-point of my round. I assume it's because I'm getting tired because I'm not
in golfing shape. Sad, I know.
Are there
any exercises you can recommend to keep in shape during the weeks/months
between the time I get to play or hit the range?

Any
kind of running, jogging, walking, treadmill or elliptical machine exercises
will keep you in shape and prepare you for walking the course. For core
and overall strengthening, I recommend Pilates.  I dare say your stamina
will improve! For swing training to keep you in shape, I suggest you obtain a weighted
training club and swing it as religiously as possible. Good luck!
Eddie Merrins

12:11 p.m.

Ted Lloyd asks: I've played with lower back pain for years but
recently it has coming up out of the shot. Any drill or advice on how to handle
staying down and thru the shot?

Concentrate
on holding your club above the ground when you address the ball.  As you
stroke the handle through the ball, touch the ground beyond the ball. All the Best,
Eddie Merrins   
12:05 p.m.

Dick
Smith asks: I have always been a poor chipper. I can't seem to keep my hands
quiet and so I often flip the wrists to help the ball in the air which is the
wrong thing to do but I can't seem to keep the hinge in my wrists. My friends
say I should just hit the chips with no wrist action like a putt. Should I try
to preset the wrist hinge or if you have any suggestions on how to keep the
hinge in my wrists and the chipping stroke smooth I would really appreciate it.
Thank you very much.

Your solution should be to switch to your putting grip and stroke,
whereby the wrist action is at a minimum.  Stroking the handle end of the
club using the putting grip will be most effective for you.
All the Best,
Eddie Merrins  
 

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