Ask the Top 100 Live: Eddie Merrins answers your swing questions

Ask the Top 100 Live: Eddie Merrins answers your swing questions

2:14 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

2:11 p.m.

PS asks: Eddie, I just developed a great
interest in golf. Whenever I find free time, I head out to driving range and
practice. My driving definately has improved, but it’s not consistent. I
sometimes slice and sometimes hook. Also even a good swing only goes 210 yards.
How can I improve?

All of your laments
in the description of your shots can be improved significantly if your hands
assume a “passive role” (merely holding the club), and your forearms assume the
“active role.” By quieting the hands you will eliminate hooking and
slicing, and by applying the strength of the forearms to swing the handle of
the club through the ball, you will see your distance increase dramatically.

All the
Eddie Merrins

2:01 p.m.

T. asks:
Eddie, I typically can hit draws or fades at
will, but I often tend to over-draw the ball about 5-10 yards left of my
intended target. What drills or techniques can I use to be more consistent with
my draws?

If you are playing
the draw, you have closed your club in time to make the ball curve left. However,
if your right arm (assuming that you are a right handed player) extends the
club a bit to the left of the target, you are hitting your shot “left to left." The correction is to extend a bit to the right side of the target in
order to allow for the draw.

All the
Eddie Merrins

1:53 p.m.

Delaney asks:
I have an issue where my head dips roughly 4
inches on my backswing and then comes back up to its original spot on my
downswing. Is this is problem with my setup or my actual swing?

This “Jack in the
Box” habit which you describe can be corrected simply. In the backswing,
think of holding your belly button (navel) “up” as you make the backswing. This
will hold the upper body “up” and eliminate the “dip.”  I doubt your setup
is the culprit.

All the
Eddie Merrins

1:47 p.m.

John asks: I am a scratch golfer but lately have been hitting my irons really inconsistently.
I play a soft fade but lately it has been moving too far right. How do I go
about hitting a consistent, soft fade?

The “Soft Fade” is a
great shot.  To avoid an accompanying “push”, which would cause the ball
to go too far to the right, make sure that you are extending the club shaft a
bit to the left side of the target in order to accommodate the fade.

All the
Eddie Merrins

1:39 p.m.

Mike asks: How do I correct a shut face at the top of the swing? I believe it is
causing inconsistent shots. Could it have something to do with wrist
positioning? I have corrected my grip at address so that it is no longer very
strong, it is now neutral.

Each of your hands
should be set at the side of the club like to the side of a tennis racket.  Then,
within the swing the hands remain to the side of the shaft throughout the
swing. To swing into a “shut face” position in the back swing, the right
hand would have to move to the “top” of the shaft and the left hand would move
beneath. The secret is to keep the hands to the side of the handle
(shaft) and employ the forearms to swing the club from one side to the other. This
will allow the hands to remain neutral, or to the side of the handle (shaft).
All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

1:30 p.m.

MG asks: How can I relate the best way to grip the golf club to a beginner?

Have your beginner hold the shaft of the club
near the clubhead with the shaft
extended beyond the forward or left side. He or she should then notice
the following four things: 1) The two hands should be to the side of the
shaft, facing one another; 2) Both hands should be in line with the score
lines on the face of the club, regardless of the loft; 3) The shaft
of the club should be secured beneath the heel of each hand and contained by
the four fingers of each hand curling in an equal but opposite grip pressure
manner; 4) The thumbs of each hand should fit slightly to the opposite
side of the club which allows the two hands to fit together like “hand in
All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

1:20 p.m.

Chris asks: What do you think of the "stack and tilt" swing? Should I use

I believe in “to
each his own,” regarding the method used. If “Stack and Tilt” helps you, you
should adopt it. if not, you should choose the method with which you can best “express”
your shots.
All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

1:15 p.m.

Mike asks: I have a 14-year-old son who is beginning to enjoy golf. Can you tell
me how I can relate balance at address to him so that he begins his swing in
the best position for success.

Without a club, have
your son stand upright holding his elbows in the palm of his hands, then tilt
his upper body forward at the hips keeping the spine angle straight. As
he does this he should notice, simultaneously, his head moves forward as his
rear end moves backward, and his weight settles from the knees and balances
nicely between the heels and balls of the feet. His stance width can be
as he likes for comfort. This is the “so called” athletic setup that he
should assume with club in hand.
All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

1:05 p.m.

Kevin asks: I repeatedly read that club fitting is the most important part of
selecting new clubs. What should I look for in deciding who / where I get

“Word of mouth” in
your area will lead you to the best club fitter. Ask your local club pro, experienced players at your course, whomever you trust. It is important that you feel confident that
your clubs are right for you.
All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

12:58 p.m.

Gorski asks:
I am 48 years old. As I get older, I feel
increasingly stiff during my swing where I used to feel incredibly flexible.
Even with stretching excercises it does not seem to help. Is there anything you
recommend during the swing to promote a more fluid and flexible swing?

Yes. For the freedom
you are seeking, every joint in your body should be perfectly free at all
times. Identify the joint system vs. the muscle system.  The
muscles are like a series of rubber bands that are “stretching” and “giving”
throughout the swing. This can only happen if the joints are free!   

All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

12:52 p.m.

Doug asks: I'm starting to get the hang of starting the downswing with my lower
body and creating lag with the club, but I don't feel like my hips are turning
through the swing enough. As a result (maybe?), I'm pushing a lot of my shots
straight right. Anything I can do?

All of what you
present regarding lag, hip turn, pushing and fading can be cured, or improved
nicely, if you will swing your club “sooner” from the right side of your body
to the left, ASAP. The concept should be, over your right hip in the back
swing then over your left hip in the forward swing, ASAP.

All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

12:48 p.m.

I can hit nice, arcing shots with my irons, but they are short of
target more often than not. How can I get more distance with my irons without loosing
the desired ball flight action?

You will hit
stronger shots without losing trajectory if you accelerate the handle end of
the club through the ball with your forearms. Apply as much forearm
strength as you like.

All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

12:34 p.m.

How is it possible to generate club speed with minimal wrist action
(like Steve Stricker)? Do you recommend reducing the wrist cock for mid- to high-handicappers?

Steve Stricker has a
great swing. His club speed and the resulting distance is created by his
generating force and speed “through the ball” with his forearms (like a tennis
player with his two arm stroke). My impression regarding wrist action is
that all handicappers should allow the natural wrist action to occur within the swing whether the swing is short or long. Allow it to happen (the
wrist action) don’t force it to happen nor prevent it from

All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

12:25 p.m.

I was originally taught in the early 90's to address the ball by
squaring the club face behind the ball and then aligning your body to that.
When I do this it seems to lead to a little inconsistency in how I grip the
club during play which then alters how I hit the ball. At least that is what I
"feel" is happening. However I do see a lot of top pros that don't do
that. They grip the club in there hands long before they setup which to me
would mean they could grip it a little more consistent. Am I thinking correctly
or doesn't it really matter which way. Which is better or the pros and cons to

You have made a
brilliant observation. By gripping the club in the air before addressing
the ball you are able to grip the club correctly and not change the grip within
the swing. This is not the case with those who first ground the club. I
don’t subscribe to gripping the club on the ground any more than a tennis
player would or a baseball player would, which is not at all. The point
being that you swing the club as you hold it in the air not as it rests on the

All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

12:15 p.m.

I have a 4 years old son who is left handed. As I and his sisters (all
right handed) play golf, he loves to swing clubs at backyard and driving
ranges. I think he's pretty good for his age having decent contacts. My concern
is that the kid clubs we have at home are all right handed, which his sisters
have used. Although I'm not trying to make him a Tiger Wood (I just want him to
have fun!), I'd like to make sure he starts the sport in a right way. Should I
buy him a left-handed club now? And is there any advantage and/or disadvantage
using right-handed clubs by a left-handed person?

If your son is
predominately left-handed, I suggest he be encouraged to play that way. I
suggest that you get him the left-handed clubs. Later, a good instructor can
teach him to swing left-handed and right-handed. Then it becomes your son’s

All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

12:10 p.m.

B. asks:
What is the best way to learn how to strike the ground (take a divot)
in front of the ball with each iron consistently?

For better contact
focus on the “front” part of the ball rather than the “back” part of the ball. This
will help you enter the ground or grass beyond the ball.

All the Best,

Eddie Merrins

12:06 p.m.

: What are you trying to do when you tee up on
the left or right side of the teeing area?

Teeing up on either
side of the tee markers simply gives you the better angle in setting up to play
the shot that you have in mind.

All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

12:01 p.m.

asks: I'm a 10-13 handicapper typically playing with a fade. We had the club
championships this weekend, and when the pressure came on I started
pull-hooking the drives. To me it seems that when I got nervous and afraid of
hitting the ball the swing got out of sync. Do you have any advice on a
swing-thought that could prevent the hook?

Your problem involves swinging “to” the ball not “through” the ball. Try a
little geography lesson on yourself.  You are swinging from New York to
Los Angeles and in doing so you go “through” Chicago but not “to” Chicago. In
other words, New York is one end of the swing and Los Angeles is the other end
of the swing, treating the ball as if it were Chicago, we do not stop in
Chicago, we simply pass through Chicago. With this swing thought your swing
will be complete.
All the Best,
Eddie Merrins

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