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Stopping the Suffering
Terry "The Wedge Guy" Koehler is in New Zealand this week speaking at a PGA Seminar. While he's out, we're going to feature a "Best of The Wedge Guy" article from the past. This article was originally published July 30, 2010. Enjoy!

One of the most painful things for me to watch is someone struggling in an effort to play golf at a level where pars can be achieved with some optimism, bogeys are probable and at the very least, the golf ball leaves the club on a reasonably predictable path. It amazes me to see golfers...active, committed golfers.who are flailing around, hitting shots all over the place, not even making contact sometimes, moving tons of earth, blades, skulls, tops...well, you get the point.

I know I've been blessed in my life to have been introduced to the game by a devoted father who was a good player, and for having never wanted for instruction by him or my doting golf professional. They set the stage for a lifetime in this game and this business. And I realize how difficult this game must be to learn for an adult who didn't have that childhood attention...but it's not that hard, is it?

I firmly believe that anyone with mostly "normal" physical capabilities can learn a basic golf swing that puts the club on the ball solidly, with reasonably consistency so that they can move the ball generally north and south to make their way around the golf course. I'm not talking about driving your average scores into the 70s, but today, I'm talking with all of you who find 90 to be the Holy Grail. Those of you who are packing handicaps over 18. Who often times see shots so far short of your most basic expectation that you find yourself embarrassed on the golf course.

If you're one of those, let's get you headed in the right direction with some basics about this game that you might not understand. If you are shooting in the 90s and above, what have you got to lose by trying something different?
  1. It's not a "hit", it's a "swing". The vast majority of us are right handed, and so we play golf by trying to hit this little white ball with this ill-conceived implement, by trying to control that implement with our master hand. Well, that's completely wrong. The golf action is a "swing", and as such, it is a pulling action with your left, or lead side. The right hand is along for the ride. The only way to get to that motion is to learn how to swing the club back and through with your left side controlling. Making this change in your basic concept of striking the ball will change your world, I'm convinced. I could write a whole column on this, and I just might.

  2. A proper release is key. Most golfers do not release the club properly through impact. Because they are "hitting" at the ball with their right hand, rather than swinging the club with their left side, the arms get too far from the body and they become a straight line with the club before impact. In reality, the club is rotating through impact, with the butt of the shaft pointed almost directly at the belt buckle or navel in this area. A distinct angle is formed by the club and arms through impact, when viewed from behind.

    This may by the hardest thing to learn, but I recently found a product that illustrates this better than anything I've ever seen. It's called the ZoomBoom. Funny name, I know, but I've tried it and shown it to a number of golfers and all of them immediately felt what I'm talking about. The owner of the company, and inventor of the ZoomBoom, is a little "out there," but he's created a product that really does work. If you've had trouble understanding or achieving a fundamentally sound release, I really do think this product can show you what it should feel like.

  3. Putting and chipping ain't that hard. Just spend a little time practicing and you'll get better. It is a touchy-feely part of the game and you can't just "have it". You have to practice to develop a good touch for how far to hit the ball. 15-20 minutes a session on your chipping and putting will pay huge dividends.
So, all you high-handicappers out there...beginners, strugglers, etc. This one was for you. And I'll address your thoughts and concerns here anytime you want me to. Just write in and let me know your questions, confusion and needs.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

Click here to learn more about Terry.
 
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