06/09/2015

If you’re a female golfer and you want to see yourself improve in the game of golf, there are a few important things things to remember for improving….and a few you shouldn’t.

Here are PGA Instructor Mark Russo’s “4 MYTHS & MUSTS to Better Golf” for ladies golf:

1. MYTH – “Keep Your Head Down”

No myth has stood the test of time better than this one – and even now it is still terrible advice. 

The fact of the matter is that keeping your head down is almost never the issue in “topping” a golf ball, and it will rob your game of athleticism and speed. 

The main reason many players “top” the golf ball is that their upper body raises up out of their initial posture (called spine angle) as it comes through the shot.  This can happen for many reasons, such as weak lower body muscles or simply as a reaction to what the golf club is doing. 

The end result is that it is almost never because of a singular move to look up at the target too early.  So stop burying that head down and free up the swing!

2. MUST – Be a Short Game Wizard

Many of the ladies I teach hit the ball surprisingly well for what their handicap levels are, so my questions immediately go to their short game. This is usually the problem area because it never gets practiced and yet it is the area that you will spend most of your time when playing golf. 

A good idea is to first find a method of chipping and pitching that is simple, remembering to get the ball on the ground and running as much as you can for predictable results. It’s easier to roll it close than it is otherwise. 

Secondly, it is important to get better out of the bunkers (eliminating 2 shots to get out), coupled with consistent lag putting, which is an often used area in most high handicap player’s games. 

Most high-handicap golfers do not hit the ball close to the hole often and will need to negotiate a long putt to have a par chance.  A solid set of short game fundamentals is critical for getting better and shooting lower scores.

3. MYTH – “Get Under the Ball”

Many in ladies golf have the wrong picture of how a ball is struck and how it gets airborne. 

The truth about impact is that there are two general things that need to happen for good contact…

  1. …you must hit down slightly on the golf ball with the club head taking a divot in front of the ball
  2. and the handle of the club must be leaning forward at impact. 

Take a moment to look at the best players in the world and you will see swings of all shapes and sizes, but at impact there is an incredible similarity that can’t be ignored.  

Begin this journey by starting out with small chips and pitches, making sure to hit down slightly and feel the hands and handle of the club forward of the ball at impact.  The sensation will immediately be much different and the results will shock you, especially once you make bigger swings and apply it to other clubs.

4. MUST – Swing Faster

In the interests of trying to hit the ball straight and keep it in play, quite a few ladies will slow their swings down, as if to guide the ball down the fairway. Many will also slow down in response to bad golf shots– almost as if their swing was so fast, that it surely was the main reason for the wayward ball flight.

First, there is no such thing as guiding the ball down the fairway. You will see the best players swing with beautiful balance at high speeds and launch the ball long and straight. 

As I tell my female students, freedom is important in order to hit the ball longer and still keep it in play. Once we have basic fundamentals down, I want them to be comfortable swinging faster and faster as long as they can make good contact and stay in balance.

One of the club fitting issues for female golfers is that they hit their long clubs almost the same distance. This comes from not generating enough speed to generate enough spin and carry the ball longer.  So if you want to hit your clubs longer and see a bigger distance differential you must learn to let loose a bit and swing the club faster. 

Take out an old shaft, an alignment rod, or an Orange Whip Trainer (which I use regularly) and learn to move the implement as fast as you can. Get comfortable being uncomfortable and you will soon see that you are strong enough and balanced enough to do it. 

The distance difference and freedom in your swing will be the enjoyable result.

Mark Russo is a PGA Teaching Professional & TrackMan Certified Owner at Night Hawk Golf Center in Gambrills.  For information on coaching programs or to book a lesson go to www.markrussopga.com.