Maintain form while staying low

By: Shawn Kelly Golf Tips
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Knocking it down If you watched the PGA Championship last week you saw a lot of players knocking the ball down (keeping it low) under the fierce winds coming off Lake Michigan. I played Whistling Straights in the PGA National Championship several years ago, and let me tell you if the fog isn’t in, it’s because the wind blew it out. When weather and course conditions change, being able to play a knock down shot will help you score. I employ this shot at some point in most rounds that I play, and think of it as my favorite shot in the bag. Most players trying to hit this shot will move the ball way back in their stance, push the hands toward the target to de-loft the club and chop down on the ball like they were chopping a piece of timber. This is the perfect scenario for disaster. Let’s first understand the goal for the shot. We must keep the ball low to the ground with as little backspin and sidespin on the ball as possible. Too much backspin on the ball will cause it rise quickly or the ball will slice or hook with sidespin. Choosing the correct club and proper fundamentals are the keys to executing this shot with minimum spin and maximum accuracy. The fundamentals are first: Grip- The target hand should be in a weak position, turned more to the target, to prevent it from releasing the club too much through impact. This will neutralize sidespin. Aim- The clubface should be perpendicular to the target line. The hips and feet should be aimed open to the target line to help get through the swing. Setup- Ball position should not be too far back in the stance. The further back, the more you must chop down into the ball which causes backspin which makes the ball rise. The ball position should be at the bottom of the of the swing arc. A few easy practice swings will help you find the correct position. Posture- You should remain as tall as possible with a little more weight on the target foot, about 60 percent from a level lie. This will give you the contact you want to make the ball climb just enough to fly to the target. Club selection is the key in controlling trajectory. I will typically go down as many as two or three lofts to control ball flight. As an example, if I were trying to keep the ball down from 150 yards into the wind I may opt to hit a 5 or a 6 iron rather than my normal 8 iron. Let the club loft keep it low rather than faulty fundamentals. When you play in windy conditions or on a tree lined golf course you will be forced to knock it down and keep it low. A better understanding of the proper fundamentals and how to change lofts will definitely keep both the ball and your score down, as a result. Cars and Golf The Ridge is hosting the Auburn Classic Auto Show on Saturday August 21, from 9am to 3pm. Classic cars, vendors, a golf contest for great prizes, Taylor Made Demo Day and food and beer garden. We will also have two nostalgic top fuel dragsters fire up their engines twice during day and much more. This should be a fun day and it’s free to the public. Call 530-888-7888 for more details.