I got to go across the state of Florida last week and play golf with friend, Jerry Tucker. He is an excellent golf teacher, and his knowledge of the short game is well-known nationally. I use his Tucker Short Game Test when a student really wants to devote some effort to improving the short game.
I don’t mind telling you that Jerry is over 60 now and he is playing the best golf of his life! This is no accident, he devotes a good bit of practice to the short game but he has also become excellent in all areas, especially his tee shots. His shot of choice off the tee is now a fade (curves left to right for a right-hander) and his length off the tee has never been better. Jerry used to try to play a draw for his entire life until several years ago so this was quite a change. One of the key changes to accomplish this is ALIGNMENT.
The alignment procedure is a fundamental that every golfer needs to devote attention to so let me give you a sequence to follow:
- Take your grip so that is not an issue later in your routine.
- Take a good look at your target as you walk up to the ball.
- Place the clubhead on the ground behind the ball and check that the leading edge of the clubface is perpendicular to the target line. You also want to have the shaft perpendicular to the target line on a normal shot.
- Now keep the club absolutely still and square yourself to the clubface. Once your feet are in position you can lift the clubhead off the grass and “waggle” so you can remain flexible until you begin the swing.
How can you be sure you have aligned the clubface correctly? You can set a club on the ground that is parallel to the target line when you practice to help train your eyes. You can also have a friend come up and hold your club in the address position while you let go and walk behind and stand on the target line and then you check the alignment of the clubface.
How did you do? If you are planning for your shot to curve a little from left to right then your target line needs to be to the left of your ultimate target to accommodate the curve of your shot.
I would like to thank all of my new students at Chi Chi’s Golf Range here in Clearwater, Florida. I have also completed a session of the Ladies Clinic and will start another next month, and did an All Day Junior Clinic. The fun and challenges of golf seem to be the same in Florida as they were in St. Louis. The only difference down here is that nobody has asked me what high school I attended.