March 2012 Newsletter

One of the benefits of relocating to Tampa, Florida is that I got to spend several hours with Manuel de la Torre a week ago because he spends his winters in the sunshine state after his season of teaching golf at Milwaukee C.C. Near the end of our time on the practice range one of the golfers asked Manuel, “What was the best thing your father ever told you about golf?” Manuel thought for a bit and responded, “Swing the club to the target.”

This may be the shortest way to describe the basic concept of Manuel’s teaching. It states that the golfer should be trying to produce a very particular kind of motion with the golf club. Not spend time trying to manage a lot of body parts. It also gives the player a direction or destination for that motion – the target. This sounds obvious but we golfers sometimes (most times) forget about the location of the target and just try to inflict our hopes and desires on the unsuspecting golf ball and, because of that, we are usually disappointed.

Please try this: take your wedge for a pitch shot near the green. After you take your set up simply straighten the index finger on your low hand and extend it down the back of the grip. Now when you go to play this pitch shot simply try to point your extended index finger on target from the end of your backswing. Hold your finish. Where is your extended index finger pointing? It should be on target. After all, how hard can it be to point your finger at the flagstick? The finger should not be pointing to the left or right or up in the sky. Keep practicing this until the ball starts to disappear from your mind and you get focused on pointing your finger on target from the end of the backswing.

I am proud to be teaching golf full-time at the Chi Chi Golf Range & Family Sports Complex in Clearwater, Florida. This is not just because it is a top quality practice facility where any golfer can practice all parts of the game, but also because it is operated by the Chi Chi Rodriquez Youth Foundation which has been helping young people for many years in the community. I hope you come over and take a golf lesson from me, especially my friends from St. Louis, Missouri and Forest Hills C.C.