One round, you can’t miss a shot; the next one, you can’t hit one. While permanent correction of your swing flaws is probably a long-term project for you and your teaching pro, you can make some mid-round corrections to help you survive until the blessed 19th hole.
Slam That Slice
With Gary Weir, Westchester CC
The flaw: The banana ball plagues 90 percent of golfers most of the time and the other 10 percent some of the time. Need we say more?
The fix: Squaring up the clubface at impact will help a lot, so try one or both of these quick fixes. Close your stance by aiming your shoulders to the right — yes, to the right! — then keep them closed through your release, which will bring the club more around your body. You can also strengthen your grip by rotating your hands on the club about 20 degrees to the right (for right-handed players).
Hammer That Hook
With Nick Yaun, Brae Burn CC
The flaw: When a hook suddenly appears, it’s usually because your club got stuck low and behind you on the downswing. You then try to square it by flipping your hands, which pulls the ball left.
The fix: Keep the club a bit more upright in your backswing and more in front of you in the downswing. When it’s too low, it will feel heavy, but when it’s in the right position, it will be light in your hands. Don’t allow your lower body to fire too fast, because this will tilt your upper body, and your club will fall under the best swing plane.
Beat the Bunker
With Wendy Modic, Fenway GC
The flaw: Your bunker play becomes erratic, with one shot flying the green and the next one plunking back into the sand.
The fix: The golfer usually thinks the flyer came because they hit the sand too close behind the ball, so they try entering the sand farther back. That only makes it worse because you actually then can easily hit the ball on the upswing to create the flyer or take so much sand it slows the club’s momentum and leaves you in the bunker. Check your ball position and control your weight shift so that your swing bottoms out beneath the ball, not behind it.
Get a Grip on the Yips
With Chris Case, Mount Kisco CC
The flaw: The uncontrollable twitch that ruins many a putt — and chip! — can come on at any time for mysterious reasons that only a neurologist can fathom.
The fix: If you suddenly become afflicted, try a different putting or chipping grip. There are dozens to use from the claw to the forearm clench to left hand low or some combination. For putting, you can also look at the hole instead of the ball with a surprising degree of success. Another fix for chipping is to do it one-handed, which takes the erratic “flip” out of your wrist.
Perfect Your Pitch
With Kevin Sprecher, Sleepy Hollow CC
The flaw: You skull an easy pitch shot over one green, then lay the sod over the ball on the next one.
The fix: You’re probably unconsciously trying to help the ball into the air by scooping it up instead of compressing it with a downward strike. A sure sign is if you fall back during the swing. To keep your weight forward, take a swing standing with almost all your weight on your forward foot with the back one behind you for balance. Also, make sure your sternum is in front of the ball.