When I first turned professional, I used to try to hit my tee shots with all the power I could throw into them. As I became more experienced, it began to dawn on me that this was not a very sensible practice. The extra errors I made by slugging hurt me more than the extra distance helped me. So I set out to become a more controlled driver, knowing that I would have sufficient length without pressing and that what I needed to do was to hit the fairway consistently.
On my tee shots I try to swing so that I remain in balance throughout the swing—right to the finish of the follow-through. As I hit through the ball and finish my swing, I make it a very definite point to keep my left foot firmly planted on the ground, in about the same position that it occupied at address. You are bound to roll a bit onto the left side of the left foot, but the important thing is to keep that left foot stationary. When most golfers slug, this extra effort causes their left foot to topple away over and frequently it swings around so that it is pointing right toward the hole. They cannot finish their body turn correctly and, badly off balance, they spray their shots both to the left and the right—they are impartial.
When I am going for extra distance, I lengthen my swing a little, but I don't try to swing harder, I try to swing better.
from MIKE SOUCHAK, Grossingers, N.Y.
NEXT WEEK: JIMMY D'ANGELO ON COPING WITH SANDY LIES