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Original Issue

Putting spin on the ball

One question I am asked very frequently is, "How do you put spin on a pitch shot?" It takes a little explaining, so let me begin at the beginning. The ball is played off the left heel, and the player must be sure he is using a very light grip on the club. This last point—the importance of a light grip—is almost the critical one in executing the shot. If you grip the club too tightly, as most golfers do, you inhibit the correct action of the arms and the hands. You will come into the ball with a jab, and that only lofts the ball.

When you have taken the correct grip—hands together and not gripping tensely—you let the club swing back freely. You do not move the hands too far back, for you will be able to generate all the speed you need through timing. As you come into the ball and hit it, the act of swinging tends automatically to make your grip on the club firmer. You feel this firmness particularly in the left hand. In fact, as you hit down and through the ball in the same motion, your right hand hits against a firm left hand. This left hand, as the illustration shows, is in almost perfect alignment with the left wrist and the left arm as you hit through. The hands do not turn over. They go right out for your target.

On this shot you want to be smooth. You don't consciously try to put spin on the ball. You try for clubhead feel and timing, both based on that all-important light grip which the momentum of the downswing makes firmer.

DAVE MARR, Rockaway Hunting Club, Cedarhurst, N.Y.



The left hand, wrist and arm are in almost perfect line as you hit through

NEXT WEEK: Lew Myers on accurate putting stroke