The most difficult thing for the average golfer to do, in my opinion, is to stay behind the ball. He has a tendency to move ahead of the ball with the body, and in doing so he develops an outside-in swing which causes such familiar troubles as slicing, shanking, and topping. This is particularly true on the drive, which so many players try to hit with too much power.
Learning to stay behind the ball can be facilitated by a practice exercise in which the player tees the ball somewhat higher than usual. If you can't get hold of extra-long tees, then simply dig the regular tee into the ground the minimum amount necessary to secure it. When the ball is teed up this high, the player must literally swing from the inside out in order to hit it at all solidly. In addressing a ball which is teed higher than usual, the player should set the clubhead about three inches behind the ball, for this will help him to hit through it squarely.
The value of this practice exercise, as you will soon discover, is that it emphasizes the right hitting habits. It forestalls moving the head and upper part of the trunk out of position and ahead of the ball before impact. It militates against a forward sway with the legs and thighs. You will find that, with your body properly behind the ball, you will have less of a tendency to steer the ball and will finish your swing much higher. I think you will also discover that, when you go out on the course after this training exercise, you will repeat this correct hitting action when the ball is teed its normal height.
ALEX TIBBLES, Lima Golf Club, Lima, Peru
NEXT WEEK: Fred Hawkins on the flexed left leg