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The cure for hitting behind the ball

Average golfers—both men and women—have a great tendency to strike the ground behind the ball on their fairway shots. This happens when the weight is shifted back to the right foot on the backswing and is not shifted forward (to the left) at the start of the downswing. The weight shift controls the low point of the arc in the swing.

There are three reasons why golfers find themselves unable to shift their weight forward soon enough as they start down: 1) their feet are set too far apart; 2) the right knee has become locked at the top of the backswing; 3) the right hand begins hitting too soon on the downswing.

To overcome these errors, first get the feet closer together at address. Then keep the same amount of flex in the right knee as you go back—and at the top of the backswing—as the knee had at address. (This flex of the right knee is what makes the pros look as though they are half sitting down when they hit a shot.) With the right knee properly flexed at the top of the backswing, it is possible to transfer the weight over to the left foot at the start of the downswing. It's impossible if the right knee is locked. If the above remedy doesn't complete the cure, work to introduce a slight hesitation or pause at the top of the backswing and be conscious of beginning the downswing with the left hand pulling the club down.

TERL JOHNSON, Du Pont CC, Wilmington, Del.



Above (incorrect): right knee locked at top of backswing.


Left (correct): right knee flexed at top of backswing.

NEXT WEEK: Louise Suggs on adapting the stance to your build