Everybody seems to have a different idea as to how the club face works going back and then forward. I used to think of shutting it on the backswing and working it from shut to open on the hitting stroke. More recently, I have discarded this idea and have been going with a different conception—and I have been hitting the ball much straighter than before and doing this much more easily.
The key to the approach I use now is to try to visualize, feel and maintain my club face so that it will be squarely parallel to my intended line of flight at three very important stages of the swing: halfway back, at the top, and halfway through the follow-through. For myself, it is easier to reach these positions with the club face squarely parallel if I think there is a wall behind me that is parallel to the line of flight. That wall is my point of reference. When I work with this thought in mind, I find that my hips and my club face close and later open at the same time. That's one of the reasons why Snead is so great and also so pretty to watch—everything is opening and closing together, in concert.
At address you want the back of your left hand to be squarely perpendicular to the line of flight. During the swing, you want that other type of squareness where the club face is squarely parallel to the line of flight at the points I mentioned. It puts you in wonderful positions throughout your whole swing and makes your impact solid and sweet.
AL BESSELINK, Grossinger, N.Y.
NEXT TIP: Wiffi Smith on balance and the four-wood