Davis Love III has always been a wonderful free swinger. Ever
since his college days at North Carolina, during which I competed
against him as a student at Duke, Love has consistently been one
of the longest hitters in the game. But between 2000 and '02 his
address position with the driver was out of whack, and he began
driving the ball wildly, ranking no better than 132nd in
accuracy. The key to his rejuvenated game this season has been
his improved play from the tee. He now ranks 60th in accuracy and
fifth in total driving. What did he change? The most obvious fix
has been a shortened swing, which he accomplished partly by
keeping his left heel down on his backswing. He also became a
little steadier over the ball by narrowing his stance. Love now
has a more compact swing, which gives him greater accuracy
without losing much distance. The adjustments he's made with his
irons are along the same lines. During the International, in
which a premium is placed on birdies and eagles, Love led the
field with 20 birdies, and in the second round he made a
Tour-record-tying three eagles. Outstanding drives--like the one
he hit on the 440-yard 12th hole on Sunday (above)--gave him easy
approaches and birdie opportunities all week.
THREE COLOR PHOTOS: COURTESY OF CBS
COLOR PHOTO: ANDREW GOMBERT Mike Lopuszynski teaches at Hudson National Golf Club in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., and is one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers.
COLOR PHOTOMONTAGE: ANDREW GOMBERT; JIM GUND (BACKGROUND) SHORT IRONS
COLOR PHOTOMONTAGE: ANDREW GOMBERT; JIM GUND (BACKGROUND) DRIVER
OUR TOP TEACHER SAYS...
"The highlight of my week was watching Ben Crenshaw finally
get his game together at the 3M Championship. Although he lost
the lead on Sunday and tied for fourth, it was still his best
finish in two years on the Champions tour."
"Mike Furyk should be the teacher of the year because he
didn't destroy his son's talent. If one of the Top 100 Teachers
had worked with Jim, he would have changed him for the worse."
"Even if Tiger Woods played with 1970s-style irons, a
persimmon driver and those awful balata balls that Jack Nicklaus
used in the '60s, he would still be the top-ranked player in the
"LPGA players are more difficult to teach than PGA Tour
players. The women rely too much on instructors, when the
teacher's goal is to get the player to become self-reliant."
SET UP FOR SUCCESS
Many instructors teach golfers to always position the ball in the
same spot in the stance and to maintain the same distance between
the body and the hands on every shot. They are wrong. You should
move the ball forward in your stance and increase the distance
between your hands and your torso as you progress from the short
irons to the driver. For a short iron, position the ball in the
center of your stance and keep your hands very close to your body
(right). With the driver, position the ball just inside your left
heel and extend your arms so that there's a sizeable gap between
your hands and your stomach (far right). The setup adjustments
will create a more upright swing with the short irons, so you can
hit down and take a divot, and a flatter swing with the driver,
so you can sweep the ball off the tee.