For some reason or other, nine out of 10 women who come to me for instruction suffer from an almost epidemic misconception about the golf swing. On the backswing they close the face terribly. They take a big, overfull swing. Then, coming into the ball, they ease up and barely hit it. The men are at the other extreme. They take too short a backswing, then try to knock the cover off the ball. With both men and women, I try to get across that it is impossible to perform the correct, integrated movements on the downswing unless the golfer goes back right, and I spend a lot of time getting them to understand and feel the key motions of taking the club back.
Here there is one simple check that everyone understands instantly and profits from. In this you use your wristwatch, which is conveniently on the left wrist, as your guide. On a correct backswing, when your hands are hip-high, the face of your watch should face your instructor standing opposite you. If your watch is facing the ground at that point you know your club face is closed. Conversely, if your watch is facing toward the sky you know your club face is wide open.
When you go out and practice, concentrate during the backswing on having your watch face an imaginary person standing opposite you. Try to be agreeably relaxed throughout your body, for it encourages your left shoulder to tie in properly with your arm's movement. If your left shoulder rotates upward properly, your right shoulder will stay down and you will have to strike the ball a descending blow—which is what you want to do.
PAT DEVANY, Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club, Mich.
NEXT TIP: Joe Pryke on hooding the wedge in the rough