Ed. note: In this column, GOLF’s playing editor gives some great advice to fix your slice, his current through-the-bag ball speeds, his take on his match with Brooks Koepka, and a unique approach to practicing that any golfer can learn from.
My stock yardages
It’s taken hard work to hit my irons as far as I do. Yes, my iron lofts are stronger than normal, but that’s really because using standard lofts at my swing speed would send my backspin numbers out of control. Managing spin is my biggest issue now. Any golfer can get longer if they commit to the process. If I can do it, anyone can.
How you can fix a slice with your takeaway
When you’re struggling with shots that have a lot of curve one way or the other, it’s super important to understand why. It’s your clubface position. For slicers, this means the clubface is too open. You can see it happen on the takeaway — a slicer externally rotates his or her trail arm too much at the start of the swing, which opens the face. If this is you, your only chance from this position is to compensate like crazy to get it back to square in time for impact. The advice I always give slicers is to limit their external rotation. In simpler terms, make sure the palm of your trail hand points more toward the grass when the club reaches parallel to the ground, like I’m doing here in the photo at right. Check the clubface: It should also be facing the ground, which puts your swing in great shape and a lot less prone to slicing.
How I get ready to play
At the GOLF Top 100 Teachers Summit late last year, I spoke a lot about my warmup routines. I talked about how I use my pre-round range time to get my “deviation” numbers — how far left, right, long or short I’m averaging that day. It provides a good understanding of how I’m going to play the course that day. Use your warm-up to find out what you have, not what you want.
My take on my match with Brooks
I’ve been working harder than ever to get my body stronger and my swing faster. And though my match with Brooks Koepka over the Thanksgiving holiday didn’t end the way I wanted it to, it was an amazing experience. Brooks just played really well and deserved the win. We may not always see eye to eye on things, but I do have respect for Brooks’ ability as a golfer. I hope everybody watching enjoyed some of the banter — especially with Lefty and Sir Charles on the mic.