Friday, February 12, 2010

Oldies but Goodies

Sam Snead had one of the prettiest golf swings ever to grace a fairway...In looking back at some of his advice regarding the best ways to play the game, I find it to be very relevant and sound advice today. Here are 5 of his key words of wisdom:

1 A Bird in Hand

You know one of the main reasons 99 percent of golfers are duds? It's their grip. Hold the club with about the same amount of pressure you would use in holding a bird, just firm enough not to let it fly away, but not firm enough to hurt it. You'll not only hit the ball farther, you'll swing smoother, because you're relaxed.

2 Loose as a Goose

When I'm coming down the stretch and the adrenaline is flowing, I try to maintain a slower pace and keep it even. I try to stay loose. Walter Hagen once told me that he was all right as long as his legs felt nice and loose, but the minute they began to tighten and feel tense, he knew he was in trouble. In general, for all shots under pressure, I just try to shake my arms a little and get as loose as a goose.

3 Pitching Pennies

Making the ball roll the right distance is a lot like pitching pennies. You make a nice, smooth swinging motion with your arms. The longer the putt, or the slower the greens, the farther back and through you want those arms to swing. You want the ball to die at the target. Don't be thinking "never up, never in" on anything you might three-putt. Remember, you're putting on a green, not bowling down an alley.

4 Lobbing to the Green

When I'm pitching over a hazard and have little green between me and the hole, I want a shot that will fly high and slow--one that will settle in its tracks. To execute this type of shot, the first thing to do is address the ball with the clubface laid back more than normal, thus increasing the loft. I take the club straight back and break my wrists early in the backswing. I strike down and through with the hands leading the clubhead, and the wrists snapping into the ball. This gives me a high lob with a lot of backspin. The entire swing should be leisurely and rhythmical.

5 Swing in Waltz Time

I can't tell you the best lesson I ever got, because nobody has ever given me a serious lesson. However, I do recall the best lesson I ever gave. It was to a man at The Greenbrier.

This fellow was what you call a firefighter. He'd swing the club like he was trying to put out a fire. He couldn't get at the ball quick enough. He was trying to hit it 400 yards, and the divots were flying farther than the balls. If I hadn't stopped him, he'd have hurt himself.

Finally I said, "Look, swing the club back a little slower, with some tempo. You know, the old-time pros used to teach by waltz time."

"I ought to know something about that," he said. "I'm a dance instructor."

"Well, hell!" I said. "Don't go at it like a double fox-trot. Swing in waltz time."

You couldn't believe he was the same person. I never saw a man improve so much in just minutes. Suddenly, every swing was smooth and graceful, and his shots were going nice and far and straight.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Golf Digest Companies
COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

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