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Senior Golfer - On The Green

Take a lesson to play better golf

The Putting Green

It was a beautiful summer morning, as Bob stepped up to the first tee at the tournament nine at the Schaumburg Golf Course. The par five sweeps left off the tee over a series of hills and valleys to an elevated, undulating green 555 yards away. The wide fairway invites you to hit a great drive.

Bob was fighting some swing problems as he approached the tee, but thought he had cured them after a 30-minute session on the range. With an eight handicap, he was ready to shoot a good round, to break 80—or so he thought.

As he swung, Bob hit a duck hook that left him behind some trees, but his second shot was a beauty, starting right and low of the trees and heading out to the fairway, landing about 180 yards from the green.

Bob took out his four hybrid and prepared to hit a slight hook to the green. The ball landed in the trap at the front of the green. Bob blasted out, but hit it a bit too far and had a downhill 30 footer for par. It went six feet past, and Bob missed the comeback putt for a double-bogey seven.

After a bogey five on the second hole when his drive went right, his second shot left his chip and came up short, and in two putts, Bob was focused on hitting his nine iron to the green at the 129-yard par three third hole. When he came over the top with a closed club face, his ball flew 20 yards left of the green into some of the deepest rough on the course. His next shot landed in a trap and he ended up with a double-bogey five.

To make a long story short, Bob ended up shooting a 44 for the nine holes and an 89 for 18. He came off the course muttering to himself, and was not at all a friendly person in the clubhouse. When his fellow golfer and long-time golfing buddy John approached him, Bob was in no mood to listen to what John was saying. He was looking for a “tip” to help him get over his bad swings that left him hopelessly confused and confounded.

“Maybe you should visit a pro and take a lesson?” John said. “What are you talking about?” Bob replied. “You seem lost and maybe a lesson will help you,” John answered.

Well, Bob took John’s advice and went to a pro he trusted. He signed up for 30 minutes of swing analysis. He arrived early with a bewildered look on his face as he headed to the hitting bay to practice. Bob was sure his problem that he was swinging way too fast and merely had to slow down his swing to get back on the right track.

John was the PGA professional who would analyze Bob’s swing and offer some concrete suggestions. He stood behind Bob watching him swing, and then he told him it was time to begin the lesson.

“So, what’s your problem?”

“I can’t seem to hit the ball consistently, and I can’t make good swings. One time I’m hooking the ball and the next, I’m pushing it. Oh yeah, I‘ve also been hitting some shanks.”

“Well, hit some seven irons and let’s see what’s happening” the pro said.

Five minutes into the session, the pro stopped Bob and told him that he was overswinging. He needed to tighten his swing by shortening his backswing, which was going past parallel, according to John.

“Think about hitting the club with a three-quarters swing and let’s see what happens.”

Five perfect shots in a row and Bob looked over to John and said, “That’s amazing. I can’t believe how long and straight those irons are going.”

“You’ll find the same thing with your driver, where the long backswing is way past parallel,” John said. “Practice hitting those irons and drivers thinking of a three-quarters swing, and it should help your game.

“Oh yeah, about those shanks, I think it’s all a question of where you’re lining up the ball. When I get behind you, you’re actually lining the ball on the inside third of the club, causing you to hit those shanks.”

Well, Bob felt relieved. He found the root of his problem and was ready to hit the range, practicing three-quarter swings with all his clubs. Moreover, he knew that if he was to play better golf, he had to concentrate much more on where he was lining up the ball on the clubface. v The moral of this story is quite simple: If you’re lost and confused on the golf course, you won’t solve the problem by yourself. Ask for advice. Take a lesson and get the knowledge and experience of a PGA pro to analyze your swing, identify some swing faults, and give you something to help you regain your confidence. Get a lesson to help you play better golf and enjoy the game a lot more.

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