From Blocked to Balanced

Most golf fanatics would probably agree, this game is a never ending search for the perfect drive.  And although many players would like to hit it in the short grass more often, that’s not what propels them to the range every week.

Distance – that’s really all most of us care about. If we didn’t, we would be happy hitting it 150 yards straight down the middle.  Been there – done that – got the nickname “Mrs. Roboto”. 

Although it’s kind of cute (NOT!) when the golfguys I play with yawn and say, “It must be so boring to play in the fairway.”, it never feels good that I’m the last to tee it up, but first to play my 2nd shot. 

So in my quest to bomb it like Michelle Wie (check out the audience oohing and awing over her drive at last year’s CN Women’s Open), I subscribe to all the major golf magazines, and have my office TV set permanently to the Golf Channel.  I figure that someday, somehow, a tip will reach my eyes or ears that will be the magic elixir to my dismal driving.

And this weekend I found one!

I’ve been trying to draw the ball off the tee since I first picked up a club. I’ve tried more tricks/techniques to hit the ball from the inside than I can count.  Tucking my elbow in on my downswing – nope.  Thinking of hitting the ball at 5 o’clock – nada.  Trying to aim for an imaginary Ichiro in right field – bupkis!

So I’ve learned to live with my fade, which stays in the fairway but doesn’t give me the distance I crave.

But last month’s Private Lesson section in GOLF magazine had a tip called  “Chin Music for Your Swing” that spoke to me.

It said you should move your left shoulder (for R-handed golfers) away from your chin on your downswing.

Now, I’ve always had a decent shoulder turn on my backswing, but I never thought about my left side at all on my downswing.  I only thought about starting my downswing from the ground up and keeping my body as one unit through the turn.

But yesterday when I went to the range, I tried moving my left shoulder away from my chin on the downswing.  On my first attempt I watched my ball draw to the left and carry 20 yards further than normal.  Thinking it was a fluke, I tried it again, and again, and again. Bam Bam Bam!  Woohoo!

And that one small change not only resulted in a longer drive, suddenly I wasn’t falling out of my Footjoys on my finish.

Turning my shoulder away from my chin helped me follow through instead falling over.  Ha!

So the lesson in all of this isn’t about any specific golf tip.  No, the lesson here is that the road to better golf is one small change at a time.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed in this blasted sport. But instead of overhauling your swing every second week, be patient with yourself.  It’s probably not a big thing that’s standing in your way of where you want to be.

Remember, it’s the little things in life that make a big difference – and the same is true in golf.

Now…about those darn 3-putts…

Until next time…


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  1. So true is not that one particular tip is magic… it’s that a one particular time, for one particular individual… a tip happens to work. It happens to be just what’s needed.

    Sounds like that was the right tip at the right tip for you, which is awesome. Hope I find mine some day. 😉

  2. Sometimes it’s when you least expect it Patricia.

    Remember that one I told you about years ago about how women can cure a slice?

    What’s funny is that one really works for just about every woman I know. 🙂


  3. James Ross (author)

    Turn your left hand a little more clockwise during the setup. Have a slow takeaway. Pause at the top. Then fire your left hip at the target.

    The lower body leg action will get you the extra distance.

  4. James Ross (author)

    Turn your left hand a little more clockwise during the setup to strengthen the grip. Have a slow takeaway. Pause at the top. Then fire your left hip at the target.

    The lower body leg strength will get you added distance.


    Apparently Rudyard Kipling was a fan of snow golf, wonder how he kept warm without all the warm light layers we have these days…brrr! Gotta admit I’m a fairweather golfer, unless I’m only going down to the range.

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