101 Golf Secrets
Golf Secrets 19 - 21: Instruction
19 -- HOW TO READ A LAUNCH MONITOR
BY MIKE STACHURA
A launch monitor offers the same potential life-changing benefit as an EKG, especially if you know how to read one. Learning the meanings behind the numbers will let you know how close or how far you are from perfection. Adam Hubbard, a PGA professional who does hundreds of fittings a year at the Golfdom store in Tysons Corner, Va., says it's easy to get overwhelmed by all the numbers that fill the screen on a launch monitor.
"It can get confusing when you're looking at things like smash factor or efficiency rating of 1.4 versus 1.45," he says. "And because we can see things like face angle on a launch monitor, you have to watch that it doesn't turn into a lesson."
The numbers average golfers and fitters need to pay the most attention to are launch angle and spin, especially if you're talking about a driver fitting. Hubbard says the key range is 13 to 16 degrees on launch angle and a spin rate in the 2,800 to 3,500 range. He says faster swingers (more than 95 miles per hour) can favor the lower side of that scale, and slower swingers (less than 85 miles per hour) might benefit from the higher side of the scale, or at the very least should avoid the low end of the scale to maximize carry. A launch monitor might not hold all the answers, but it will give you a good idea of how clubs compare to each other simply by the numbers.
20 -- HOW TO OVERCOME THE PUTTING YIPS
BY HANK HANEY
First, you have to admit you have the yips. And more people have them than you think—about 25 percent of all golfers, according to a study we did. The yips are a motor-function problem that disrupts the messages between your brain and the muscles in your arms and hands. They aren't a psychological problem, so thinking positively about them going away (or seeing a sport psychologist) isn't going to help. To fix them, you have to do one of two things: Either change to a grip that stabilizes the hand with the tremor (yes, you can get the yips in either hand, or both), or practice a series of drills to "re-program" the motor pathway between your brain and your hands. When you see a tour player using a non-standard putting grip, it's because he's felt something in his stroke that isn't right. In other words, a yip. Bernhard Langer (above) has gone to at least three different putting grips to fight them. The yips don't have to be a death sentence for your golf game.
21 -- HOW TO REACH YOUR POTENTIAL
BY BUTCH HARMON
You want to play better, so emulate those who play the best. Notice three things when you watch the pros play: (1) Pros' backswings are deliberate; most golfers need to swing back more smoothly. (2) Pros all make great shoulder turns; amateurs tend to swing all-arms. (3) Pros always finish in balance because they swing at about 80 percent; most average golfers swing as hard as they can at the ball just in case they hit it.
Images from top: Dom Furore; Darren Carroll