Skip to main content

Style Magazine


Hip to be Square

Apr 30, 2009 ● By Super Admin

Playing consistent golf is the main goal every golfer is trying to achieve. In order to accomplish this goal, there are a couple of things that are imperative. First, a golfer needs to return the clubface square to the intended target at impact. Secondly, it’s critical that the path of the club head at impact make a direct line towards the target. It sounds quite simple, square clubface moving down the target line at impact, but for most golfers this rarely occurs.For a consistent game, you must first be able to get the club into a good position on the backswing. Assuming that your golf grip is correct – the back of your left hand and the palm of your right hand are facing your target and the club head is square to your intended target line – you’re ready to begin your back swing. This is where most players get into trouble. Right handed players have the tendency to begin their backswing by pulling the club away from the ball with their strong side (right hand). In doing so, they generally allow the toe of the golf club to close, meaning the toe is facing down or parallel to the ground when the shaft is parallel to the ground going back. This closed position will de-loft the club and close the clubface. It will also be impossible to recover.The proper backswing begins with the left hand pushing the club head back away from the ball and allowing the toe of the club head to fan open and point up to the sky when the shaft is parallel to the ground. Although it may feel as though the club face is opening, it is actually square to your intended plane. Now that you have taken the club back properly: Toe up. Simply cock your left wrist until you feel your left thumb under the shaft and the club shaft is parallel to the ground. In simple terms, on your backswing the leading edge of the club head and clubface should swing open like a gate.To mimic the great golf players, always swing the toe of the club up by pushing with your left hand, left arm and left shoulder, to the top of your back swing; square up the club face at impact on the downswing. These two simple factors create the ultimate golf shot – long and straight. Using your left side to create your backswing will help create better upper body rotation and create a wider arc. As the left side pulls the club back through the ball on the downswing, the right hand must now return the club head back to square at impact. This maneuver requires much practice. If the clubface is slightly open you will miss to the right and if you over rotate and close the face your miss will be to the left.To create a better club head path at impact, it is crucial that the alignment of your upper body be parallel to the target line, not only at the address position but also at impact. Remember that the alignment of your upper body is more critical to club head path than simply where you aim your feet. To create a better club head path, try practicing with a club on the ground, parallel to your target line. This will visually help you to square up to your target with your clubface, shoulders, forearms, hips and feet.Eric Pohl is a PGA Life Member and Head Golf Professional and General Manager at Bass Lake Golf Course. He can be reached at 530-677-4653, or visit their web site at

Read More »
Get A Grip

Dec 31, 2008 ● By Super Admin

So you just purchased that oversized 460cc driver, or a new fancy set of irons, or maybe even a new hybrid or two, and you see little or no improvement. I suggest that you spend some time and effort to improve the way you hold your golf equipment. The most important fundamental in golf is your grip, or how you connect your equipment to the body. Most golfers simply hold the club the way that feels most comfortable to them, weak and in the palms, which is generally incorrect.Solid, consistent ball striking begins with a firm, functional grip. A common mistake is holding the club too weakly, or more in the palm of the left hand. This is generally followed by a right hand position that is also weak or on top of the club. Most right-handed golfers have too much tension in their right arm, extending their right arm at the address position. The shoulders and forearms are now open or aligned to the left of their target. The path of the club head on the down swing and at impact will naturally want to follow the alignment of the upper body. The club head crossing the target line in this fashion will impart clockwise rotation on the ball, creating a slice or left to right spin.I was taught “old school” in my youth. My mentor was a gentleman by the name of Art Bell. Mr. Bell was the Pro Emeritus at the world famous Pebble Beach Golf Links back in the 1970s. He was a firm believer that the target side of the body is the workhorse in the golf swing. For right-handed players your target side (or the side of your body closest to the target) is your left side, left arm, and left hand. I spent two years trying to do everything I could to increase strength and coordination in my left hand. Every practice session with my mentor began the same way – me hitting balls with my left hand only. This drill would show whether or not my left side was getting stronger, and how much more I needed to improve or practice.The proper golf grip begins with a strong left hand position. This means that with a square club face, the grip end of the club should rest under the heel or pad of the left hand. You should feel that you are carrying the club more in your fingers, and not in the palm of your left hand. Your left thumb is positioned slightly right or clockwise on the club at 1:00. Looking down on your left hand you want to see two knuckles. The “V” you form on your left hand between your forefinger and thumb is pointed between your chin and right shoulder. Your right hand should also hold the club more in the fingers, rather than in the palm. The “V” of your right hand should be pointed to your right shoulder. Personal preference will dictate how you connect your hands, either interlocking or overlapping the little finger of your right hand with your left hand.Remember that a strong grip (the hands rotated slightly clockwise or away from your target) will also square up your shoulders and forearms to your intended target, allowing you to release the hands and the club head more efficiently, and down the target line longer. This practice will lead to more solid and straighter golf shots.Eric Pohl is a PGA Life Member and Head Golf Professional and General Manager at Bass Lake Golf Course. To reach him, call 530-677-4653 or visit

Read More »