Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 282 - January 29th, 2014
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In This Issue  

- Tom's Featured Tip: Compression and Trajectory
- Tom's Bonus Tip: More On Strength and Golf
- Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
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Tom's Featured Tip:
Compression and Trajectory

For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties .... well, you know what to do!

I watched a show last week where a famous golf instructor was explaining to his audience how to hit the "Tiger Woods Stinger", which is a low, penetrating drive. It motivated me to address compression and trajectory this week.

I want to talk about compression first, then the "TW Stinger"

If you are the type of player that hits your wedge very high (probably too high), and the ball releases too much when it hits the green, it's because you haven't compressed the ball enough at impact. There's a relationship between forward shaft lean at impact and compression, as well as between ball placement and compression.

Forward shaft lean refers to the shaft angle angle to the ground at the point of impact. It's defined by by how far your hands are ahead of the ball at impact.

Ball position refers to where the ball is placed in relation to the center of your stance.

They are both important factors for obtaining optimal compression on your strike.

If the ball is placed too far back in your stance, it may insure a ball first - ground second strike, which is desirable - but the angle of attack may be too steep at impact to have enough forward motion to provide maximum compression.

Too much "down" and not enough "forward" motion is a common mistake in wedge play, and it's usually caused by ball position too far to the rear. If you favor a slightly open stance for your wedge play, you are positioning the ball a little further back than you notice visually, so that needs to be considered when you select your ball position.

Finding your best ball position is a process of discovery (practice) at the range, or in your basement over the winter.

If your shaft is too vertical at impact - not enough forward shaft lean - the ball will slide up the face more than compress, and a too high, too weak strike with minimal spin will be the result. This is a valid shot if you ever need it, as long as you know why things are happening and are producing that result intentionally. Most players aren't producing that result intentionally, it's their default ball strike with a wedge.

Very few players have too much shaft lean at impact, which would cause a shot that's too low, and also without enough backspin.

To get optimal dynamic loft - which means a lower more penetrating filght with your scoring irons - and pure compression on any shot with any club, your forward shaft lean and angle of attack must be optimal.

This means finding the correct amount of forward shaft lean, swinging on your correct plane, and correct ball placement. If you train yourself to have forward shaft lean at impact, you will find the correct ball position through your discovery process (practice, trial and error). You will feel it when it's right, and you'll notice more spin on your scoring irons when the ball lands on the green.

The drill I use to train my students to find and feel good compression is through abbreviated swings with their weight firmly situated on their left side, with a slightly bowed (palmar flexed) left wrist maintained through impact and into into their abbreviated follow through.

When I say abbreviated swing, I mean a backswing that only goes (on plane) to shaft parallel to the ground or SLIGHTLY higher, and a follow through to a shaft that's parallel to the ground (on plane) or SLIGHTLY higher. You can practice this anytime indoors, in your basement, by hitting AlmostGolf Balls off a striking mat (or a carpet remnant) into a net (or a blanket or tarp).

There's really no excuse for not doing this drill if you are serious about your game. You'll become such a good ball striker that you'll scare yourself.

Back to the "TW Stinger"

This instructor was explaining that to hit the "TW Stinger" with your driver, that your left wrist had to be extremely bowed at impact, and that it's a great impact position to practice. I have no argument with that, I love that position for impact practice - it's the drill that I described above.

What should have been described more was that if the average player took this swing to the course with his - or her - driver, they'd lose about 25% (minimum) of their normal carry. They might make up for lost distance with more roll due to a lower trajectory, but they might not.

This technique should be reserved for extreme playing conditions - such as a severe wind heading directly into your face on the tee - or for those players with swing speeds over 100 mph. The average swing speed for all players as a whole in the US is 87 mph, not fast enough for this swing to be useful. Average swing speeds need higher trajectory with their driver, even into a wind.

Average players need enough loft on their driver, then they need to learn to swing the driver with an ascending angle of attack at impact to produce a flat, high trajectory, with minimal spin to max out their driver distance. This type of swing is also useful enough into the wind so that you should never really need to try the low trajectory shot unless you can really hit it with authority.

The thing that intrigued me the most was the shift in emphasis in this particular instructors' teaching in general. It's mirrored my own shift in thinking from a "load the right side" mentality to a "centered" or "left sided" weight distribution bias throughout the swing sequence.

I do like the fact that it seems like golf instruction is heading in that direction. I buy into that weight distribution thinking completely.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf, own your swing,


Tom's Bonus Tip:
More On Strength and Golf

For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties .... well, you know what to do!

I had a few questions about strength and golf after my last newsletter, so let me deal with a couple of concerns.

Q: You mentioned gaining distance with your irons in the last issue, if I build up my strength, will I be able to also gain distance with my driver?

A: If everything else remained the same, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

Q: Tom, I'm a year younger than you - 66 - can I still gain enough strength to make any difference in distance off the tee?

A: The answer to this is an unequivocal yes also, but keep a few things in mind. .
  • Before you embark on any weight training program, get your doctors OK for strenuous physical activity.

  • Note that I used the word strenuous.

    I think that baby boomers and females have this idea that they shouldn't really exert a lot of energy in a weight training program. That's simply not how it is if you want strength gains and want an increase in muscle in your body composition.

    If you are serious about gaining strength, you have to really push yourself in your routine. Stop short of injuring yourself, but do challenge yourself.

    We were given a pretty cool gift at birth - our body, and we should take care of it like we would any other great gift.

    And here's another reason to start a strength gaining workout. Check out an old issue where I addressed Sarcopenia, which is muscle loss that occurs as a part of our aging process. It's perhaps the only part of the aging process that we can actually reverse - with some work of course.

    Put forth the effort and you'll reap the rewards, at any age.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf, own your swing,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Driver Fitting Rates:



Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Outdoor range and play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for simulator play or practice!

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Chestnut Hill CC   Great rates, 20 minutes East of Buffalo, NY .

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan