Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 232 - February 20th, 2013


Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

In This Issue  

- Tom's Featured Tip: Penetrating Iron Shots
- Tom's Bonus Tip: Comfort Zones
- Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
- Sponsors: Batavia Country Club Chestnut Hill Country Club
Plum Creek Driving Range and PGA Golf Simulator
GCC Golf Management Program Provoto Putting Systems

PLUM CREEK IS OPEN ALL WINTER Come on down to play or practice. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve your simulator time! Great money saving monthly specials, check them out here:

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716 474 3005, email me at, or visit my website at   for rates and details.

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Tom's Featured Tip: Penetrating Iron Shots

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 have had many of students ask me why they seem to hit their irons so high and why the pros hit theirs with a low penetrating trajectory.

The truth of the matter is that the pros can hit their irons high or low at will, but for most of them their "go to" flight is a lower boring trajectory than most amateurs can manage.

The trajectory of ball flight depends on equipment and technique.

On the equipment side, it relates mainly to the loft of the club - although shaft flex also plays a part. Every iron has a manufactured loft, but that loft changes at impact to dynamic loft.

Dynamic loft is the manufactured loft combined with the angle of attack, which is usually a negative number for most irons. If you are reading the dynamic loft number off a trackman simulator, about 2 degrees of shaft flex also has been taken into account in their algorithm.

For example, a pro swinging an 8 iron with a manufactured loft of 38 degrees, with an attack angle of -5 degrees, and good forward shaft lean at impact, will end up with a dynamic loft in the neighborhood of 28 degrees, or possibly less.

This is because the pros hit their stock swings with more forward shaft lean than amateurs, which de-lofts the club even more and strengthens the distance attained from their strike.

Amateurs, on the other hand, usually don't maintain a consistent attack angle or club path, and they usually add loft to the club at impact by flipping the club before their swing bottoms out. This produces a high, weak ball flight.

Here's how you can attain good forward shaft lean at impact and produce a lower, more powerful ball flight with your irons without resorting to closing your clubface artificially at impact - which produces erratic shot dispersion.
  1. Set up with your weight distributed 50% - 50%, or perhaps even 45% - 55% favoring your front leg.
  2. Execute a centered pivot on your takeaway and backswing, taking care to keep your head still, and not allowing weight to transfer laterally into your rear leg, keeping your rear elbow close to your side.
  3. When you reach the top of your backswing, wherever that may be, start your downswing with a lateral weight shift forward towards your target. Only your lower swing center should move (your navel), your upper swing center (a spot about three inches above your solar plexus, between your shoulders) should not move forward. This keeps your attack angle from becoming too steep. Simply keeping your head still while you shift your hips gets this done.
  4. As your weight shift and downswing commence, take care to keep your rear elbow close to your side so that your horizontal attack angle approaches from inside the target line, not down the line or outside in. If it's tending to go outside the line on your downswing, you are probably not shifting your weight adequately and spinning your hips open too soon, which causes a casting motion and a steep, weak strike.
  5. Your strike should be executed with your weight forward and your hands forward of the ball, which defines forward shaft lean.
  6. Your hips may be slightly open, but the explosive part of the swing happens simultaneously as you shift and strike at impact, as the left leg pushes up off the ground and your hips rotate, adding the last elements of speed and power into your strike. Your hips should feel like they are opening the fastest just after impact.
This sequence takes practice, but it's worth the effort if you want to strike your irons like the pros.

Here's an excellent drill I developed to help you develop this transition movement:

With your club taken halfway back and your weight 50% - 50%, simply practice shifting your hips laterally towards the target while keeping your head still. Perform the drill in front of a mirror to make sure that your head isn't moving forward with your body. After you've shifted your hips forward, your weight should feel like is 35% - 65% favoring the forward side.

Just keep repeating these motions: shift - return; shift - return

For more details and variations of this drill, click here:
Short Swing Transition Drill

As always, I recommend 100 reps at a time when you are practicing any movement. Practice this move for 2 1/2 minutes and you should get in just over 100 reps.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf,


Tom's Bonus Tip: Comfort Zones

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!

This week I was simply going to advise each of you to play the shot you are comfortable with instead of trying for that "career" shot, but I had to add a couple of comments I received after last weeks tip about not being negative.

Lin J. sent me the following email after last week's newsletter:

"I thoroughly enjoy your tips, musings, instruction, and passion. Agree with your discussion on negativity. One personal quirk I have overcome, still observed in many golfers, both friends and pick-ups for the round: teeing off, sometimes even in the fairway, with a looming water hazard to cross (like Batavia CC #8 or #2), the player will switch golf balls because he doesn't want to lose the good one he's playing. I tell him to bring out his ball autographed by Tiger or Nicklaus, and hit it over! Personally, I certainly don't have a 100% success rate, but it has improved my chances, without having to verbalize anything. "

Thanks for the feedback Lin - although I would add that if you do happen to have a ball autographed by Tiger or Jack, take it out of your bag and put it in a safe place.

One last note, last issue I also said to "Avoid any thoughts with "Don't" in it like the plaque", I meant to say "like the plague" - and thanks to Fran B. for the heads up!

Love your practice, enjoy your golf,


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  Play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for play or practice!

Provoto Putting Systems   readers get a 30% discount on putting greens. Click on their catalog link, and select the green you want to purchase. After you decide on features, add it to your cart. You'll find the field for "Discount Coupon" near the bottom of the page. Enter PGApro in that field and your product cost will be discounted 30%.

GCC Golf Management Program   click for information on GCC's degreed program for anyone interested in a career in the golf industry or teaching golf.

Batavia Country Club   Course closed for the season, but the Lodge is open with live bands peforming on Fridays. Open Easter and Mother's Day for brunch, reservations required, check website for details.

Chestnut Hill CC   Course closed for the season.

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