Tip 1 – Charlie Ralapaugh, PGA – White Deer G.C.

The dreaded banana ball or slice. The unwanted, unwelcome shot pattern that haunts 90% of all golfers starting the game. A shot that starts well left of your target then curves sharply to the far right of your target. Cure your banana ball using the following tips.

  • Use a stronger grip. Turn both hands to the right on the grip or handle until both V’s formed by your thumbs and first fingers point to your right shoulder. At this point you should see two and a half knuckles on your left hand.
  • Close up your stance by pulling your right foot and shoulder back 3 or 4 inches. Move the ball back a few inches in your stance. Keep the club face square or slightly closed to your target.
  • As your swinging into the ball feel like your right hand is rolling over your left hand and your right forearm is rolling over your left forearm, closing the face of your club through impact.
  • Your arms should be extended into a straight position during impact.
  • Practice these tips before going on the course to get rid of your BANANA BALL.

Tip 2 – Craig Dear, PGA

Everyone has a problem, at times, with maintaining the hands on the club throughout the swing. It seems that piccolo playing with our grip at the top of the backswing afflicts us all. A physiological reason for this to happen is the inherent weakness of the left thumb and its inability to hold the club at the transition from backswing to throughswing. The thumb does not have the inherent strength to hold the club at the top without support from the right hand. When the right hand comes off the left thumb, it (the thumb) feels the stress and since the hand is a unit, the fingers at the end of the club loosen and take the uncomfortable pressure off the thumb. When the hand loosens, the club moves and when the hand reflexively tightens through the ball the club head is turned to the left causing an annoying little hook. The solution is simple: keep the left thumb supported with the right palm and your grip will stay intact.

Holding the finish seems to be one of the hardest things to do for many golfers, they want to return to the address position with a recoil or fall in the direction of least resistance. We have all seen it and we have also all done it. Somehow it isn’t completely logical for something we do after the ball is gone to have a significant effect on the result. There are three very good reasons to hold the finish and “pose”. First, because our finish position is one of balance, the actual position is a very specific and repeatable one. If we finish a couple of inches out of balance we start to fall down, so if we maintain our balance, the position is the same every time and one of the inescapable truths is that if we start from the same beginning place and end up the same ending place every time the path between has a better chance of being the same. Second, If we go to an ending position which completes the motion, we are much more Likely to finish all the things we have to do to hit the ball successfully. Third, every tempo, to be consistent must have a defined beginning and a defined end. The fact that every measure of music has the same number of beats allows the musician who is playing the piece to know exactly where his note belongs. (all right, conventional music) If we want a consistent rhythm we have to define the beginning and the end. The beginning is easy, the end can be tricky if we don’t associate it with a defined position. Hold the ending position and all these things happen pretty much automatically.

When I was a young golfer, (first 18 hole round 53 years ago) conventional teaching stated that you hit the ball in nearly address position. There was a junior tourney clinic where I heard a professional state that the address position is so important because it is the same position you hit the ball from. My father, also a PGA member told me to look at the impact photos of the best players before I decided to try it. It really surprised me to see every one of the great players right knee past the center of his head at impact. That was 50 years ago, and another change has happened. The majority of the great Players (not all but nearly all) have the outside edge of the left shoulder behind the ball at impact and still having the right knee past the center of the head at impact. It truly changes how we teach players how to hit the Driver. (unless you like to argue with success)

Tip 3 – John Dunigan, PGA Master Professional – Hartefeld National GC

Make better contact and improve your consistency and distance.
The pros take a divot after the ball. Of course, you know that already. Did you know that, on average, the deepest part of the divot, which we should call “low point,” occurs between 4 and 5 inches after the ball? That’s a very big deal. Here’s a quick little drill that will allow you to move your low point forward in a very short amount of time. With no ball, address the ground–you’ll need grass to do this and please don’t do it on a golf course!!! Take a divot with a full 7 iron swing. Now, without moving your feet, hit the front of that divot with your next swing. Then hit the front of that divot on the next swing. You will be moving your low point even more forward with each successive swing. The close you get the low point to 4 inches ahead, the better ball striker you will become.

Remember the goal is to hit the ball into the ground, not into the air, and NOT hit the ground into the ball. Let the loft of the club combined with the backspin produced by downward contact get the ball into the air for you.

Good Luck! John