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Breaking 90: Match the leading edge to your spine angle
Created on 1/1/2006 12:00:00 AM

Getting into the 80s on a regular basis is a matter of tightening your range of mis-hits. Understanding how the clubface and swing path combine to determine shot direction will help you become a smarter player. Learn to monitor the position of the leading edge at various points in the swing, and you'll be able to make adjustments when your ball control starts to slip.

Match the leading edge to your spine angle

To improve your swing path and promote a square clubface at impact, practice making half swings so the club stops parallel to the ground on each side of your body. At these two positions, the leading edge of the clubface should be parallel to your spine. If it is, it means the clubface is rotating correctly and staying square to the swing path. Good path and a square face are the basic ingredients to straight, powerful shots.

Get the game right
When you step onto the first tee, ask yourself, "Am I going to play 'golf' or 'golf swing' today?" Save the swing mechanics for your sessions on the range. Instead, focus on visualizing shot shapes and hitting targets.

Make solid contact on the greens, too
One of the most under-appreciated aspects of golf is making solid contact when you putt. If you don't make a pure strike, controlling speed and direction will be tough. Work on your setup: Set the face square, and then settle into your stance. From a good setup, you'll have a good chance of hitting it pure.

Go hybrid
Hybrids are great around the green. The leading edge cuts through rough, and the ball comes out hot (so swing easy) and rolls like a putt. If you don't have to get the ball airborne for more than a foot or so, it's a safe shot and very effective.

On the tee, play on thin ice

A great image for hitting better drives--especially if you tend to pop the ball up or run your driver into the ground--is to pretend you're swinging on a sheet of thin ice. Try to sweep the ball off the tee. If you catch the ground with the leading edge, your driver will crack the ice, and you'll go for a nice, chilly swim. This image also does wonders for balance and tempo: Swing too hard, and you'll end up on your rear end.

Golf Digest January 2006


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