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BY DOUG RUTTER
By definition, the average golfer has
one or more glaring flaws in his or her
In some cases it's a physical flaw like an
outside-inside swing. Other golfers remain
duffers for life due to a simple mental flaw
like poor course management.
Whatever the reason, there is always
something that keeps the average golfer on
the fringe of mediocrity and from routinely
breaking MM) on the links.
Brunswick County's corps of golf profes
sionals see average golfers galore in a day's
work. Pros know what makes these hackers
tick, and in many cases, they can prescribe
how to work out the bugs.
Pros usually charge by the hour for
lessons. But as a public service to Island
Living readers, some local golf gurus have
offered the following tips ? gratis:
Charlie Webster, head professional at
Briervvood Golf Club, Shallotte:
"1 think the most common mistake is they
try to hit the ball too hard. They don't let the
club and swing do the work."
Webster said trying to hit the ball too hard
usually results in a slice. "The way to control
that is keep your head still and don't try to
overpower the ball."
"Instead of trying to force it, just relax and
let your club and swing do the work. If you
make the correct swing the ball will go a long
Ernest Hewett, director of golf at
Lockwood Golf Links, llolden Beach:
"The most common mistake for the aver
age golfer would be underclubbing. The cor
rection for that would be taking one or two
Why do golfers undcrclub?
"It's a mental thing, an ego
thing." Hewett said. "They
hit a good shot with a club
one time and they
think they can hit it
that far every
for the Maples
course at Sea Trail S
"Probably the most common fault
would be what I call swinging from
the top, which is when golfers spin
out or move their shoulders be
fore they start the down
York said this motion
produces a siice, or a iei't
to-right shot for a right
How do you j
For Average Golfers
ing from the top?
"Allow your arms to move downward,
pulling the butt of the club toward
the ground, which in turn will
allow your shoulders to
move with your
York admits his
advicc is "very
^ suggests let
' the arms and
shop manager at
Golf & Country Club,
'I guess if 1 had to pick one
it would be most people don't
pay enough attention to the
short game. Fifty percent of the
strokes are used on the short
game and you see everybody on
the range hitting driver."
Stanzel suggests golfers spend
dd mucii time practicing their
chipping and putting as they do
on the driving range.
'A par 72 golf
Icourse is designed
for 36 putts but people don't spend half their
time with that."
As a result, Stanzel says the short game is
usually the weakest part of the average
Tom Miles, head professional at
Sandpiper Bay Golf & Country Club,
"I think that ball position is pretty impor
tant and the average golfer overlooks that."
Ball position is where the ball is positioned
in relation to the feet. When hitting a driver,
Miles suggests positioning the ball just inside
the front foot.
The ball should be just left of center for a
right-handed golfer using a fairway wood.
When hitting irons, position the ball four to
five inches inside the front foot, or near the
center of the stance.
"There's no one place that they're putting
it, but nine out of 10 times it's in the wrong
position. That's why most golfers can't get it
in the air and that's why they can't hit it
John Carney, head professional at Brick
Landing Plantation, Ocean Isle Beach:
"The most common mistake they make is
they are out of alignment. They're not
aligned to the target."
Carney suggests standing behind the ball
before every shot and picking out a spot be
tween the ball and target about a yard in front
of the ball.
He says it's easier to align your feet, legs,
hips and shoulders to a snot one yard away
than it is to a target 150 yards away.
"Most people are so far off that they don't
hit it toward what they're aimed at," Carney
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