Follow-Through Tip from One of the Finest

Shown here in his trademark "bucket" hat, Davis Love, Jr. could explain the golf swing in many different ways.

A complete and flowing  follow-through virtually guarantees golf success. We all know it, but with so much else to think about we too often fail to finish our swings.

Davis Love, Jr., father of the tour star Davis Love III, was a brilliant teaching professional who died tragically in the crash of a small plane. His renowned teaching skills included many an impromptu, mid-round cue or memory key that could get a struggling golfer back in form. During this writer’s own slice-plagued round with Davis, Jr., in the mid-1980s, Love took a tee from his pocket and performed a bit of magic with it. He slid the tee  into the vent hole in the grip cap of the club I had just did a slice with.

“Don’t do anything different,” he then told m, “just make that tee point straight out from your left ear when you’ve finished the swing.” The next swing, wonder of wonders, ended in a full follow-through, and the ball went straight as a string. Next time you find yourself quitting early on your swing and hitting weak slices, stick a tee in your grip cap and think of Davis Love, Jr.’s advice.

BONUS SLICE-BEATER: Long Irons  Weak and Leaky? Take out Tension

The 170-plus-yard iron shot is among the toughest in golf to hit with authority. According to Dave Bobber, of Trappers Turn G.C. in Wisconsin Dells, Wisc., most golfers consider the least satisfactory shot with 3-iron, 4-iron or even 5-iron to be a combination push-fade.

“In general it’s a shot that feels dead,” says Bobber, “You look up and see a wounded duck that’s low and leaks to the right, landing well short of the target.” First, check out the face of your club for signs of off-center impact. Any shot from grass with an iron usually leaves a readable imprint on the clubface. Hits on the center should produce fairly satisfactory ball flight. If they don’t, you may need an equipment change.

Whenever you practice long irons, be aware of your grip pressure. “Tension is the wrists and hands is a major cause of the weak, faded iron shot,” says Bobber. Use a personal grip-tension scale, from 1 to 5, with 5 the most grip pressure and 1 the least. Hit practice balls working your way toward the 1 setting.

“There’s a tempo tip you can also use to fix this problem,” says Bobber, “with the idea being that you ‘borrow’ the tempo and pace of your favorite club–the  7-iron or whatever–and use that same feeling for the longer club that’s giving you trouble. Hit the favorite club, groove that tempo, then hit the longer club. Repeat this little drill four or five times, and you may see your long iron shots straightening out and flying a suitable distance.

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