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Hi John
I am 57, in average shape. I only play a few times a year with a couple of buddies. Up here in Canada with our short season and my busy life thats the best I can do. More for fun and fresh air. I have noticed that he same thing always happens. I start off good, and stay within a few strokes or even lead my buddies for the first 9 holes. After that, 'the wheels fall off. Mostly its my second shot after teeing off, I start missing the ball on the fairway and take divots out, a couple feet behind the ball. All I can think of is maybe my back or something is getting tired and it lets me down? What would cause this? Should I do some exercises to strengthen certain muscles maybe? Thanks for any thoughts, hope you have a great season!

Answer
Bud:  What you describe happens to all who play golf.  Starting the round hitting the ball pretty good, then something changes.  I think this can be caused partly by technique and partly mental.  I'll address the mental first.  When you play so seldom, when you start the round, you're concentrating on just making contact with the ball.  After you've had some success doing that, you try to get more out of your shots by thinking of things to do during your swing.  Basically your mental approach changes from a simplistic thought of results to mechanics.  An example:  you're hitting the ball fairly well and decide a few more yards would serve you well.  This results in a little extra back swing which adversely affects timing.

Now for the physics of the problem.  Taking divots behind the ball is caused by one of two things which may be related.  Hitting behind the ball means you're not getting your weight shifted forward during the down swing.  This means you're either shifting your weight back and leaving it there, or your weight is shifting forward in the back swing and back in the down swing.  Either scenario is an indication of poor balance.  If at the end of your swing you're not facing the target with your back foot on its toe and able to hold that position until the ball lands, you're not starting the swing from a balanced position.

With over 200 muscles involved in the swing, if you're not balanced to begin the swing, once you go in motion, you're struggling to stay in place long enough to hit the ball.

Nearly 100% of touring professionals are in a position that affords optimum balance; you'd be doing yourself a huge favor if you copied their set-ups.  Here's how to do it:

1.  With your legs straight, bend from the hips to reach the ball.  Your shoulders should be slightly out past your toes.
2.  Flex your knees only enough to unlock them.
3.  Position the ball far enough from you to allow the arms to hang straight down from the shoulders.

This position puts you on the balls of your feet and in balance which makes it possible to shift your weight properly.  Develop a pre-shot routing that puts you there, so that on the course you end up in balance each and every time you hit the ball.  This will make your swing able to repeat itself consistently and you'll avoid those big changes in what happens from one 9 to the next.

Good luck Bud!!  Keep me updated please.

Fairways and Greens,

John

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John Brott

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PGA Golf Professional willing to discuss your problems and offer suggestions. Particularly those golfers experiencing pain either during or after a round. Prior Head Instructor: Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation Winner: 1996 Naional Senior Club Professional Championship

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PGA Member since 1982 Winner 1996 Senior Club Professional Championship Former Head Instructor- Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation Will compete in the PGA Seniors Championship and the National Club Professional Championshi this year.

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