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The Ideal Club For A Perfect Swing

Dec 5, 2007
There are two different schools of thought concerning the ideal club to use for learning the correct swing. Some instructors think it matters very much; others think it doesnt matter much at all. The driver is the most difficult club for golfers to master. It has the least loft and the longest shaft of all the clubs in your bag.

The straight clubface of a driver puts maximum sidespin on the ball; the longer shaft means that your mechanics must be flawless in order to return the clubface square to the ball. If the clubface is open or closed at impact, the ball will slice or hook away from the ball-to-target line.

Thats not a noticeable problem on driving ranges, which are wide enough to forgive fairly severe mishits. But a hook or slice of 20 yards or more on a fairway can send the ball into the rough on most holes. Since your mechanics must be nearly flawless to drive the ball fairly straight, many instructors prefer to use one of the short irons or wedges to teach beginners how to swing the club correctly.

The short irons and wedges have higher lofts and shorter shafts, which means that its much easier for new players to control shots made with these clubs. The greater the loft of the club, the more backspin will be applied to the flight of the ball.

Backspin counteracts the tendency of the ball to travel right or left of target, which means that shots made with the short irons and wedges tend to travel straighter than shots made with a driver, even when the clubface is not completely square to the ball at impact.

Some instructors insist that your choice of club for learning purposes doesnt make a lot of difference. Ben Hogan taught beginners to learn the fundamentals of the golf swing using a driver. He wrote a popular series of instructional articles for Sports Illustrated in the early Fifties that were later published in book form. Hogan argued that a sound, repeating golf swing is the same with every club, so if you learn to control your shots off the tee with a driver, you'll have good control of all the other clubs.

I cant tell you what method is best for your learning process. Every individual player is different. Only a coach who has the opportunity to watch you hit a few balls is in a position to judge which club is the best one for you to start swinging with. So please keep in mind that what follows is the best general advice I can give you. I can appreciate the logic of both arguments. In defense of Hogan, whose method is the one that is used less today, it can be argued that learning the swing with a pitching wedge, for instance, can cause problems that may be hard to correct when a player begins to swing a driver.

The beginner has a much larger margin for error with the wedge, so its easy for undetected flaws to creep into a swing, even when the learner thinks that he or she is making progress. This is a constant danger for players who dont have the opportunity to work with a coach. They wont really know how mechanically sound their swing is until they start using the longer clubs. If you have an opportunity to take lessons with a club pro, or at least to have a low handicap golfer check your mechanics from time to time, then by all means start swinging with a wedge.

Learning to control the wedge before you take another club out of your bag is the fastest way to build your confidence. The fact that you're making fairly straight shots from the first day is a tremendous morale booster. If you start swinging with a driver, searching in the rough for all the balls you hook or slice is a frustrating experience that can make it hard for any beginner to want to go on learning.

As you gain confidence and control with the wedge, move through the bag one club at a time, from the short irons to the medium irons, then on down to the long irons and woods. The driver can be the last club you learn to swing. You can use this method and be confident that it will serve you well, as long as you have the opportunity to check your mechanics from time to time with a good teacher.
About the Author
Digital Products Home has a variety of world class ebooks that will answer all your burning desires. Find out how to Perfect Your Golf Swing and more in our Hobbies and Crafts Section.
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