Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pitarresi: Learn from the best

I am occasional golfer.

And not a good one.

I love to play, but it's often a battle between my desire to hit the little white ball, my desire to catch a 20-inch brown trout, my need to go to work and earn a paycheck, and my responsibility to mow the lawn, wash the dishes and all that other stuff.

Anyway, I do want to improve my golf game - I could hit it further and more accurately at age 17 than I can now - so I try to pay attention to what some of the best players in the world at doing this week at the Turning Stone Resort Championship.

You can pick up all kinds of things, of course, many of which won't work for you because these guys are blessed with singular talent. However, there are some basics, and here are three that havejumped out at me this week and, really, the past few years.

1. All these guys keep the left arm very straight - or the right arm, in the case of southpaws. Everyone is told this when they first start out, but many casual golfers violate the rule somewhat and some make a shambles of it.

2. The body and the head are very still. Yes, most of the pros have a big turn, but the body does not sway, and the head remains steady throughout. As with the arm thing, it's a lot easier to hit the ball square if you at wandering all over the place.

3. The club head speed is tremendous. Obviously, that's a big part of getting distance.

You can train yourself to keep that arm straight, and to be still, although you might have to watch tapes of yourself or have a friend observe you to see how you're doing. Club head speed? Not so easy, but you can find ways to get stronger and improve your coordination, and you also can think about it - accelerate as the club head nears the ball.

The next time I play, I'm going to continue to work on all those things. I'll never get into the Turning Stone Resort Championship, but I can get better, and so can you.

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