Column: The joy and benefit of watching the best

In this week's golf column, Dick Whitlam passes on wisdom gained watching Tiger Woods and the stars of the LPGA.

Wow, what a great week of golf!

Tiger takes a run at a comeback and the LPGA tour stops in Vancouver.

First Tiger.

I love how he is now hitting the ball and his putting is starting to come around again.

Both of those parts of his game are starting to look confident. Confidence is everything to a tour pro and you have to admit, when he’s on, it is exciting.

The problem this week was his chipping, a tough part of the game most golfers can relate to. Of course the kinds of chips the pros try are very hard to pull off and obviously Tiger has more work to do in this area.

You can see that he is very anxious over his chips and that translates into quick rhythm and tension.  Both are killers of a good chipping stroke.  If you are having problems in this area try relaxing your grip and slowing down your swing. Make the swing a little bigger if you have to but keep a nice calm and relaxed movement.

Now for the ladies of the LPGA.

I went to the Vancouver Golf Club to watch the top players in women’s golf, and as a teacher I always look for the strong and balanced swings.

Guess what?

They all have perfect balance and big full swings.

They are a joy to watch!

The stand outs for me are big hitters like Yani Tseng and Suzann Petterson but all the players I saw were multi-talented.

Our own Brooke Henderson is a wonderful player and when she finds her comfort on tour, watch out, because she has the ability to shoot very low scores.

In order to make a good swing through the ball you must be totally balanced and coiled at the top of your back swing. Without good balance and coil you will be unable to make a powerful consistent strike at the ball.

Just watch a person like Lydia Ko.

Her balance at the top of the back swing is perfect, her knees are still pointed forward and her weight is never beyond the inside of her back foot.

Her shoulders are turned at least 90 degrees, creating torque through her core muscles.

That’s why a small woman like Lydia can still hit the ball consistently 250-260 yards with her driver.

We can learn a lot by watching the best players in the world.

Next time you’re watching the PGA or LPGA tour, keep an eye on the perfect balance and coil at the top of their swings.

 

Dick Whitlam is a CPGA teaching professional with the Chilliwack Golf Academy.