Sometimes the Fix is the Problem

Asheville Golf Home

Dear Jitterbug,

My friend has a knack for giving me helpful tips when we play. The problem is that his tips have a shelf life of about six holes, after which I experience total collapse. Have you heard of this before?

David Mullen

Jitterbug Gang Fan


There is a big difference between golf tips and golf fundamentals. I might compare and contrast the two.

Let’s say somebody tells you to keep your head down when you swing. This may seem like a cure-all the first time you try it, but it is just a tip, and will eventually fail.

Why? Because a golfer trying to adhere to such an idea will overdo it until the tip itself becomes the fault. The golfer, trying to keep his head down, will, in time, bury his chin in his chest, believing that if a little head down is good, more head down must be even better.

Now, for the equivalent fundamental: Let’s say instead you were told to keep your spine, from top to bottom, very steady-no up or down movement-as your turn away from, and well through your golf shot.

This fundamental, unlike the aforementioned tip, has an absolute quality to it. In other words, you can’t overdo it. Show me a golfer who keeps his spine too steady and you’ll be showing me something I’ve not seen before. And, while it may take a moment or two longer to adopt, the likelihood of this fundamental sending you into a tailspin is somewhere between slim and none.

In summary, any tip that, when overdone, can lead to collapse is just that, a tip. Fundamentals, on the other hand, bring with them a more permanent benefit.

Mr. Vaughn:

Believe it or not, just about any suggestion, no matter how ridiculous, will work for a few holes. You can tell someone to attach his tongue to the roof of his mouth before taking the club back and it will work for a little while. I call these type of tips, “Tempo Triggers,” and despite their initial magic, aren’t worth a darn on the long haul.

Why do Tempo Triggers work at all? Because Tempo Triggers get you to slow down. They get you focused on one little thing, so you’re not as likely to swing wildly at the ball. Of course, soon after, you get comfortable with the new tip, start grippin’ tighter and swingin’ harder, and soon following, sink into full system failure until somebody gives you another six-hole tip.

Lord Berry:

Too often, golfers judge the worthiness of a suggestion by the outcome of the next shot. This, of course, is misleading. As Mr. Vaughn pointed out, anybody can hit a great shot some of the time, even when adhering to the worst advice. The journey, then, is to seek not that which works today, but rather, that which can be developed, and in due time, relied upon.

Asheville Golf Home

Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by Bobby Steiner

Ask Jitterbug - Author Bobby Steiner

About the Author

The following are a list of golf teaching columns generously donated to us by teaching professional and author Bobby Steiner. Bobby teaches golf at The Practice Tee in East Asheville during the summer months, and at The Westin Mission Hills Resort during the winter.

You can reach Bobby at: or

All the Same Distance

I hit all my clubs, seven-iron and longer, the same distance. Do you know of a cure?

Bad Rhythm

My swing rhythm gets fast when I play. Do you have any suggestions to help me slow down?

Bad Teacher

There is a young assistant golf professional at our club who plays extremely well, but could use some help as a teacher. Any suggestions that might help him?

Ball Position

Can you explain your take on ball position? Forward for longer clubs? Back for shorter clubs?

Die or Lag

Do you think it is better to be a firm putter, or to putt the ball so that it barely drops into the cup?

Fanning the Club

My tendency is to fan my hands to the inside on the takeaway. When I use a straight takeaway I can't hit the ball.

Fix is the Problem

My friend has a knack for giving me helpful tips when we play. It works for about six holes, then I totally collapse. Have you heard of this?

Get the Ball to the Hole

I have a very difficult time getting my putts to the hole. Can you help?

Golf Schools

Are golf schools worth the money?

Guide the Ball

My golf instructor tells me that I try to 'guide' the ball too much. I've never heard this term, is it a bad thing?

Hip Slide

Can you explain the proper way to pivot during the backswing?

How Many Hours

I'm currently a solid 8-handicap, but I've reached a plateau. How might I rework my practice regimen to improve steadily like I used to?

Kids Learning Curve

My thirteen-year old son and I took up golf four years ago. Now, I am still struggling to break 100 while he shoots low 80s. How do I catch up?

Length of Backswing

I've read that the putting stroke should be the same length going back as going through. What is your take on it?

Long and Slow

I have great touch, and play standard chip shots quite well, but I can't hit a soft pitch of any length to save my life.

Make Practice Swing

I have a beautiful practice swing, but it doesn't carry over to my real swing. Any Suggestions?

More Distance

I'm a good athlete, but don't get the distance I think I should. How can I hit the ball farther off the tee?

No Scoop Chips

I suffer from the chipping yips; I can't prevent my right hand from taking over and flipping under the ball. How do I avoid scooping the ball?

No Touch Short Game

I have no short game touch, and I'm a good athlete. Everything I hit feels like a jab or punch. Any help?

No Whiffing

Golf is frustrating to me because I hardly ever get the ball up in the air. Please help!

Range Brilliance

I'm a great range player, but can't get it together on the course. Do you have any advice to help me?

Sound Swing

An assistant pro refers to some swings as "sound," and others, "not sound." Can you compare and contrast the two?

Taking Lessons

I've taken golf lessons for years from many different instructors, but I never get better. Are golf lessons the biggest scam ever thought up?

Teacher a Good Player

Do you think it is important that a teaching professional be a good player?
Home  |  About  |  Features  |  Mountain Living  |  A & E  |  Recreation  |  Food  |  Directory  |  Resources |  Login  
Sometimes in Golf the Fix is the Problem