I Guide the Ball too Much

Asheville Golf Home

Dear Jitterbug,

My golf instructor tells me that I try to “guide” the ball too much. To be honest, I’m not sure what he means. Have you heard the term “guide” before? If so, why is it a bad thing?

L. S.

Jitterbug Gang Fan


“Guide” might be a word that is best understood by understanding what it is not. Words like trust, free-swinging, allowing, and acceptance are all opposites of the term, “guide.”

People attempt to guide the ball in many sports, and usually with poor results. The basketball player talks about “short-arming” a shot, a maneuver born of trying too hard to be precise. The bowler might do the same when attempting to pick up a tricky spare. You might remember Steve Sax, the second baseman for the Dodgers in the 1980’s. Out of nowhere one day, he could no longer make the short throw to first base. The more he tried to “guide” the throw, the worse things got.

In summary, your pro is telling you to let go of worry with results because the more careful your movement, the less control you have.

Mr. Vaughn:

I agree with all that, but let’s talk about how guiding the ball, on a physical level, ruins your golf swing.

What your teacher likely sees that appears guidee has to do with your finish. You see, guiders are so caught up in results that they can’t muster up the nerve to finish the golf swing. The very moment they make contact with the ball, the shot is over with, and now it’s time to look up and pray. Just talkin’ about it makes me feel really twitchy.

So, if I was you, I’d undertake from this point on to spend more time with what happens after impact. Have your pro emphasize some positions he’d like you to be in after contact with the ball, and commit to observing them.

Work on these post impact postures with zero concern for where the ball goes. In a short time, you’ll discover how important the finish is to what happens before it.

Lord Berry:

The short game guide motion shows up in the form of a “yip,” characterized by jagged motion back to the ball. The yipper tries so hard to guide the putter to the ball that all qualities of form and faith are destroyed. And, like the second baseman whose problem grew in significance when he tried to control his motion, the yipper might be better off to treat each putt like a new experience.

Hours spent rehearsing a smooth finish wouldn’t hurt either.

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: www.bobbysteiner.com or bobbysteiner@msn.com

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What Does it Mean to Guide the Golf Ball?