Stop Whiffing or Topping the Golf Ball


Asheville Golf Home

Dear Jitterbug,

Golf is frustrating to me because I hardly ever get the ball up in the air. I want to keep playing, but can’t stand to play like I do, that is, either missing the ball altogether, or rolling it down the fairway. Please help!

June Nichols

Jitterbug Gang Fan

Jitterbug:

All right, June, you must do exactly as I say. You have to decide right now to take divots. You have to lose whatever aversion you have to hit the earth and decide that you are going to hit the ball, hit the ground, and hit everything around it until you your troubles cease to exist.

The ground gives you feedback. When you hit the ground, you can see where your club is, and there’s a message sent to your brain. Even if you hit 10 inches behind the ball, you can see it, feel it, and make adjustments.

Missing the ground, however, gives you no feedback. You don’t know if you missed by one inch or two feet. There is no message, visual or other, and you’re no farther along than before you swung.

So, before you give up on the game, spend a few range sessions learning to hit the ground. I think you’ll figure out where that ball is in no time at all.

Mr. Vaughn:

Too many golfers picture impact with the ball as some sort of perfect pick, where the club barely nips the ball, and barely skims the earth. And, trying to barely skim the earth is what causes clean pickers to top the ball.

You have to embrace the ground! You have to take dead aim at it. You have to decide the ground is your friend. It ain’t gonna hurt you if you hit it. And, the grass you dig up will grow back, so there’s not a thing you have to worry about the prospect of taking divots. Just do it. Take some divots and you’ll discover the true joy of ball striking.

Lord Berry:

To find out if the advice Jitterbug and Mr. Vaughn offer is truly applicable to your troubles, perform the following:

Place one ball high atop some longer, rough-cut grass. Place another tight to the earth on grass cut fringe length or less.

If you’d prefer to hit the one from the longer grass, divot taking is what you need.


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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Help with whiffing or topping the golf ball.