Out of the bunker: Learning golf from tennis

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I was working with a student a few days ago, and he asked me how to stop putting so much spin on his chip shots. I must admit, I am accustomed to having players ask how to start putting more spin on the ball.

I quickly decided that I needed to address this question in language I knew he could relate to.

In addition to golf, my student is an avid tennis player. Knowing this I explained the concept of spin on a chip shot as it relates to hitting a tennis ball.

In order to stop putting backspin on your chip shots, it is necessary to learn how to put top spin on your ball. Much like hitting a topspin forehand in tennis, I have my player roll his right forearm (he’s right handed) over through the contact zone.

This keeps the golf ball low to the ground, and produces topspin. It almost feels as though you are trying to hook your chip shot.

Now, for those of you who are looking to create more backspin on your chip shots, your forearm will maintain its angle through the hitting zone. This will be the same feeling as hitting a drop shot in tennis.

This ends up creating a similar feeling to slicing your golf ball. A feeling that too many golfers know all too well.
Knowing that my student was a tennis player made a significant difference in how I decided to teach him through this adjustment with his chipping.

The feeling of hitting a topspin forehand versus a drop shot resonated with him, and his chipping immediately improved.
Golf is an extremely difficult game.

The best way to improve at it, is to learn in a manner that works best for you. I see this with my children and their school work.

An effective teacher will find the most effective way to teach a lesson to your child. If the message is communicated in a way that makes sense to you, your ability to grasp and learn is incredibly strong.

Keep enjoying this amazing game.

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