Michael Gracie’s Golf Tips

Good when playing with yours truly

I played a lot of golf the past few days. The venue was a pristine Midwestern establishment, compliments of my closest friend. And while some might call me a lucky bastard, you really have to play a round with me once to understand my suffering. I haven’t swung a club in years, and that wound up being a good thing – I lost enough golf balls to ensure my bag would be below the airline baggage weight charge limit. And while I found a foursome of junk-bond trader, cookie dough magnate, and estate planner (swapped for a distressed real estate investor on the last day) damn good company, I now feel the need to set some ground rules for any and all that might play with me in the future.

Addressing The Ball – An open club face is a “generous” club face when I’m near the tee box – you should open it up as much as possible. I suggest addressing the ball directly with the heel of the club, while pointing the toe of the club in the opposite direction of your target.

The Swing – The most important maneuver in golf, hence you should pay careful attention to the process. In order to ensure perfect club position and angle for the entire swing, I advise you keep your eye on the point of the club where it attaches to the head, all the way through the backswing. Your back should be facing the target when you begin the downswing, and should remain in that position for the remainder of the swing. At that time you should then shift your gaze from the club head/shaft juncture down toward your toes (as proper foot position is the second most important element in good ball striking). Once halfway through the downswing, bend both elbows and tuck your hands in very close to your chest – keep them there until after a large chunk of turf the ball is in flight.

Putting – First and foremost, never putt the ball with any club less than 10.5 degrees of loft. For most people, this gives you a wide range of clubs (including many mid-range drivers) for use in putting. Second, everyone knows you must study the green to determine the ball’s future path, but what most people don’t know is that you should mark that path beforehand as well. In my humble opinion, you may want to mark off the line by walking it, toe to heel, from ball to hole. While doing this you may gain some advantage by pressing your foot down firmly with each step – this works especially well with very soft greens (i.e. having been recently rained on), and will also impress the more serious golfers in your group.

And lastly…

The Clubhouse – It’s for drinking and playing cards – things you should have been doing instead of playing golf anyway. Make sure to start a tab beforehand.

Because I’ll certainly be thirsty.

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