Editor’s note: Second of three parts.
BANGOR, Maine — As spring creeps slowly into the Pine Tree State, golfers have started to get their clubs out and head to courses across the state for some fresh air and to whack the little white ball after a seemingly endless winter.
Golf pros will be busy giving lessons as golfers try to improve their games to make their experience that much more enjoyable.
Rob Jarvis, the assistant pro at the Bangor Municipal Golf Course, is offering a number of useful tips designed to shave strokes off scores and enhance the golf outing.
The short (chipping) game: Jarvis said the greatest thing about the short game is “you don’t have to be super strong or have great flexibility. You can become pretty proficient through practice, the same as putting. The number one answer is practice.”
He said when it comes to chipping, the golfer needs to make sure the grip is loose and relaxed.
“And you never want to try to lift the ball. When you get close to the green, and you’re using a more lofted club, you’ll have a tendency to want to scoop it. That’s not what you want to happen,” he said. “You still want to hit the ball with a descending blow in order to put little backspin on it and control the ball when it hits the green. The first thing you want to do it is put a little bit more of your weight on your [front] side. That’s going to help that club come down without you physically trying to hit down with the club.
“Second, we want a little bit of forward shaft lean. If we think of the club’s shaft being straight up and down, you’re going to want to lean it an inch and a half to 2 inches toward the target,” he said. “That will help you keep your hands ahead of the clubface through the strike. And don’t jab at the ball. You want to make sure you have the club in constant motion, and you’re always accelerating through the golf ball. You don’t want to take a big long backswing and shorten it up or a short backswing before really speeding it up. It should be free-flowing and relaxed.”