Make It Happen
WelcomeAbout UsOur Services Current EventContact UsWhat's New





Kathy Says ...

LPGA Hall of Famer Kathy Whitworth offers swing tips and 

shares her golf wisdom



Q: I'm in my 50s, and I've noticed that my swing has lost some oomph. What can I do to hit the ball as far as I used to? - A. Marten, Moab, UT


A: I know how you feel. At age 63 I can still smack the ball out there occasionally, but I've lost some distance too.  You tend to get stiffer as you get older, which reduces the shoulder turn that's the key to long shots.  I don't really have a problem with flexibility, but my legs aren't as strong as they used to be.


There are fundamentals you can work on to pick up extra yards; balance, weight, shift and stronger grip (turning your hands to the right), which always gives you more power. I teach several women in their 70s who still want to get better. They have too much up-and-down motion in their swings, so we work on a more balanced set up.  This way, they use their legs more effectively and shift their weight better.  That creates more clubhead speed with less effort, and they end up hitting the ball further.


Q: I'm pretty good at getting out of greenside bunkers, but I'd like to have more control over how far the ball goes.  Any advice? - Rudie Clark, Milford, PA


A: I was a terrible trap player early on because I didn't have access to any bunkers to practice in, so I never learned how to hit sand shots.  When I went on tour at the age of 19, I signed with Wilson Sporting Goods.  One of the things we were required to do was give clinics and exhibitions. Patty Berg led them, and she made sure we knew how to play bunker shots.  I practiced a lot and learned you can control distance by changing the size of your back swing, your clubhead speed and the amount of sand you take.  There's no magic formula, but generally a bigger swing and less sand will help the ball go farther; a smaller backswing and more sand will keep it shorter.  But the texture of the sand also matters.  Heavy, soft sand was always a bugaboo for me because I had to hit it so much harder than firmer sand.  That's just something you have to experiment with and learn.

    The key of course, is always to get the ball out.  The biggest fault I see is lack of follow-through: If the club stops after hitting the sand, you surely can't control distance.  No matter how long or short your backswing, you must follow through.


Q: It may seem odd, but on sunny days I'm often distracted by my shadow. I can't focus or swing effectively.  What should I do? - Ann Heller, La Jolla, CA


A: I've never been bothered by my shadow, but I know what your talking about.  It can be distracting, particularly if your body suddenly blocks the sunlight and casts a shadow on the ball during your backswing.  Stop thinking about it and put your attention to what you're trying to do, which is hit the ball.  Some players actually use their shadows to see what's going on with their swing.  That's a mistake too.  You look at your shadow and think "I should be doing this or that," and you destroy the swing.  The next time you see you shadow, say: "I see you but I'm not going to pay attention to you." Go on about your business and put your mind back to alignment, the target and the ball.  It takes discipline, but you can learn to block out distractions.




For more great golf info for women, check out:


Source: Golf For Women, July/August 2003.  


If you can Imagine It, we can Make It Happen.