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Real Golf with Randy Smith

Useful hints, tips, and tricks from one of the most acclaimed golf instructors anywhere.

Randy Smith is the Head Golf Professional at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas, Texas. He is also a Staff Professional for Nike Golf and one of Golf Digest's Top 50 Instructors.

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Why Are You Wearing Out Your Glove?
Written By: Randy Smith on May 03 2006
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Randy SmithWhen I am on the practice tee observing, one of the first things that I do is check out the wear patterns of a player’s glove. With most amateur players you will see wear patterns on the thumb and also on the heel pad of the palm of the glove. Over time, they wear holes in both of these spots. Which brings up the obvious question, why are you always wearing your glove out in these areas?

The answer is really pretty simple. The average player thinks that his or her left hand is the problem. They feel like their left hand is slipping, so they’ll focus on it during practice. But in most cases, the problem is not in the left hand at all; it’s the right.

The bottom hand of the right-handed golfer is what secures the left hand on the golf club. The problem is that the right hand is being gripped way too much in the palm, which affords no room for the right thumb (or the left thumb on the left handed player) to sit on the golf club properly. This creates a gap between the thumb and the forefinger of the right hand.

When you swing the golf club, the club loads during the takeaway and unloads as it starts down. This creates the gap, which rubs against the heel pad and the thumb of the left hand. The club feels “loose” at the top of the swing and the grip pressure naturally increases to grab or control the club. This results in less swing speed and potentially poor shots.

For the right-handed golfer this can be fixed fairly easily by simply taking the low-side hand (or the bottom hand) and gripping more with the fingers to creates a “seam” between the right thumb and the right forefinger. That seam should remain intact throughout the entire golf swing. This will maintain the proper grip in the left hand and make the entire grip much more stable.

In order to keep the seam in the same spot, don’t increase grip pressure, simply maintain more consistent grip pressure. The seam should stay in place throughout your swing from start to finish.

With practice, this grip change will be successful for you. As you practice, remember to make sure your right hand is in the proper position creating a seam between the thumb and the forefinger so that your left hand won’t slip against the grip. A good way to practice your new grip is to take a tee and put it between the thumb and the forefinger of the lower hand. Make practice swings with the tee in that position and you’ll soon learn to keep the seam throughout your swing. You should see a big change in your ball flight once this grip change is mastered and you’ll feel a lot more in control of the golf club.

There are a lot of benefits to the proper grip; not only will your handicap go down, but your shot patterns will get better and you won’t wear out your golf gloves so fast. And, golf gloves are getting pretty expensive these days.

So, if you have that wear and tear problem on your glove hand, chances are there is wear and tear on your golf game. Practice fixing your grip; you’ll lower your handicap and save a little money at the same time.

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About Randy Smith

The all time leading PGA of America National Award winner with 18 national awards to his credit. Inducted into the PGA of America's Hall of Fame in the summer of 2005. Randy secured the National Teacher of the Year honor in 2002. In addition to this year’s award, he was the 1996 National PGA Golf Professional of the Year and 16-time winner of the President’s Plaque for individual contributions to The PGA’s National Golf Day. Randy has also collected numerous Section honors including the Golf Professional of the Year (1989), Horton Smith (1984), and Teacher of the Year awards (1995,’97, ’01 and ’02). He also served as the president of the Northern Texas PGA Section in 1988-89 and as PGA District 12 Director from 1991 to 1994.

He has been the personal golf instructor to numerous professionals and amateurs golfers. These include: 1997 British Open Champion Justin Leonard (PGA Tour) Harrison Frazar (PGA Tour) D. A. Weibring (Champions Tour) Jess Daley (Nationwide Tour) Numerous touring professionals on various mini tours. Amateur students who have received 13 NCAA All-American honors. Amateur students who have received a total of 100 college golf scholarships.

A PGA member since 1977, he attended Texas Tech University where he played on the golf team for two seasons. Randy and Paula have two children – Blake and Blair.

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