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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Steve Stricker’s “Dead Hands” Approach Shot

Johnny Miller said it should be called the “Ka-ching, I’m getting rich!” shot. Steve Stricker has used it so successfully that his cumulative score for all three FedEx Playoff seasons is lower than Tiger’s. That’s saying something!

Michael Breed talked about it on The Golf Fix Monday night after the tournament and, since I was already planning to do a series of posts about it, I wanted to see what he said. His use of a clothes hanger and a couple of clubs to teach it was the kind of thing I like to see, because I don’t believe you should have to buy expensive training aids to learn the golf swing. (At least, most of the time; I can’t rule out the possibility that someone may have a unique problem that requires one. Most people don’t, though.)

However, I think I can do him one better. I’m going to teach you how to do it using a single household item, and make it even simpler than he did.

And yes, as immodest as that sounds, I can do it. This isn’t rocket science, people; it’s one of the simplest swings you can learn to make and it requires no special training. If you can swing a putter, you can use this giant-killer swing with a minimum of practice.

In case you’ve forgotten (or just didn’t read my very first post), I believe that most people have it backwards. They learn to make a full swing, then attack the putting stroke as if it were a different animal. My belief is that the full swing is just a large version of the putting stroke; you make a few minor adjustments as the swing gets longer, but otherwise the techniques are the same. If you learn a proper putting stroke first, then it’s a simple matter to lengthen it to a chip shot, a punch shot, a pitch shot, an approach shot, and finally a drive. This way, working on one aspect of the game improves them all, which means you get more bang for your limited practice time.

In other words, you get what I call a low-maintenance stroke, a stroke so simple that you can play well with minimal practice.

Anyway, Steve’s approach shot uses a common move that turns up in virtually every good putting teacher’s list of basics. It’s no surprise that his putting is as good as his approach shots… he's using the same technique for both! If you learn to use this move, not only will you be able to duplicate the Stricker dead hands shot, but your putting will improve as well. And if you already use this move in your putting stroke, you’ll discover that Strick’s shot is second nature.

Want to learn it? Then show up for class tomorrow… and bring a drinking glass. (Preferably empty; it’s less messy that way.)

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