Think of throwing the ball as you ready to hit it

Sometimes I see people setting up to the ball in a way that makes it virtually impossible for them to hit it correctly. My heart goes out to them. I want to run over and set them right. Sometimes it is all that I can do to stop myself.

Now, how can I explain this?

Golf, in a sense, is a throwing game. You want to set up rather as if you were going to throw, lob, or roll the ball to the target. Throw for a drive or a long-iron shot. Lob for a pitch. Roll for a putt.

The technique, for a start, is to judge the shot from behind the ball and to advance as if about to throw to the target. Note a mark on the turf in line with your forthcoming shot. Now walk up to the ball as if to throw.

In almost all cases the left shoulder will automatically go up, the right shoulder down. The left side of the ribcage will go forward, the right side will bend inward. The head will tend to go back and the right elbow bend.

There won't be any effort in this. No tension. It will all just happen naturally. And 90 percent of golfers will find themselves in a very good position at the address.

For a drive the set-up is best assumed as if one was going to skim a stone across a pond. For a pitch one wants to think of lobbing the ball upward. Everybody as a child, or as a grown-up, has played what is called in some places ''monkey-in-the-middle,'' where two people try to lob a ball over the head of a third who stands between them ready to intercept. This is the sort of throw to think of near the green.

On the green one is going to roll the ball. So set up for a putt as if preparing to bowl the ball with the right hand (if right-handed).

Please don't set up in some stiff and unaccustomed way. Set up naturally. Be easy. At least you will be likely to start well!

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