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A woman's touch

Men might play better golf if they swung like a girl. Seriously, guys, it’s time to embrace your feminine side.

By Al PetersenPublished: November, 2012

I’m always amazed when I see a slightly built player on the LPGA Tour grab a driver as tall as she is and split the fairway with a 250-yard drive. Why can’t I do that? I’m a foot taller, probably 90 pounds heavier and still fairly limber.
“The reason the top women are able to hit the ball so far is because they know how to use their core strength,” said Michelle Dube, an LPGA master teaching professional at Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita. “Men typically try to overpower the ball by using their upper body strength, but that just leads to a swing out of sequence.”
If I swung like a girl I could add a few yards to my drives and subtract a few numbers from my scorecard? Hmm. Perhaps it’s time to embrace my feminine side, because I sure as heck have a lot more in common on the course with Stacy Lewis, Ai Miyazato and Morgan Pressel than I do Bubba Watson, Heath Slocum and Graeme McDowell.
To get it together sequentially – and realistically – men (like me) with higher handicap indexes should probably watch a few more LPGA Tour events. That tour typically plays courses in the 6,500-yard range and the players hit their shots about the same distance a decent male player would. Yet the women’s scoring average is close to 70, while the average male weekend warrior would be thrilled to get near that mark.
“They’re more in tune with their ball striking,” Dube said about the top female pros. “Their rhythm and timing is outstanding. They build a swing from the ground up and unwind the club in the proper sequence. The average male golfer really can relate to a top female player because their games are similar as far as yardages are concerned. They’re good models to emulate.”
We’re men, so we typically play from a tee box farther back than we should and pull out an 8-iron for a 165-yard approach shot over water when a 6-iron is the more realistic choice. We’re transfixed with heroic shots and swinging for the fences even though that strategy can lead to final scores most NBA teams would love to rack up.
Dube played professionally on a development tour years ago, said she hits the ball farther now because of better equipment. Balls and clubs are constantly being upgraded to enhance distance and control, but the primary way men with higher handicaps can gain power and a technically better swing has nothing to do with technology.
“The women are using more of their legs, their glutes, their abs, their core in general, when swinging the club rather than just the upper body,” she said. “Women also hold the club lightly and relax their arms and allow the clubhead to gain speed, whereas most guys who want to hit it hard, they’re squeezing it tight and trying to hammer the nail into the wall.”
So rather than beating my head against a wall dreaming about 300-yard drives that will never come, perhaps it’s time to lighten up and focus on technique instead of testosterone. In other words, swing like a girl and be the envy of the guys in my group when I post the lowest score. Sounds like a plan. But when the round is over we’re definitely heading home, going to a sports bar or stopping by the 19th hole to dissect the round or talk about football. I’m totally drawing the line when it comes to hanging out at the mall.


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Readers Feedback:

Interesting take that might work ... if guys would swallow their pride. I've played with so many guys who always walk to the back tees because they think that's what they're supposed to do. If guys would play the right tees and adjust their thinking, golf would be quicker and more enjoyable for everybody.
Comment at 11/1/2012
Clever point. If I could hit the ball half as good as most of the LPGA Tour players I'd be thrilled.
Comment at 11/1/2012
I read this and had to laugh - with you, not at you. My girlfriend has been trying to get me to take her golfing for awhile but I've always resisted. Maybe I could be learning something from her, though, eh? LOL
Comment at 11/13/2012
You have point about building the swing from the ground up and women can feel more in their legs as force then males faster. Males are much more from shoulders down as a driving force with their arms. That is why they can hit the ball with less training then females and get distances because they use strength. Women have physical challenges to direct their body for affective striking the ball to reach distances. Just go to the range and see the majority women swings how they physically swing to reach distances and you will see differences in how males and females create the rotation of hip, shoulders use of feet. The golf swing is base club head speed with direction and distance control. The few women that can reach 250 are on tour but males on the range you can see them reach that distance with physical effort. The women you show in this article rotation hip coordination in her swing male could not do for their hips would have to be more rotated base on club angle. No male could have the club head at that angle without the hips being more rotated. There is real skeleton differences between males and female that affect the development method to form a affective golf swing. Females and Males have to approach learning the golf swing in different ways base on skeleton differences and muscle function. A good golf swing is the same for males or females but approach should be different base on physical differences to develop their own golf swings.
Comment at 11/13/2012
We're gradually asbemsling a variety of toys and activity centers for our 7-month-old boy, and one of our latest additions is the Little Tike Swing. We hung it on a beam in an outdoor veranda. It took a bit of creativity to get in a position that was secure and just right for swinging, but the installation was easy. Our boy loves the swing. He breaks out into a big beaming smile. When we push it and give it a few twists he screams with joyous delight. He'll take any amount of swinging we can give him and it puts him in a good mood thereafter. It's a good addition to our repertoire. The swing is simple and inexpensive. It seems very sturdy and secure. We've had no problems and we anticipate none. Gary Peterson
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Comment at 12/11/2012
I like to watch LPGA players because their swing sequence appears slower than the men's which allows me to better observe form and ball strike.
Comment at 12/11/2012