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More of your golf questions answered
Around the Academy:

From the 7 Laws of the Golf Swing
Nick uses revolutionary imagery to teach the game
The questions for golf coach Nick Bradley are still pouring in.

Nick will be on hand to reply to your queries on a regular basis. So keep your emails coming.

Below he deals with more general questions on your game. The best question each time will receive a copy of his book, The 7 Laws of the Golf Swing.

Sam, 16, Haywards Heath

What's the best way to relax and re-focus after a bad shot because that's a big weakness for me and my mates.

Nick Bradley: The golf course doesn't recognise your emotions. So if you're losing your temper or throwing your club, then you're wasting your time. You may as well get on with your next shot.

When you're three and a half steps away from the ball you must practice the art of closure. Next time you play stick an elastic band around your wrist. Then when you lose your temper pull the band away from the wrist so it snaps back. Use it as a physical prompt to create a mental reaction. Forget about the shot and move on.

Keith, 30, Bourne End

When using irons, where should the ball be positioned on the ground in relation to where I stand? Should the ball be in the centre of my stance in front of me or slightly to the right/left?

The left foot shouldn't move

NB: The ball position in relation to the left foot should never change. It should be directly under your arm pit or two-and-a-half inches inside your left foot. The right foot does change. For shorter irons it should be closer to your left foot and for woods it should be further away. However what must change with your right foot is your sternum or the middle of your body.

For a wood shot you should feel that you're slightly leaning back i.e. behind the ball as if looking down the fairway. For a wedge shot the sternum should be more over the ball. Where your sternum is represents the low point of the swing.

Steven, 17, Preston

I can't read putts help me!

NB: Always look from behind the hole looking back to your ball as well as from your ball to the hole. Go with your first instinct. And another way of looking at it is what I call the two-movie technique. When your crouching down behind the ball looking down the line, in your mind just play a movie and shoot one ball at the hole and see where it misses.

Then immediately afterwards play a second movie in your mind and ask yourself, 'where do I need to hit it?' With the second movie in mind, you'll have a better reading of the putt before you go for it.

David, 15, Altrincham

I am able to play off a tee, but when it comes to playing off the fairway I'm useless. Any tips on what I could be doing wrong?

NB: If your swing is more suited to wood play, then you have a shallow swing. You should practise with the ball slightly below your feet so it helps promote a steeper swing. I would guess that you might be doing a lot of your practise on the driving range mats. So you may not have learnt the art of taking a divot. Go onto a grass area and practise hitting down onto the ball more rather than sweeping it and trying to lift it up. With an iron in order for the ball to go up, you must hit down.

Congratulations David you win a copy of Nick's book for the best question.

Qamar, 36, Watford

Do you have any tips on the short game as I find it really hard to judge the distances to the green? I either over hit or under hit them

Darren Clarke
Aim for the green and focus on the first bounce

NB: The first rule of the short game is getting the ball to land on the green. The first bounce should be on the green and that's what you need to focus on and how the ball reacts after that bounce. You maybe focussing too much on the flag. Also stick to one club like a 56 degree sand wedge and be the master of that rather than three or four clubs.

Stef, 16, Doncaster

My grip is no good can you give me any tips?

NB: With the grip you have to get a level of understanding. If you're right-handed, you must focus on the left-hand grip first of all. Even if you spend a month working on your left-hand grip then that's fine, Tour players do that.

Make sure you've got the club in the base of your palm using your fingers. Make sure the left thumb is short and not pointing down the shaft. And make sure you can see two to two-and-a-half-knuckles. Once you've practised the left hand, then, and only then, can you think about the right hand. Ask a professional about whether you need to have an inter-locking grip but once again the right-hand grip should be a finger grip and the 'V' should pointing at your chin.

Rick, 48, Lakewood, NY

After many years of experimenting, I think my problem is that I still don't know what a good golf swing feels like. I think my setup is good and I now concentrate on "pulling the club down". What does a golf swing "feel" like?

NB: There's the million dollar question! When the club is working in harmony with the body, it will move in small, fast circle around the body. The club will feel light and the swing will have a tick-tock rhythm about it. Everything finishes at the top of the swing together and everything snaps through to the finish together so there's nothing left behind.

Ollie, 15, Cullompton

How can I stop my hook?

NB: You might need to go back to your fundamentals. Check your grip is working in harmony with the club face. Make sure that you can see maximum two knuckles on the left hand and make sure the 'V' is pointing at your chin.

Then you need to work on the club face making sure that it's rotating on the backswing and it's not going back shut or hooded. As the club reaches the top of the backswing and is parallel with the ground, the leading edge of the club should point up at 12 o'clock. Then make sure that the club is rotating on the way down again into a neutral position.

Rupert, 56, Leeds

Like many people I swing too fast, and the worse I get the quicker I get. Can you suggest an exercise to slow everything down?

Ian Woosnam
Ian Woosnam: A quick swinger

NB: The short answer is no. You're swinging as a reflection of your personality. You're obviously a fast-thinking, fast-talking, fast-driving kind of guy. And you'll never cure that fast tempo, but you can temper it. Look at golfers like Nick Price and Ian Woosnam. They've both got quick swings but they have good technique as well.

So I'd just say check your technique. Bad rhythm is generally caused by a technical problem and you have to jump out of the way in a quick fashion. Accept your rhythm but house it in good technique.

:: Sport Academy has moved

Who is Nick Bradley?
Nick took up golf when he was 16 and qualified as a PGA pro aged 20
He is one of only 35 worldwide David Leadbetter certified golf instructors
Nick uses revolutionary imagery to help master the game
He has coached winning players on the men's and ladies' European Tours

:: Nick Bradley Golf

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