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From the 7 Laws of the Golf Swing
Nick uses revolutionary imagery to teach the game
Golf coach Nick Bradley answers your latest questions below.

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

But before you ask how to fix a slice, check his previous answers to see if he's already answered your question.

Have your say

The best question each time will receive a copy of his book, The 7 Laws of the Golf Swing.

Peter, 39, London

Why do the pros take such a large divot with iron shots? I aim to strike the ball off the ground cleanly, should I be trying to chop into the ball to get more back spin?

Nick Bradley: There are two answers to this question:

1. The size of the divot depends on the turf quality or type. For example, if you get very peaty soil that's almost wet, you'll take a huge divot. But you could put the same swing on a links course and just nick a little bit of the turf. So you can get different types of divot from the same person with the same swing, depending on the turf.

2. In reality you should be taking a divot with all of your irons, from three-iron through to pitching wedge. After all, you get the ball in the air by hitting down onto it. But the type of divot you're after is a very thin strip - it's not deep and it's fairly square to the target. We call them 'bacon strips'.

James, 27, Sheffield

How many shots do you think it would take an 'average' club player (say with a handicap of around 10-15) to go round the Augusta course?

NB: Okay, let's take a 10 handicapper, who'd normally go round in 82. Out of 18 greens he'll probably three-putt 14 of them, so that makes 96. Let's say he'll add another 12 shots on his long game; that gives us a total of 108. That's my estimate for a player with a handicap of 10. Phew!

Paul, 34, Cardiff

Do you know of any golf books that are for left-hand players, they always seem to be for righties?

NB: Yep, buy my book and read it in the mirror! But seriously, I don't think there are. There may be a Bob Charles book available, but I don't think Phil Mickelson has bought one out.

Nathan, 9, London

What is a knock down shot?

NB: There are two varieties of knock-down shot - into the wind and downwind. If, for example, the shot is a normal 7-iron, you would select a 5-iron, go down the grip and swing a little bit easier. The ball will come out lower and have a lot more control to it.

So a knock-down shot is a lower shot that will go the same distance as the regular yardage, but you're either trying to knock it under the wind (if the wind is on your back), or punch it low into the wind. The golden rule here is: when in doubt, hit it low. You'll get less ball dispersion.

Chris, 15, Bristol

I play off two and sometimes, when going into competition and when I'm in contention, I blow up on the last couple of holes. Can you help me?

NB: Here are four good tips:

1. Make sure you've got a sensible strategy for playing those last two holes.

2. Play one hole at a time, one shot at a time.

3. If you can start to believe in the last few holes that you've already shot a good score, the pressure immediately comes off. If you believe you're already in the clubhouse with a 71 or 72, you can just go relax on the way back in.

4. You must keep a tab on your emotions. When you're under pressure, all of your emotions can come out. The message is: keep it cool.

Mike, 33, Andover

What's the most effective way of gaining distance from a fairway bunker, whilst minimising the risk of not getting the ball out?

NB: The most efficient way to get out of a fairway bunker is to try and get as shallow a strike as possible. To do that, move the ball up in your stance, so it's almost like a driver set-up, and cancel out any wrist action on the way back.

Keep it nice and wide and you'll sweep the ball off the sand - the ball will sweep forward more easily.

Geoffrey, 61, United Arab Emirates
I've been an avid reader of golfing books and magazines, and consequently now suffer from paralysis by analysis. I don't play much because I feel self-conscious.

Can you give me something to work on or think about that will give me the confidence to play?

NB: The problem here is that you're suffering from narrow internal thought, where everything is introverted and focused on yourself. Your mind needs to be wide and external; look around you - notice the trees and the clouds.

You need to play golf by targets. When you're standing behind the ball waiting to play a shot, verbally describe it. For example, you might say: 'I'm going to hit the ball at that tree, fade it 10 yards. Two bounces and it will stop by the flag.' When you verbally describe something you can't get away from the process.

Ross, 13, Sunderland

Quite often when I use my sand or pitching wedge off a really tight lie I get a thin contact on the ball and it goes skidding miles past the green. How can I prevent this?

NB: You've got to watch your set-up. Don't stand too open, and put the ball in its regular position, which is just forward of middle or just opposite your left heel. You need to feel like you're playing the ball more with your shoulders than your hands.

At the moment you're putting the ball too far back and standing too open with your feet, resulting in a very sharp entry point into the ball. The aim is to shallow that out.

Ronnie, 56, Skelmersdale

What elements of the golf swing are affected most as the body matures?

NB: Good question. The ability to rotate the upper torso is affected by age, and your hand action can also slow down. In this case you'll need to employ a slightly stronger grip.

Also affected is the ability to fire through the ball with the right side of the body, so you've really got to practice firing the club into the ball with the right knee kicking into it as well. Finally, as you start to get old you get a bit static on your feet, so keep your feet lively in your golf swing.

Dave, 28, Blackpool

Who's going to win the Masters?

NB: My personal bet is Adam Scott. He hits the ball with a hard, long draw off the tee, which you need in Augusta. His putting is slightly dubious, but I just feel he's one of the young pretenders who could upset the big four.

What I'd really like to see is a win for Ernie Els. He's as good as Woods, Mickleson and Singh and he really deserves a Green Jacket.


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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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