This article was created by Steve Thomas and featured in Today's Golfer magazine for their July 2020 (May 7th-June 3rd) edition - Issue number 400.
The article content:
TOP 50 TEACHER Steve Thomas
www.stevethomasgolf.com, Senior PGA Instructor
at Three Hammers Golf Academy, Wolverhampton
Role model... SEVERIANO BALLESTEROS
With the world's tours continuing their enforced lay-off, it's the perfect moment to dip into the vaults for this month's role model. And who better than Seve? Yes, it’s true his upright .wide-arched and often turbulent golf swing put both his golf ball and his spine into some awkward positions. But his short game was only ever a sublime blend of touch, technique and imagination, and it’s here we focus. Some nine years after his death, we can still learn from one of the greatest greenside artists the game has ever seen.
Look at the intensity in Seve's face. He's solely focused on executing the shot in front of him. This is one of the key differences between a great player and a legend like Seve. He understood the importance of each shot and had the mental strength to handle high-pressure situations, helping him become the all-time leader in European Tour wins. Focus is vital for all shots if you want to be the best.
The ball hasn't travelled very far, but Seve's already looking at it. This gives his chest freedom to rotate, helping the quality of the strike. The club golfer lore of keep your head down can stall this subtle but important rotation, as amateurs tend to keep their eyes locked on the ground. Watch the ball is a more helpful tip. If the ball has been hit and is in the air, then look towards it, just like Seve.
Just looking at Seve's hands you can see he's not gripping too tightly. This is often an overlooked element in a golf swing. To get the right grip pressure, take hold of a golf club and have a friend try to twist it. Your job is to apply just enough pressure through the fingers to ensure the club doesn't twist in your hand. However, your wrists and forearms should move with the twisting action.
Notice how Seve has kept the clubface almost facing the target here. This creates a higher ball flight and a softer landing. Ideal for chipping the ball over a small hill like this. But notice, too, how the club shaft is still pointing down the left side of Seve's torso. This reveals quiet hands and wrists. Many club golfers flick their wrists to scoop the ball into the air, causing poor ball striking and direction control.
SEVE'S CAREER BY NUMBERS
Turned pro: 1974
Worldwide victories: 90 (including 50 European Tour, nine PGA Tour)
Ryder Cup record: 20 points from 37 matches
Major victories: Five
Weeks as World No: 61
Career earnings: €5,858,621
Written by PGA Professional Steve Thomas
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