Transcript

Golf Tips and Tricks

Liza Abood, a former University of Maryland basketball player and a PGA/LPGA instructor at Olney Golf Park, has many male students. Here she works with Dick Huff, Paul Cassidy and Tom Bronzert.
Liza Abood, a former University of Maryland basketball player and a PGA/LPGA instructor at Olney Golf Park, has many male students. Here she works with Dick Huff, Paul Cassidy and Tom Bronzert. (Photos By Bill O'leary -- The Washington Post)

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Liza Abood
PGA and LPGA Golf Professional
Friday, May 5, 2006; 1:30 PM

It's approaching tee time. Have you improved your swing from last year? Do you wish you could "perfect" your putting? How's your stance?

PGA and LPGA Golf Professional Liza Abood was online Friday, May 5, at 1:30 p.m. ET to provide tips and tricks for playing golf. Abood teaches private and semi-private golf lessons, as well as Women's Beginner and Intermediate Golf School at the Olney Golf Park in Maryland.

A native of the Washington metropolitan area and a Graduate from the University of Maryland with a Bachelors in Physical Education, Abood's childhood days included many rounds of golf.

Abood is a Class A member of both the PGA and LPGA Golf Associations. In 2004 and 2005, Golf Range Magazine awarded her as one of their "Top 50 Golf Instructors in America." In 2001, Golf for Women Magazine voted Abood as a "Top Fifty Instructor." The highlights of Abood's professional golf career also include being named the 2004 Middle Atlantic PGA Section Women's Player of the Year, winning the Mid Atlantic PGA Women's Championship in 2003, and finishing 5th in the country in the 2003 LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Championship.

From The Post: Swing: A Guide to Washington Area Golf

The transcript follows.

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Liza Abood: Hi, welcome to the discussion! This is Liza Abood and I welcome all questions about golf. Let's have some fun talking about my favorite topic!

Liza

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Takoma Park, Md.: I hear a lot about being properly fitted for a set of clubs. How important do you think this is, and what are the main benefits to the player? I have a good set of clubs that I like and play well with.

Liza Abood: This is a good question, If you are a beginner of average size a standard set of clubs is fine, if you are taller or shorter than average, then a club fitting is proper, so you can get the right length and lie angle. An advanced player may need a particular lie angle and that should be fit by a golf professional. And the final word is that the ball flight rules, meaning if you hit the ball with the proper ball flight and distance then that is the club for you.

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Washington, D.C.: your cousins are all watching you and would like to know the best club for a sand shot when your horrible getting out of the sand!

Liza Abood: Hi to my cousins! Get a 56 degree sand wedge with about 14 degrees of bounce, that should help to dig that ball out of the sand!

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Hi Liza: Is it worth paying $300, $400 and $500 for those new drivers or is it better to use that money for lessons?

Liza Abood: Great question! Getting lessons is the way to go, however I really like the new drivers, they are really easy to hit, so what I suggest is to buy any of last years models at half the price, they are all good. Get anything 400 cc's and bigger!

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Albertson, N.C.: I'm a pretty good tee to green but am a poor putter. Can you give me some tips on how get better on the greens?

Liza Abood: This will help, work on your speed. Every putt regardless of the length should go by the hole at the same rate of speed, so that the ball stops about 3 to 12 inches by the hole, don't worry so much about the line.

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Pahrump, Nev.: What a fun topic! Got a confession and couple quick questions. I have to admit how much working with a pro has increased my enjoyment of the game. Thanks to work on the fundamentals, even my misses go straight! My mission on the range this weekend is sand play. Do you advocate opening the clubface and stance in sand? I have trouble with consistent contact when I do that. Second, what are YOU working on in your swing or game these days?

Liza Abood: My favorite topic! Well, you can open your stance and club, but there is another way to get the ball out. My uncle, who was a PGA pro hit his bunker shots with a square stance and a full swing, and he was the best bunker player ever, my father never worried a bit when my uncle was hitting a bunker shot, so give that a try. I am working on hitting a more direct iron shot to the green, so I am working on hitting the inside of the ball better so that I can eliminate pulling the ball to the left!

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Washington, D.C.: How often should someone take lessons? How about practice?

Plus, where are all the ranges! So many have closed in the last few years.

Liza Abood: Everyone can use a coach. I think the best way is to sign up for a series of lessons, maybe start with 5 and take them once a week or every two weeks. Or you can take 3 or 4 of them and bank the last ones for after you have played, to see what needs more work. Yes, some of the ranges have closed, but I am at the Olney Golf Park, which is a fantastic practice facility, we have 5 target greens to hit at, one is an island green and a short game area, with a huge grass putting green and a pitching area that you can hit up to a 80m yd pitch shot and well maintained bunkers to practice out of, so check Olney Golf Park out, it is on Georgia Ave, go 2 miles past rte. 28, and you will see it on the right.

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Charlottesville, Va.: Thank you for taking our questions.

Here are two for you:

Who will have more LPGA wins in the next 5 years, Michelle Wie or Paula Creamer?

How would you comment on the following? Most golfers who shoot over 80 play golf by locking their hips and swinging their arms; most beginners would be well advised to keep their head steady (_not_ easy to do) and turn their hips back and forward while keeping as much tension as possible out of their shoulders, arms, and hands.

Liza Abood: My pleasure! This is fun.

Well, I think they are both amazing players. I think I like Michele, but they are going to push each other for sure and that will make them both better, so it will be really fun to watch!

And that is good advice for the beginners.

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Alexandria, Va.: Liza: I've been having problems lately with pulling putts. I've noticed that I have a tendency to unknowingly close the face of the putter, instead of having it totally flush to the ball. I'm pretty sure that the closed clubface leads to the pulls. Are there any drills I could do to help ensure a square clubface?

Liza Abood: Try leading more with your left hand, and use your shoulders and arms to swing the putter and less wrists and hands.

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Alexandria, Va.: As I watch the pros, I am in awe with the power they possessed. I'm 5' 11 and it's a struggle for me hit my sand wedge beyond 100 yards. Your thoughts on generating power...Thank you in advance!

Liza Abood: Try to get a nice tempo to your swing, so that you hit the ball with more centrifugal force than with brute force, that will get you the most distance, for example, look at the ladies tour and how far they are hitting the ball with those very flexible swings.

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Rockville, Md.: Can you provide me specific things I can do to help me get under the ball so I can get it in the air?

Liza Abood: Try to relax, pushing the club through the ball will top it for sure, and keep that left hand in control of the club, and don't have an exaggerated follow through.

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Las Vegas, Nev.: Hi Liza!!

I'm starting golfing again after a 13 year absence. My iron shots are now at least looking like golf shots, but they're relatively short (9I at 100 yds, 6I for 150). I think I'm losing power because the shots are being pushed off to the right and there's a little tail off to the right on top of that at the end of the shot. I'm 31, 168lbs, male. What can I do to make the irons longer and straighter. I'm having no such problems w/the woods (driver is 270+yds and straight).

Liza Abood: Hi,

Make sure you set the club at the top of your backswing with your left hand, sounds like you might be chopping down on the ball a little with your right hand.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Your advice re professional club fitting is sound...as a vertically challenged (i.e, tall) new golfer, properly fitted clubs have made a big difference in enjoying the game. Re other equipment, what's your advice on how to buy golf tees...which seem to come in all sizes and shapes (as well as prices!). And to squeeze another question: What is your #1 recommendation on how to practice, if you only have a few hours a week to do so? (And hello from your friends at Vintage Greens GC)

Liza Abood: Nowadays, with the large headed drivers, you have to get a 2 and three quarter inch tee at least. Any kind of practice is good, I would for sure get in some short game practice, even if you putt for 10 minutes it helps. And it is just plain fun, so just practice what you feel like in whatever time that you have. And hi back to Vintage Greens!

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Alexandria, Va.: Greetings,

I have only golfed twice, and have gone to the range on a few occasions. I found that I love it! Would love it a bit more if I knew what I was doing, so I am contemplating taking lessons. Currently I have my mother-in-law's old clubs - that's it. What equipment/clothing/shoes/etc do I need to get the most of lessons?

Liza Abood: Hi there!

You need to get a pair of golf shoes, though sneakers will do to practice in for a while. And go to a golf shop to get your equipment. I can fit you at the Olney Golf Park or any golf shop can help you, you want to get graphite shafts and cavity back irons, and the larger headed driver. And get something you can swing in and is comfortable as far as the clothing goes, most courses don't allow jeans or tee shirts so stay away from that.

Good luck.

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Washington, D.C.: I never hit my driver well, so I don't use it. I use a 3-wood and sometimes a utility club. As a high-handicapper, I'd rather have a better chance of being a bit short in the fairway than in the junk (or worse) somewhere else. Am I being stupid?

Liza Abood: You are not stupid, I mean who doesn't want to be in the short grass. I have an idea, you may want to try a high loft driver, they come in 15 degree lofts now and they have the larger head, they are easier to hit and are more consistent.

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Norfolk, Va.: I am having a golf lesson this afternoon. I have been working with this Pro several years. I basically work on my swing. But now I want to do other things (beside chipping) what would you suggest for an 18 handicapper trying to break 80. Oh by the way I am a woman.

Liza Abood: Work on the 100 yards and in shot, very important, work on putting, bunker and the fairway woods, I think this will help

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Kensington, Md.: Hello Liza, What is the best way to introduce children to the game of golf?

Liza Abood: Good Question, Get the kids swinging early, a pro will help them get the right posture and grip, if they learn early, golf will be much easier!

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Washington, D.C.: Liza,

I am stuck as a 16 handicap--have been for almost 2 years now, after making a lot of progress. I take lessons pretty regularly. I just seem to blow up on the course, especially if I have a good round going. Actually, it seems to be getting worse. I've tried "forget your score" but I am naturally analytical and always know my score in my head. Any suggestions?

Liza Abood: Hi,

Play one shot at a time, just relax. Just remember your short game will save you.

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Warwick, Md.: My balance is atrocious. I used to have a good golf swing, and my practice swings are still quite good. Years ago, my right foot (I'm a righty) started kicking back on big shots. After I corrected that, my left side became the problem. Now, on drives and other big shots, my left foot goes back and to the left, as my whole body comes around (sort of like the Player step-through, but vastly more exaggerated).

I typically hit the ball 220-240 off the tee, very very high but generally straight. I just feel like a fool on the tee falling all over myself. What's to be done?

Liza Abood: Always swing the same way no matter what, finish facing the target with your weight on the left side, and you should be fine.

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Kensington, Md.: How would you introduce golf to young Children?

Liza Abood: Get the kids started early with a pro to teach them the grip and posture, and they will be fine and thrilled that they learned when they were young.

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Alexandria, Va.: Ms. Abood,

Are there any training devices that you would recommend?Especially for someone just starting to break 90.

Thanks,

Liza Abood: Anything that gives you feedback, like a sound or a click will help you into the proper swing.

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Laurel, Md.: What the most common cause of hitting irons fine but chronically slicing woods?

Liza Abood: Probably, trying to hit the woods too hard, the iron swing is more relaxed because we are going for accuracy not power, so try to swing the driver with more tempo and flexibility.

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Norfolk, Va.: Close putts have kept me from breaking 80. Do you have a putting exercise to keep me from tensing when I go to make that putt? My goal is to break 80 this year and I came close last week except for making several 3 putts.

Liza Abood: Get that first putt closer, get your speed down so that the ball is close to the hole on every putt, don't worry about the line too much, the speed rules.

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Baltimore, Md.: What advice do you have for the 30 to 70 yard shots that require less than a full sand wedge? I usually use my pitching wedge, with inconsistent results.

Liza Abood: Well, you can still use a sand wedge, which will get the ball in the air a little higher and may hold the green better. Open up your stance and hit the ball a little softer.

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McLean, Va.: Liza, How did you get interested in golf? What advice can you provide to parents that will instill the same enthusiasm in young players?

Liza Abood: My parents and my uncle, who was a PGA pro, got myself and my sisters started in golf. They were great role models, we learned about etiquette, and how to play from them, and how to enjoy the game, because they were passionate about it. If you like the game, they will like it.

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Atlanta, Ga.: Are there really such thing as "girl" balls? I never knew there was a difference!

Liza Abood: There isn't a "girl's ball" so much anymore. We are all hitting pretty much the same ball now, just stay away from a ball that says tour, they are expensive and not necessary for most of us.

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Vienna, Va.: How does one determine his/her handicap?

Liza Abood: Go to a local club and sign up for a handicap and start posting scores on their computer, you will get a handicap after 5 scores and ultimately you will have a handicap based on the best 10 out of your last 20 scores. Check the USGA for more info!

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Cap hill, Washington, D.C.: More of a logistical question but is there any metro accessible golf in the area that has storage for clubs you can rent? Seems to me that Haines point would do great with storage lockers for us non car people.

Liza Abood: Sounds like a great idea!!

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Henderson, Nev.: How do you start down and hold angle between left arm and club?

Liza Abood: I find that you must keep the left hand in play after you get the club to the top of your backswing, and keep swinging straight towards the target or even to the right of the target, that will help to hold that angle.

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Alexandria, Va.: I am trying to teach my 73-year-old father how to play golf - mind you he is in Ohio and talking to him over the phone is tough when I can't see what he is doing. One problem he keeps having is that he tends to "stand" during the swing. He tops the ball with 9-iron as well as the driver. No matter what length club he uses, he still lifts up. Is there a quick way to train him to stay down that I can tell him?

Liza Abood: One stands up when you hit the ball too much with your right hand, if your father can get more hinge in his wrists on the backswing, that will give him more flexibility and a better tempo. Start with some shorter swings at first, just to get a good feel for hitting the ball solid. good luck.

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Liza Abood: Thanks, everyone. Great chat!

Liza

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