Tim Mahoney Golf Blog

Tim Mahoney Golf Blog


Tim Mahoney Golf Blog

Putting 101
Putting 101
By Tim Mahoney

Poor putters have more clubs than strokes and great putters have a putter that matches their putting motion.  Recently during a Mahoney Golf Academy session at the Troon North Golf Club, I had my assistant place all of the students putter along a wall in the golf shop.  Twenty students where in the session and only half of them could find their putters.  Moral of story, great putters have a putter that matches the motion and poor putters blame the equipment.

Basically, there are 2 types of putters or equipment available to a golfer:  a face balanced putter or a shaft balanced putter.  A face balanced putter is a club that is balanced from heel to toe and is built in a manner where the club swings straight back and forth on both sides of the swing and remains square on both sides of the swing. A shaft balanced putter is a club designed to swing inside to allow to inside on both sides of the swing and the face should open to close. 

Golfers who prefer a balanced putter should address the following:  Hold the club in the palm of hands, stand close the golf ball with your eyes over the target line, hold the club tightly in your arms and hands.  As you swing the golf club keep the club face looking at the ball or target on both sides of the swing and focus on the shoulders producing the power source of the motion.

Golfers who prefer a shaft balanced putter should address the following:  Hold the clubs in the fingers of both hands, stand tall with your eyes inside the target line with a loose arm and finger hold.  As you swing the club allows your arms to control the speed and move the club inside on both sides of the motion.  The club face should open on the back swing and close on the forward side of your motion.

Jack Nicklaus produced a motion where the putter swung straight back and forth on both sides and Ben Crenshaw and Phil Mickelsen produced a motion where the putter swung inside to inside on both sides.  Two different motions but had great results.  Pick a golf club or putter that matches your eye or motion.

Fairway Bunkers


Fairway Bunker’s 

By Tim Mahoney


Fairway bunker shots are regarded as some of the more difficult in the game.  Adding distance, a high lip and a difficult lie and the task is almost impossible.  There are several myths when it comes to fairway bunker shots, and I hope to dispel some of those this week.  Golfers, must keep in mind, when facing a bad lie (bad lie is defined as when there is question about the lie), the first objective is to advance the ball to a good lie.  Second objective, never attempt a miracle shot after a poor one.  Finally, never attempt a shot that you have not practiced.  Keeping these objectives in mind, fairway bunker shots will become an easier task.


When faced with a fairway bunker shot, preparation is the most important element.  Keys for the set-up:

1.       Club choice- take enough loft to clear the lip.  Golfers should never hear “ball-thump.”  As a reference 1 more club should be utilized.  High lofted fairway woods are an excellent club of choice, assuming limited loft is need. 

2.       Position the golf ball back in your stance.  Your impact objective is a steeper angle of approach, striking the ball first and sand after.  The rearward ball position will assist in steepening the angle.

3.       Gripping down on the club.  Shorten the club about an inch.  The shortened club will reduce the chance of striking the sand prior the ball.

4.       Dig your feet into the sand about an inch.  The lowering of your feet will reduce the amount of lower body motion during the swing.  Excessive amount of lower body slide will result in an incorrect bottom of the swing.

5.       Lean your body weight towards the target.  As you lean your weight allow the grip end to move towards the target.  The weight and the hand adjustment will move your swing bottom towards the target, resulting in a steeper angle of approach.


The adjustments in your set-up will steeper the angle resulting in ball/sand contact.  Checkpoints during the motion:

1.       Make a balanced swing.  Holding your finish until the ball comes to a rest guarantees success.  Inability to hold the finish is an indication of an out of balance motion.

2.       Allow the upper body to wind against the lower body on the backswing.  The lower body must resist and hold.  The coil generated is a power source.  If the lower body does not hold, the swing bottom will occur behind the ball, resulting in sand and ball contact.

3.       Maintain swing posture throughout the motion.  Turn the upper body on the backswing and clear the lower body on the forward side.  Golfers must maintain their measurement and posture throughout the motion.  A conscious attempt to lift the ball will result in a shallow angle.


Golf is a unique game, due to the fact; they never face the same shot twice.  Consistency is the result of developing a repeating swing motion. Pre swing adjustments are utilized when faced with different lies.  Golfers should 1 swing with different set-ups.  Perfect your swing, make a few simple address adjustments and the fairway bunker shot will be a simple one.


Utilize Ground Forces for increased clubhead Speed


Utilize Ground Forces for increased clubhead Speed

During my 20 years working with Bob Toski in the Golf Digest Schools, Bob would state daily during our sessions, “ The hands grip the club and the feet grip the ground.”  As Player Development activity has improved with the utilization of Trackman, K Vest, Gears and 2-D video one area of development is lagging: understanding the force of the ground.  As I instruct throughout the world, one simple ingredient is being utilized in increased club head speed for all golfers: using the ground throughout the dynamic motion of the swing. Golf shoe technology has greatly improved and the feet, ankles and toes have room to launch and grip the ground.  Golfers slight in weight and leverage have found ways to increase speed simply by using the ground in the swing.  A simple thought, “ are we more powerful with a cannon from a canoe or from a firm surface?” 

Ground forces start at address with a firm ground and posture.  Arms hanging freely, weight on the middle of the ankles, bending from hips and spine at a neutral position.  Stability at address allows the body to load and unload throughout the swing.  Feet and ankles must have the mobility to load and unload.

As you wind up into the backswing, allow the upper body to wind against the lower body and ground.  Spine is tilt away from the target as the body is turned against the feet and ground.  The gluts are lowered and activated as you wind against the ground.  There should be a slight lowering of the head during the backswing as you wind up.

Explode during the downswing into impact.  All muscles must fire as the trailing leg is extended and lengthens.  This movement of thrusting upward creates a swing path and angle of approach upward through impact.  Lead glut is turning behind as the trailing leg is straightening.  Pushing off of the balls of the feet as the heels rise off the ground through impact.  Low to high concept as the golfer explodes through impact.  Using th3 ground on the backswing and downswing.  Ground forces throughout the golf swing.

The most misunderstood concept in golf is the use and utilization of ground forces.  Low to high as the golfers loads and explodes.  Use the ground as the legendary golf instructor Bob Toski mentions, “ hands grip the club as the feet grip the ground.”