Wednesday, October 26

Playing Clinic: Bobby Nichols

(Courtesy of
By John Coyne

Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.

While interviewing golf legends for my book Playing with the Pros: Golf Lessons from the Senior Tour (1990), I arranged some of their answers into a separate chapter I called "Playing Clinic." Following are words of wisdom from some of the best players.

Bobby Nichols won 12 times on the PGA Tour, including the 1964 PGA Championship and the 1974 Canadian Open.

Q: What’s the best way of getting the correct grip on a club?

NICHOLS: Put the left hand on the club first so that you can lift it with just the index finger and thumb. Close the fingers of the left hand around the club and place the left thumb slightly to the right side of the shaft, as you look down on it. You should now be able to see two knuckles on the back of the left hand. The V formed by the thumb and the index finger is pointing to your right shoulder. Next, position the right hand with the palm facing the target. The right-hand grip is kept in the fingers, not the palm. The right hand overlaps the left hand, and the right little finger fits into the groove between the left index finger and middle finger. The right thumb folds over to the left side of the shaft as you look down on it.

Q: How do I keep from topping the ball?

NICHOLS: Make sure your knees are flexed; that will keep you down on the ball.

Q: How can I calculate distance?

NICHOLS: All professionals walk the course before they play. Or their caddie does it for them. Today, almost every course has a 150-yard marker to the green. Learn what to hit from that distance, and you'll develop your feel of what to hit from other distances. And naturally, if you play the same course, you'll quickly learn all the distances and which club to hit.

More Playing Clinic:

John Coyne is a bestselling author of three golf novels and more than 20 other books. Pay him a visit at John Coyne Books.

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