I’ve visited Scott Janus, owner of the Janus Golf Academy at Grand Haven Golf Club, off and on the past several summers. With his outstanding instruction, I’ve transformed from a mediocre golfer with a terrible swing to a mediocre golfer with a much better swing and a much clearer understanding of the mechanics of that swing.
What holds me back from making the jump up to a respectable level in the sport is a lack of practice. My free time from early June through late August is spent at the beach, the swimming pool, on the boat, or on the soccer field, not at the driving range.
I’ve only golfed a handful of times this summer, and the results have been discouraging. That dead-left pull that I worked so hard to rid myself of last year has reared its ugly head with a vengeance. The consistency all golfers strive for is nowhere to be found, replaced instead by a heavy dose of frustration.
So it was music to my ears when Janus, after watching me hack a half-dozen golf balls into the woods to the left of the practice green, said, “This should be an easy fix.”
Janus asked me to address the ball. He then took a club and presses it against my shoulders, parallel to the ground.
“Look at what direction your shoulders are pointing,” he says, and I realize that while my feet are pointing toward my target, my shoulders are wide open, aiming well left of my intended landing spot.
“Your swing is looking good, but you were pulling the ball left, and the good news is, it’s due to fundamentals,” Janus continued. “In general, if your fundamentals are good, golf is a simple game. If your fundamentals are slightly off, golf becomes very difficult.
“This is a prime example. You’ve retained a lot of the information over the last few years in building a good golf swing, but because your shoulders were mis-aligned, it took all of those good things out of play and made golf difficult.”
Fortunately, fixing my shoulder alignment was fairly painless — I simply have to close my left shoulder (or move it toward the ball) an inch or two just prior to taking my backswing. It’s amazing how such a small adjustment can feel so awkward yet make such an astounding difference in the way you hit the golf ball.
I’m hoping to put Janus’ advice to the test a few times over the next week or two, and golf is much more fun when you’re not spraying the ball every direction but straight.