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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Did It Cure My Yips?

Most of us fight errant swings from time to time. Heck, some of us consider a swooping slice a perfectly NORMAL ball flight! We curse, grimace, or just shake our heads in dismay when the ball doesn't go where we intend or hope.  Everywhere, that is, except on the green. Then, we expect--as we should--that every putt is going to go in or stop near the hole. Especially the short ones.

That's why the yips can be so devastating. There's nothing more debilitating than standing three feet from the cup and watching your ball scoot four feet past without even a sniff of the hole. I've had that feeling several times this summer and my scores have certainly shown it. I tried different putters, numerous techniques and drills, and have twisted my hands into so many grip configurations I couldn't begin to count them, let alone repeat one that works.

Then I put a Secret Grip by Boccieri on my favorite mallet. I don't want to speak too soon, but I think the yips may be gone. I've played three rounds with it so far and seen my putt count sink decisively.  Coincidence? Maybe--but I don't care as long as I get relief.

The Secret Grip weighs 155 grams, or a little more than twice as much as a regular grip. It has a 17-gram tungsten back weight in the tip and uses a 40% heavier compound for the grip itself. It's also somewhat oversized, although not as big as the fat grips many players use. I asked my buddy Steve Kurnit at DD Custom Golf in Elmsford, NY, do some before and after measurements when he put the grip on my putter and he reported that my wand weighed 18 3/8 ounces with my old grip and 20 7/8 with the new one. The swing weight changed from C-8 to B-4.

I felt the difference right away, of course. The club head felt lighter even though the grip was heavier, which sent a signal to my wrists that they don't need to give the club a little extra "umph" as the head approaches the ball. The idea is that the heavier grip encourages you to use the larger muscles in your body to make your stroke. That helps quiet the finer muscles in your wrist that gives your stroke the twitch that we define as the yips.

I found that the heavier grip took a little getting used to, but the more I use it, the more I like it. Distance control is steadily improving and, best of all, those spasmodic jabs have disappeared. Do I make every putt? Of course not--but I feel like I can.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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