Ask The Pro is an ongoing series where all our readers get to ask US PGA Professional of 20 years and certified golf instructor Dan Sais, all their questions and hear directly from him to help better their skill at golf. Be sure to stay tuned each month to see if your question was answered!
Norm B: I am a natural lefty, but for some reason I swing right handed. I’ve tried golfing for 3 years now, but I still can’t seem to hit the ball. (I probably have a .250 Batting Average). Should I consider A) Switch to Left Handed Clubs B) Suck It Up and Stick to Right Handed or c) Find a New Sport?
Dan: Hi Norm, Actually, being naturally left handed is a huge advantage if you are playing right handed. Some teaching professionals believe that the golf swing is a left side dominant swing. I myself, am a natural lefty but play right handed. In fact some of golf’s most famous players were left handed. Ben Hogan, Johnny Miller, and even Henrik Stenson are all left handed naturally. What you need is a good teaching professional that can help with this and who also understands what is like to play right handed.
Shiela A: When hitting irons, where should I be focusing my eyesight, i.e., on top of the ball, bottom part of the ball?
Hi Shiela, most professionals will pick a spot right behind the ball as their impact point. It will take some getting used to, but once your eyes can focus on that spot, your impacts will improve.
Joe B: What is the best way to play a long distance shot from a bunker?
Hi Joe, most amateurs get confused and do not execute this properly. They take the most lofted club in the bag (60 deg wedge) and swing hard to get out of the bunker. What I do is take the opposite approach and take an pitching wedge, and or a gap wedge out of the bunker ensuring it will go father with some roll and will not spin as much.
Dianne L: Why are Korean Ladies so good in golf?
Dan: Hello Dianne, I truly think the Koreans have a keen understanding of golf. We all know they are intelligent and talented individuals who are very good at math and physics. If you combine that with an intense focusing ability you will be an outstanding golfer no matter what country you are from. Lets also consider the child rearing/upbringing by their parents as another factor. Children are more disciplined and diligent about everything in Korea. Its been like that for generations and I do not see it changing anytime soon.
Joseph Bautista: Hey Dan, what’s wrong with my swing.
Dan: Joseph is one of my students and i’ve been fortunate to have worked with him over the years. He is very athletic and his setup at address is something for all players to follow. With that being said, Joseph struggles with a sway on the back swing with some of his clubs, but mostly with the driver.
This causes some high fades that sometimes even slice. It stems from trying to hit farther and we now have him swinging at 80% vs. 120%.
Having working with Joseph for sometime we need to continue to work on his strong foundation with his lower body and getting more in sync with his upper body on his downswing and follow through.
Enjoyed this post and want to see more? Scroll down below to read about our previous months posts from this series!
July 2016: What’s Your Favorite Local Golf Tournament?
RAYMOND V: I noticed while watching the British Open that most pro golfers don’t wear sunglasses? Why is that?
DAN: Hi Raymond V – very good question! When I was a touring professional I rarely wore sunglasses. For me it threw my depth perception off a little and would alter some of my sight lines especially on the greens.
If I did wear them it was only while on the fairway in between shots. As for the Open Championship, the weather and the sun where the factors why you didn’t see too many wearing sunglasses. Usually the case in Scotland and the UK.
JERRY G: Sometimes my divots start at 6 whole inches behind the ball.. Do you have any tips on how I can stop hitting behind it?
DAN: Hi Jerry G – This is a common flaw, but also a complicated one. One of the reasons could be your balance at address. I would recommend putting more weight on your left side at address as this should change your angle of attack coming into the ball.
Keep your ball position constant and more in the middle of your stance with your irons.
JIM C: Hey Dan, I’ve been making good contact with the ball, but I’ve been hitting it on the toe of my club. What can I do to help hit it properly?
DAN: Hi Jim C – I probably need to correct your statement of “I’ve been making good contact” straight away. To be honest if you’re hitting it on the toe of the club, you’re not making good contact. We have to hit the ball on the center of the clubface to be making good contact.
With that being said, It would be rather difficult to tell without seeing it live or on video but my best answer would be is you’re probably losing your spine angle on your down swing.
Stay flexed with your knees and hold your posture in place as you swing the club to the finish. This will allow you hit on the center of the clubface rather than pulling up and out of your spine angle. Please send me a video and so I can analyze further.
PAUL H: Hi Dan, what is an exceptional golf tournament you would recommend players joining? Do you have any preferred ones?
DAN: There are so many golf tournaments here in the Philippines and I am partial to the ones that give something back to the community and or charity events. I have had the pleasure of hosting and directing several and I find it particularly rewarding.
In my opinion, one of the best and largest ones is the BRAFE Golf Tournament. The tournament organizers have really professionalized the charity golf tournament experience. It has been ongoing for the last ten years and has raised an enormous amount of money for young scholars.
Learn more about them and their tournaments in these links below.
June 2016: Ask The Pro: Simple Drill To Make Swing On Plane During Takeaway
MARK L.: I am 6’4 and constantly struggle with my posture at address. Would you offer have any advice/tips on how tall/straight I should stand while addressing the ball?
DAN SAIS: Hi Mark L, being a taller player you might always have trouble with your posture at address. Having worked with taller players in the past, the first thing I do is check the length of the club – does it it need to be longer and for someone of your height?
I would suggest getting properly fitted for your clubs if you have not done so. This might solve the posture issue and if you still have trouble, please send a video.
LLOYD L.: I used to be a fairly good putter but have somehow lost my skill and having a hard time getting it back. How can I work on improving my putting stroke?
DAN SAIS: Hi Lloyd L, check your setup and alignment first to make sure the poor stroke is not coming from those two things. Once you have done that work on your path of your stroke and make it consistent.
Also, check your speed to ensure you are getting the ball past the hole about 10-15 inches. Actually, putting is all about confidence and once you start seeing the ball go in the hole your confidence will come back.
FRED M.: What drills can I work on to make sure my swing is on plane in the beginning of the takeaway?
DAN SAIS: Hi Fred M, a simple drill to ensure the takeaway is on path is to push back with the left shoulder and bring the club parallel to the ground and the butt end of the club is pointing straight down the target line.
Make sure the toe is straight up in this position and this will ensure a better overall backswing. Use a practice drill for this similar to Rickie Fowler and Mike Weir to understand better.
ERIK: When I hit my drives, it’s a solid 270… But I am very inconsistent. What am I doing wrong?
DAN SAIS: Hi Erik, check your balance at address as this is the major problem you have. Your setup with a driver should be 50/50 front to back, and 60% of your weight on your right side and 40% on your left side at the address position with driver. You currently have too much of your weight leaning forward on your toes and that’s why you lose your balance after your swing.
You also have very fast hands which is just getting you into trouble. In other words, use your bigger muscles to generate power such as your core and shoulders. Once you start to be in balance and slow down your backswing you will gain more consistent drives.
May 2016: Help I Can’t Get Rid Of This Slice!
JOSEPH M.: After swinging the club, my divot is square at the beginning then veers left. Usually what ends up happening is my ball goes a bit left of my target. What seems to be the problem?
DAN SAIS: Hi Joseph M., this is actually a common flaw and but very difficult to fix. Most of the time this is caused by starting the downswing with arms and or hands. We call it “over the top” or “outside to in” downswing path.
All good downswing moves start with the lower body (left hip) and let your arms and hands follow the hips. A drill for this is to swing the club (on the downswing) on an inside to out swing path and this should help with pulling your shots.
FREDDY C.: I tend to get a lot of back spin on my drives. It literally stops with no roll.
DAN SAIS: Hi Freddy C., sounds like it could be too much loft on the driver and or the wrong shaft for you. Start with getting on a launch monitor. This will be able to tell you exactly the ball flight (launch angle) of your driver as well as the “spin ratio” of the ball.
A good ball flight should be 12-15 deg of launch angle and spin should be around 2500 rpms. But with that being said it really depends on the club head speed If the launch is too high the ball is ballooning in the air and if the spin is over 2500 its probably spinning too much. Get properly fitted by a good fitter and you can solve this problem.
CHRIS LIAO: I buy used balls on the course all the time because they are cheaper and I tend to lose them quite often. Am I really at a disadvantage?
DAN SAIS: Hi Chris Liao, I always recommend buying new balls vs.used balls. Here is why: New balls are made very well these days and are very durable, and you can play several rounds with them. They also go about 10% to 15% farther than a used ball. Remember even though they are cheap, used balls will not fly as far and they could be water logged or even have an unseen crack in them. I know its tempting but spend a little to have that peace of mind. If you need help with losing your golf balls please contact me and we can setup a lesson to fix that issue.
HENRY CHAN: Hey Dan, I get the right distance that I want from my drives but I can’t seem to get rid of this slice. Here’s an example of one of my drives at Valley. What am I doing wrong?
DAN SAIS: Hi Henry, I hope I can answer your question and get you some help with your slice off the tee.
- Setup – your setup and posture are quite good and athletic. Keep this same setup always with the driver.
- Takeaway – your driver goes back with your hands and to the inside very quickly. Remember: the left shoulder should start the swing and take it back slower.
- Top of the swing – too long of a backswing is causing the slice. If you see the driver out of your left eye on the backswing – its too long.
- Downswing – maintain a good posture throughout the swing and you wont lose the club face and positions of your body thus causing you to lose your balance sometimes.
Overall – The driver is the hardest club to hit and even harder to control (its the longest club). Follow these simple keys and you will be hitting the driver better soon!
April 2016: How To Deal With Sandbaggers
Wouldn’t we all like to know the untold secrets and most effective tips on how to improve our skill at what has been deemed one of the world’s most difficult sports- golf?
Thankfully, Dan doesn’t keep his secrets untold. He wants to share with us all that he can to improve the game of golf as a whole, and even for each individual player to excel in his game and enjoy it even more!
Once a month, we bring you that special privilege exclusively at GolfPH as we give you the chance to ask your own specific questions and have them personally answered by certified golf instructor and US PGA golf professional of 20 years, Dan Sais.
Read on to see if your question has been featured this month.
MIGUEL ANTONIO: Does distance of swing speed slow down with age? Does lack of practice cause it? I am presently using D. Leadbetter swing-setter.
DAN SAIS: Hi Miguel, a good question and hopefully I can help.. I think that age, flexibility and improper movements, certainly plays a factor with the distance and loss of it. Practice will help but the proper practice. A good teacher can educate you on the proper path of your driver and gain more distance.
Once you have the path down then we can increase your flexibility with your core muscles and then start work on your club head speed. The ratio between club head speed and distance is;
1 mph = 2.5 yards
That means if we can increase your club head speed by 10 mph we can increase your distance by 25 yards. If you combine that with a properly fitted driver then there is no telling how how much you can increase your distance.
ANDREW SY: Help, I am an absolute beginner and have trouble getting contact with the ball. I have a tournament coming up in 2 weeks that I want to do well in. What’s a quick hack that will get me a good straight 100 yards down the fairway every time?
DAN SAIS: Hi Andrew, first I want to thank you for taking up this great game of golf. What I recommend is you start off with a three fairway metal instead of a driver.
A driver might go farther but what you need is a straighter ball flight and its easier to do that with a 3 fairway metal. Choke down slightly on the grip and with a nice, smooth tempo try and swing through the ball.
Please do not try to kill it as this will only frustrate you. I am sure once you work on this at the driving range you will be ready for your tournament.
BUBUY BALANGUE: What is your take on the perennial issue of sandbagging? How can we minimize if not totally eliminate it?
DAN SAIS: Hi Bubuy, the subject of sandbagging here in the Philippines has been well documented and talked about for awhile now.
As stated before we have to get the governing bodies to back this project such as the NGAP and The Federation of Golf Clubs. Once they are involved we can implement a standard criteria for each player who holds an official registered handicap with their respective golf club. It needs to be monitored closely and any anomalies or improper scores should and will cause suspicion.
It should be a three step process if found guilty of cheating.
- Written Warning – the governing bodies will serve a written warning to them personally and their golf club where the handicap is established. Put them on notice.
- Suspension – if a golfer persists to not adhering to the rules of golf, suspend them for a period of six months from posting a handicap at their club and any competition that requires a handicap.
- Publishing – once a golfer has been warned, and suspended previously their names should be published at every golf club in the country. A unified list of offenders should be enough deterrent to help them understand that there are rules they have to follow.
This will be tough in the beginning but once all golfers know the new rules with posting handicaps, they will follow. I am sure of that!
March 2016: The Most Common Mistake Players Make
Have you ever spent countless hours on the internet, searching for an answer to your specific golfing queries without any luck? Or perhaps wanted to try new golf equipment, accessories, or tricks, but didn’t know if it was right for you? For some of us, even wishing to learn tips straight from a professional has been a distant wish.
But now here is your chance!
We’re excited to bring you the first of many segments from our new series: Q&A with a Pro. Here is your opportunity to ask all your questions and hear directly from a pro! Stay tuned with us every month to see if your question was featured and answered. Who is this PGA Professional and certified golf instructor we’ll be hearing from? Read on to know more from Dan the man himself.
We at GolfPH have worked with you for the past couple of years, but for those out there who don’t know you… Can you tell us about yourself?
Dan: I’m Daniel Sais and I am from Florida, USA. I’ve been a US PGA golf professional for the last 20 years. During that span I was a on tour for 5 years and I currently live in the Philippines now full time.
What have been your major accomplishments as a golfer?
Dan: As a touring professional, I played regularly on the PGA Tour, nationwide and in the Asian Omega Tours so that was quite the experience. I got to compete with some of the best in the game, travel the world and live out my dream. But my latest accomplishment is founding Esquire Golf Management back in 2008.
What is Esquire Golf Management?
Dan: Esquire Golf Management is a company that specializes in golf course management operations to help educate golf course owners on how to maintain an effective, cost efficient operation. I have experience with golf course design and construction and have worked as a Director of Golf and General Manager at several private country clubs.
What work did you leave behind in Florida and what brought you to the Philippines?
Dan: In Florida, I was working as a Head Golf Professional and Director of Instruction for several prestigious golf courses and resorts. I began traveling here to the Philippines back in 1990, then I finally moved here with my wife Carmela in 2010. She’s involved with the BPO sector here and is the Vice President for an American company based in BGC.
With all your success and accomplishments, is there anything else you aspire for?
Dan: I would love to work with the local pros who really need coaching on the fundamentals of teaching and helping their own students and players. I feel the need to share my knowledge with other golf pro’s so we can keep this great game of golf alive here in this country. His unselfish style of sharing is uncommon and he claims it’s all about giving back to the game.
Dan recently opened his own golf academy called Esquire Golf Learning Center. He is focused on teaching and educating players on the golf swing fundamentals and specializes in the mental side of golf, which is untapped territory here in the Philippines.
What do you think is special about your teaching style and what makes it different from others?
Dan: I would have to say that my teaching style is different because it doesn’t just come from years of practice, but from many years of studying and learning from the game’s greatest teachers.
His education from the PGA of America has also helped him understand the golf swing and its effects on ball flight, root cause and effect and how it relates to the individual student. “I work strictly on the fundamentals as should be taught to all players.”
His philosophy is simple, “Get on the same communication level as your student and they will understand and learn far more better and faster.” His style is laid back and low key and exudes a quiet confidence when he is on the teaching tee.
What is the most common mistake that you see players make and what can they do to work on it?
Dan: The most common mistakes players make is they simply do not understand the game and how to play it properly. What that means is the basic understanding of the game and how to make the fewest amount of strokes. There are actually two reasons why they don’t understand. They are:
- Practicing proficiently
- Warming up properly
Practicing properly means to understand what, how much, and when to practice. Most players do not follow a basic practice regimen. They have a tendency to go to the driving range and practice what they are good at and try to groove a swing, in other words they just beat balls and break a sweat. They also do not practice by the percentages of the game.
When I teach on most of the driving ranges I see the majority of the practice of being done with the driver. Do you know that the driver is only hit a max of 12-13 times in the course of 18 holes? That is only 8% of the game. Conversely, the putter is used on every hole, on every green but I hardly see anyone practice putting. Most amateur players average 36-38 putts per round which makes up for 42% of the game. This is just poor management of their games. Follow my advice, practice your putting if you want to score, because the game is ultimately about the final score.
Warming up properly means you should stretch all your muscles that you use to play golf. Start off slow with your warm up, hit short irons then long irons and then on to the hybrids and fairway woods. End with the driver and do not hit more than 15 practice shots with the driver. Once completed move on to the short game practice area and then finish with putting. A little known stat is – from 100 yards to the hole makes up for 67% percent of the game. That is two thirds of the game of golf. A warm up is just that, a plan to warm up the body in order to play, its not a practice session where you should be working on your swing, or trying to play shots. The goal with warming up is simple, get the body loose and tension free. I see so many players today that do not follow these principles and have a basic understanding of the game.
Play the game of golf by the percentages and follow these tips to play better golf and lower your scores.
Now that you know all about Dan, take this rare opportunity and ask away!
Have a Question That You Want To Ask Dan? Comment Below or Email [email protected] and We’ll Try Our Very Best To Answer Them at Next Months Post.