Would you recommend buying the first set of clubs at a department store such as Target or Big5, or is it better to go to a pro? How about golf clothing?

Too many golfers are using golf clubs that are incorrectly fitted (this holds true for players of all abilities). It’s like buying a suit off a rack; you need a tailor to customize your suit to your fitting.

The best place to buy golf clubs would always be at a specialty shop, shops that carry top-of-the-line equipment such as Titleist, Mizuno, Callaway, Taylor Made, and Ping etc. Shops like these have professional staff available that can fit beginners with the appropriate equipment. Golf course pro-shops aren’t too bad either, however, they usually have limited selections. If you’re looking for apparel, pro-shops are the best places to go.

Do you know any good secrets to improving a bad short game?

“The Bump and Run”
When chipping around the green, set up to target with your lower body at a 45-degree angle to your target line (open stance) and keep most of your weight (about 65%) on your left side and reverse if you’re a lefty. Hold your club the same way you hold your putter and chip-putt it. We recommend using between a 6 and a 9 iron. By using a less lofty club, there’s less room for error. Most importantly, practice.

What is a common mistake most golfers make and how should it be corrected?

A lot of amateurs never finish the swing. Make sure you find a well-balanced position at the top of your swing (make sure 85% of your weight is on your left side, torso is square to the target line, and hands are up by your left ear). The downward motion should be natural. Just let the club drop, and drive your body, hands, and club, towards the target line and do the reverse if you’re a lefty.

What is the secret to a more powerful drive?

RELAXATION – Gripping tight or swinging faster does not produce longer shots. Remember this: there are 3 motions in golf – back motion, forward motion, and emotion. If you are too tense, your swing will not be fluid and your hit will probably go “way right” or “way left.”

Work on tempo, you’ll be surprised how far the ball will travel if you just make a good swing and make solid contact with the ball.

Can you suggest any exercises off the golf course that would benefit my game?

Stretching exercises should be great for golf. Stay away from heavy weightlifting.

Abdominal exercises will strengthen your back muscles, which are vital in golf.

Aerobic exercises are important for building the necessary endurance to walk 18 holes.

If you stay “fit” your chances to finish a round of golf in Tiger fashion are much greater.

How about mental attitude? When you have had your best birdie and eagle-filled games, what do you think was going right that day?