Golf Tips

The Burke Back-Saver


Burke Back-Saver

Putting can be a real pain in the … back. 

All that bending over to get your ball out of the hole after three or four-putting is enough to make senior golfers cry.

Many of us have opted to buy those new-fangled ball-retrievers to get the ball from the hole. But I like the old cheap rubber device that went over the handle of the club; that is before putters got wider grips. So now more expensive retrievers have to be bought.

But not me! I’m the ultimate cheapskate. I kept my cheap rubber ball retriever and put it on my putting blade! I call it the “Burke Back-Saver.”

You heard me right. I tried to get it over the new larger grips with no success. So after several failed attempts, I looked at the putter blade and said, “Hmmm?”

Okay, I admit. It isn’t pretty. But it does the job and, believe it or not, the rubber doesn’t interfere with my putting stroke.

And here’s an added benefit: You know how those rubber ball retriever devices you placed over the putter grip always came loose or got lost because you had to shove the putter into your golf bag, grip first? Well, doing it my way – putting the rubber device on the far end of the putter blade – keeps the blade end up and away from trouble.

Also, doing it my way, you don’t have to flip your putter club upside down to get the ball out of the hole. You simply jab the blade into the cup and out comes your ball!

I admit it took some muscle to get the neck of the rubber device over the far end of the putter blade. Finally, I split it just a little and it slid over the blade end just fine. And guess what? That was over six months ago, and my “Burke Back-Saver” is still intact and working fine. 

I believe my putting has even improved because of this invention. No more pain!

Now here’s another way to save your back:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your putter with both hands above your head. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground while keeping the putter above your head and your heels planted firmly on the ground. Hold for a moment and then slowly stand up.

Repeat this overhead deep squat 6 to 8 times.

You can also place the putter behind your back and roll the club up and down, massaging your back. This is a great way to get the kinks out.

So now you have no excuses for not breaking 90.

Tough Conditions

By Bobby Eldridge

Have you ever gone to play a round of golf and the first hole the wind is straight into you, the next two holes it’s blowing out of the right, the next two holes it’s from the left, then four holes in a row straight back into the wind, and then it gets worse?

The next three holes it’s blowing harder from the left. Then you get the shortest hole in the golf course downwind. And then, of course, you know the rest of the story, the next three holes, the longest holes in the golf course, dead into the teeth of it.

Well, those are tough driving days and you have to be prepared to react to it, because the wind isn’t going to stop just for you.

And when you’re playing well, I know you’re going to laugh, but it seems like every hole’s downwind. And when you’re playing difficult, it seems like every one of them is into a gale.

 Remember this about tough driving days, this driver is not always the answer. How many times have you driven the golf ball 50 yards left of the fairway and only wished that you would have hit 6 iron off of the tee to get a better golf swing?

 I’m not advocating that into the wind. However, the flatter the face on the golf club, the more the golf ball’s going to curve and the better your golf swing will be. And the windier it is, it exaggerates the curve if it’s going in the direction of the wind. So, this isn’t always the answer.

 I have a 1 iron that I love, and I have driven with it many times on windy days, even into the wind, because it was important to find the golf ball in the fairway and not out of bounds.

 So, don’t forget this is not the answer on rugged days. This is the answer when you’re driving the ball well.

When you’re not, it might be a 3 wood. Don’t give into the driver.

Bobby Eldridge is the Head Instructor for the PurePoint Golf Academy where he teaches “The Simple Golf Swing” theory. You can check out PurePoint Golf instructional DVDs at:

Cure That Ugly Slice

Keep left arm straight and rotate it before impact.

Line up ball on heel of club at address to promote inside-out swing path.

Use a strong grip, light grip pressure and relaxed forearms. This helps square the clubface at impact.

Grip club in fingers. This also adds distance.

Take club straight back on backswing, and change the swing plane to inside-out on downswing.

To get proper swing feel, pretend that an elastic cord connects your right elbow to your right hip and your left elbow to your left hip.

On takeaway through downswing, keep your left wrist straight and your right wrist cupped.

 Don’t let your body get ahead of your arms and hands on downswing. Try to hold your body back.

Square shoulder alignment is critical.

On downswing, pull down with both arms, as if you’re ringing a bell.

Flatten swing plane.

Transfer weight from top of swing diagonally toward right of target, while letting right elbow come down. Also corrects "toe shots."

Keep back towards target longer and delay hipturn on downswing to avoid outside-in swing path.

Practice hitting the ball with back to target to get proper feel. On downswing, swing with arms and hands, not shoulders and body.

Align shoulders to right of target at address. On downswing, move right shoulder down rather than out toward target line. Tuck right elbow in close to torso. Avoid spinning shoulders too early.

Always turn. Never sway. Full turn sets stage for proper downswing. Lower body first. Shoulders and arms second. At impact, belt buckle should be even with the ball and majority of weight should be on left foot. Avoid spinning of hips at start of downswing. From top of downswing, focus on shifting hips laterally toward target. Hips will turn, but it will happen naturally. Don’t force it.

Keep hands in front of chest and both arms extended well into backswing.

Keep left arm in line with shoulders at top of backswing. Don’t drop left shoulder during backswing.

Keep right side low at address. Play the ball even with your left armpit and with your spine tilted away from target.

Delay hand and chest rotation on downswing.

Start your downswing with arms moving down rather than forward.

Don’t let chest outrun arms and hands on downswing. Keeping chest back gives arms room to swing down from inside out.

Don’t swing inside to out. Instead, swing inside to square to inside and rotate forearms along with body through hitting area.

Don’t exaggerate taking club inside on backswing. Maintain spine angle. 

Try to make the toe of the club reach the ball before the heel. Avoid opening hips.

To help square the clubface at impact, pretend you are hitting a ball well behind the actual ball.

Keep your left arm straight through impact and rotate it as it approaches ball.

If you rotate your left forearm properly through impact, you can hit hard with your right hand without slicing.

If your divots on practice swings are well behind the ball, it is a sign you are making an improper inside arm swing when you take the club back.

Relax the thumb and forefinger on your right hand. This relaxes the right arm and makes it easier to swing the club along the right plane.

To avoid swinging "over the top," start your downswing with your arms while keeping your back to the target.

With a neutral grip and a "frisbee throw" with the left hand, try to make the back of your left hand parallel to the ground at impact.


Let left arm control club with little wrist action.

Choke down on the club an inch or two for chips.

Use a narrow, open stance. Open the clubface and keep it square to the target.

Use the same basic swing for a chip and pitch.

For chips, stand tall and raise your hands to get the heel of the club up and the toe down. This promotes crisp shots.

Play ball off right foot, angle shaft toward target, open stance, let shoulders control swing, keep left arm against left side, let clubhead swing to left of target after impact.

Don't rush the downswing.

Make sure the shaft is leaning toward the target at impact.

To avoid hitting chips and pitches fat: don’t sole the club at address.

Use an open, narrow stance.

Keep arms connected to chest and rotate body rather than sliding hips laterally and jabbing at the ball with your hands.

Focus eyes on front of ball, with weight on front foot and wrists ahead of ball at impact.

Be sure to make a complete follow-through.

Use arm and shoulder swing, not hands, for short chips.

Let gravity do most of the work on downswing.

Let left arm control club throughout swing with little wrist action.

Play ball back in stance with hands and weight towards target.

For high pitches, start downswing with legs.

Open stance, square shoulders. Club should go straight back and through. Rock (like a clothes hanger on a hook), don’t turn shoulders. Let arms drop to start downswing.

Use a light grip.

Clubhead should trail, not lead, hands and wrists at impact.

Use inside out swingpath and be sure to pivot.

To avoid "scooping" chips and pitches, keep wrists ahead of ball at impact.

In pitches, ball and shaft should be centered and weight should be divided evenly.

For distance control, don’t let right hand take control of clubhead speed.

Control the distance on short shots by limiting your backswing.

To avoid thin chips, don’t try to help the ball into the air.

Use a low running shot when conditions permit for more control.

For a low running chip, use a very narrow stance, play ball off right foot, keep hands ahead of ball, and swing straight back and through with firm hands. Keep your hands low at the finish.

For a short, pop chip, use an open and narrow stance, an open clubface, play the ball in the middle, hit ball from out to in. Don’t flip wrists.

When chipping, keep butt of club pointed at belt buckle.

For short shots, move feet closer together and take shallow divots.

Keep lower body still on short chips just off the green.

For long chips, keep lower body relaxed and let it react naturally to actions of arms and upper body. Start downswing by shifting knees toward target.

To improve your rhythm, make your backswing and forward swing equal in length.