Grouchy Golf Blog

Monday, August 30, 2004 at 9:32 AM

The Yips, Golf's Worst Enemy?

Until recently, the Yips to me were just the friendly Chinese family that lived down the street.

However, my buddy Anthony recently told me that he was suffering from the putting Yips. I had heard of this golf phenomenon before, but I didn't truly know what it was. According to ongoing research by the Mayo Clinic, the Yips refer to "involuntary motions of the hand or wrist that can make effective putting all but impossible, even for the most experienced and talented of golfers."

As scary as the putting Yips sound, even scarier is the full-swing Yips. This rare disease was detailed in the August 2004 issue of Golf Digest by one of the top American golf instructors, Hank Haney. Hank claims to have suffered from the full-swing Yips for 20 years! He chronicles his long struggle to conceal his ailment while, at the same time, teaching the swing to some of the top players in the world. He says, "I virtually stopped doing clinics that required me to hit drivers." It got so bad that Hank almost stopped playing golf. He reveals, "From late 1985 until 2002, I played fewer than 10 rounds of golf."

However, Hank eventually developed the bane for his demons. He changed his grip, incorporated a bizarre pre-shot waggle and avoided looking at the ball. You read correctly, he found the ball to be distraction to his swing!

The result is one helluva ugly swing. Not Charles Barkley ugly, but pretty damn close.

While I'm happy that Hank can now find the fairways, I question whether this is a guy you want teaching you golf. Especially if you're the best golfer in the world. But there are indications that Tiger has been working with Mr. Haney. Is it just a coincidence that Tiger's downward spiral started at about the same time as his association with the Yip-meister? No way. My theory is that either Hank transmitted the Yips to Tiger, a la Clarke and the shanks, or Tiger had developed the Yips and is seeking help from the guru. Either way, this is not a good thing for the World's #1.

Fortunately, I have yet to experience any form of the Yips. But I know that it's only a matter of time. I've been playing long enough to know that the Golf Gods will hit me with the Yips at precisely the worst moment. Probably right now since I just claimed to have never suffered from it. Is it transmittable through a golf blog? Hopefully, the Mayo clinic will soon develop a vaccine.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Friday, I played with this good golfer who worked at Moorpark Country Club and he had the putting yips big time on the first few holes. He started putting with his sandwedge and became deadly inside of six feet. He bladed it into the equator of the ball. He kept telling me each time he made one – see it gets rid of the yips! If he wasn’t such a good golfer I would have thought he was crazy putting with a wedge but who am I to talk; I miss everything outside of 2 feet with my Scotty Cameron. I don't even want to think about full swing yips...

Rich at eatgolf.com  


Anonymous JimmyJ said...

I used to putt a lot with my sand wedge on the putting green - the slightly rounded leading edge acts like the self correcting bulge on a driver. If you pull across - it pushes it a little and if you push the putt, it steers it back online to the left a little. It's really amazing. It's also good for your putting stroke since a real wristy move just won't work and you have to watch the ball very well or you'll miss hit it. It's really a wonderful way to work on your putting stroke.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Putting is such a personal thing....nothing matters if you can get it down. I went to a long putter simply out of the need to relieve back pain caused by putting for more than 5 minutes. I have never had such a huge positive impact with any part of my game as when I went to a 51" long putter. Once you get the lag putts down with it(loss of touch for me) it's a blast....for me anyway. I used to have 4-5 three puts a round and now I can go several rounds w/o one.  


Blogger Doc B said...

The yips are not some sort of spooky ailment unique to golf. They are a form of "intention (or intentional) tremor." Try googling it for more information.  


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