As one Carroll County golf professional put it, some fundamentals ofthe game are abused totally.
To get a closer look at golf's most abused principles, Carroll pros Bill Horney of Wakefield Valley, JeffZachman of Piney Branch, Greg Long of Bear Creek and Dan Loucks of Liberty Golf were interviewed on what they consider the most common errors among their pupils.
* Horney: "The No. 1 problem I find is that pupils fail to make aproper turn away from the ball on their backswing. Instead of turning, they make a tilted or lifting motion.
"Secondly, I find improper gripping. At least 95 percent of all students apply too much pressure on the grip. What I ask them to do is apply only enough strength to hold the club, nothing more.
"Third on my list of most abused fundamentals is failure of pupils to produce a correct follow-through. What I want them to strive for on the follow-through is to have theirtummies facing the target, the back foot pointed to the ground and practically all of their weight on the forward foot."
* Zachman: "Alignment is a major problem with most golfers. For some reason, I find most of them aim to the right of their target. The best way I know of correcting this improper alignment is to place clubs on the ground, forcing guidelines for placement of their feet.
"Another common fault with pupils is the act of 'casting' from the top of their swing. Instead of allowing the body to pull the arms and hands through theball, these players start to strike too early in the swing.
"An exercise I suggest to help this is to use a split grip on the practicetee. To do this, place the left hand near the top of the grip and the right hand several inches lower. It should help to reduce hitting from the top."
"Of course, nothing spoils a swing faster than an improper tempo. I ask pupils to reduce their energy into the swing to about 80 percent. Most players think they are striking at the ball with what they think is 100 percent when, in reality, they are swinging at a 120 percent pace."
* Greg Long: "Improper posture can spoil ashot before you start to swing. All too often, golfers have their legs locked and their knees unflexed. Also, there is the importance of standing too close or too far away from the ball.
"In order to help tempo, golfers should take time out to practice mini-swings. The shorter swing allows the hands to keep in timing with the club-head speed. Poor tempo is cause for just about every dubbed shot in golf.
"Then, too, the problem of being eager to see where the ball is goingshould never be overlooked. Lifting the head too early, even by a half-inch, is reflected on the swing plane and can destroy a good shot."
* Loucks: "It's not always easy to relax, but nothing smears a golf swing faster than tension. When the shoulders and arms are tense,it is impossible for the club to react as directed by the swing.
"One drill I suggest to pupils is to shrug their shoulders and pump their arms back and forth from the chest to release tension.
"One of the most serious mistakes for most golfers is to shoot for the course's par, rather than establish a personal par. In other words by trying for par golf, the players are extending themselves beyond their capabilities. They would gain more satisfaction and improve their gameat the same time if they would look at some of the more difficult pars as well-earned bogeys.
"While no golfer should ever lift his head before striking the ball, there also can be a problem with keepingthe head down too long. Keeping the head fixed after striking the ball restricts golfers from making a full swing. In fact, it can be a danger for back troubles when a golfer fails to turn with the shot."
Club match play championships are under way at both Wakefield and Piney Branch.
Todd Eckenrode is defending men's champion at Wakefield. Janet Heltibridle is the women's champion.
At Piney Branch, the defenders are Wayne Gailey and Connie Henderson.
Dave McFarland scored a hole-in-one at Wakefield's ninth hole on the green course.