How golfers can contribute to coronavirus food aid with backyard practice

Professional golfer putting ball into the hole. Golf ball by the edge of hole with player in background on a sunny day.(Getty Images/iStockphoto/jacoblund)
Julieta Stack, the director of instruction for the Baltimore Golf Academy, is challenging golfers to help out the Maryland Food Bank. (Courtesy Julieta Stack)

Staying at home does not mean golfers have to socially distance themselves from their golf clubs.

Julieta Stack, the director of instruction for the Baltimore Golf Academy, knows the importance of practice and the importance of a challenge. Stack is challenging golfers to take a swing at hunger to help out the Maryland Food Bank, as skyrocketing unemployment leaves more people seeking food aid while state safety nets buckle.

It’s simple: Stack is asking golfers to take 20 practice swings with any golf club, and when you’re done, tweet @classic5Golf and @WTOP and use the hashtag #TakeASwingAtHunger. Stack, other golfers, and WTOP’s Dave Johnson will donate $5 to the Maryland Food Bank for every golfer who completes the swing challenge.

It is OK to show off and include video in your tweet, or you can also post to the Classic 5 golf Facebook page. Swinging a golf club during this time is something golfers should be doing every day, if they can, and not just with a driver.

“There is nothing better than just swinging a club, and I would go with different clubs every day,” said Stack. “Don’t be afraid to pound the grass a little bit when you are swinging that wedge, and go for speed when you are swinging your driver and get that whoosh going.”

You can complement your old-fashioned practice swings with new technology: Smartphones and other devices give golfers the chance for self-instruction.

“Nothing better than recording yourself and seeing your swing,” said Stack. “You can line your head up with a fence or something in the background and see if you are you coming off the ball. Are you sliding? Are your overswinging? Is your swing too short? Are you allowing a nice range of motion? Watch your knees, watch your hips.”

Stack has been recognized as one of the top 50 youth golf coaches in the country by U.S. Kids Golf and she understands the importance of physical activity in developing golfers. Exercise is healthy for kids, and something as simple as doing jumping jacks makes a difference on the course.

“There are correlations between how far players can hit the ball with high they can jump,” said Stack. “For instance, we will do 10 minutes of golf drills and then five minutes of athletic drills. If the kids can do that it helps them focus more when they go to practice their putting or something else by just getting that raw energy out.”

Putting is a practice standby for the homebound, and you don’t need a fancy machine — just a carpet and a cup. Stack also suggests bouncing a golf ball off the face of the club to help improve hand-eye coordination.

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Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson is Senior Sports Director and morning sports anchor. He first arrived at WTOP in 1989, left in 1992 and returned in 1995. He is a three-time winner of the A.I.R. award as best radio sportscaster in D.C. In 2008 he won the Edward R. Murrow award for best writing for sports commentaries.

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