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Published Oct. 1, 2005

Terry Decker, the head golf professional at Lakewood Country Club in St. Petersburg, on how to hit the driver:

"You want to have a swing path and an angle of approach that is level or actually catching the ball slightly on the upswing. You don't want to have a descending blow, which puts backspin on the ball. We want the ball to run when it hits the ground, not back up.

"A good way to practice is to tee the ball as high as possible. Practice swinging the club level in a sweeping motion and catch the ball slightly on the upswing. That will get you hitting your shots more solidly instead of a glancing or descending blow.

"Once you've gotten used to catching the ball on an upswing, you can then tee the ball at a normal height. This way, you'll get the optimum trajectory, more carry and more roll."

_ Terry Decker, 36, has been head pro at Lakewood for three years.