Wednesday, February 1, 2006
Swing Thoughts That Really Work
Think your way to a better golf swing now
In fact, hitting at the ball effectively changes the focus from swinging through impact and into the finish to stopping or quitting at the ball. What many recreational players dont realize is that accomplished players dont think of the ball as the target, but often try to swing through a spot located several inches past the ball. With this as the goal, they actually get the feeling of the club speeding up through impact (though this isnt really possible), instead of before impact. A great way to eliminate hitting at the ball is to focus on dragging your arms, hands and the club past the point of impact with the rotation of the body, all the way into the finish.
When it comes down to it, solid impact and quality ballstriking is what every golfer really wants. Crisp contact that compresses the golf ball on the face of the club leads to both power and accuracy, plus, this type of impact is what creates the great whoosh sound that everyone likes to hear as the ball shoots off the clubface. While it might sound strange, a good thought for creating solid contact is squeeze the ball on the clubface for as long as possible. This will give you the feeling of working the entire club, not just the clubhead, through impact and into the finish. If you struggle with flippy impact and glancing blows that produce little power, this is the right thought for you.
Simply put, thoughts like through, not to, impact can take your game to another level. Remember that youre looking for a steady acceleration that keeps the ball compressed against the clubface as its propelled to the finish. Any attempt to overaccelerate or whip the club into the ball will produce a glancing blow. Conversely, steering or quitting through impact will never keep the ball against the clubface very long. To help facilitate this squeezed impact, your body must drive your arms, hands and club through the ball. When done correctly, the relationship between your torso and the club should remain constant, as should the structure of your arms and wrists. If you manage to keep these relationships solid throughout the swing, you wont be able to flip the club. Instead, youll discover what quality ballstriking is all about, and your full shots and scores will improve dramatically.
Heave A Bucket Of Water
This is definitely a great thought for promoting a solid pivot. In order to heave a bucket of water past your body, you must first get the bucket behind your body (not above your head), which in turn promotes a more inside-out attack on the forwardswing. In addition, the imagery of heaving a bucket of water should help trigger your lead leg to post or straighten as the hips rotate, a critical and often improperly executed element of a powerful golf swing.
Skip A Stone
The sidearm feeling of skipping a stone is a good thought for the start of the downswing, but a bad one through impact. Its true that this image can help get the right shoulder to drop down on plane while the lower body rotates out of the way, both of which are desirable movements in the golf swing. However, the sidearm delivery associated with skipping a stone can also keep the right side down too long after impact, inhibiting the release and overstressing the spine.
Take a close look at the two photos below. If the photo on the right looks like your finish, you dont have the right sensation of a proper finish, and Ill bet youre probably not hitting the ball as well as youd like. The reason the position on the bottom right looks so hung back and incomplete is that the body quit working the club too early in the downswing. Notice how far back my right shoulder is and how my left hip is closer to the target than my right. These are symptoms of a lateral, sliding type of swing that will produce nothing but glancing blows and generally poor impact.
In the photo on the bottom left, Im comfortably balanced, with my hips fully rotated and my right shoulder much closer to the target than my left. This position indicates that Ive worked all the way through impact and continued to power my swing into the finish. Golfers who swing the club through the ball generally have this type of complete finish position. In contrast, players who hit at the ball very often resemble the photo on the bottom right because they basically stop the swing at the point of impact.
To develop a solid, balanced finish position (it isnt just for looks—the finish is often a reflection of the entire swing), your thought should be get the right shoulder to the target. This image will force you to keep working past the ball and will change your ultimate destination from the point of impact to well beyond it. This is how the pros do it; you should too.
PGA professional Brady Riggs is a Golf Tips senior instruction editor who currently works with numerous top junior, college and professional players. Riggs utilizes state-of-the-art video technology while teaching students at Woodley Lakes G.C. in Van Nuys, Calif.
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