Use the body you have to crush it!
, Faults And Fixes
, Iron Play
, Training Aids
, Full Swing
GRIP TOO STRONG = SHUT CLUBFACE
Golf clubs—even new, light offerings—can weigh quite a bit for juniors. This makes it hard for them to control the club. They get weighed down by the club’s length and weight. If you’re a junior and you struggle with the weight of your club, try swinging the club with a split grip. By separating your hands, you’ll lighten the club on your takeaway and create a more on-plane action. Notice how with this drill, it’s easy to get the club to stand a bit more up and down. When the head is positioned more “above the handle,” the club will feel very light, making it easier to work properly into the top of the backswing. During a “live” swing, feel the same “headabove” handle position. A shaft that’s perfectly on plane (matching the address shaft angle), or one slightly more vertical, will keep the shaft light and easy to move.
Take a look at these two photos. In the one at right, I’m approaching the top of my backswing, and the clubface has shut because of an excessively strong grip. In the other one, it hasn’t because I’ve adopted a grip that’s set to a neutral position. Juniors like a strong grip because it helps them create a strong hit. However, problems occur when the grip gets out of the range of “acceptable” and shuts the clubface. An extremely closed face doesn’t have much loft to launch the ball the necessary height, and the weaker player doesn’t have the clubhead speed to help make up for it. Finding a more neutral grip or one that’s only slightly stronger than neutral will ensure that you can easily launch the ball on the trajectory that will create the optimal balance of carry and roll.
Juniors also have a hard time maintaining their posture because they’re trying to generate power in any possible way. Often, they’ll “kick” with the lower body, releasing the back foot early and tucking their backside inward. Aside from strength training, the best way to develop the feel of stability in your posture is to set yourself up against a stand bag (or other similar object), as you see here. Then make a swing, keeping your rear end touching the bag through impact with your club across your chest. As you swing, maintain the “integrity” of your spine angle along with a sense of pressure between your feet and the turf.
Jeff Ritter, PGA, is director of instruction at the ASU Karsten Golf Academy in Tempe, Ariz., and one of Golf Tips’ senior instruction editors. He’s the author of
HERE'S A GREAT EXERCISE for juniors who want to increase their strength. Take a large physioball or use the “bench” in a gym and then, on one foot, lower yourself down so your rear-end touches it and then raise up again. Focus on barely touching the ball and then confidently standing tall back up on your single leg. Do one to three sets of 10 repetitions. For increased difficulty, hold a medicine ball or wear a weighted vest. Not only will this build strength in your lower body, it will show the importance of core stability and posture in creating a powerful, efficient movement.
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