Home Remedies

Elementary tips and do-it-yourself teaching aids for keeping your swing in shape during the off-season

Home RemediesPosture When it comes to posture, the key is to establish your natural spine angle, which will allow the body to rotate freely throughout the golf swing.

A good training aid to help improve your posture can be fashioned with a broomstick, sponge, six-inch ruler, scissors, pen and a belt.

Draw three lines down the center of the sponge, each 1 1__ã4 inches in length. Space the lines equally apart. Next, use the scissors to cut through the sponge the length of each line through to the other side, then place the broomstick through the middle slit of the sponge. Fasten a belt around your waist and insert the broomstick, with the sponge at the top, between your back and your belt. The broomstick should rest snugly against your tailbone.

While standing straight, position the sponge so that it touches the back of your head (make sure the broomstick is in the appropriate slit according to your spine angle). With your arms hanging at your sides, tilt from the hips so that your arms now hang in front of you, approximately six to eight inches away from your thighs. The key to this drill is to keep both points of contact (tailbone and head) intact while in the tilted position. If you bend your spine instead of bending from the hips, your head will move away from the sponge, breaking the contact needed to maintain your natural posture.jpgspine angle. This drill develops a fuller turn in the backswing and a much more complete finish.

Stance, Ball Position And Alignment Most likely you've seen a baseball player step into the batter's box as he readies himself to receive a pitch. It's a delicate and structured procedure, beginning with the positioning of the feet and a shuffle to find a comfortable stance, and ending with the setting of the hands, arms and legs comfortably in unison.

If you were to emulate such a player, you'd find no trouble in establishing a fundamentally sound stance. Here's how, using nothing more than five ordinary yardsticks.

Place two of the yardsticks horizontally, about two feet apart and place two vertically at each end, forming a batter's box, and the fifth inside for ball alignment purposes.

Take your grip and step into the box with your right foot while tilting from your hips to help lower the club to the ground. Next, take your left foot and place it in the forward portion of the box to establish your ball position in relation to your left foot (in the middle for a wedge, and toward the left heel for a driver).

Complete your stance by moving your right foot away from your left to establish the width of your stance (hip-wide for a wedge, shoulder-wide for a driver). Emphasis should be placed on the continuous movement throughout the routine of your hands, arms and legs to help you get relaxed and ready to make your best swing.

The Swing Ordinary household items can also be used to develop better rotation and balance, two of the more influential factors of contact and ballflight.

Take a bucket and place it on the ground, approximately six feet down your intended target line. Stand parallel to the target line and place a 5-iron against your upper chest with crossed arms. The clubhead should be to the right of you (for right-handed players, opposite for lefties). With the club in place, tilt from your hips into your posture-ready position. Now, rotate your shoulders to the point where they're 90 degrees to your spine, with your back facing the target.

PuttingWhen attempting this, imagine the clubhead flying off the shaft and landing in the bucket. This will promote the proper tilting of the right shoulder (a down-and-under motion) as well as the correct hip rotation and balance. As you progress with this exercise, move the bucket farther and farther down the target line to emphasize a more complete finish.

Putting You can perfect your putting stroke with two Styrofoam cups and a wooden dowel, shaft or string.

When it comes to putting, it's important to aim the putter correctly, with the clubface perpendicular to the target line. And it's equally important to take the putter straight back and straight through. My Styrofoam cup training aid will encourage the proper execution of both. Take the wooden dowel and insert it into each of the Styrofoam cups approximately a half-inch from the bottom (use scissors to puncture the holes for the wooden dowel). A piece of string that's taped to the bottom of the cups will also do the trick. Now, flip the cups over so that the dowel or string is above the ground. The dowel will act as an elevated target line and should be approximately four to five inches above the ground. Simply practice your stroke underneath the dowel, using it to align your putterface square to the target line while keeping the putterhead low to the ground and moving straight along the target line. Practice this drill and you'll soon develop a solid and dependable putting stroke.

Chipping Although it's tempting to hit chips indoors, all it takes is one broken lamp to realize that golf is an outdoor activity. Nevertheless, you can improve your chipping technique within the friendly confines of your own living room with the help of a wooden dowel or broken golf shaft.

ChippingTake the dowel and place it through the hole on the top of the grip on a pitching wedge. Push the dowel roughly eight to 12 inches down the butt end of the shaft (a little Vaseline may help the dowel slide easier through the clubshaft). Two to three feet of the dowel should extend outward from the top of the grip.

Now, practice your chipping motion, making sure that your left wrist remains rigid as the clubface passes through the impact zone. If your left wrist breaks down (a flaw that can cause a lot of short-game misery), you'll feel the protruding portion of the dowel hit against your left side. In addition to guarding against wrist breakdown, the dowel will also help you to establish the proper hands-forward position at address–a crucial factor for clean contact.

The dowel will also force you to keep your hands moving forward and swing the club down the target line in the followthrough. Once you master this drill, you'll be able to get up and down with the best of them.

As you perform these drills, you'll begin to see the value of other everyday items in helping you improve your game. Don't be afraid to experiment–you may just develop the next must-have training aid.

Special thanks to instruction model, PGA professional Rick Avina. Avina instructs at El Cid Country Club in Mazatl__n, Mexico.

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