7 Deadly Swing Sins

Say goodbye to making the same swing mistakes

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Set up in normal position with the ball in the middle of your stance or favor the weight on the left side with the hands slightly forward. This setup promotes a downward path into the ball. When you take your normal setup in this short swing, you have to create some hinge to flatten out the left wrist in the backswing and rotate the hips open at impact, which increases your speed, thus hitting the ball farther than anticipated with little effort.

I also want your backswing to be smaller than your followthrough so that you accelerate into the ball to create consistent impact with spin. Simply swing to a 1, 2, 3 count: 1) Turn back; 2) Add a little hinge and start the forwardswing, and by the time you finish counting; 3) You've already hit the ball and cut the grass in front of the ball. You'll want to follow through with the arms, clubshaft, chest, hips and right knee facing the target. This helps eliminate the flip and promotes acceleration in the impact zone.

If you don't like greenside bunkers and you're trying to help the ball get up over the bunker lip, here's a fix for you. The first step is to simplify your bunker setup and eliminate being too open in your stance or having the clubface too open. I want you to use your normal pitch shot except you'll use the bounce in your clubhead and swing like your ball is in greenside deep rough.

FIX #1
Set up so you're aiming directly at the target and open the face so the bottom scoring lines aim at your left ankle to create a little bounce. Work your feet into the sand a half-inch so you have a shallow divot in the sand. Line up at your target and swing the club at your target to throw the sand on the green and forget about the open face! If you open your body and the clubface too much, you'll tend to swing the club back too far to the inside, creating a lot of problems. Instead, keep your focus on hitting a spot of sand two inches behind the ball and swing down and through. Too often, I see players open up their body too much to the left and open the face too much to the right, which makes the shot much more difficult. Instead, hit a "heavy pitch" and swing aggressively right at the target!

FIX #2
Change your distance thought; if you have a 15-yard bunker shot, you need a 45-yard swing. Yes, multiply the distance you need to hit by three to offset the cushion of sand between the clubface and ball. If you're playing in a firm or wet bunker, double the distance; if you're in soft powder sand, multiply the distance by four. Learn to make a practice swing outside the bunker before you walk into the bunker, so on most 20-yard bunker shots, make a 60-yard practice swing, then walk into the bunker, take your setup and go with the same feel.


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