Sunday, May 9, 2004
A good golf swing begins from the ground up
To prevent sliding from side to side, practice making a few swings with your left foot on a range ball basket, which will cause an exaggerated tilt of your entire body to the right. Carefully take the club back as you normally would and feel the sensation of your weight on the right side. Perform a series of swing repetitions with the basket and then remove the basket and make a normal swing. You should feel a weight shift to the right without the need to slide your body to the side.
As you take your club back during the backswing, you want to avoid locking your right leg. Locking robs power and consistency from any part of your swing. It also restricts a fluid weight shift to the left side during the downswing. To alleviate a locking right leg, practice several swing repetitions with a golf ball under your right heel. This will help you retain the correct right leg flex throughout the entire swing.
Often when golfers try to muscle the ball, they make huge upper body rotations, causing their upper body to lean toward the target during the backswing and, therefore, put too much weight on the left side of the body (right side for lefties). Folks, this is the key ingredient to the dreaded reverse pivot, which, when executed, results in violent slices, hooks and pulls. The trick is to not overswing with the upper body, but, instead, use the lower body for added power! To alleviate overturning, try a few practice swings with your left foot completely off the ground during your backswing. This will restrict your upper body from moving to the left and help you get a feel for the correct turn and weight shift to the right side.
Practice each of these drills and you’ll be on your way to using your legs to help generate more power and consistency. In no time, you’ll find it easier to make long, smooth swings with added strength from the lower half of your body.
Your golf shoes are the only connection to the turf against which your swing is built, so it’s important that they’re able to support and augment the dynamics of the swing. Some materials and designs handle this requirement better than others.
Among the premier materials used for high-quality outsoles is thermoplastic polyurethane, or TPU. This material is a very durable, flexible, weather-resistant elastomer that tends to last longer than standard rubber outsoles. According to Doug Robinson, product development manager at FootJoy, “One of the many advantages TPU has over rubber is the ability to mold it in varying degrees of density. We can create assorted densities of TPU to serve different functions for the parts of the shoe that require flexing as well as areas that require more firmness.”
The ideal golf shoe is not only stable, but comfortable as well. EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) is commonly used for the utmost in shoe comfort. It’s the foamy, cushiony layer found in most shoes. “The EVA layer makes the shoe lighter while the TPU keeps the shoe stable,” says Robinson. “It’s the definitive choice for lightweight cushioning.”
In the area between the heel and toe portions of the shoe (where the foot arches), manufacturers have experimented with lightweight shanks for minimal twisting and stronger stability. “With the P.R.O. outsole design of our DryJoys, we’ve placed an aluminized fiberglass shank closer to the foot by cutting out the middle portion of the outsole,” adds Robinson. “This design helps the foot to resist twisting during the swing. It’s a breakthrough that provides outstanding stability without sacrificing cushioning, flexibility or traction.”
—Ryan M. Noll
2000 PGA Teacher of the Year Dr. Jim Suttie instructs at The Club at Twin Eagles in Naples, Fla., and Green Garden CC in Frankfort, Ill.
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