Fix Your Game
...While You Play
Labels: Hybrid Play, Wood Play, Instruction, Faults And Fixes, Iron Play, Quick Tips, Ballstriking, Short Game, Woods, Driving, Putting, Power, Game Improvement, Green Reading, Full Swing, Sand Shots, Shots, Slicing, Shotmaking
Eighty percent of your ballfight’s direction is derived from your clubface’s alignment, and 20 percent from your club’s path. First, let’s focus on getting your clubface squared up at impact instead of being 4° to 8° open (and causing a weak slice). Note: A driver that’s 6° open at impact results in a shot that’s 30-60 yards shorter. So let’s square up that clubface!
Fix: Rotate Your Hands
Educated hands control the clubface. Your left hand and wrist control the face, while your right hand, wrist and forearm control the club’s path.
First, draw three circles on your left-hand glove around the following knuckles: pinky, ring finger and index finger. In the impact zone, your left-pinky and ring-finger knuckles (the two red circles) should look down at the grass, while your left-index-finger knuckle (the green circle) should aim at the target. Your right hand and wrist is bent and its right index knuckle is facing the target. Once your hands are lined up, the clubface will match them and it’ll square up in the impact zone.
When your tempo gets quick, you move your upper body first in your downswing instead of your lower body. This affects both your club’s path and the bottom point of your swing arc, which needs to be in front of the ball. (Remember with your irons, we want to hit the ball first and take a divot or scuff mark second.)
When the bottom of your arc varies too much, the results are erratic shots that lack compression and control.
Fix: Ball First, Divot Second
Make a few slow practice swings to get your tempo and sequence working together. When you start your downswing, feel your weight moving into your left foot first. This helps your club bottom-out in front of the ball. Finish in balance.
Now, step up to the ball and imagine a tee in front of the ball. Picture yourself swinging with a descending path so your swing hits down through the ball and into the tee. This will help you get to your left side as you start your downswing. It also helps promote your hands being ahead of the clubhead at impact.
Once you start scuffing up the turf in front of the ball and finishing in balance, you’ll hit more solid iron shots.
You’ve moved the clubhead (and hence your swing arc) closer to the ball. This brings the club’s hosel into play, and you end up shanking it.
Shanks are vicious circles. Once you shank one ball, you start tensing up in your setup. This tightens your lower body, and you swing the club back more with your upper body as your lower body gets off balance. Then you start moving more forward on the balls of your feet, your swing radius moves out, and the hosel remains in play, creating shank after shank. That’s no fun.
Simply set up in balance so that your weight is in your arches (balanced between the heel and balls of your feet). Now check your distance to the ball and make sure you’re not standing too close to it.
Set up balanced with no tension in your hands or hips, and make sure your right hip turns back freely in the backswing and swing to a balanced finish. Turning the right hip back freely creates space for your arms and the club to swing on the correct downswing path while keeping you in balance. The key is to not think about shanking it, or you’ll create more tension and destroy your motion and balance.
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