Saturday, June 1, 2002
Flaws And Fixes 2002
A guide to finding and fixing common flaws that may be hiding in your swing
Are You Over the Top?
Here are the clues:
1 Your ballflight is left-to-right and your divots point to the left of the target line.
2 You either pull it or hit a slice and find it impossible to hit a high, soft draw.
3 You prefer to hit short irons and avoid hitting your long irons.
4 You aim toward the left rough and hope to hit the right side of the fairway with your tee shots. You often make solid contact, only to look up and see your ball headed left of target.
Likely, you aim left of left or you try to hit the ball hard with your upper body. Golfers who swing hard from the top often have difficulty getting the club on the correct plane on the downswing. When you rotate or lunge your upper body too aggressively, the club travels outside-to-in.
Check your setup and alignment. If you set up with your body aiming way left—and usually with your weight favoring your left side and your shoulders open to the target line—you’ll never get turned behind the ball in the backswing. As such, you’ll have no other choice but to come over the top in the downswing and swing out-to-in.
Even if you’re set up correctly, you can still fall prey to coming over the top if you lead with the shoulders or over-rotate your upper body to start the downswing. Many amateur golfers do exactly this in an effort to increase clubhead speed. The key to extra power lies in understanding the proper sequence of movements in the transition from backswing to the first part of the downswing, and that these motions are anything but aggressive. I teach my students to first set their left legs. This initiates the downswing movement. I ask that they keep their shoulders quiet and use their hands to set the club on the proper path. With the club on-plane, the next move is to swing the hands and unwind the body in a smooth, synchronized motion.
Fixing Coming Over The Top
Perform the Right Foot Drill and the Feet Together Drill (Previous Pages)
Split Grip Drill
Tee up a ball, assume your address position and grip the club with your hands several inches apart. Now, simply swing the club and focus on your path. Because your hands are apart, you’ll become more aware of where the club is traveling. More importantly, the split grip will make it difficult to get the club back on-plane if it does happen to stray off-line.
Stop Flaws Before They Start
Most swing flaws can be traced back to the setup. In addition to the requirements listed in this article, add these critical components to your everyday address position to ensure a faultless swing.
Find a grip that fits your build and flexibility. Here’s how: Grip the club with the left hand. Bend from the hips and let your left arm hang straight down. Hinge the club up and down, hitting the ground as you do so. Adjust your grip so that the club feels solid in your left hand and the clubface is hinging straight up and down. Now, lift the club up and set the right hand with the lifeline of the right hand covering the left thumb. Hinge the club up and down once again to check that the clubface remains square.
The majority of amateurs walk up to the ball, set their feet first and then set their club. Setting your feet first creates two chances for success: slim and none. The best way to aim is simple: Walk up and aim the club first at your target or intermediate target; align your shoulders parallel to your target line; then set your feet so that your in balance and ready to hit a great shot.
Your waggle is a dress rehearsal for your golf swing. If it’s incorrect, you’ll have to work twice as hard to find the correct feel and motion. If you have the right waggle, then you’ve set the tempo and feel for the correct motion for your golf swing. Practice hitting shots with your waggle and see if it’s helping or hurting you hit more consistently.
I always ask my students which is more important to them in a golf swing: clubhead speed or control? I always take control, and so do those golfers who can consistently score to their potential. When you’re balanced, most flaws magically disappear.
Senior Instruction Editor Glenn Deck is Director of Instruction at the Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Coast, Calif., and oversees the award-winning Glenn Deck Golf Academy at Pelican Hill (www.pelicanhill.com). A former So. Calif. PGA Teacher of the Year, Deck is recognized as one of the Top 25 Instructors in California.
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