Saturday, February 1, 2003
Heat Up Your Game Inside And Out!
Whether you're snowbound or course-bound, here?s all you need to keep your game burning hotAlthough there are many different swings, there are only two kinds of golfers: those who live in climes that allow year-round golf and those who don’t. For those who must suffer through months of frost-covered greens, watching wedges and irons collect dust, we feel your pain. However, there’s no reason why you can’t use the between-season time to prep your game for when the gates of your home course reopen to the rites of spring. On the following pages, PGA professional Barry Goldstein gives his recipe for keeping your swing warm until the first thaw, with a series of innovative and effective indoor drills. A native New Yorker who has suffered through his fair share of blizzards and storms, Barry knows a thing or two about helping his students make the most of their time away from the game. Paired with our indoor instruction, former LPGA Tour player Debbie Steinbach, who teaches year-round in the desert Shangri-la of Palm Springs, Calif., offers up her own schedule of must-have full-swing and short-game drills. For those of you lucky to enjoy a winter playing season, Debbie’s tips will keep your game razor-sharp. Lastly, Senior Instruction Editor Brady Riggs breaks down the hows and whats of videotaping and analyzing your swing. Putting yourself on video is an excellent way of finding swing errors that may not necessarily show up in your ballflight. If you’re stuck indoors, a video lesson is a great way to keep your motion intact and, with a little work, make it even better.
Practicing your swing indoors can be more helpful than you think.
In fact, I believe you can improve more without a ball than with one. When you’re not actually hitting a golf ball, you’re less occupied by results. Rather, you become more in tune with what your body does, and if your body is moving correctly, the ball will take care of itself. So have a little faith and put the following drills to use over the next few months. Most of the exercises can be augmented by a heavy club, like the Matzie ASSIST or the Momentus, which are also good for building strength.
This winter, pick up a molded training grip at your local golf shop, and simply grip and regrip the handle, paying attention to how the correct grip feels and the orientation of your hands, fingers and palms. You can do this while watching TV, or, better yet, attach the grip to an old club and make practice swings. It’s an easy thing to do that will make a huge, positive difference in your swing.
Though it seems simple, this drill can keep three major swing flaws at bay.
During the off-season, I recommend that my students swing a heavy club three times a week. It’s a great way to keep your body loose and flexible, and to ingrain two important full-swing needs: dropping the club into the slot and finishing with a full release.
Warm up with 20 swings using your normal motion. Don’t stop at your finish and restart from address. Instead, keep the club moving back and through. You should feel how the momentum of the clubhead, not your body or hands, pulls the club into and through the hitting zone into your finish.
Now, grip the club with only your left arm. Place your right hand over your left bicep to ensure a complete, left-arm-only motion. As you move from the top into the downswing, concentrate on executing a lateral, forward shift of weight while allowing your left arm and hand to drop toward the ground. This will help ingrain the all-important Magic Move. As you move through the hitting zone into the followthrough, let that left arm extend. If your left arm isn’t extended postimpact, then it’s chicken-winged, and that spells tons of shotmaking misery.
Use the same setup for the right-arm-only swings. With your right-arm swings, focus on lengthening your right arm through impact and, as it swings past impact, try to “shake hands” with the target—that is, keep moving your right hand down the target line. At the finish, check that the butt of the club points at the target.
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