Thursday, March 1, 2007
Ten-Minute Swing Changes
Quick Fixes To Save You From Suffering A Bad Day On The Course
The situation: You’re on the range hitting balls, extremely off line and not very solid, with only 10 minutes remaining before your assigned tee time. The remedy: W.O.O.D.—quick adjustments that Work Only One Day, otherwise known as the “quick fix.” These “Band-Aids” are a necessary part of the game and come in handy when you don’t have time to seek out a long-term correction from your teaching pro. The key is knowing what needs adjusting. If you choose the wrong adjustment, things could get worse.
Instead of guessing what could work, let’s look at the basic essentials in the order that will help you find your swing fast and get you back on the right path. Check your aim, posture and balance in the setup. If these are good, move on to the backswing to make sure you’re in position to solidly transition to the downswing. If this component feels right, focus on the downswing sequence of motion, clubhead path and face position at impact. If adjustments in these areas don’t put you back on track, play simple, high-percentage shots that day and seek out your pro as soon as possible.
Change One: Aim
Check your shoulders and hips
Like you see so many golfers do at the range, take one of your long irons from your bag and line up the shaft at a target, with the butt of the grip positioned where you normally play the ball in your stance. Assume your setup with another club. Align your body parallel to the shaft on the ground without looking at your target. If you feel any awkwardness at all, then it’s time to work on your aim.
One of the most common alignment mistakes is poor shoulder and hip positioning, specifically, setting up with shoulders and hips that are open, or to the left, of the target line. Use the club on the ground to set your shoulders and hips parallel to the target line. Once you have this feel, move the shaft three feet forward down the target line and practice hitting shots over the shaft. If this fix works, align to an intermediate target three feet in front of the ball to maintain this feel during your round.
Increase the chance of a solid, on-line shot by setting up with feet, knees, hips and shoulders parallel to the target line. It’s quite easy to allow the shoulders to rotate open at address, so use a club as a guide.
Change Two: Posture
Set your spine correctly and keep it there throughout your swing
Posture errors force compensations, which can wreak havoc on your swing. Check to make sure you’re balanced and in an athletic posture. Most recreational golfers have either too much knee flex or too much curvature in the spine, which makes it extremely difficult to execute a good pivot and maintain spine tilt through impact.
Too much knee flex or too much curvature in the spine at address can wreak havoc on your swing by forcing you to make compensations that are difficult to time.
Too much spine tilt at address typically results in the golfer rising up through the impact zone, simply because the hunched-over posture doesn’t create the room for the hands, arms and club to swing under the shoulders. Expect the gamut of poor shots.
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