Thursday, March 1, 2007
Ten-Minute Swing Changes
Quick Fixes To Save You From Suffering A Bad Day On The Course
Change Five: Start Of The Downswing
Remember, it's shift, brace and swing
If you’re struggling on the range, it’s likely your swing feels quick and out of control. Timing errors make it difficult to hit consistent golf shots. The key here is to get your lower body in balance and ready to fire as you start the club down the correct path. If you rotate too soon on the downswing, the club will travel outside the desired path and it will be up to your hands to save you.
The correct sequence is to shift first and brace your left foot as your hands start the club toward the golf ball. A simple way to check your sequence is to stop your downswing before your left arm moves below nine o’clock. If you can’t stop the club here, you’ve got trouble. Luckily, we have a drill to quickly erase the problem—the Happy Gilmore.
Tee a golf ball and assume your regular stance. Slide your front foot back and position it next to your rear foot, and set the clubhead between your feet. Make your normal backswing, but on the way down, step toward the golf ball with your front foot. Step laterally and don’t rotate your body until it’s firmly planted. This drill improves timing and facilitates the correct downswing sequence. When you’re able to hit some solid shots in this manner, you’ll know you’re back on track.
If your downswing sequencing is intact, you should be able to stop your hands at waist high. If you can’t, then it’s likely you’re rotating your body too quickly, which is bad news.
Change Six: Path And Face Position
Turn your swing inside out for good
On the range, take a look at your divots. If they’re pointing left, even after making all of the adjustments outlined previously, then it’s time to focus on impact dynamics.
Start by teeing up a golf ball. Place a second peg one tee length in front of your teed ball and in line with the toe of your driver clubhead. This arrangement creates an image of the slight inside-out path on which the clubhead should travel. Make a swing and try to strike 1) the inside rear quadrant of the golf ball and 2) both tees. You’ll find this easier to do if you can keep the buttons on your shirt behind the ball until impact. The key here is to release the hands so that both thumbs point down at impact, instead of rolling through (this requires too much timing, and we’re looking for a quick fix, after all). With this type of swing, your right hand will catch up to your left hand at impact and pass it later in the followthrough as your hips continue to pivot. Your goal here is to hit a slight draw that starts right and works back toward the target. On the golf course, focus on keeping your buttons back longer, which allows you to swing in to out through impact.
A final point to understand is that golf is difficult because the ball isn’t moving. In other sports where the ball is in motion, success depends mostly on athleticism and reaction time, which normally require a single thought. The same should be true of golf: Never allow multiple swing thoughts to creep into your head on the course. Stay focused on your targets and use, at most, a single feel to help you hit better golf shots. If you discover a drill, feel or image that helps you get back on track, stick with it and don’t add additional thoughts. Keep it simple—doing so will provide you with the highest probability of success.
Stay Behind To Get Ahead
If your body or head moves in front of the ball, then you’ll have very little chance of creating the inside-out path common to most good swings. Focus on keeping the buttons of your shirt behind the ball at impact and you’ll fare much better.
PGA professional, top-100 teacher and Senior Instruction Editor Glenn Deck operates the Glenn Deck Golf Academy at Pelican Hill GC & Resort in Newport Coast, Calif., and is a member of the Golf Tips Teaching Professional Network.
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