Get In Tune

Quick tips to help get your swing back on the right track and start shooting lower scores

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Once the left arm is parallel to the ground on the backswing, you should have created nearly all the hinge you'll need. It's typical to see a bit more hinge in the irons than the driver, as the irons are shorter in length and the clubhead is heavier (irons are generally at 90° at left arm parallel, and the driver a little less). The increase in hinge from this point to the top should be the result of the weight of the club swinging up and over your right shoulder. In other words, don't try to restrict or increase the hinge; it'll take care of itself.

When it comes to lateral motion away from the target, let it be natural. As a general rule, the head will drift a bit more with the driver than with the irons, with neither moving consciously over the right foot. While there's a great deal of debate over how centered the pivot should be, go with what's natural and avoid what feels off balance or contrived, and it's more likely you'll repeat your backswing.

Lastly, unless you're unusually flexible, allow your hips to rotate to the top of the swing. The right leg can straighten a little from the address position if it makes it easier for you to turn; it isn't the end of the world and will give you the potential for more power. The combination of a big, free turn of the body to the top with limited hand and wrist action is ideal for building consistency. There's nothing wrong with being a little short of parallel at the top if you've cranked up the body turn!


It may sound silly, but the backswing ends by beginning the downswing. Before the arms and club have finished going back, the feet and knees take over as the "leader" and begin the motion back toward the ball. What was wide at the top in terms of the angle between the left arm and clubshaft becomes powerfully narrowed as the club resists the change in direction from backswing to downswing. If you've moved slightly away from the target on the backswing, it's critical to make up this ground and get back over the left leg without delay. Always remember that the bottom of the arc has to be in front of the ball when hitting irons, making it mandatory to get the weight in the right place (or be prepared for fat and thin shots).


While the sequence starting the downswing is the same with both the driver and the irons, the goal is different. Unlike with the irons, the bottom of the arc with the driver should be slightly behind the ball. Except for the longest of Tour players, the optimal launch conditions for the driver require it to be hit on a slightly ascending angle. As a result, the sequence starting down is as it was for the iron, but the head and upper body can stay slightly "back" behind the ball. When combined with the more forward ball position when using the driver, the club will be able to work "up" at impact maximizing distance and accuracy.


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