Friday, May 11, 2007
Its A Right-Sided Swing
Why hitting with the left is a flawed theory
So how do you get to your left side, as you should, in the mid-followthrough with all this hanging back? The key is in your shoulders. While a left-sided golfer uses the lower body to get through the ball, which is a complicated task to time perfectly for most recreational players, the right-sided golfer uses his or her shoulders. Think of it this way: At the top of the backswing, the shoulders are rotated farther than the hips. At mid-downswing, that gap still exists, but at the finish, both the shoulders and hips are in alignment. What that should tell you is that through the impact zone, you must continue to rotate your shoulders in order for them to catch up to your hips.
I like to envision my right shoulder sliding right underneath my chin as I make contact. In fact, this always has been my best swing key. As long as you keep your lower body under control, and are aware of the need to rotate your right shoulder under your chin, you then can exploit the power inherent in your right side.
Hitting from your right has a few caveats, but they’re minor. One, don’t become so occupied with your right arm that you forget about your left. After all, it’s your left side that leads the right-side turn by shifting your body weight to the left on the downswing. While I advocate hitting with the right, the technique requires coordination with a firm left arm so that just after contact is made, both arms are straight, with the continual turn of the right shoulder. Second, be wary of releasing too early. Power your swing with your right side, but strive to retain the angle in your right wrist for as long as possible. More angle here means a greater, faster release at impact.
Lastly, don’t over-prepare for a right-sided strike. Many of my right-side-dominated students fall into the habit of setting up directly on top of the ball with their shoulders aiming left. The proper address position features square shoulders with the right slightly lower than the left and with the head pre-set behind the ball. You have to think, “Lead with the left and turn with the right.” There’s an old saying that your impact and address positions should match. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Unlike your address, where your hips and shoulders are square to the target, at impact your hips should be open with your shoulders square! Continue turning that right shoulder until it catches up with your hips at the finish position. That’s the secret to right-side power and accuracy.
Even proponents of the left-sided swing admit it’s not as powerful as hitting with your right. So take advantage of the energy you can create with your right side and don’t worry about any loss of control. If you follow the swing cues outlined above, you’ll certainly enjoy more than your fair share of accuracy.
Veteran instructor Marshall Smith has been teaching the game of golf for more than 50 years. Current students include PGA Tour player Todd Fischer. Smith instructs at Peoria Ridge GC in northeastern Oklahoma.
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