Use the alphabet to groove a solid, power-rich, accurate swing
Impact: Kill It With A Capital K
As you start the downswing, allow the lower body to initiate a pivot toward the target as the hands and arms drop the club into position to approach the ball on the correct forwardswing path. When the lower body initiates a pivot toward the target, you’ll more easily achieve the key components of successful impact: weight on the left leg, right heel off the ground and right knee worked in toward the left with hips slightly open. These arrangements, coupled with hands that are slightly ahead of the ball at the point of contact, form the letter K.
Since the golf swing is a continuous motion, it’s difficult to stop at impact to examine these factors. So, use slow-motion swings to ingrain the correct impact positions. Learning to put your body and club in the correct impact arrangement, even if in slow motion, will help your brain communicate to your muscles just how you want your body and club positioned when you strike the ball.
Followthrough: X Marks The Spot
To generate top speed and deliver a square clubface, your forearms must rotate through the hitting area so that they create the letter X in the early followthrough phase of the swing. In a good golf swing, the right elbow is bent and the left forearm is extended just prior to impact. After impact, however, the left elbow starts to bend and the right arm straightens and extends down the target line. The only way this position change can occur is if you allow your forearms to rotate.
If you block the release of your clubface through the hitting area, your left arm will be above your right just after impact and the clubface will be left open. This look creates a Y, not an X. The results are weak, glancing golf shots with both poor distance and direction.
Notice how close my elbows are in the correct picture. If you’re spread apart, odds are you’re a victim of an early hands release through the ball and a weak left side through impact.
Lastly, when you properly release your hands, you enable the rest of your body to follow and make a full turn through the ball. You can see the difference in my knee position as well.
Finish: The I Has It
At the end of the swing, you should be balanced with most of your weight on your left side and your upper body directly on top of your lower body in a tall posture. Your right foot should be up on its toes, helping to maintain balance on your left leg. Your right knee should move to your left so that they almost touch. Your belt buckle, chest and eyes should be facing the target. Everything lines up in the shape of the letter I.
If you make this balanced finish position your goal, you’ll learn to swing through, not at, the golf ball. Furthermore, finishing in the shape of the letter I will help you find the ideal tempo or speed at which you can swing the club and still maintain good balance.
In years past, a finish position that mimicked a reverse C was en vogue . Today’s more modern, rotary swing dictates the I finish, however. Plus, avoiding the reverse C will extend your playing years by protecting your back. More importantly, the I makes for a more efficient and consistent golf swing.
Lana Ortega is a Class-A LPGA member and director of instruction at the McGetrick Golf Academy in Denver, Colo. For more information about the McGetrick Golf Academy, visit www.mcgetrickgolf.com.
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