Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Practice Like A Pro
PGA tour pro Kevin Streelman shows you how to play like one of the world's best players
Although not allowed on the PGA Tour and at some stuffy country clubs, even the best players in the world wear shorts to keep cool in the summer. Avoiding the heat helps your practice time last longer.
The shaft ought to be an extension of your left arm. If you want better control, consider the shaft of the club as an extension of your left arm (right for southpaws) at address. Early in the backswing, you’ll want to get in this aligned position anyway, so why not go ahead and start with the shaft already in the right place?
If you’re trying this for the first time, you’ll notice how drastically closed the clubface will look. But, in reality, it isn’t; you just have to trust your eyes and know that you’re in the correct position. From here, swing the club back using your arms and body and let your wrists hinge naturally at the top. I like to use a mirror to check and see my position with all my clubs since it not only helps me correct myself, it gives me a mental picture of how my stance should look.
To the untrained eye, this position doesn’t look all that bad. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if some amateurs aspire to have this position at the top of their backswing. My weight has transitioned, my legs are flexed, my left arm is fairly straight, and I’m in balance. What’s wrong with that? The truth behind this position is, my body has done no more than simply shift to the side, my hips have barely turned, and my shoulders have turned ever so slightly. I may, on occasion, be able to hit a few balls well from this position, but any attempt to become a consistent ballstriker are slim at best. You may not be able to tell, but if I were to hold this position any longer, I’d start to fall forward. Check your own position at the top and see if you look like I do here. If so, the solution to your problem is one page away.
My improper position is even more deceiving from behind. It looks as though I’m on track, considering I have indeed shifted my weight, and my hands are high above my body. But don’t be fooled. A powerful swing has nothing to do with high hands; rather it comes from making an effective turn.
Notice the drastic difference. In this photo, I’ve done it right. Notice how my core hasn’t drifted off the ball, my hips have rotated considerably, and my shoulders are fully rotated. That’s the secret! If you rotate effectively, your body weight will shift on its own. In my case, I like to flare my knees out to allow for a greater lower rotation, which in turn, makes it easier for my upper body to rotate as well. As for a mental note, I like to think of keeping my belt line as level as I can.
Notice my head position, as well. On the previous page, my head was closer to my left side. Here, it’s over my right leg, demonstrating more stored energy behind the ball. Try to keep your spine tilted away from the target at the top of your swing, as opposed to toward the target, as well.
Looking at the photo, you can probably see how my right side is stored with a lot of energy. The myth has long been that you need to stack your right side at the top of your swing. What you should do is rotate around your core and let your weight shift on its own. Don’t force a weight shift. It will happen automatically.
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