Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Two Wrongs Make A Right
Don't fear flaws, use them to correct any type of ballflight
If it’s easy to read the glove logo in a mirror, then you know you have a strong grip. Mimic the fold in your index finger and thumb with your lower hand and you’re set. In this postimpact photo of Couples (right), you can see his body has outraced his hands through impact. If he didn’t have a strong thrust through the ball, his strong grip would cause hooked shots. This is why it’s critical to fully turn your body with a strong grip.
A player who hooks the ball has a golf swing that’s flatter and more rounded than that of a player who slices, leading to the exact opposite impact and flight characteristics.
1) No divot or divot well behind the ball.
2) Heel-first contact.
3) Clubface closing too much through impact.
No Divot Or Divot Behind
A flat swing tends to travel along the ground for longer than it should, and when this happens, the face is likely to close and sweep across the ball with a hooking motion. Here, width is the enemy.
Try to balance things out by staying centered, with your backswing resisting movement away from the target. Ben Hogan, a very flat swinger, was able to steepen his hit by reminding himself to keep his weight on his left side as well as narrowing his release angle through the ball. Hogan also visualized his arms wrapped tightly with rope, indicating the importance of keeping his arms tight to the torso, another means of narrowing the arc.
DRILL: Left Foot Right Toes
Stand solidly on your left foot with your right foot back and your right toe down for balance. Hit some shots from this stance. You’ll feel extremely centered over the ball, with little or no head movement. Any lateral movement will result in a loss of balance. Staying more centered will effectively narrow the width of your swing, leading to crisper contact. It’s that simple.
Although Ben Hogan didn’t keep his hands in front of his chest at impact, he could do it when he had to. Here you can see that Hogan maintained knee flex and kept his weight in the center of his stance, resulting in a crisply hit bunker shot. His weight never fully shifted to his back foot. Staying centered is key for better bunker play, as is a more upright swing.
Often, heel hits are the result of standing too close to the ball. The fix is to actually try a technique that Fuzzy Zoeller uses. Zoeller sets up the ball well off the heel (don’t be afraid), then works his arm close to the body through contact to deliver a solid blow. This address position forces Zoeller to do two things: 1) it prevents too much lean into the ball at impact, which can lead to a shank or heeled shot; 2) it keeps his arms close to his body, which is another means of adding speed, much like an ice skater spinning faster as the arms work closer to the torso. This drill absolutely forces you to stay a comfortable distance from the golf ball. With practice, you’ll grow accustomed with a stance farther away from the ball resulting in fewer heel hits.
DRILL: Be Like Vijay
Most of you have seen by now some of the interesting drills Vijay Singh does to work on his game. One of the most common is hitting shots with a glove tucked under his arm. If you’re hitting shots off the heel, then your arms are swinging too much away from your body through impact. Hit a few shots with a glove or headcover tucked under your right arm. You’ll feel more harmony between your arm swing and body turn leading to on-center hits. Caution: Your arms will require some room to float and move as your swing size increases, so keep these swings small at first for best results.
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