Sunday, August 1, 2004
Right Vs. Right On!
Is your swing a slice swing or a solid swing?
In a slice downswing, the shoulders outpace the hands. By that I mean the shoulders turn faster than the speed at which the hands move the golf club. The spinning of the shoulders from the top creates too much rotational force, which throws the hands and club outside the correct path. Once the club gets too far outside on the downswing, the golfer must adjust and bring it back. This, friends, is a cut swing. If you try to pull your hands in to get the club back on path (see photo at right), your left elbow will fly out and the face will open up. Either way, you’re going to produce a slice.
The fix is to change the sequence in the downswing. Learn how to bring the hands and arms down first as your lower body moves back into a balanced position. Once you have the momentum of sending the club down first, then you can rotate your lower body. The best way to feel this is to make practice swings with a split grip and focus on the path of the club. Start your downswing with your lower body and drop your arms and hands to 9:00 and stop.
Check #1. As you shift your weight back to the center and drop your arms, your shoulders remain passive. The hands should lie inside or in line with the left shoulder.
Check #2. The right wrist is bent so that the shaft is aimed at the golf ball.
Once you establish the correct positions, focus on swinging the club down the path and out toward your target. After you have a feel for this move, tee up a ball and hit some 3⁄4 shots in this manner. This drill educates your hands how to swing the club on the correct path throughout the swing—just make sure your elbows don’t get too wide apart and that you rotate from your hips instead of your shoulders.
No slicing from here since the shoulders haven’t spun out, the hands are inside the left shoulder and the shaft points at the golf ball.
At impact, is your club on the right path and is your clubface square to the target? If not, your ball has to go right.
The most important requirement of the swing is to return the clubface to square at the point of contact. If you produce a slight outside-to-in path and the clubface is square to the target line, the ball will start left of your target and fade back. This shot is playable. If you produce a slight outside-to-in path and the clubface is open to the target line, the ball will slice. It’s that simple.
The best way to ensure a picture-perfect impact position is to educate the arms and hands how to create a square clubface at impact. I recommend a directional impact bag. Take a 7-iron and choke down on the grip so that the top of the grip is visible and the club sits several inches above the ground at address. Set up to the directional impact bag so that it’s lined up at your target and across from the left side of your chest. Make some 1⁄2 to 2⁄3 swings at half speed and hit the bag. When you hit the bag, perform the following checks.
Check #1. The shaft and left arm form a single, unbroken line. If your left elbow is bent, it’s likely your clubface is open.
Check #2. Contact with the bag was made with the center of the clubface, not the toe or heel areas. Heel-led contact is slice contact.
Check #3. The bag moved down the line and didn’t spin clockwise. If it spins to the right, you’ve executed an out-in swing.
Practice this drill and you’ll get both visual and feel feedback of how to square up the club at impact.
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