All amateur golfers, women and men alike, sometimes struggle with their ability to make solid golf club contact through the bag. Catching the ball high or low on the club face means immediate loss of power and accuracy, and it’s usually an issue with one or more of three things — keeping your torso and arms connected; rotating your hips too much in the backswing for loss of the all-important “coil,” or resistance of upper to lower body; and not maintaining a consistent swing plane. Let’s take a look at how to quickly and effectively fix all three of these common swing faults.
No. 1: Hip Coil for Max Power
FAULT: Hips 55-65˚
In the photo above left, all resistance is gone from my swing. My hips have over-rotated and I have lost the hip crease, resulting in a lift up and out of my posture. I have also lost the pressure point in my back foot. It has moved to the outside.
FIX: Hips 45-50˚
On the right, my resistance is maxed out. My legs are solid with a slight hip turn. I am bearing into the ground, and using this resistance to create the coil. The pressure in my back foot is driving deeper into the turf, helping me to create that resistance.
Key Point: It’s important to note that a good fitness and flexibility regimen is critical to get and maintain the swing torque you’re looking for.
No. 2: The Plane Truth
Elbow in to stay on plane.
Here’s a subtle yet critical set-up adjustment to keep you connected and on plane:
FAULT: A Disconnected Elbow
In the left-side photo, my elbow is disconnected at set-up. It is pointing away from my body. This position will make it more difficult for my elbow to fold in during the takeaway.
FIX: A Connected Elbow
In the right-side photo, my elbow is connected at set-up. It is pointing in toward my body. This position will allow my elbow to fold as I rotate into my backswing.
No. 3: Keep the Connection
Lack of flexibility can easily lead to one of the most common swing maladies, especially for women: High, armsy AND disconnected!
If you are consistently hitting thin shots, let’s examine your takeaway into your back-swing. Disconnection is a biggie.
Here’s subtle yet critical set-up adjustment to keep you connected and on plane
FAULT: Loose And Leaky
In the photos directly above, there’s lots of arm disconnection from my torso. I am getting great extension, but my arms and shoulders are no longer one unit. I am disconnected from the start. This makes it very easy to rise up and out of my posture. As a result, there is minimal coil, or power in this backswing. I will most likely hit a THIN shot.
FIX: Compacted Power
A connected swing allows all the right things to take place, such as creating good wrist hinge and staying in your posture.
Great connection with my arms and upper body. No daylight in this takeaway. This connection makes it easy to hinge.
I feel a low center of gravity. My feet are driving in to the ground, creating a super-coil.
No. 4: A Rigid Extension
We all hear about full extension, or a wide arc for lots of distance. This is true! However, be careful not to overdo it and get off plane.
A subtle yet critical set-up adjustment to keep you connected and on plane
FAULT: Too Tight
With a rigid takeaway, tension creeps in and at that point, it becomes a real challenge to stay in your posture, and stay connected into your backswing.
I have risen out of my posture. I call this the “elevator move.” I’ll need to come down a few floors to make contact with the ball.
FIX: Soft Arms
A soft right elbow coupled with a straight left arm provides plenty of extension. With soft arms, my back elbow (right for me) will begin to fold, allowing me to coil fully into a compact backswing.
As I continue to turn, notice how I am staying in my posture.
In fact, I squat deeper into my coil, so I can unwind aggressively into the downswing.
No. 5: Off-Plane 3
The “left arm breakdown” can wreak havoc on your swing plane, and not to mention killing any chance for distance. The photos above show the fault and how to fix it.
FAULT: Bent Left Elbow
My hands are very close to my head because my lead arm has too much bend.
FIX: Extended Left Elbow
My hands are far from my head. This translates to a wider arc for more extension through the shot.
Christina Ricci is an LPGA Class A teaching pro, TPI Certified Golf Level 3 and a bestselling golf author. She has helped grow and promote the game of golf to women in her own unique way since 2008. Visit www.golfsurvivalguide.com to sign up for Christina’s weekly golf tips.