Even the most dedicated work on the practice tee doesn’t always create enough challenge to successfully transfer skills to the course, so let’s look at a couple of quick and easy ways to make that range time more fun and productive.
CREATE AN OBSTACLE COURSE
By making practice more difficult with obstacles, you’ll perform better on the course as you’ll have been exposed to the kinds of situations you’ll find yourself during play.
Here’s an easy way to ramp up the challenge: At your practice station, take a variety of clubs, alignment rods, bags, towels, balls, tees and other items in your bag and place them between you and your targets, as I’m demonstrating in the photos at right. This will spice up your practice routine but also help you transfer those repeated skills to the course. When hitting balls in a static environment, there’s little or no challenge — you have unlimited balls, consistent lies, and predictable conditions. We know this doesn’t happen on the golf course — every lie is different and every shot offers new obstacles.
SLAY THE SWAY THIS WAY
Lateral movement in the backswing — better know as the “sway” — impedes hip rotation, which can sap the swing of its power. It can also cause several other compounding errors, such as hitting behind the ball, flipping the clubhead and hitting shots to the right (if you’re right-handed).
There’s a simple fix to this common problem. Place an alignment rod in the ground vertically with the edge of it barely touching your “trail” hip (right hip for righties). It’s best to stick the rod in the ground behind the trail heel so that you won’t hit it in the downswing (Photo 1 at left). When you make a backswing, rotate the trail hip deep and feel the trail hip move slightly off the rod, closer to the target, without touching the rod (Photo 2). Any lateral sway will press the trail hip further into the rod and you’ll notice more pressure on the outside of the trail foot (Photo 3).
This will automatically improve hip rotation, which adds distance to all shots while improving contact at impact.
Based in Southern California, Alison Curdt is a PGA Master Professional and 2015 LPGA National Teacher of the Year. Contact her at www.alisoncurdtgolf.com