Get Happy

Get Happy As an instructor, one of the most common swing flaws I see is the dreaded reverse pivot. This move wreaks havoc on any golfer’s ability to hit consistently good golf shots. One of the best ways to overcome the reverse pivot is to try a drill designed to make it impossible to hold your weight back on your downswing. I call it the baseball drill, or the Happy Gilmore, named after the title character in the film who steps into the golf ball the way a field goal kicker lunges toward the ball.

Begin with a short iron and assume your setup position. From your setup, lift your forward foot (the left foot for right-handers, right foot for southpaws) and position it next to your back foot. You’re now ready to swing. As you take the club away from the ball, lift your forward foot and allow it to return to its original position as soon as your club reaches just above waist-high on your backswing. This drill is training your body to shift your weight to your back foot at the beginning of your backswing and allows your body to shift its weight toward the front foot at the end of the backswing and on through the downswing. Also, it promotes a much healthier spin angle, both atop your swing and into the finish. Continue your swing as usual, holding your finish.

When you perform this drill correctly, your weight shifts toward your forward foot through the swing. At the finish position; the majority of your weight should reside over your front foot. Additionally, this move helps you create more lag and a more timely turn through the ball, helping you increase your swing speed and consistency. Practice this drill a few times without a ball until you get a natural feeling for stepping away and then into the ball.

Once confident with the weight shift, make a few swings while actually hitting a golf ball. Remember, as you step away from the ball, make sure you step your forward foot exactly where it was at address. You don’t want to overstep or understep. After a few swings, work your way through your short and mid-irons. The goal is to eventually ingrain a mental picture of allowing your weight to transition back on the backswing and then forward through the latter half of your backswing and downswing. Better yet, you’re training to eliminate the dreaded reverse pivot for good.

After a few practice sessions doing the Happy Gilmore, you can say goodbye to the reverse pivot and hello to more consistent shots and lower scores.

PGA professional John O’Leary III is the director of instruction at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge ( in Orlando, Fla.

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