Staying out of Trouble with your Driver
Swing Easy. Nothing can be better for your game than learning how to swing the club easier and make your swing more fluid. If you go to the range and concentrate ONLY on swinging easy, it will revolutionize your ability to position yourself for a good approach shot when you get onto the course. You will make more consistent impact with the ball, and it will reduce the amount of side-spin you naturally place on the ball because the club head won’t be traveling as fast or with as much force. Again, I know you’ve heard it before, but I ask you to concentrate on this for 1 week. And if you can’t physically practice it, visualize it at the office (visualization works great).
Switch to a low spin ball. Lower spin off of the tee means that the ball is going to fly straighter regardless of how whether your ball moves right or left. I recommend the Titleist DT SoLo, the Precept Laddie, or the Maxfli Noodle. You can find these balls priced anywhere from $13 to $20 per dozen, and they will play a large role in reducing the side spin that you place on the ball.
I realize that this all sounds over-simplified, but it’s not. If you are having problems controlling your driver, switch to a low-spin ball, and start swinging easy. When you are on the range, ALL you should be thinking about is swinging the club easy. Incorporate this into your game this week, then next week we’ll discuss how to get some more distance with your driver.
Better Downswing against a Slice
I’ve found that most people with a slice problem cut across the ball on the downswing. To learn the correct path for the clubhead to follow, think of a rope attached to a tree above you. From the top of the backswing, you should feel that you’re pulling the rope straight down. This forces the right elbow to stay close to your side. It also gives your stroke the correct inside path, and improves your ability to swing out toward the target rather than across the ball.
Check Your Vs!
Many things can cause a slice, but most often the grip is the source of the trouble. Here’s how to fix it: Make sure that when looking down at address, you can see the first two knuckles of your left hand and a “V” formed between the thumb and forefinger pointing toward your right shoulder. With the right hand, have the “V” pointing toward your chin or slightly to the right shoulder. It works!
Common Mistake of Shanking
Shanking is hitting the ball toward the back of the club face (at the hozel) usually begins with too much of the body’s weight on the toes. This causes the club head to move from the outside to the inside in the swing. Such cutting across the ball, or worse, can send it off erratically. Shanking also comes from shoving the right hand forward to form trying to dig a divot by hitting behind the ball with the 1,2, or 3 iron. Shanking occurs mostly with the long irons, which seem to give golfers the most trouble.
Starting with the mental picture of standing on one railroad track and setting up to swing at a ball placed on the other, the ideal anti-shank golf swing would swing would have the club head move toward the ball from a slightly inside position and strike the ball at the very moment the club face is in line with the target. In this example, the club head curves back, away from the track the ball is on.
If you are teeing up for a long iron shot and are having shanking problems, tee the ball up as high as you can. However, the only long term solution for shanking is to develop a coordinated, well-grooved swing.
A driver takes the same swing tempo as a pitching wedge, and the same is true for all the clubs when taking a full swing. The consistency in tempo will lead to consistency in contact (and thus accuracy). For a proper swing let your arms lead and smoothly draw the club away with your arms, and let your body follow. Your left shoulder and hips will turn obediently, naturally transferring weight to your right side (about 90% on the back foot at the top of your swing).
For greater accuracy try pulling with your left arm from the top of your swing. And don’t do like the pros and lead the downswing. Yes, this gives them power, but, for most golfers, it results in sliding ahead of the ball and causes weak, slicing shots.
Low and left causes topped shots. Keep the club face square for several inches after impact. Transfer your weight to your front left side (about 90% on the front foot on your follow through). Let your right knee rotate to face the target with your right foot up so the bottom is visible. Your hands should be high and close to your left ear.