Shoulder Under Chin – You Won’t Hit it Thin!
Do you suffer from topping the ball or “hitting it thin?” Try to get in the habit of placing your right shoulder under your chin before looking for where the ball goes. This doesn’t mean to keep your head down forever. Let your head move, but let your shoulder be what brings it up after contact. Do this properly and you’ll almost see the club hit the ball.Try it!
Good Weight Shift in Golf
The best way to practice a good weight shift is to step with your right foot over the left after you hit the ball. You should feel as if you’re walking right after contact. After each swing, ask yourself: “Where is the weight?” Is it on the right foot, or the left? A proper, balanced position should be 90% on the left foot, and 10% on the right toe. From there, your momentum will naturally carry you to the walking position with right over left, as shown here.
Hit Far with the Ball Forward
Your position over the ball should vary according to the club you’re using. For instance, the ball should be in the middle of your stance with the shorter irons (7, 8, 9, PW). As the loft of the club decreases, the ball should be incrementally farther toward the front foot, until it’s just inside the left heel when hitting the woods. Also, remember that if you want to purposely hit lower shots, the ball should be back in the stance. For higher shots, it should be forward.
Get a Powerful Swing
Golf isn’t a wrist game. To achieve a powerful swing, you need to employ the big muscles of the legs and trunk. The common instinct of many amateurs is to hit at the ball with only the arms and wrists. Every once in a while this may connect, but for real consistency and power, use the whole body, not just part of it. Muscle it!
Wiggle Your Toes
Over time, many golfers move farther from the ball at address. Be sure that you’re not reaching for the ball or putting too much weight on the balls of your feet. Here’s a test for this, that many pros are fond of: Wiggle your toes at address! This ensures that you aren’t placing too much weight on the forward part of the foot.
Improve Your Balance and Game
When you’re having problems making good contact, it’s often because you start to sway, lose balance, and stop turning. One of the best drills to help cure this problem is to hit balls with your feet about six inches apart. Start out by hitting shots with short swings. You’ll notice that in order to do this, your balance must be good. This drill promotes good footwork, balance, and a free swing with the arms. Also, it forces you to turn more; otherwise, you’ll fall over! When you feel as though you’re making good contact, increase the length of your swings. Eventually, you’ll feel confident enough to hit from a normal stance again.
Learn to Stay Flexible
One of the most common complaints I hear about is a loss of flexibility and a resulting poor turn (photo). My favorite drill for this is what I call the hip blocker. When you fix the knees, it forces the upper body to turn much more correctly and slowly increases flexibility. As you swing, remember to turn the shoulders as far back as you can until the left shoulder is under your chin. In doing this, you’ll feel a greater stretch along your left side. Finish by doing the same thing on the follow-through, but with the right shoulder under the chin. In time, you’ll increase your ability to coil fully without using the hips. Remember, power is stored in the swing as a result of a big shoulder turn combined with a minimal hip turn.
Practice Aggressive Weight Shift
A golf swing requires a controlled but aggressive weight shift. Still, some players get stuck on the right foot and never fully shift, causing many of the typical bad-shot blues. Try teeing a ball and taking your normal address position. Now, bring the left foot back so the feet are about 6 inches apart. Take a normal backswing, but just as you begin down, step forward as though you are a home run hitter stepping into a pitch. To hit the ball solidly, you might need to tone down the swing a bit. This not only gives you a real feeling of shifting, but it also trains you to repeat it.
Proper Shoulder Turn
There’s a simple way to give you the feeling of a proper shoulder turn without the hips getting too involved, as they often do. Sit on the edge of a golf cart (or in a similar position). Put a club on the line of your shoulders as if you’re simulating address. Now, simply turn back and try to get the shaft pointing straight in front of you. You’ll find quite a stretch in the left side, which is good. This helps you get behind the ball better and results in a few more yards.
Dirty Those Shoes
I can often size up a student by looking at shoes. If the shoes have been around a while and the right toe is totally clean, there’s a problem. When the weight shifts properly, you’ll end up balanced on the right toe. Over time, this wears down that toe. Make an effort to get that right toe dirty and beat up! That tells me your weight is shifting properly.
Use Both Sides
For many players, the left arm and side are weak and dominated by the right side on the downswing and through impact. This right-side dominance leads to poor extension and many other swing flaws. To ingrain a proper feel, swing lightly with the left arm only. As you do this, check how the arm extends freely through the impact zone. Now, add the right arm with a light grip and try to maintain the extended feeling you just had. You’ll immediately feel it getting more restricted, but let it go and keep using that left arm and side along with the right. You’ve got two sides—use them both!
Aligning the Clubface
As a rule, golfers don’t pay enough attention to the face of the club. The face of the golf club is so small that few golfers realize how important it is in correct shot-making for that face to be square to the ball throughout the swing. A surprisingly large number of golfers don’t even start their swing with the face square. They think they do, but somewhere these golfers have picked up the erroneous notion that it is the top line of the club face that one should refer to determine if the face is square at address—that is, resting so that it is perpendicular to the intended line of flight. Now, that’s not right. It’s the bottom line of the face that determines whether the club is square or not.
One other thought on this matter. If the player rushes his backswing, the club will change position in his hands. It’s bound to—just the way a pitcher in baseball would lose control of the ball if he would up like lighting. You must start square and control your swing so that you stay square.