This week we give you two areas to work on, both the long game and short game. Firstly we focus on helping you to improve your ball striking off the tee, to help find those extra yards. Then we share the secrets to controlling distance & direction in the short game.
Long Game – How To Strike It More Solidly Than Ever
This weeks long game focus is on helping you deliver a more solid strike at impact, helping you hit longer straighter drives.
We all want to hit our drives longer and straighter, seeking those extra few yards that makes the game a little easier!! Its very common that I get a pupil in that has read something in a golf magazine, been on YouTube or read something on a blog that is working on completely the wrong factors to gain those extra few yards. I find these types of quick fixes that are often published are the main reasons behind the breakdown in golfers technique. This week I want to focus on a drill that will help you strike it closer to the centre, where the ball speeds are at their fastest, i.e. longer drives!!
I call this The Gate Drill. Oli often uses this type of drill to help improve your strike location in putting, it also works the same in driving.
Tee the ball up on the driving range with two tees, three inches back either side of the driver.
Set up as normal in your athletic posture with a good strong foundation from the ground up.
Your aim is to practice hitting drives at a target fairway and make swings not striking any of the tees on the way through during impact. You will get instant feedback from the feel of the strike and the tees in the ground as to what is the problem.
Below are examples of a swing that is too far from the inside, hitting the inside tee.
And here is a more common issue of a swing that is striking the outside tee, this is caused from a swing that is commonly out to in.
This feedback is key to your successes in practice and in lessons. To understand more about your strike location use driver face tape which is available from the golf shop free of charge.
Controlling Distance & Direction In Pitching
Pitching and chipping represents a key area of the game and is crucial to lower scoring. It can be the difference between shooting under your handicap and not. This week we cover the actually swing movements in particular the lead wrist position during impact and beyond.
There’s nothing better in golf than seeing someone hit a crisp pitch shot that lands close. For me the technique starts all in set-up. The way I teach and get myself into the right positions start with ball position and then onto body position. Ball position is in the middle of the stance with the body naturally leaning a 60-40 split on the left side (right handed golfers, opposite for lefties).
Check out the below picture for what I believe is the perfect looking set-up.
This weeks tip is all about lead wrist angles and I am stickler for this as I see so many of the top players get into the same wrist positions through impact. The lead wrist for right handed golfers is the left wrist and vice versafor lefties.
First of all I will go through what I commonly see in poor pitchers and chippers. In the pictures below I illustrate a poor set up with the hands behind the ball, impact with excessive lead wrist hinge and a poor follow through with even more incorrect hinge in the left wrist. Why does this happen…I hear you say?? Well I have my own beliefs that it stems from trying to help/lift the ball through impact, this is commonly seen in higher handicappers. Scratch handicappers also suffer from this position normally from to much release/rotation in their wrists.
Set-up – Hands in a poor position behind the ball
Lead wrist hinges too early through impact
Tell tail sign that the lead wrist position has hinged very early on through impact
What we see in the best pitchers and chippers in the world are fantastic lead wrist positions through impact. I love the way players like Rickie Fowler and our very own Matt Fitzpatrick pitch the ball, with such passive hands through impact. Here are a couple visuals on the correct wrist angles by yours truly!
Good set-up showing the correct lean and ball position.
Impact, with hands slightly ahead of the ball and a nice straight line between the lead wrist and club shaft.
Follow through showing that the clubhead itself is behind the hands and the lead wrist angles have maintained
In the follow through you will notice that the body has rotated more and I finish facing the target in a fully rotated position. Please note the lead wrist at this position still hasn’t re-hinged.
Practice With Purpose….if you haven’t got any drill sticks I suggest you purchase them asap, they can be used in drills for all parts of the swing. Below is a great drill using these sticks to help give you instant feedback on whether or not your lead position is working for you.
When working on these crucial lead wrist positions hold a drill stick halfway down so it sits within your grip.
Make some swings focusing on the lead wrist position through impact and beyond, if you your lead wrist position hinges early on through impact the drill stick will hit your side.
These key positions also apply in the full swing, like all swing thoughts break the skill down and feel the movement patterns change. They may feel a little awkward to start of with, but believe it or not that’s a good sign that things are changing!!