The Question.

I am often asked, “Why can’t I hit my woods?” This is a great question that can easily be explained.

The Answer.

Lets start out with what’s happening. Your ball slices to the right. It goes higher than it goes farther. You top it, scull it, and hit the grass before striking the ball… what the heck is going on.

Your impact position.

Your hands are behind the ball by two or three inches when the club head strikes the ball. We need to get our hands even with the ball when the club head strikes the ball.

This is the number one killer of all golf swings. If your hands release behind the ball, your body gets contorted and you end up hitting every where but straight, even with what looks like a proper looking golf swing.

Hitting the Driver

Start stable: Take a wide stance, about shoulder width apart. Play the ball off your front heel. Bend forward comfortably from your hips. Maintain balance.

Create Coil: Make a full shoulder turn going back, with you left shoulder turning all the way behind the ball at the top. Try to turn your hips no more than half as far as your shoulders. Or as Tiger Woods likes to phrase it, “Turn your shoulder twice as far as your hips.”

Keep Order: Begin the downswing from the ground up. Shift your weight to your front foot, rotate your hips, then your shoulders. Your arms and hands come through last, releasing the clubhead for a full extension with your hands. Looking at the back of the ball is a good way to ensure that you sweep the ball off the tee.

Again, this is just one example of a short list of key checkpoints for hitting the driver. You may have other ideas. That’s fine. The key is bringing order to an otherwise chaotic process, which in turn relaxes you and generates consistency. Let’s look at some more examples.
Hitting the Fairway Woods

Here’s a sample checklist for a three-wood:

Start stable: Take a wide stance, about shoulder width apart. Play the ball off your front heel. Bend forward comfortably from your hips. Maintain balance.

Hinge Up: Start the club back so that it comes off the ground right away—a result of your wrists cocking, just as they show you in golf instruction videos. This keeps the club in front of you, not letting it move to quickly to the inside. Maintain this width all the way to the top.

Swing Easy: Shift your weight to the front side and then swing the club with a little more downward motion than with a driver. Swing the club to about 90 percent. You don’t have to kill the ball to make a good shot. You just need to make solid contact. Extend your arms full through impact. Make sure you swing all the way to a balance finish.

 

KEY PRACTICE DRILL

When I was at the Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando, Florida, I watched Brad Faxon and Keith Clearwater work together on their back swings and downswings.

They would begin their swings and stop at the top of the back swing. Keeping the wrists cocked, they would move in slow motion on the downswing until their hands were in alignment with the ball. Then, rotate back to the top of the back swing and execute a full swing.

These two were working on creating a position with the hands that resembles a good old baseball swing without releasing the club. The idea is to hold back the release of the golf club so that the club will release exactly at the point when your hands are in alignment with the ball. This is a powerful and exacting practice drill. Give it a try. 

 

 

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