Would like to share with you a good drill for the backswing. This uses a medicine ball or weighted object to give you the feeling of what the body should be doing to move the weight or club back and through in a golf swing. For the YouTube video link Click Here.
Step 1: Put the weighted object in front of you with bent arms. 4-8 pounds is all you need. The weight is there to give you a sensation not a workout.
Step 2: Turn the weight into your backswing. As you can see I kept the weight in front of the chest and kept the arms in very similar positions as they were at setup. It was moved back with the body.
We do not want to see the hips sliding over the rail foot like below. As you can see that just moves the weight side to side instead of in a circle. Could do this with the body and pull my right elbow back but remember arms are trying to stay in the same position as setup.
Step 3: From the backswing position rotate onto the lead foot and support the weight out in front of the body. You will learn how to push the hips forward and keep the chest back to counter balance the weight as it is out in front of the lead foot. Also notice the trail toe is in the ground and you can see the bottom of the shoe from down the line.
This can also be done with a club out in front of you but will not give the weighted feel but can give you the rotation feel. Also notice that I kept my right and left hands the same distance away from my shoulders. In the backswing the shaft is tilted with the shoulders and the grip is pointing down to the ground.
In this blog I wanted to cover shoes and their effect on your balance and pressure trace. Pressure is what the ground is feeling under your body and everyone has a trace unique to them. The reason for this post is I have been wearing some shoes that are comfortable to wear all day and teach in but was having issues on the course with balance and feels when playing with students. Normal go to playing shoes for myself is a flat shoe with soft spikes. If you are not a reader Click here for the YouTube video. Here are the findings hitting a few shots using BodiTrak with the shoes on and barefoot:
On the left photo you will see me with my shoes off and the right where they are on. The shoes have a larger heel piece which creates a wedge under the feet and pushes the pressure more towards the toes. Ball in the same spot and take a look at the difference. Same amount of pressure form left to right but to to heel stands out. The shoes pushed more of myself onto the toes which is felt in setup.
These photos are taken when the pressure reached the maximum distance traveled to the right. Notice without shoes more pressure went right and in to the heel with the trace being more linear instead of from the toes arcing to the trail heel.
With the pressure moving more direct, without shoes and having to rebalance from too much getting on the lead toe, the pressure started to move sooner towards the target. Notice how soon the pressure started to move around left arm parallel. We see a lot of higher handicap golfers keep their pressure and even their weight moving away form the target for too long. Stills at P3 or Lead Arm Parallel to the Ground.
Here we are at P6 or shaft parallel to the ground without the shoes on it is easier to get the trace to arc towards the lead heel. I play a cut and that keeps the body turning in order to get the swing direction more left. On the right with the shoes notice how the pressure is more mid foot. This could have more of a neutral path and throughout the ground as the body gets tired if that becomes more toe bias the path can move in to out. Not a good thing for curving the ball to the right.
Here in the finish I noticed not only more pressure into the lead heel but with the shoes on it went into the heel then back to mid foot with the shoe design. Also notice that in both scenarios more pressure finished towards the target (90% and 83%) with more towards the lead heel.
You may be asking what can be learned form this little test? I would say pick your shoes carefully and this will be all player dependent. If you are a golfer that gets too much on their heels at setup a higher back of the shoe will help you stay more centered or towards the toes. Also if you’re a slicer that gets too much on the lead heel at impact they could again help you get the pressure trace going more linear or towards your toes.
If you are a player that likes to fade the ball a more neutral shoe will help get the pressure moving more into the lead heel. If your path is moving too much left a little heel lift might help.
Also what is on the bottom will change your foot work. From a spiked shoe to a soft spike will change the amount of grip the feet have. Some players, especially those with limited mobility, might benefit form shoes that will break traction through the shot and let their lead foot move.
To summarize all of this try a few shoes on. When making a selection make a few golf swings between different styles. See what one you are more balanced in form setup to backswing and into the finish. If your local club has a BodiTrak, Swing Catalyst, or another pressure mat then take a few swings on it. That will give you the feedback on if a lifted heel or flat heel is best for you, what the shoe is made out of from stiffer outer to softer, and what traction the shoe has. Finding the right shoe could also increase your club speed where the poorly fit shoe can reduce the speed.
Here is an unclose view of the traces. Shoes off on top and with heel lifted shoes on the bottom.
Here is a YouTube video with a good drill to get you the feeling of a balanced setup and where your pressure is going during the swing.
Want to cover two topics here. The first topic is Swing Direction. Here is the YouTube Video. In the above video I placed an alignment on the ball line a driver distance behind and in front matching the shaft plane. The goal is to give you the ability to get the club to travel from under the one behind and over the one in front, over the one behind and under in front, or under and under. With this you can get feedback where the club is coming from and going to. Below I am showing a swing direction that could go under and over.
Now let’s chat about swing direction and attack angle. As a golfer it is hard to have a swing that is going out to in to and an upward attack angle so as we get the swing more from under to over there is a better chance. Here is another drill to keep the swing coming from the inside and now get the attack angle under control. I placed an alignment rod on the target line at an angle that put it a grip above the ball and rolled up a towel and placed that a foot in front off the ball.
This will set up a path that the club can come from inside low and go above the ball. See the below images showing this movement. I hit some balls with this setup and it got the path right 6-8* and attack up 3-5*. Great way to maximize your driver for the most distance. With solid strikes it will produce a high launching low spinning ball. Click Here for the YouTube video.
Use these videos and drills to help get your swing shape where you want it and get that driver maximized.
Let’s talk about the Elbow Plane Line (Click for YouTube Video). This line is not the fix all line but is a good reference point. If you are looking for exact you will need to line up your camera in the correct spot where the camera is hand height and perpendicular to the target line. I use it as a good enough line because my preference is to film at chest high just in front of the toe line.
Let’s take a look how I add the line. You can see in the above photo how I take the swing to impact then draw a line up form the hosel and out the back of the shaft. The reason for impact shaft line is the shaft rises from setup and the dynamic movements of the swing. When taken back to setup the line roughly goes through the right elbow (7iron pictured). I tend to have low hands at setup and always working on getting them higher and when focusing on it feel like they are on this line. Looks like I need to work on some setup pieces.
This is a general reference line that we can use to see if the club from the top is working towards the line or away form the line. Below photo I added a dot to where the club head was at the top of the swing then where it went to in transition. The left photo moved towards the line and down where the right moved away and across the ball.
Here they are at at P6 or shaft parallel. Left going down the line and right staying above.
Here is just after impact you can see the club stay on the line on the left and the right where it came from above it went left and under the line.
A club that is traveling more along the line will usually have a stronger impact than one that is working too much form under or above. Those clubs will be producing more of a glancing blow.
For the direct link to the YouTube channel click below:
Balance is key in golf. Turn on the tv and you will not see players moving all over the place, falling forward, back, and around at the finish. The reason for this is it keeps the swing direction and impact more predictable. If you are falling back that can move the swing direction more left and land the club too far behind the ball. Click Here for the YouTube clip on this blog.
Here is a good drill I learned from Martin Chuck at the TourStriker Academy located at the Raven in Phoenix, AZ. Place your club across your thigh and put some pressure into both legs. Keep this pressure constant into the finish. See the above photo for the start and finish.
In the below are to finishes for comparison. The left photo we see often with the golfer finishing with too much pressure on their trail foot. This keeps the center over the ball and the low point back too far. What we want to see if on the right. The golfer is standing on their left foot, 95% of their pressure is on the target side of the ball line, and there is just enough pressure on the back foot so they don’t fall over. Can also see that the back of the rear is on the ball line. This is a good check point to hold and assess where you are, how it feels, and how it looks.
Start small and grow your swing. For the YouTube video direct link click below:
The golf swing is like a circle that is a little squished and titled on an angle. In this sport it is one of a few sports where the object ball is sitting on the ground and not moving around. With it just sitting there waiting for use to tell it what to do through the club face and swing circle there is a lot of time for us to think before the shot. Also because the ball is sitting on the ground students take it as that is the object to hit instead of making their swing directed out in front of them where the ball is trying to go too. The ball just gets in the way of the club face as we swing it around us.
Here is a good drill to get you feeling the weight of the club and reacting to the club in transition out towards the target instead of down in to the ground. Take the club in your trail hand up to shoulder height behind you. Grip the club with your thumb and index finger with the club head on top of the grip (shown below). From here the club will feel light and you can balance the club head on top of the grip. Where some people go through this position and let the club head tip out towards the ball then try and react to something that wants to crash into the ground we want to let the club fall behind us away form the ball at the start.
From there you will feel the weight of the club head move behind you and with that the body can respond and through the club out to the range. You don’t need to actually through the club and can hold on a little after you passed the ball. I did this one at the 0:43 mark of the YouTube video. The idea is as the club is falling behind without much pressure on the grip you can feel where the club head is at instead of trying to control where it is going. The club will feel back behind the trail hand, coming in lower under the hand, putting some stress into the back of the trail wrist, get your trail arm more into a side arm action instead of a push position, and get the body rotating. Below you can see two stills and where the club head is at and going as the body is turning. The eyes did not stay down, the body got taller, the trail knee turned towards the target, pressure moved into the lead heel, and much more. All this from a simple drill of stand the club up vertical, hold it with 2 fingers, feel the club head fall behind, respond to that and toss the club out in front of you.
In the upper left photo you can see the club face is starting to look at the ball, the club is still inside the target/ball line, and lower to the ground. This is all great stuff for shallow strikes with a path in to out for high launching, draw bias, shots. From there everything is going out toward the target and the forces will pull you into a finish. It is near impossible to finish on your back foot and not tall on your lead side rotated to the target like below.
CLICK HERE for the YouTube video. Show you the club toss from down the line and face on then hit a ball showing you the similarities in this drill and a full shot.