Lead Arm in the Downswing

Let’s talk about the downswing and your lead arm.  A good reference point is to have the lead arm inside the target line around 20* at lead arm parallel (P5) in the downswing.  Little more inward could help be more of a draw pattern where more outward could help with a cut pattern.  Here is a good drill to give you a visual and feeling. YouTube Link

If you don’t have someone to hold an allotment rod or club just outside your trail shoulder use a shaft with an alignment rod in it or two alignment rods taped together.  When using the alignment rods place the rod outside the ball line and have it go through your trail shoulder like on the featured image above.

Now that you know how to set it up let’s take a look at what it does.  If your lead arm moves out too fast it will run into the stick.  The alignment rod also gives you a spacial reference of where the lead arm and hands have room to operate.  Start off with small shots and success then speed up the swing.  Below is an image keeping the lead arm in on the left and one where the lead arm worked out too fast on the right.

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Click here for the YouTube Link or copy and paste this link in a browser window:  https://youtu.be/JxdhnZSRqEA

 

Start Line and Curve

Lets talk about start line and curve. The club face accounts for roughly 75% of the balls starting direction and the path curves it. In the featured image above is a great setup station. 10′ of rope starting a foot out in front of the ball with an alignment rod sticking up out the other end. The rope is lined up with the target and standing behind the ball the alignment rod is right in front of the target. Now from here you can get a visual of where the ball is starting and going. Here are the ball flights that could come out with a solid struck ball:

1. Ball starting left and craving left : Face closed to target and path more toward target.
2. Ball starting left and going straight : Face closed to target and path matching face start line.
3. Ball starting left and curving right towards or past the target : Face closed to path and swing direction left of the face.
3. Ball starting at the stick and curving left : Face square and swing more to the right.
4. Ball starting at the stick and curving right : Face square and swing more to the left.
5. Ball starting straight and going straight : Face and path straight. I call this the UNICORN.. Will discuss below.
6. Ball starting right and curving left : Face is open to the target and path is moving more right.
7. Ball starting right and going straight : Face is open to the target and path is going the same direction.
8. Ball starting right and curving right : Face is open to the target and path is moving more left than the face is open.

It is good to understand these ball flights when diagnosing your swing. That way when you are working on corrections you are not doing something that is going to make it move the same direction but worse. An example is a ball that starts left and curves right. You see that so figure lets aim more left. That just moves the path more left making more curve. The larger the difference is where the face was pointing at impact and the direction the club was traveling the bigger the curve.

Best training tool to add to your golf bag is a can of Dr. Scholls “POWDER” foot spray.  Why is this?  Because miss hits can change those above impact perimeters.  A club that is open to the target, swing direction slightly right of that (draw shape), and is hit in the heel of the club will not curve back but if it is hit in the toe the ball with over draw.  Same with the opposite club delivery of a cut.  Club face more left of the target at the strike point starting the ball left with a swing shape slightly more left of that but if you hit it in the heel the ball will over cut and if you catch it more on the toe the ball will fly straighter.  Also lower strikes launch lower and spin more and higher strikes launch higher and spin less.
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Use the above ball flights and strike info to figure out how to change your curve, reduce the curve. or know why your curve does what it does.  Remember I mentioned the UNICORN above which is a dead straight shot.  That is the hardest shot in golf because the face can be straight but the path slightly right or left and you get different curves.  We want some room for error built in the swing and a ball that is moving back towards the target.  Let’s take a draw as an example:  The photo below I am holding my club on the ball line or target line.   The furthest alignment rod to your right (my left) would be the club path at impact.  A good number would be 3-4* to the right.  That would give me room to fit my club face into that area and have a face from 1-3*.  On a swing direction of 3* right having my club face at 1* right would start right and slightly over draw just a little, a 2 would start right and finish close to the target line, a 3 would start right and go straight with the swing direction.  All very manageable shots with not much curve.  If my face was a 1 but swing was an 8 one way or another the ball would start close to the target then curve a lot past the target and work away from it as it landed.

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For more info and to see the YouTube clip on this subject CLICK HERE, select the above image, or go here: https://youtu.be/4JQLOgGJipo

Swing Direction Plus Launch Angle with Driver

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.

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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.

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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.

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Use these videos and drills to help get your swing shape where you want it and get that driver maximized.

Over Under Video Video: https://youtu.be/f5sIiQz5Eiw

Driver Attack Angle Video: https://youtu.be/0v_oHpB_i2c

Elbow Plane Line

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.

Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.48.27 PM.pngThis 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. screen shot 2019-01-15 at 6.29.22 pm

Here they are at at P6 or shaft parallel.  Left going down the line and right staying above.Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.44.30 PM.png

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.Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.46.08 PM.png

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:

Rotate to Balance

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.

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Start small and grow your swing.  For the YouTube video direct link click below:

Toss the Club Drill

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.

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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.IMG_1638.JPG

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.

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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.