The beginning of the year should always be a time to take inventory of the six components of the address position. They are club face alignment, grip, stance, ball position, posture, and weight distribution.
Your best chance to control your ball flight starts with these important elements.
Once you have yourself in the best starting position, the key is to initiate the swing properly and make this simple and consistent. The earlier you fall off track in your swing, the bigger the train wreck you will likely experience.
Common problems in the takeaway are picking the club up, turning too much too soon, and collapsing down on your front leg. Each of these problems will cause larger problems later in the swing such as poor tempo, balance issues and improper sequencing. The results will be an inability to control your ball flight, which is what golf is all about.
The takeaway should be initiated with the upper part of your lead arm. This will give you the low and slow tempo that keeps you stable and balanced. The arm can move independent of the body because the shoulder is a ball socket joint with a large range of motion.
Keep the hands quiet as you do this, maintaining a grip pressure of about four out of 10. This will improve your tempo and keep the club head further away from you, thereby increasing your swing arc and club head speed.
Turning the lower body too soon in the takeaway is most often due to golfers thinking they have to turn or get their back to the target. The necessary rotation will naturally occur because the hips and shoulders are ball socket joints.
Remember, it is called your back swing, not your around swing. Too much around causes many problems, including a very flat swing plane, and a big train wreck!
Collapsing on your front leg is most often caused by trying to keep your head still or eye on the ball, leading to the dreaded reverse pivot. Due to rotation, your head will move about half a head away from the target during the back swing.
If you collapse down on your front leg and keep your weight on your front side, the forward swing sequence will be affected. The typical problem is a casting motion that brings the club back to the ball on an incorrect path.
This will cause many ball flight issues, such as the slice, pulled shots and, I hate to mention it, the shank.
Tom Clark is the director of instruction at the Timberwolf Academy. The academy can be reached at 705-524-WOLF(9653) ext. 6. This is the final in a series of six columns.
Posted by Vivian Scinto