This series of Practical Golf Lessons contains the main tips I have given to my students in an actual lesson. It is my wish that you can benefit from the solutions to their problems.
This article is about the experiences of two golfers who had lessons with me. One player hit 2 out of 10 shots with a 7 iron straight about 100 metres with the rest with the ball flight of a weak slice. The other is an A Grade golfer who hit 7 irons about 145 metres with a loopy draw. Both players had opposite ball flight problems.
The first thing to address was the way that they lined up with their stance. When fixing any error, there is a checklist to go through. First, you must have the static areas of alignment and ball position correct before adjusting any swing mechanics.
The C Grade golfer was aiming both feet and shoulders well to the left of target with the shoulders even further left. The clubface was aimed to the target, therefore to the right of where he was aiming with the body. A correct swing resulted in sending the ball 20 metres left of the target.
To hit to the target he had to make a bad swing. The clubface would always have to be open to hit to the target, causing a weak slice and lack of distance. He could not release the club squarely as it would then result in a pull to the left.
At the end of the lesson, after fixing this major error and some slight swing adjustments, he was hitting 9 irons high and straight 100 metres, 20 metres further in distance.
The A Grade golfer was aiming correctly with his feet, parallel left of the target. However his shoulders were aimed well to the right. He was felt as though he was slapping the ball and the resulting ball flight was a 10 metre draw with a 7 iron. When he felt like he made solid contact, the ball would be pushed to the right of the target.
The alignment problem compounded into caused swing problems. He was taking the club straight back with the arms only. As his pivot did not start early enough in the backswing, the arms got out of balance to the body. This even caused his weight to move forward onto his toes in the downswing.
When his shoulders were aligned properly, he was able to start the club back on line using his pivot. His arm-body balance was immediately better resulting in solid ball contact and the 10 metre draw was reduced to a 2 metre draw.
On his next round he said his swing was good today, and I was hitting some very long drives. There was an 80% improvement in performance in both lessons.
When fixing an error, you need to know where to start. First, check the base of setup is correct before building the swing with the correct foundations in place.
Two simple aids for checking alignment in practice are clubs laid on the ground or a mirror.
On the course, simply lift your front arm off the club to parallel with the ground as you are looking at the ball. Check to see if your arm points left or right of the target and adjust your feet and shoulders about 10 metres parallel left of the target. It is important to note that your feet and shoulders do not aim at the target. The path of the club will then me swinging right of the target.
Until next time, Doug