A couple of days ago, I watched a seasoned golfer at the practice range top or duff about 10 shots. Then suddenly he struck two good ones and looked at me with total delight, saying "why can't I do this all the time?"
I told him that with steady practice and hard work he would be able to do it more often. Today I am going to explain how.
Often, people forget the dynamics of the swing plane and just try to force their swing so they can whack the ball longer. Some others try improvising their equipment so they can gain more yards. Doing this is no better than fighting a losing battle.
I think most seasoned golfers are aware of the maxim 'hitting the ball from the inside' but they don't seem to have an in-depth understanding or feel for it. If you watch them at the practice range, you will probably see most of them swing on a plane that moves from the outside to the inside (the opposite of what's required).
There are generally two reasons for this mistake.
1. If you move your back swing outside the line of your target, chances are that you will hit from the outside plane, resulting in a slice and a huge loss of distance.
2. The most common mistake golfers make is after getting into the right position at the top of their swing, they rush to hit the ball, using their wrists and arms too much and again making contact from the outside of the swing plane to produce a pull or a big slice.
So how to get this right?
To avoid the back swing flaw, you need to turn your shoulders to 90 degrees to be in the proper position. Don't forget: only a good back swing can lead to a proper downswing and follow-through.
The chances of making an error are much higher on the downswing. From the top the first move is: clear (turn) your left shoulder and let your arms drop down, without unhinging the wrist to avoid any unnecessary movements. When you drop the club down (at this point the club shaft should be parallel to the target line) turn your hips to square the clubface at impact.
I have found that most golfers don't believe that the club can turn 90 degrees to be square at impact from the dropped position (parallel to the target line). In reality, they're not turning their hips and body far enough, instead compensating with their wrists and hands, so they can't square the clubface. Practice dropping your hands so the club is parallel to the target line and you will start hitting the ball consistently from the inside. You will also be able to keep your left arm straight after impact.
Trust me, your ball will soon start flying 20 extra yards.
Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Golf Director at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu. [email protected]