So often we know our mistakes yet just can't seem to correct them. Ever wondered why? It's great fun hitting hundreds of balls on the practice range. How much it helps your golf is something else all together. It all depends on if you are practicing the right swing.
If you've been faithfully following this column, by now you would have appreciated and accepted the importance of shoulder and hip turn in generating the power needed to hit further. Once you ingrain the swing's rhythm and the muscle's memory of motion, it is very difficult to change incorrect movements and the feel of the swing plane. The only way to remedy this is to use drills that break down bad old habits and re-teach the muscles. It is at these times that it can be more useful to practice free hand without actually hitting a ball.The following drills can help produce good results.
Drill 1 (turn)
a) Assume your set-up position, feet shoulder-width apart as for a nine iron and your spine tilted, as you would address the ball. Rest a club horizontally against the upper part of your chest, parallel to your shoulders. From here, rotate your shoulders 90 degrees away from your target.
b) As you turn, your weight will shift to your right leg. You should feel some pulling in your left hip as you do this. Your weight should remain on the inside of your right foot. If you feel your weight on the outside of that foot, it means you have swayed instead of turned.
c) Now begin to turn towards the target leading with your hips and legs. Your shoulders will follow in the same rotational manner.
d) Always finish with your weight on your left leg with your belt buckle and the centre of your chest facing the target. You must use your upper and lower torso to generate speed and power!
Another great power source is using the angles you create between your body and your golf club, otherwise known as leverage. You must make a good extension as you turn by 'pushing' the club back with your left side. Many people make the mistake of picking the club up, in this there is no extension. By making a good extension you will be able to generate power as you swing through the ball and see greater distances with each club.
Drill 2 (leverage)
a) Assume your set-up position. Begin by 'pushing' the club back with your left side as opposed to pulling it back with your right. Make a quarter swing with your arms fully extended. The shaft should be parallel to the ground and the toe of the club-head pointing straight up to the sky.
b) Continue your backswing by extending your left arm as you hinge your wrists. Do not lock your left elbow or you will not be able to swing through the ball. Your right arm will fold naturally so the right elbow points to the ground.
c) Now that you are 'wound up', pull down as if you are pulling a chain from the sky. Release at the ball and keep swinging your arms out to the target, finishing with arms over your left shoulder, your belt buckle and the centre of your chest facing the target.
Practice 'the turn' and 'using leverage' separately, then put them together. Remember you don't have to hit balls to practice these moves. Practicing in front of a mirror always helps.
TG Shrestha has one of the most powerful amateur golf swings in Nepal, often hitting his drives over 300 yards. He used this to his advantage last weekend winning himself the magnificent Gokarna Open trophy and a Star Cruise Holiday for two to Singapore. Finally, not forgetting last Friday's promise, TG Shrestha chose an interesting mix of golf balls to compliment his strengths-Titliest Pro V 1x on short holes, Srixon on par fours and Pinnacle on par fives.