A Better Downswing to Reduce Blocks and Hooks

As we all know most golfers tend to struggle with fading and slicing the ball, but there is a large portion of the golf population, typically lower handicap players, that struggle with hooks and the occasional block. This article is for you!

There's a huge correlation between between a golfer's club speed and their handicap. The higher the speed, typically, the lower the handicap. The key is being able to manage the golf club while generating higher club speeds and that can only happen with a proper pivot and more specifically, a proper downswing pivot. Here's how...

As you begin your downswing you want to feel the following:

  • The weight remaining on the trail foot for longer
  • Cast your net! More rotational and less lateral
  • The legs separating slightly
  • The handle of the club working out or in front of you while the clubhead stays behind you

The objective here is to get the clubhead traveling less outward and along a more neutral path through impact. Getting your body to rotate on the way down in more of a 'merry-go-round' fashion and less of a 'ferris wheel' fashion will deter the clubhead from getting too far to the inside.  

Try this feel slowly and with soft shots before working up to full swings. You'll be amazed at how challenging it is to actually stay back and rotate versus driving forward. Stick with it and realize that in order to improve the quality of your shots you're going to have to improve how the clubhead communicates with your golf ball.

Thanks for reading and if you have a friend who you feel might benefit from this information please share! 

Is Your Swing Built on Timing?

We've all played those rounds where we have 14 solid holes and 4 holes where it seems as if we've never held a club before. This is a classic indication that your golf swing is reliant on timing. A situation where the face angle at impact is determined by the golfer "manually" inputing clubface closure through the impact zone

Here's Sam Snead taking the handle "around the corner"....

Here's Sam Snead taking the handle "around the corner"....

While there is no one method or technique that allows us to position the face correctly through impact on a consistent basis there are certain elements in the golf swing that will allow us to do a better job of managing the clubface. Watch...

If you can work towards making the "motorboat" curve around the corner you'll become much better at getting the "tube" to fling around - this way positioning the clubface appropriately through the strike will start to become more automatic and your swing will be less reliant on timing.

Here's a clip to illustrate what the hands should be doing as they pass through the strike...

Ideally the handpath should be traveling inward and upward. Get to work on the proposed drills and you'll start to see a decreased reliance on timing and improved consistency out on the golf course. Thanks for reading...and watching!

A Drill for Skill

As anyone who follows me here or on social media is aware I am a huge fan of skill development for my students. I believe the ability to precisely control the clubhead, clubface and strike point though impact is what makes the difference between a great golfer and someone who is merely, a golfer.

I recorded the following TrackMan screencast following a lesson I recently did with a strong collegiate golfer named Seth Gandy. My objective was to not only give Seth the feel necessary to be able to hit draws, but also to improve his ability at controlling the amount of draw. Watch...

I created what I called the Clubpath Ladder Drill for any golfer to become skillful at controlling the shape of their golf shots. I am a big proponent of what I call practicing "outside the lines" and this drill forces the golfer to hit a sequence of shots where not two are alike. Keep in mind I wanted Seth to be able to hit his go to baby fade, but by making him practice shots that are outside his comfort zone he is improving his skill at making the club communicate his intent to the ball - a necessity for great golf.

If you are a coach who uses radar technology or even a golfer looking to improve your skills I would encourage to add this type of practice into your improvement plan. You can apply this ladder type drill to a variety of elements including club speed, dynamic loft and even face angle.

Have some fun with this and if you can fit more than ten shots into the clubpath ladder drill please let me know. That's very good!

Remember this - technique will get you into the arena, but it's skill that gets you onto the podium!.

Get Faster Off the Tee

Here is an exercise to help you gain a few miles per hour of clubhead speed over time and allow you to pick up that much needed yardage off the tee. The objective is to slowly introduce your body to the increased speed, efficiency and agility necessary to generate additional clubhead speed.

Here is what is required:

  • It is important to get loose prior to starting your speed sets
  • Using your driver you want to hit two sets of five golf balls with a recovery period in between each set
  • There should be little concern for accuracy or even quality of shot - the sole objective is speed
  • The first shot in each set should be at your normal driver speed
  • Each shot builds on the speed of the previous shot
  • The final shot in each set should be the absolute fastest you can possibly swing

If you can do two speed sets as mapped out above 3 times a week for a month I would be surprised if you had not gained 4 mph of clubhead speed when making a normal feeling golf swing. That's enough for 10 more yards off every tee box!

Additional resources for more distance off the tee:

Getting More Out of Your Driver | Andrew Rice Golf

Hitting Up or Down? Here's How to Set Up | Andrew Rice Golf

Hit Up On the Driver: Here's a Great Drill - YouTube

Foot Action in the Swing

Correct foot action throughout the golf swing is indicative of a body that is working well. A body that works well will create the opportune space necessary for the arms and the club to get into the slot - the delivery point where the club has virtually no choice but to do the right thing through impact.

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Impact Drill: How to Stop Scooping

This is a version of a drill that I have presented many times, but each time I use it, it impresses upon me the importance of a proper strike on the golf ball. In using Trackman I have come to learn that the correct attack angle (an upward or downward hit) with an iron should be anywhere between 2 and 5 degrees down. If you have ever topped shots or alternated between thin and heavy strikes, you are more than likely getting scoopy through impact and this drill is right up your alley.

This drill will get you to do the following through impact:

  • Get the weight shifted onto the front foot
  • Lead the hands ahead of the clubhead
  • Hit down on the ball
  • Take divots in the right place - after the ball!

All you need is a small piece of one of those swim noodles that all the kids like to use in the pool. Secure the strip of noodle into the ground by pressing tees through the center as illustrated. It may take a little experimenting, but eventually you'll find the appropriate distance to line the balls up from the noodle. Before long you should start to see a consistent line of divots occurring on the target side of the golf ball - a positive sign! If you find yourself hitting a few of the dreaded "hosel rockets" your grip is too weak; Essentially you now need to scoop the face in order to square the clubface through impact. Get it stronger!

Some additional drills to help with impact:

Staying Centered over the Ball

This is one of the most integral elements of the golf swing - the upper body must stay centered over the ball. By doing so, you will increase your ability to get that weight on the front foot at impact and deliver a downward, compressing blow to the back of the ball.

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