Put the Wood to Your Swing
A two–by–four drill will help nail your impact position.
By Alex Fisher
Guess what? The golf ball has no interest in how good your swing looks. All it really cares about is the moment of impact—the point at which it receives all its flight data from the golf club. Is the clubface square to its intended target? What swing path is the club traveling on? And, is the club (with an iron) accelerating on a downward path? To me, these are the three most critical elements in the golf swing. Therefore, one of the fastest ways to hitting better golf shots is to focus your practice on improving your impact position.
One of the major problems I see at the moment of impact is when the golf club bottoms out too soon. Depending on how aggressive the golf swing is, you’ll typically hit the ground behind the ball or completely top it. Here’s a simple impact drill that will dramatically improve your ball-striking and consistency. By simply placing a two–by–four behind your golf ball you will learn very quickly not only how to start the backswing correctly but also how to “educate the hands and arms” to create a tour-quality impact position.
1. SET UP Using a short iron, place the two-by-four approximately one foot behind the ball, perpendicular to your toe line. Any closer and your club will not clear it on the takeaway. The golf ball should be positioned in the middle of your stance and you should look like you are getting ready to make a full swing.
2.TAKEAWAY Start your backswing with your hands and arms. This will ensure that the club clears the two-by-four. If you start your backswing with your body, you will sway off the golf ball and hit the two-by-four on the takeaway. Focus on making just a half swing at this point. The smaller swing will make it easier for you to execute the drill correctly.
3.DOWN SHIFT As you begin your downswing, start transferring your weight toward your front foot. If you don’t shift, you are likely to hit the two-by-four before you get back to the golf ball. Really focus on driving with your right arm down towards the golf ball so that the club travels on a descending path.
4.MOMENT OF TRUTH As long as you have followed the correct swing sequence on your downswing, you should have made it back to the golf ball without hitting the two-by-four. Expect to make a small divot on the ground after the golf ball. If you happened to hit the two-by-four before the ball, it is likely your weight remained on your back foot or both arms extended too soon.
5.STICK THE LANDING As you continue to rotate your body into the swings finish position and you have cleared the two-by-four, maintain extension in both arms to avoid the dreaded “Chicken Wing.” At this point in the swing, very little weight should be on your back foot. Hold your finish position and revel in the crispness of your shot.
Named one of Golf Digest’s “Best Young Teachers” six years in a row, PGA Director of Instruction Alex Fisher teaches at The Glacier Club in Durango and at the JW Marriott Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix (Nov.-April). alexfisherpga.com; 602-363-9800.