Golf Practice "O"

One Club Strategy

Concept: The problem with most people who have trouble with tee-shots is they haven't mastered their swing before using a driver.

Action: Play 18 holes with one club.

As strange as this might seem it was the fastest way that one student I was teaching mastered her drive.

She used the 5 iron off the tee until she was consistently getting straight shots and reasonable distance.

Her second shot was generally a 5 iron as well, so she was getting a lot of practice with that club.

While the initial shot wasn't going anywhere near as far as a driver, they were straight and on many holes the combination of two 5-iron shots gave the same result as a driver and a 9-iron.

After gaining consistency with the 5 iron she moved to a hybrid off the tee and eventually the driver.

I have found that giving people tasks is the best way of achieving long-term results.

One Handed Practice

Concept: A great practice technique that is a remarkable way to help you develop a better sense of your swing and hand eye co-ordination is to make practice shots with one hand.

Action:1. On the practice range, stand over the ball with your normal stance, using a wedge or the 9 iron.

  1. Let go of the club with your dominant hand. Keep it at your side. Remember, this drill uses one arm only.
  2. Start your one-arm practice swing by taking chip shots. Hitting these small chip shots helps you develop a better feel for getting the club head on the ball. It also lets you see how the ball reacts as it comes off the club face.
  3. Finally, work your way up to ¾ swing pitch shots, still using just your non-dominant hand. You will find that your confidence with the one arm will improve and when you make your normal swings, they will seem stronger and the ball will fly further.

Out To In Path

Concept: By far the most probable reason for an out to in path is a chain reaction of set-up errors that became ingrained after you first picked up a golf club.

Here’s what’s happening:

  1. In an instinctive effort to prevent your long shots from slicing, you are aiming the club face to the left of your target.
  2. The more your club face aims left, the further forward in your stance you position the ball.
  3. The further forward you position the ball, the more left of target you align your shoulders in order to set up the club behind the ball at address.
  4. Your forward ball position and open shoulders weaken your grip relative to your target line.
  5. The club head works back inside your target line. This happens by either over-turning your shoulders or by pulling the arms in that direction (or both) all the while fanning the club face open with your hands and forearms.
  6. Reciprocating those backswing moves, you start down with the upper body mass (shoulders, arms, hands and club) out towards the target line.
  7. This pattern of movement causes the club head to move into the ball too steep across the target line from outside-to-inside. The club face mostly arrives at the ball open to that swing path, which typically produces the dreaded slice.

Action: Unfortunately, most people who play golf like this are 100% convinced the problem lies within their swing. The truth is it is caused almost entirely by a faulty grip, bad club-face aim, improper ball positioning, body alignment, and inaccurate posture—the fundamentals that have been adjusted to stop the ball from going right.

If you find your swing in this entanglement, start by fixing your swing path. Once you begin swinging on more of an inside path, work at getting the rest of the abovementioned fundamentals correct.

Overlapping grip

Concept: To use the best possible grip when putting, learn the “reverse overlap grip”, which is a favorite with amateur golfers and tour professionals. This type of grip helps keep the putter face perfectly square to the arc of your stroke. The face will also travel square through impact.

Action: Here are three steps to using the reverse overlap grip:

Step 1: Take your left hand and place it on the putter handle. Your thumb should be pointing down the shaft and your index finger should be kept off for now.

Step 2: Next, take the fleshy part of your right hand and put it on the flat part of your grip. The thumbs should be pointing down. So far, if you have correctly followed these instructions, all your fingers should be neatly wrapped around the handle of your putter, all except your left index finger.

Step 3: It is now time to take your right hand and slide it down the shaft until your left thumbnail is covered up. Both your thumbs should be pointing straight down the shaft, and your left index finger should overlap the fingers on your right hand.

Once you get used to putting with this grip, you should see immediate improvements in your shots. And the reason why it is important to hold the putter like this is because the standard grips (overlapping and interlocking) will cause unwanted rotation of the club face.

Over Swinging

Concept: Same on the way up as on the way down.

“The golf swing is like a suitcase into which we are trying to pack one too many things.” —John Updike.

I have heard people say that the solution to an over swing is making a ¾ swing. The problem with this thinking is that the body angles do not change, they are merely reduced.

Action: Make a normal backswing even into an over swing position, then start your downswing and pause. Keep your body in that exact downswing position and swing your arms back up to the top.

This is the position your body should be in on the backswing. It needs to form this angle on the way up and stay in this hitting angle throughout your swing.

Note: When the over swing is not body-related (i.e. severely bending the left elbow or over-cocking the wrists), placing the body in the right angle will eliminate 99% of the problem.

Extra: There are a few notable over swingers who are absolutely great: John Daly, Tom Watson and Nancy Lopez, to name a few. So, if you are getting results with your swing, don’t change it.