Golf Practice "D"

Daffy Duck

Concept: Setting up pigeon toed may feel as if it restricts your weight transference; however, it leads to a lifting motion with the right side of your body.

Action: Flare both of your feet “Daffy Duck” style, as far as you can without pain. Hit shots, creating a pivot that turns through the hips rather than sliding laterally.

Dominant Swing Motion

Concept: Accept your dominant swing motion.

Action: What exactly does this mean? Well let's say, for example, you have a tendency to hit some type of fade or slice, sending the ball curving from left to right. You come to the tenth tee and the hole is designed with a dogleg toward the left with the out-of-bounds to the right. Your immediate thought would be to hit a draw, which would ideally send the ball curving to the left and along the fairway so you set up and then hit the fade as you typically do. The ball is now out of bounds.

Now, had you played the ball with your “dominant swing motion” and went with it, you probably would have hit the ball successfully onto the fairway. Sure, it might not have gone the distance and wrapped around the dogleg as you had hoped, but it is better than hitting out of bounds. Besides, having one shape of shot is a good thing. Players who have to ball flight patterns left and right need to first work on gaining a dominant swing motion.

Down Slope

Concept: What gets the ball into the air?

Action: Drop your practice balls on a down slope. The down slope will encourage you to extend the follow-through low to the ground as well as help transfer your weight properly across onto your left foot on the downswing. Follow the slope until you have reached the point of maximum extension. As you swing down into impact, feel as though you are chasing after the ball down the slope, making the necessary downward motion with the club.

Warning: I have seen instructions teach players to fold their arms after impact and lift up. Every golf swing should have a point of maximum extension.

To play this shot in a round, be sure to first match your shoulders to the slope, with your left shoulder lower than your right. Move the ball back in your stance and create an early wrist hinge. Finally, stay down through impact.

Downswing Slot

Concept: Every golf player needs to find the “slot” in the downswing where the shaft angle is parallel to the original plane angle. Ideally, the club should get into this position when your hands reach the height of your hips during the downswing and the club is behind you.

Action: Swing to the top of your backswing and then drop the club into the slot. Repeat 10 times and check these five conditions:

  1. When your left arm is 45 degrees to the ground, the left hand should be flat, keeping the club face neutral.
  2. Your right hand should be bent back, with the right elbow in front of your hip.
  3. The club shaft should be parallel to the original shaft plane angle, with the butt end pointing above the ball.
  4. The club head should be behind you with the club face square to the swing arc.
  5. Your shoulders will be closed slightly, with your hips slightly open.

Driving Range

Concept: If you have ever taken a close look at golfers practicing on the practice range, more often than not it resembles a paid-admission spectator sport, giving the impression the object of hitting the balls is to get rid of them as fast as possible, with as much muscle and might as can be conjured into the swing. Oh, and there is always the Happy Gilmore guy.

Action: When you are hitting balls at the driving range, I suggest you think of your practice time as golf swing training (paradigm shift). Just as with other sports training, you work with a plan or structure. Keeping a practice diary is great for writing down your feels, and any new understanding you achieve.

Your training session should include an intended goal for that day. What part of your golf game needs the most help? What issue caused your score to increase over the last few golf games?

Decide on one specific goal and then put forth your best. For example, like many of us, you may choose to work on getting rid of the dreaded slice. Focus hard on eliminating your slice through squaring up the club face. Target every shot.

Aim each ball at a specific target instead of simply hitting into the air.

Sending balls flying through the driving range may be fun, but it is not productive in learning to correct your golf-game mistakes. Without focusing on a specific target, how can you tell if you are hitting the ball accurately or not? The driving range offers little consequence when making a handful of bad shots. So make sure every shot you make on the driving range has a target. How close you come to your goal for each swing will let you know if your swing and overall technique is advancing.

Relax, learn to rest. Most golfers overdo their practice time and continue to work hard, too hard in fact, to the point where they get tired and start to make mistakes.

Walk away after you have performed an immaculate shot. Allow your mind to soak in the muscle memory. Relax your body and take a break. You should never overdo it.

Keep in mind you will be playing golf for a very long time and nobody becomes a professional overnight. Keep it simple, relaxed, and fun.