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INSTRUCTION
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Golfing Magazine Staff
 
By Golfing Magazine Staff
Published on 06/7/2010
 

Downswing Sequence By Derek Hooper


In almost everything you do on a daily basis you use your hands and arms independently from your body. The reason – because it is easier. But it is not necessarily the most efficient way to produce power. I am going to ask you to resist that temptation and let the large muscles of the legs, glutes, abdominals and lower back drive your swing motion.
Get into your normal address position, bend the elbows slightly and hold between your hands something heavy. A medicine ball would be perfect, but an impact bag or shag bag full of golf balls will all work well. Now coil into the back swing making sure that:
  • The medicine ball stays in front of you
  • You stay in posture
  • Maintain the flex in your rear leg
  • The weight moves into the rear leg and inside of the rear foot
  • Your upper body coils about twice as much as your lower
Your goal is to rotate the body back through and throw the medicine ball at the ground three feet in front of where the golf ball would be in your normal set up. The main key with this drill is not whether you can get the medicine ball to hit the ground in the correct spot. The goal is to sequence the body movement correctly so you can achieve maximum speed and consistency.
The motion should be:
  • Bump of the hips to over the lead foot
  • Rotate the hips so that the upper body is pulled through
  • The rotation of the upper body pulls the arms and thus the                          medicine ball through.
The sequence is critical and it is vital that you not let the arms take over the motion. Using the weighted medicine ball will provide some resistance so that the arms will lag behind the rotation of the upper body.
Do this drill slowly at first and when you can consistently feel the stretch in the abdominal muscles and thus the sequence occurring correctly only then can you start to add some speed. Check back next issue and we will talk about how to add the club into your new downswing sequence.




Putt Your Best By Jay Morelli

To play your best golf you simply have to putt well. While there are many different ways to stroke a putt there are a few absolutes that will help any golfer.
1. Reaching the hole on makeable putts. We’ve all heard the old adage “never up, never in”...so true. While the adage is true for all putts it may be unrealistic to think you will reach the hole on every putt, every distance, but it would be great if you made it a point to reach the hole on all makeable putt. The distance of what you consider a makeable putt will vary with you ability level. For a novice player it may be 4 feet, for an intermediate player it might be 6 feet, for an advanced player it might be 10 feet. You can pick your own distance, once you do, then commit to hitting every putt that distance and closer with enough speed to go past the cup. Once you are comfortable at you makeable distance you can increase it a little. As you do this more and more putts will fall!
    
2. Aiming the face of the putter. Alignment in putting is crucial. If you are not lined up properly you are sure to miss the putt. Here’s an interesting experiment: choose 10 foot straight putt on the practice green. Get directly behind the ball so you can see the line clearly. Put a coin down directly on that line. Now stand over the ball as if you are about to putt, don’t putt it, but check to see if the coin appears to have moved. With almost all golfers the coin will appear to move. The point is you cannot perfectly see the line when you address the ball. It’s like firing a rifle. If you’re looking straight down the barrel it’s easier to see the perfect line and target. If you held the rifle to the side you wouldn’t at all be accurate. My point is that the only way to insure perfect alignment is to do it from behind the ball. Determine your line, then line the lettering on the ball to the target. Now address the ball and trust that the lettering on the ball is correct. Most Tour players are doing this and it really works!


Maintaining Spine Angle or “Keep your head down” By George Connor

I cannot start this without first disputing the phrase mentioned in the title. “Keep your head down” is a poor phrase that I hear all too often. The student that gets this advice will either eliminate rotation or continue to move their head up and down even though it is their intent not to. Please keep in mind, when someone tells you that your head is  moving up and down, it is your spine that it moving the head.  It is not your neck getting longer and shorter.
One of the top three problems that I see in students is a change in the angle of the spine relative to the ground. The change can occur either during the backswing or the forward swing. A normal golfer with good posture will have an angle of 35 to 45 degrees. As the swing starts and the golf club works towards the top of the swing if this angle changes and becomes more vertical we have a change in spine angle and now the player will have to start making adjustments and compensations in order to get back to the ball and maintain balance.     
If the spine significantly changes angles during the swing it severely compromises a golfer’s ability to make consistently solid contact and produce consistent results. If during the swing the player significantly changes the angle of the spine relative to the ground, he or she is in fact moving the action of hitting the golf ball to different locations during the swing. Now we know why this game can be so difficult!  If the spine angle moves towards vertical during the backswing, the player will have to do something to go and find the ball during the forward swing. Likewise, if the spine angle is changing during the forward swing, the player will have to make adjustments in order to find the ball.  
As nature would have it, the most common swing fault also generally requires the most work to overcome. Because the list of physical requirements encompasses many different body parts the fix is seldom a simple one.  
As in the C-posture, everyday life works against us. A weak core, tight hamstrings, immobile hips are all common as almost nobody addresses these areas. This applies not only to middle-aged adults but also to many of the teenagers I coach as well.
One of the screens we use in the physical assessment is called the Overhead Deep Squat. The athlete holds a bar or a golf club above their head and then performs a squat. Done perfectly, the club remains over the head, the squat is low enough for the thighs to move below parallel, the spine is parallel to the shins and the heals remain on the ground.  This is a first level screen. By first level I mean that the initial screen will show where in the body the restriction(s) are. From there, we must dig deeper to ascertain a path to fixing the issues.


Mr. 58 By Tom Rosati

I have had the opportunity to work with many top amateurs and professionals in the past 20 years.  I would like to focus on one of my students in  
particular - Evan Beirne.  Evan is one of the top players in the state and a star player for St. John’s University. What makes Evan so unique is a recent astounding score of 58 at his home course of New Haven Country Club.  I’d like to analyze the golf swing that shot 58.
A few days before Evan shot 58, we made a set up change.  His tendency was to get his shoulders over the ball and not bend his knees.  We worked on achieving a position where his
shoulders stay stacked over his toes with some flex in his knees (Figure 1).  Next we modified the way he was taking the club back. His tendency was to tuck the hands inside so we did some drills to help him get his hands started on the correct path (Figure 2).  The position at the top is a key element for Evan.  We worked on getting the left wrist flat and clubface parallel to his left wrist and forearm (Figure 3).  Evan drops the club perfect on a slightly steeper plane, never underneath the plane.  This allows Evan to hit a controlled fade off the tee (Figure 4) – an essential quality that all great golfers have.  His impact position is powerful and controlled.  He is a strong kid who hits it with his body, which prevents any flipping of the club with his hands.  The shaft of his club is at almost the same angle at impact as address (Figure 5).  His low follow through with the shaft parallel to his shoulder line and the club face slightly open is the result of a good body  rotation through the ball (Figure 6).  This is a very repeatable move that takes any tendency to hook the ball out of his game.
In summary, any player who wants to be a better ball striker can learn a lot from this swing. When you hit 18 greens and make 13 birdies for 58, you must be doing something right.