Teaching golf is not an exact science. Great instructors will do whatever it takes to help a student get better, even if it means breaking a few laws. If your local PGA professional approached fixing a student’s golf swing in the same strict way a scientist approaches an experiment, the future of golf would be very grim. A scientist would argue that any effort made by a golfer after the moment of separation (when the golf ball leaves the clubface) would be irrelevant. As a golf professional, much of my teaching would contradict some scientific law. Here are a few areas that might help you improve, despite the laws of the universe.
Finish Like a Pro
If you have ever noticed the photogenic-like position any good player possesses when they finish a golf swing, you would see a couple of similar qualities. In every junior clinic I give I make sure all of my juniors make a “Pro Finish.” Even though the ball is gone it accomplishes a couple of important fundamentals. It encourages the body to turn forward, eliminating the weight hanging backward, which is one of the most common mistakes amateurs make. They tilt their bodies backward in order to help the ball into the air (maybe this is why so many golfers have back problems). As a junior or beginner golfer, if you can eliminate this instinctual bad habit you will create a better line of compression allowing you to hit down on the ball. Important elements of the “Pro Finish” include placing all of your body mass on your front foot, turning your back foot on to the toe, and joining both knees together. Stick the finish like a pro and you will not only look good but you will create better ball striking habits. [expand]
Turn the Clubface
One position that any slicer must get correct is having a rotated clubface waist high in the follow-through. I try to make my students exaggerate this movement in order to break their slicing habits. The idea is to make a restricted follow-through, stopping at waist high and checking to see where the clubface is pointing. Most slicers never get the toe of the club to turn in the follow through. For a right-handed golfer, I would like you to try and get the toe of the club to point to the left, and vise versa for a lefty. If you can work on this position (even though the ball is gone already), it will help train and educate your hands to make the correct motion through the downswing and eliminate any slicing.
Picture the Path
If hooking the ball is in your DNA, then pay attention. Players who hook the ball do not get the golf club to swing enough to the left in their follow-through (assuming you are a right handed golfer). Hitting enough hooks in your golfing career will certainly prevent this. One way to break this bad habit is to make some practice swings from your address position forward (no backswing) and feel the club moving to the left of the target line. Do this several times and then try to incorporate the feel into the full motion.
There are many things that you can do to improve your game after the moment of separation. If you are struggling with your game, do yourself a favor and go see your local PGA professional and not Steven Hawking. While there are some laws of the universe that cannot be argued, golf professionals and scientists will always disagree about some of them.
Darren DeMaille is a PGA Professional and the Head Golf Professional at The Bridge in Bridgehampton. For questions, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. [/expand]