While there is no feeling like a well-struck golf ball, many players often deal with the direct opposite. They spend 18 holes hitting poorly struck golf shots, save 1 or 2, and then lament over every one of those agonizing performances after their round. Although there are a number of factors that may cause a golf swing to repeatedly produce poorly struck shots, as an instructor, one of the most common causes of these shots rests in the concept of the backswing.
A common misconception is “you don’t hit the ball with your backswing” and “it’s really all about the downswing or the impact area”. My response is that when you are dealing with an advanced or accomplished player, there are certain patterns that are inherent to their golf swing, However for most of the golfing population, these patterns have yet to be established.
Unless you are athletically gifted and have all the time in the world to practice, you won’t get away with certain swing flaws and will always struggle to make consistent, solid contact with the golf ball. I believe that the biggest factor to understand is the way our upper and lower body should move and work together as we take the club to the top of the swing.
We are told to load into the backswing so that our transition can be fluid back to the ball. However, most golfers get themselves into trouble right off the bat. They will either slide their lower body too much or sway their upper body away from the ball causing them to not only find themselves in a very weak and unstable position but also get their club off plane at the top of their swing.
A very simple and effective exercise you can work on that will give you the feeling and sense of a properly loaded move and position into the top of the swing without even using a club is called “Single Leg Balance with Rotation”. Very simply take your 7-iron posture as if you were standing over the ball, assume a narrow stance as if you were chipping, and place your arms across your chest.
From this position pull back your left foot (right foot if you play left handed) and make a shoulder turn without losing your balance.
Things to pay attention to are to keep your trailing knee flexed and maintain your spine angle as you rotate into your back swing. This is a fundamental move because it brings awareness to your hip rotation, core stability, and thoracic rotation.
To take this drill to the next level, simply lift your target side foot. Completing 10-12 slow repetitions, this is a very productive exercise that you can do just about anywhere. It will help you to train your lower body to maintain its balance and stability as your upper body rotates properly, safely, and sequentially. It also gives you a sensation and feeling of a proper backswing which will then make it so much easier to accomplish it with a club in hand.
Golfers often struggle to feel a proper load into the backswing especially if they don’t have a clear idea on how to achieve it. Sometimes the student is not physically able to achieve a certain movement. If this is the case instead of putting a band-aid on the issue I highly recommend finding a Biomechanic specialist and addressing the issue along with your swing coach. Not only will your swing improve at a much faster rate but you will eliminate the risk of future injuries due to compensations in the swing.
Marvin Sangüesa is a PGA Professional Golf Coach based at the Joey D Golf Performance Center in Jupiter, Florida.
More information about Marvin Sangüesa is available on his website www.marvinsanguesa.com and on Youtube where he posts regular instructional videos. You can also follow Marvin online on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.