You have noticeable errors in your swing. Who doesn't? Unfortunately, any attempt you make to correct them leads to even greater disaster. It's like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube—you finish one side only to jumble the other five. The solution? Attack diseases, not symptoms. On the following pages, Top 100 Teacher Tim Cooke unravels the common weekend-player mistake of standing up through impact and shows why applying the "obvious" fix — staying bent forward — is akin to that pattern-killing turn of the Cube that stymied you as a kid. No cheats required: Here's the solution, in three easy steps.
FIX 1: MAKE A HEAVY "HANDOFF"
Your steep downswing (the move that causes you to stand up) is put into motion as early as your takeaway. Blame your poor turn. Because you don't rotate properly, your hips sway to the right while your head moves toward the target. Fixing this is priority No. 1. Try this: In your takeaway, imagine that you're handing a heavy object — such as a medicine ball, or the gigantic bucket of range balls pictured above — to a person standing to your immediate right. To pass such an object, you can't just move your arms—you have to support the weight by turning your hips and chest, with your left shoulder working slightly down toward the inside of your right leg.
As you continue to rotate back, increase the pressure under your right heel. (If you feel pressure under your left foot, you're swaying toward the target and putting in motion the downswing that eventually forces you to stand up.) Try this: As you near the top, imagine you're placing an object (perhaps your trophy from the next club championship!) on a shelf just above your right shoulder. You'll nix any sway and add width, to boot.
FIX 3: THROW AN UPPERCUT AT IMPACT
Whereas before you could only chop wood, you're now in position to trace a flatter, power-rich path to the ball with the clubhead. Try this: From the top, drive your body laterally toward the target, keeping your left shoulder lower than your right for a split-second before opening up your chest and hips to the target. Allow your pelvis to "elongate" as you strike the ball. If you do it correctly, your left shoulder will move up and back, as if you're throwing an uppercut punch with your right hand. In fact, throwing a few punches like this without a club is a good way to groove the right moves. Trust me—you'll knock the ball silly.