Very few players swing the club on plane, even though that's the goal. It's much more common to have the clubhead and your hands and arms "trapped" behind your body in the middle of your downswing, a position you find yourself in when you get too quick with your lower body during the transition from backswing to downswing. This forces you off plane and into a position where you're coming at the ball too far from the inside.
HOW YOU KNOW YOU DO THIS:
Big pushes and killer push-hooks are the norm.
HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FOR: YOU
All you need to do is turn your shoulders hard at impact. Get trapped, then rip your shoulders through impact and your clubhead speed will go through the roof.
1. At the top of your swing, strive for a flat left wrist and a right elbow set squarely on the shaft plane established at address.
2. Allow your arms to drop down without moving your shoulders while you start to shift your weight forward and unwind your hips.
3. Now you're trapped. The shaft is below the preferred swing plane and the clubhead is behind your right hip.
4. From this position, turn your shoulders like a madman. What pulls this move together is a full, powerful release of your hands through impact.
While holding a ball in your right hand, extend your left arm and place your driver's head on the ground. Now swing your right hand back to its normal position at the top of your swing. From this point, try to throw the ball through the gate created by your left arm and driver shaft (like you'd skip a rock across a lake). Notice how far from the inside you need to come to get the ball through and how your spine angle must be maintained.
To feel what a strong shoulder turn feels like, grab a medicine ball. Assume your address position and, with your hands on both sides of the ball, make a backswing. At the top, hold it for a count of one, and then try to toss the ball as far left of your target line as possible. The only way to perform this drill correctly is to violently rotate your shoulders and, once again, to hold your spine angle.
Tim Mahoney teaches at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
TIPS FROM THE TOUR:
The trap-and-turn technique is an excellent way to add power. Of course, it's never a bad idea to mix some Tour-proven swing ingredients with your own.
|Get to the top like Scott |
Adam Scott's position at the top of the backswing is nearly flawless. The left wrist is already flat, as it must be at impact. His hands are stretched away from his shoulders creating great width, while his lower body remains flexed and athletic. His backswing produces tremendous torque, which will translate into clubhead speed.
|Stay in charge like Charles |
Charles Howell III does an excellent job of retaining all of the potential energy developed at the top of this swing late into the downswing. His body is poised for an explosive attack into the ball with both legs flexed and his back still facing the target. This keeps his arms and hands close to his body, where they have more leverage.
|Sting like a Byrd |
Jonathan Byrd's nearly perfect impact position allows him to get the most out of his smaller frame. The athletic pivot of his body toward the target shifts weight onto his front foot while dragging the arms and club into the ball. The result is an impact position with no breakdown in the left wrist. (Notice the straight line from the left shoulder to the clubhead.)
|Emulate Ernie's release |
If you wonder where Ernie Els gets his "effortless power," look no further than his release. It's absolutely textbook: his arms are fully extended and have "crossed over," while his left leg is straight and his head remains back well past impact. The hips must open to create space for the arms to extend, and the arms have to be relaxed to let it all go.
Ã¢â‚¬" Brady Riggs, Woodley Lakes Golf Club, Van Nuys, Calif.