IT ALL STARTS WITH A GOOD GRIP. By David Johnson, Lavender Park
Stand tall with your arms relaxed at your sides, look at your left hand and notice the position it’s in. Most peoples’ hands will turn in slightly, so the back of the left hand is at a 45 degree angle instead of lying parallel to the left leg. From this position, place the handle of the club in the fingers of your left hand along the creases created by the first knuckles. After you get it in the fingers, squeeze down the palm of your left hand on the handle, the left thumb should be slightly right of centre when you look down on the top of the handle.
Next, wrap the fingers of your right hand onto the handle and connect the lifeline of your right hand to the side of your left thumb. You are overlapping your little right finger over your left index finger. You should feel the hold down in your fingers and your wrists should feel very mobile and soft as you waggle the club in front of you. Try to ensure that the hands remain on the handle, don't let the fingers come away from this hold.
Why is it important for the grip to be in the fingers? Try taking a ball or a screwed-up piece of paper in your hand and throw it underhand into the waste bin. Did you hold it in the fingertips or the palm of your hand? Try both and compare, you will find more accuracy when you hold it in the fingertips.
As a check to ensure that your hands are in the correct position, look down as you’re holding the club to where the thumb and fore finger close together and create a line. This line is called a ‘V’ as both right and left should point-up to midway between your chin and right shoulder if your hands are correctly positioned.
BALANCE, POSTURE AND SWING PLANE. By David Johnson, Lavender Park
The angle at which you set your spine (which is the angle at which you bend at the hips) is fundamental in determining the overall shape and plane of your swing. It establishes the natural axis around which the shoulders should rotate at 90 degrees.
Hold the club with the end of handle opposite your belt buckle, the shaft parallel to the ground and with both legs straight. Keeping the club head raised off the ground, push your hips away from the ball (hinging at the hips). Lower the club head to the ground, then flex both knees. Your shoulders should now be in line (parallel to your feet and the ball to the target line) and directly above your feet. Your weight should be evenly distributed above the instep of both feet. You will now be in an athletic position!
‘SLOT AT THE TOP’ DRILL
To check if the posture is correct, try this drill which will enable you to test if your swing is on plane.
Swing to the top of the backswing and hold position, then slowly loosen your grip and let the shaft fall. If the club hits you on the tip of the right shoulder, your swing is on plane. If the club hits your head or neck, you are probably too upright. If the club falls lower than the shoulder, missing your body altogether, you are too flat.
DRILLS. By David Johnson, Lavender Park
To check if your grip pressure is appropriate, hold the club with only the index finger and thumb of your right hand. Support the club underneath with the heel pad of each hand, then hit balls from a tee to feel the lightness in the hands and wrists.
Alternatively, put a towel around the handle and hit several balls and you will naturally hold the club lighter.
RIGHT ARM TOSS DRILL:
The motion of the right arm is similar to throwing a ball underarm. To develop that throwing motion, grip a club in your right hand only. Address a spot on the mat and with or without a ball, swing the club back about 3/4 of your normal swing. Start the forward swing-through as if you we're actually going to throw the club towards the target. Keep hold of the club and let it swing-through on its own momentum into a full relaxed follow-through. Repeat several times.
LEFT ARM CONTROL FOR ACCURACY AND POWER:
Using a 7 Iron address the ball holding the club with your left hand only. Make half a backswing allowing the club face to fan open. Now make a forward swing-through the shot ensuring the left arm folds immediately after impact and repeat several times.
A difficult drill to master as at first you will tend to hit to the right, but you will soon learn to square the club face and make reasonable contact. You may want to start hitting from a tee until you progress to the mat.