This summer I went to Minnesota for a vacation to visit my good friend Jim and his family. While I was there, of course, the word “golf” came up. Jim told me he played but never had a golf lesson from a PGA professional. So off we went to his local golf course. The reason I am telling you this is because Jim’s fault is a common one among many golfers. I watched him warm up and hit a few balls on the practice tee. Some of Jim’s shots were either to the left or to the right of his target. Once in a while he hit the ball straight; he wasn’t consistent.
The problem is that his arms and hands were not rotating with his body on the downswing . As a result of this his clubface was open at impact and the ball went to the right. Sometimes unconsciously he corrected this by closing the clubface with his hands; this closed clubface made the ball go to the left
How do we correct this? What you do is to hit balls with a half-swing. It’s best to use a short iron like a pitching wedge. When both of your shoulders turn on the backswing, your arms and hands should also turn with a wrist-hinge so that your left arm half-way back is parallel to the target line. The right arm is slightly bent and the toe of the clubhead should face the sky. This is a square clubface. Now when you start your downswing, as your hips and shoulders turn back to hit the ball, you have to try to allow both the arms and hands to turn back with the body. At the completion of this half swing, again the toe of the clubhead faces the sky and the clubface is square. Both of your arms should be extended with a wrist-hinge with your left arm slightly bent.
This swinging motion allows the clubface to stay square throughout the swing and the ball should go straight. The problem arises when the left arm does not rotate and extend as the ball is hit. It’s called a “chicken wing”, a golfer’s term for a bent left arm at impact with a collapsed left wrist. This causes the clubface to be open at impact. A good exercise to give you the feel of how your left arm works in the swing is to grip down on a short iron and hold the club with just your left hand and arm.
Now practice swinging the club half way back and half way through looking to see if you’re keeping your left hand and arm straight as your body turns. Again the toe of the clubhead faces the sky on the half backswing and the half follow-through. If the golf club is held too tightly it is harder to coordinate this arm and hand swing with the turning of the body. Now put both hands on the club and start to hit balls with this half swing. Remember to take practice swings watching to see if you are making the correct motion. Look at it and get the feel for it. Once you learn to do this with a half swing, you should extend this motion into a full swing. By this I mean a fuller shoulder turn and a longer backswing into a full follow-through and finish. Toward the end of Jim’s lesson he started to be more consistent. It was fun working with him and I hope on my next visit to play golf with him.
Remember: a good golf swing involves coordinating the body’s rotation with the correct arm and hand motion.
The New Graduated Swing Lesson Plan Part 1
The Key Segments of the Graduated Swing Part 2
Before you begin the Graduated Swing Part 3
A Practical Lesson with Jim
The Graduated Swing Method is also available as Download for Kindle Reader
The absolute best price in Miami for private golf lessons and golf classes.
Group and playing lessons available.
Richard teaches at Costa Del Sol Golf Club in Doral, FL.
MAPS AND DIRECTIONS
Costa Del Sol Golf Club is conveniently located to all areas of Miami-Dade and Southwest Broward just one mile east of the Florida Turnpike Extension exit at NW 41 Street. Travel east one mile and turn right into entrance at NW 102 Avenue
Google Maps for Directions