How to Practice for Lasting Improvement
When you practice do you just hit and hope, knowing that eventually, after you have hit it many, many practice shots the "Golfing Gods" will bestow upon the mythical "I've got it now!" secret? You do realize, of course, that there are an infinite number of these!
|We teach out students that the body responds to the motion of the swing.
Or are you like Jack Nicklaus, who said he NEVER practiced without a firm plan. He ALWAYS practiced with a certain goal in mind for each practice session.
Here are some practice guidelines:
1. When working on your technique do it without a ball and do it slowly so you can feel and see (use a mirror) the exactness of the motion.
2. When working on your shots, if possible hit your fades and draws around a target object - a tree, flag, etc. It really helps your eye and feel for the shots. If there are no target objects to use then try to hit your fades from the right side of the practice tee and your draws from the left side. This will help you see the actual amount of movement you are getting on your shots.
SOME THOUGHT ON THE GOLF SWING:
There seems to be a "swing" away from lots of body motion during the downswing. Tiger Woods had worked hard since his Masters victory to slow his hips and legs during the downswing. David Ledbetter comments that amateurs tend to use their bodies too much during the downswing. This fault is hardly surprising when virtually everything you read tells you to start your downswing with the hips/legs sliding/turning and miraculously your arms and hands and club will follow down in the correct path! If this were true, hitting good shots would be as easy as falling off the proverbial log.
We teach out students that the body responds to the motion of the swing. Hands control the club, hands lead arms and ultimately the body follow.
Your hands control the club and cause its motion, the body responds. When throwing a ball or hitting a baseball, the body and arms move as a response to your intention to throw or hit. You do not think about your legs and body, you focus solely on the outcome.
|Jack Nicklaus NEVER practiced without a firm plan.
In golf the body does and must move but not to fling the hands/arms/club into the swinging motion back and down.
The benefits of our way of hitting the ball is that the body does not wrench itself to create the motion of the swing, thereby causing strain and injury to itself.
It should be passive and respond to the swing created by the hands and arms. You don't hold the body still, you let it comfortably respond. That is why a correct setup is vital. (See Jeff Johnson's excellent article in the December 2000 issue of Golf Digest.)
If you were to take a driver with zero loft and in one blow completely drive a 6" nail into the base of a tree while keeping your view of the nailhead constant (stable head) and without flinging your body about to generate force (no control), BUT allowing your body to comfortably respond to the swing/hitting motion of the hands/arms/club THEN you would have very, very, very closely duplicated the ideal hitting action.
Try this - imagine a nail or even stick a tee into the base of a tree and go through the motion that is needed to strike the nail squarely (careful not to hit the tree!). How you would need to do this should be very similar to your golf swing. A constant, unchanging view of the nail or tee. Hands controlling the club. Arms swinging, body motion stable and responsive.
Swing your driver back and forth from address to the top and back to address with out stopping, do this several times. While doing this see how your body stabilizes, your hands take charge, your arms awing, your eyes maintain and unchanging view and your body follows naturally and athletically.
Practice this technique a few times to stimulate your thought processes and help train your body to create a more stable base and you will see some real improvement in your golf swing.
- by Martin Green