GOLF DIGEST SCHOOLS

The Butch Harmon Swing Clinic

1  of  5

Lesson 1: Swing Basics

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

In this video series, top-ranked teacher Butch Harmon takes you step by step through every part of the golf swing. You’ll learn how to set up like a tour player, hit the ball with consistency and avoid common faults. Get your swing on track with the teacher who has helped Tiger, Phil, Dustin, Rickie and many more. We start with the fundamentals, from pre-swing to finish.

SWING THOUGHTS

Take your left-hand grip with the club at your left side, then raise the club and add your right hand
Use one ball position: in line with your shirt logo. Widen your right foot as the clubs get longer
At address, flex your knees slightly, rear end back, and let your arms hang
To aim, square the clubface to the target first, then set your body parallel to the target line
Start the clubhead back first, and let your weight flow to the instep of your back foot
On the backswing, keep your arms extended, hands away from your head
Let your hips rotate freely on the backswing, and turn your chest over your back leg
Start the downswing by bumping your hips toward the target, shifting to your front foot
Let your arms and the club drop to the inside from the top
Keep your speed up, and turn to the target as you swing through to the finish
At the finish, 90 percent of your weight should be on your front foot, with your back shoulder closer to the target than your front shoulder
With the driver, widen your stance, and tilt your spine away from the target

DRILLS

The Two Posts

  • The simplest way to think about the golf swing is to imagine your legs as two posts.
  • Practice turning around the back post (the right leg for righties) on the backswing and around the front post (left leg) on the forward swing.
  • Move the clubhead first on the backswing, with the arms and body turn following.
  • From the top, start the downswing with the lower body, shifting to the front side and letting the club drop as you turn through.
  • Work on this sequencing on the range, in slow-motion at first, then hit balls.
Lesson 2: Driving Distance
2 Lesson 2: Driving Distance
  • What adds power—and what takes it away
  • Greg Norman’s backswing secret
  • Syncing up the arms and body for speed
  • Methods of the tour’s little bombers

The Butch Harmon Swing Clinic

2  of  5

Lesson 2: Driving Distance

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

Distance is what golfers want more than anything else, especially off the tee. But every player has a certain distance potential, and hitting the ball with the middle of the clubface is the No.1 key to getting there. Here, Butch Harmon shares his best advice on making a powerful swing without sacrificing control. He also shares what some of the game’s best drivers work on.

SWING THOUGHTS

To get a full shoulder turn on the backswing, let your hips turn freely
Flare your back foot out slightly to increase your range of motion for a bigger turn
Start your downswing from the ground up: Shift to your front side before you swing down
Change directions smoothly from the top, letting the arms and club drop to the inside
Keep your speed up to a full finish—don’t hit at the ball and stop

DRILLS

Right Pocket Back

  • An unrestricted hip turn on the backswing is the key to getting a full upper-body turn.
  • Try this cue from Greg Norman: right pocket back. Hit balls focusing on turning your right-front pocket behind you as you swing to the top.
  • Feel and see a bigger body turn when your right hip turns out of the way.
  • Think “RPB” when you practice your driver, and you’ll see a boost in distance.

Stop at the Top

  • Swing your driver to the top and pause before starting your downswing.
  • Feel your weight shift to your front side, and then your arms and body go through together.
  • With a pause, you’ll avoid “throwing” the club from the top in an attempt to create power.
  • You can even swing like this on the course to groove good sequencing: Swing back, stop for a beat at the top, and let it go.

The Step-Through

  • Gary Player used to step toward the target on the forward swing to boost his power.
  • Make driver swings, and stride through with your back foot as you swing to the finish.
  • You’ll literally get off your back foot, and won’t leave any power on the table.
  • When you get on the course, make practice swings stepping through, even do it in your real swing when you need a big tee shot.

Tempo Finder

  • Tee up three balls in a line a few inches apart on the practice tee.
  • Hit the balls in succession, without stopping between swings—but without rushing.
  • Focus on the swing rhythm you naturally possess when not thinking about power.
  • That’s your natural rhythm, the rhythm you should use on all your swings.
Lesson 3: Consistency
3 Lesson 3: Consistency
  • Compressing the ball like great iron players
  • How to stop hitting fat and thin shots
  • 3 practice drills for center-face strikes
  • Getting your rhythm back on the course

The Butch Harmon Swing Clinic

3  of  5

Lesson 3: Consistency

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What is consistency? For most golfers, it means consistent contact with the ball. Butch calls it “club-ball contact,” meaning the clubface strikes the ball on a descending path (with the irons) and continues to the low point of the swing a few inches past impact. In this video, Butch Harmon demonstrates the keys to making solid contact, and shares a few of his favorite drills.

SWING THOUGHTS

Solid contact starts with having one ball position for every club: in line with your shirt logo
To hit the ball, then the ground, shift your weight to your front foot to start the downswing
For a consistent rhythm, take an extra club and swing at 65 percent of your maximum
Develop a simple pre-shot routine you can repeat every time you step up

DRILLS

Hitting Downward

  • Get into your normal setup with a middle iron, then raise the clubhead so the leading edge is level with the top of the ball.
  • Make a swing from this position, trying to hit the ball flush.
  • From this setup, you have to swing down to the ball, or else you’ll catch it thin.
  • Hit some shots this way, then go back to your normal setup and incorporate this feeling of swinging down and through.

The Forward-Tee Drill

  • Stick a tee in the ground about a half inch in front of your ball.
  • Using an iron, position the ball slightly back in your stance, and focus on the tee in front.
  • Make a swing, and drive your clubhead through the ball and the tee.
  • To do this, you need to shift toward the target and hit down and through.

The Pump Drill

  • Swing an iron to the top, and pump the club halfway down twice, each time swinging back up to the top.
  • After two pumps, swing the club down and through the ball.
  • This drill allows you to feel the proper position on the downswing: club to the inside and wrist angle intact.
  • You’ll avoid “throwing” the club from the top, which causes poor contact and a lack of power.
Lesson 4: Fault Patterns
4 Lesson 4: Fault Patterns
  • Taking the mystery out of your bad shots
  • How to make swing changes stick
  • The best training aid you have in your bag
  • Rickie Fowler’s career-changing swing fix

The Butch Harmon Swing Clinic

4  of  5

Lesson 4: Fault Patterns

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OVERVIEW

Amateurs miss shots left and right in various ways—a pull or hook to the left, a push or slice to the right. These misses might seem random and unrelated, but they aren’t. The trick to fixing your worst shots is to identify the root cause of the problem and then apply a simple correction. Butch Harmon discusses common mis-hits and how to eliminate them from your game.

SWING THOUGHTS

To fix a slice, close your stance, and keep your right shoulder back longer on the downswing
To fix a pull, shift to your front side, and keep your right shoulder back longer
To fix a push, don’t let your lower body clear so fast in the downswing
To fix a hook, quiet your lower body, and don’t let your hands roll over through impact

DRILLS

Miss the Umbrella

  • To fix the out-to-in swing path that causes pulls and slices, place an umbrella just outside your ball with enough room for the clubhead to swing through unimpeded.
  • Take a swing, and if you hit the umbrella, you’re swinging into impact from the outside.
  • With the umbrella as an obstacle, you’ll naturally keep the club to the inside and miss it.
  • Use the same drill to fix an overly in-to-out swing path that causes pushes and hooks, just move the umbrella inside the ball several inches.
  • Miss the umbrella on the inside, and you’ll swing on a straighter path through impact.

Overdoing It

  • The strongest medicine to fix errant shots is to try to overdo the opposite move: Slicers should try to hit hooks; players who hook should try to hit slices.
  • On the range, practice hitting big curves in the opposite direction of the shot you want to fix.
  • If it feels OK, you’re not doing it enough. Really exaggerate the opposite fault.
  • Practice until you’re hitting it the other way, then dial it back toward the middle.
Lesson 5: How to Practice
5 Lesson 5: How to Practice
  • Why slow-motion swings speed progress
  • The easiest way to hit draws and fades
  • Turning your range time into better scores
  • The one thing to do before you head to the tee

The Butch Harmon Swing Clinic

5  of  5

Lesson 5: How to Practice

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OVERVIEW

One reason you go to the driving range is to try to fix a problem, but another is for general improvement, expanding your arsenal of shots. Good players hit draws and fades on command and have control over their shots. Yet another reason to visit the range is to warm up before a round. In this video, Butch Harmon shows you how to practice and how to get ready to play.

SWING THOUGHTS

Use slow-motion swings to feel the club and your body in the positions you want to achieve
Always have a purpose when you go to the range—fix a fault, general improvement, warm up
Resist the urge to gravitate toward the things you do well; work on what you’re not good at
When you practice, always have a target. Aim at nothing, and you’ll hit it every time
Work on curving the ball left and right. You can have a go-to shot, but learn to hit both ways

DRILLS

Intentional Curves

  • Plant an alignment rod in the ground about five yards down your target line.
  • Set two more rods on the ground, one across your toes and one in front of the ball and pointing down your target line.
  • To hit a fade around the rod sticking upright, aim your clubface where you want the ball to land, and shift your stance and body lines well to the left. Then make your normal swing.
  • To hit a draw around the rod, aim your clubface where you want the ball to land, and shift your stance and body lines to the right. Then make your normal swing.
  • You’ll see that by simply changing your alignment—and not your swing—you can hit fades and draws with ease.

The Pre-Round Warm-up

  • On the range before you play, start by hitting some short irons, always aiming at a target.
  • Then go to the middle irons, maybe a few hybrids and fairway woods, and finally to the driver.
  • Make the last shot you hit on the range the one you want to play off the first tee, and go through your entire pre-shot routine.
  • Go to the tee, and repeat what you just did on the range. You’ll get off to a great start.

The Butch Harmon Swing Clinic

Lesson
1 / 5
Lesson 1: Swing Basics
2 / 5
Lesson 2: Driving Distance
3 / 5
Lesson 3: Consistency
4 / 5
Lesson 4: Fault Patterns
5 / 5
Lesson 5: How to Practice
The Butch Harmon Swing Clinic INDEX
Lesson 1: Swing Basics
1/5
Lesson 1: Swing Basics
  • How to set up perfectly every time
  • What really matters in the backswing
  • Simple keys for tour-level impact
  • Checkpoints to groove good mechanics
  • How to set up perfectly every time
  • What really matters in the backswing
  • Simple keys for tour-level impact
  • Checkpoints to groove good mechanics
Lesson 2: Driving Distance
2/5
Lesson 2: Driving Distance
  • What adds power—and what takes it away
  • Greg Norman’s backswing secret
  • Syncing up the arms and body for speed
  • Methods of the tour’s little bombers
  • What adds power—and what takes it away
  • Greg Norman’s backswing secret
  • Syncing up the arms and body for speed
  • Methods of the tour’s little bombers
Lesson 3: Consistency
3/5
Lesson 3: Consistency
  • Compressing the ball like great iron players
  • How to stop hitting fat and thin shots
  • 3 practice drills for center-face strikes
  • Getting your rhythm back on the course
  • Compressing the ball like great iron players
  • How to stop hitting fat and thin shots
  • 3 practice drills for center-face strikes
  • Getting your rhythm back on the course
Lesson 4: Fault Patterns
4/5
Lesson 4: Fault Patterns
  • Taking the mystery out of your bad shots
  • How to make swing changes stick
  • The best training aid you have in your bag
  • Rickie Fowler’s career-changing swing fix
  • Taking the mystery out of your bad shots
  • How to make swing changes stick
  • The best training aid you have in your bag
  • Rickie Fowler’s career-changing swing fix
Lesson 5: How to Practice
5/5
Lesson 5: How to Practice
  • Why slow-motion swings speed progress
  • The easiest way to hit draws and fades
  • Turning your range time into better scores
  • The one thing to do before you head to the tee
  • Why slow-motion swings speed progress
  • The easiest way to hit draws and fades
  • Turning your range time into better scores
  • The one thing to do before you head to the tee