GOLF DIGEST SCHOOLS

The David Leadbetter Essentials

1  of  6

Lesson 1: Getting Started

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

While the modern game has been greatly influenced by technology, it’s best not to make learning the golf swing more complicated than it needs to be. That’s why you need David Leadbetter. In this video series, the legendary instructor teaches you his essentials to making a consistently good golf swing in simple, easy-to-understand lessons.

SWING THOUGHTS

Keep your technique simple to improve consistency
Break the swing into three components: setup, pivot motion and the swing itself
Set up in an athletic, balanced posture with a good grip and alignment
Pivot the body to add power and flow to your swing
Allow the club to swing freely without trying to manipulate its path

DRILLS

One-Arm Swing

  • Grab an iron in the fingertips of your right hand only at the base of the grip.
  • Mimic a backswing one-handed, letting the club hinge naturally.
  • Mimic a downswing one-handed, noting how the shaft lays down (flattens).
  • Combine into one fluid one-handed swing to feel what a good two-handed swing feels like.
Lesson 2: The Grip
2 Lesson 2: The Grip
  • Why the vast majority of golfers have a bad grip
  • How your left hand should hold the club
  • Key indicators you're gripping it correctly

The David Leadbetter Essentials

2  of  6

Lesson 2: The Grip

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

Almost every golfer David Leadbetter teaches shows up at his academy with a grip that could use some improvement. Even the pros. The most common issue is gripping the club too much in the palms. David shows you what a good grip looks like and what it can do for your swing.

SWING THOUGHTS

Hold the club with light-to-medium pressure
With your lead hand, grip the club more in the fingers than the palm
Check that you can easily hinge the club with your wrists
Feel pressure in the thumb and forefinger, not in the middle of your grip
Make sure your wrists and hands appear symmetrical on the club

DRILLS

Marker Check

  • Take your normal grip, open your hand, and trace the club’s position with a marker.
  • Note where the lines show the club is resting in your hand. If it’s too much in the palm, adjust it so it’s more in the fingers.
  • Practice this new club position, then check it again with a marker.
Lesson 3: Posture
3 Lesson 3: Posture
  • How to address the ball
  • Why ball position matters
  • Improving alignment
  • Lead's checkpoint drill for posture

The David Leadbetter Essentials

3  of  6

Lesson 3: Posture

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

In this video, David Leadbetter walks you through the importance of setting up to the ball correctly. A good address posture eliminates many issues that can cause players to hit bad shots.

SWING THOUGHTS

Feel athletic as you construct your setup—slight knee flex, bending forward from the hip joints, and the spine angled slightly away from the target
Keep your shoulders back, chest and chin up—no slouching
Let the arms hang naturally with the elbows pointing at the hips
Check that the left hip is higher than the right at address

DRILLS

Balance Out

  • Take a club, get in your address posture, and lay the club across your thighs.
  • Push the club into your legs while pulling your shoulder blades back and pushing forward with your thighs.
  • Put the club down and address the ball.

Perfect Posture

  • Take your grip and hold the club out in front of you.
  • Keep your legs straight, relax your arms and bend forward from your hip joints, softening the knees slightly.
  • Lower your arms and sole the club.
Lesson 4: The Pivot
4 Lesson 4: The Pivot
  • How the body should move when you swing
  • The analogy: The dog wags the tail
  • Shifting weight correctly
  • Using the pivot to control the arms and club

The David Leadbetter Essentials

4  of  6

Lesson 4: The Pivot

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

The pivot motion of the body is the lifeblood of any swing, David Leadbetter says. It provides the power and flow to any good golf swing. And it doesn’t take most golfers long to learn how to pivot correctly. And once your real swing feels like your pivot, you’re going to consistently hit good shots.

SWING THOUGHTS

Pivot your torso away from the target with your core muscles
Feel your weight shift into the heel of your right foot
Start your pivot toward the target with a lower-body shift, weight moving into the toes of the left foot
Rotate your trunk so the weight moves into the heel of the left foot
Keep pivoting until your knees almost touch

DRILLS

Perfect Pivot

  • Place a club across your chest with your left hand on your right shoulder and right hand on your left shoulder.
  • Pivot your body away from the target so the shaft is tilted toward the ground.
  • Pivot back the other direction with a lower-body shift toward the target.
  • Keeping the club tilted, rotate the trunk toward the target simulating the body position at the finish of a golf swing.

Piston Drill

  • Without a club, take your address position and let your arms hang touching the legs.
  • As you make a backswing turn, your right arm should pull up and slide along the right side of your body, while your left hand is on your left knee like a piston pumping.
  • As you move forward, your right arm slides down your leg, and your left arm pulls and slides up your left leg.
Lesson 5: The Swing Start
5 Lesson 5: The Swing Start
  • Using core muscles to start
  • The position of the arms
  • The checkpoint: Hands in, club out
  • The split-hands drill to learn swing start

The David Leadbetter Essentials

5  of  6

Lesson 5: The Swing Start

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW

A lot of amateur golfers have problems at the start of the swing, which leads to problems with the overall motion. In this video, David Leadbetter simplifies this basic technique, emphasizing how a good start leads to an overall good swing.

SWING THOUGHTS

To start the swing, don’t “take” the club back; “move” it back
Use the core muscles to start the swing
As you move the club back, make sure the clubhead stays closer to the target line than the hands
Keep the right arm on top of the left in the takeaway

DRILLS

Split Hands

  • Grab the club with the hands separated on the grip by a few inches.
  • As you swing back, keep the right arm higher than the left.
  • The club should feel as if it’s making a wide path away from the ball.

Push the Ball

  • Place a ball seven or eight inches behind the ball you’ll be hitting, just inside the target line.
  • Make a backswing trying to push the trailing ball away from the target.
  • Continue the swing, eventually building to where you hit the other ball.
Lesson 6: The Swing Shape
6 Lesson 6: The Swing Shape
  • Understanding swing plane
  • How the backswing dictates the downswing
  • Lead's secret to curing a slice
  • The first move down

The David Leadbetter Essentials

6  of  6

Lesson 6: The Swing Shape

video breakdown

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OVERVIEW SWING THOUGHTS DRILLS

OVERVIEW

There are many ways to swing the club effectively. The look of the backswing and downswing changes from player to player. But if you want the simplest way to make a swing you can repeat, one that rids you of slices, follow David Leadbetter’s advice in this video.

SWING THOUGHTS

Make a backswing that’s more upright
Swing down with the feel that the shaft is laying down
Return the club at impact to the plane it was on at address

DRILLS

Baseball Swing

  • Grab a club and stand tall, like you were waiting on a pitch.
  • Make a swing back and through, keeping the shaft roughly parallel to the ground.
  • Feel how the club moves around the body and comes from inside the target line.
  • Sole the club and apply that same rotary-swing feel when hitting a golf ball.

The David Leadbetter Essentials

Lesson
1 / 6
Lesson 1: Getting Started
2 / 6
Lesson 2: The Grip
3 / 6
Lesson 3: Posture
4 / 6
Lesson 4: The Pivot
5 / 6
Lesson 5: The Swing Start
6 / 6
Lesson 6: The Swing Shape
The David Leadbetter Essentials INDEX
Lesson 1: Getting Started
1/6
Lesson 1: Getting Started
  • Why you struggle with consistency
  • How to keep concepts simple
  • The 3 components to the swing: setup, pivot, swing
  • Why you struggle with consistency
  • How to keep concepts simple
  • The 3 components to the swing: setup, pivot, swing
Lesson 2: The Grip
2/6
Lesson 2: The Grip
  • Why the vast majority of golfers have a bad grip
  • How your left hand should hold the club
  • Key indicators you're gripping it correctly
  • Why the vast majority of golfers have a bad grip
  • How your left hand should hold the club
  • Key indicators you're gripping it correctly
Lesson 3: Posture
3/6
Lesson 3: Posture
  • How to address the ball
  • Why ball position matters
  • Improving alignment
  • Lead's checkpoint drill for posture
  • How to address the ball
  • Why ball position matters
  • Improving alignment
  • Lead's checkpoint drill for posture
Lesson 4: The Pivot
4/6
Lesson 4: The Pivot
  • How the body should move when you swing
  • The analogy: The dog wags the tail
  • Shifting weight correctly
  • Using the pivot to control the arms and club
  • How the body should move when you swing
  • The analogy: The dog wags the tail
  • Shifting weight correctly
  • Using the pivot to control the arms and club
Lesson 5: The Swing Start
5/6
Lesson 5: The Swing Start
  • Using core muscles to start
  • The position of the arms
  • The checkpoint: Hands in, club out
  • The split-hands drill to learn swing start
  • Using core muscles to start
  • The position of the arms
  • The checkpoint: Hands in, club out
  • The split-hands drill to learn swing start
Lesson 6: The Swing Shape
6/6
Lesson 6: The Swing Shape
  • Understanding swing plane
  • How the backswing dictates the downswing
  • Lead's secret to curing a slice
  • The first move down
  • Understanding swing plane
  • How the backswing dictates the downswing
  • Lead's secret to curing a slice
  • The first move down