5-Minute Clinic: Don't Fall For These Swing Misconceptions
Golf instruction is filled with incomplete, not-quite-right, out-of-date or flat-out-bad advice. The game is hard enough without following cliched or incorrect instruction, whether it's well intentioned or not. Here I'm going to expose the most common of these misconceptions from the putter to the driver and replace them with tips and swing thoughts that you can incorporate in less time than it will take you to read this article. That will get you going down the right road, instead of going around and around in circles. —With Matthew Rudy
1) A CONSISTENT STROKE
Anchor your putting feel
You can't anchor the putter to your body anymore, which worked because it kept people from a major mistake: shoving the handle toward the target. But you can still use the concept to practice a pendulum feel. Choke down on the club, stick it in your gut and make strokes (above). Use this feel when you go back to your regular grip. The ball will roll, not hop, and the logo line on the ball will track straight.
2) CRISPER CHIPS AND PITCHES
Don't be afraid to lift your head
"Keep your head down" might be the worst swing advice ever. Staying down and keeping the body quiet on a pitch leads to an arms-only swing and trouble controlling contact (below, left). Instead, feel as if you're getting taller through impact as you keep turning (below, right). It'll help you use the bounce and control the swing's low point.
“Players turn into pretzels as they try to steer the club into the ball.”
3) THE RELEASE
Untie your downswing
Lag and release are two of the most misunderstood terms in golf. Players turn into pretzels as they try to steer the club in the downswing, plus they waste a ton of clubhead speed.
Put that out of your head and think of two simple things as you swing down and through. Swing your hands in front of your right thigh (above), then feel like you're pulling the end of the grip off with your left hand as your right hand moves under (below).
Do that, along with an aggressive body rotation, and you'll achieve the ideal lag and release for increased clubhead speed and a better impact position.
4) CLUBHEAD SPEED
Find your driver freedom
Every time a tour pro says he's making sure his swing stays connected, another 20-handicapper loses 20 yards off the tee. When you keep your upper arms locked to your sides (below, left), you make your backswing shorter and prevent the club from getting behind you. That's a template for an over-the-top slice. Let your right arm move freely, until it gets at least as high as your left shoulder (below, right). You'll have more time to produce speed, and your hands will come down on a better path.
Shaun Webb, one of Golf Digest's Best Young Teachers, is based at the David Toms Academy 265 in Shreveport, La.