Breaking 100July 7, 2011

Batter Up! Swing Around Your Body

One of the common faults of high-handicappers is a steep downswing that digs deep divots pointing left of the target (for right-handed golfers). These players are often told to take the club back straighter, but that only makes the swing plane more vertical.

Here's a good remedy: Rehearse a baseball or T-ball swing, keeping the shaft as parallel to the ground as possible and below your shoulders as you go back and through (right). Get a feel for this extremely flat plane. Because golf is played from side-on, and not croquet-style, the club has to go around the body. This move is exaggerated, which should help you transfer the around-the-body feeling to your real swing.

Cooke

PITCH WITH YOUR WEIGHT FORWARD

The chunked pitch often occurs when a player shifts weight to the back foot and never shifts it forward; this positions the low point of the swing behind the ball. Remember this: In pitching, you want to set and keep your weight on your front side. At address, lean your entire body, not just your lower body, slightly toward the target.

As far as a practice swing, it's a good idea to start with 80 percent of your weight on your front foot. In fact, lean your back foot inward so the heel is just off the ground (right). Then, as you make practice swings, maintain the heel in that position. This will keep any significant weight off your back foot. While rehearsing the pitching motion, think about the pressure you're putting into the ground with your front foot; make sure it remains constant as you swing.

MENTAL NOTES

When you get to your ball, the first thing you should do is find your yardage and pick a club. It helps to know how far you hit each club on average -- not on your career shot. It's important that you commit to whatever club you pull. Make a good choice, and get into the habit of not second-guessing it.

--Dr. Bob Rotella