Lesson TeeJune 10, 2013

Think Shoulder Turn To Improve Your Backswing

DO THIS... (ABOVE LEFT)

That's a great key with the driver, because it shifts your weight to your back foot, which sets up a powerful move through impact. A good turn also helps keep the backswing wide, with your hands stretched out and away from your head at the top. Golfers always ask, "Am I getting the club back far enough?" Forget that. The purpose of the backswing is to get in position to hit the ball. So turn behind it, and push those hands out.

NOT THIS.. (ABOVE RIGHT)

Don't try to swing your hands high. People talk about Davis Love III and Bubba Watson: how high their hands get at the top. I say, look at how much they turn their shoulders! If you try for high hands, you'll tend to lift the club and drive your left shoulder down, with your weight stuck on your front foot. That's a weak position to hit from. Instead, extend your hands away from your body going back, and you'll have more power coming down.

BUTCH'S BASICS

Good players can get into a rut of hitting big blocks off the tee. The typical cause is the lower body spinning open too soon on the downswing, which makes the club come into impact so far from the inside that all you can do is hit it dead right. A quick fix is to set up in a very closed stance (right). This restricts how much the hips can turn toward the target, so it's easier to swing the club past your body through the shot. When the club releases like that, you'll hit the ball from right to left—and beat the blocks.

BUTCH HARMON, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf, at Rio Secco Golf Club, Henderson, Nev.**