February 24, 2009

Heels Up For Solid Contact

Optimum angle of attack starts with a correct setup

IRON DRILL (top): Practice hitting irons with your right heel up at address and your left heel down. Keep them that way through impact. DRIVER DRILL (bottom): Practice hitting drivers with your left heel up at address and your right heel down. Stay that way through impact.

Years ago in the Golf Digest Schools, Bob Toski showed me a way to teach students how the weight distribution was distinctly different between the irons and the driver, dictated by the fact that the ball is on the ground for irons versus on a tee for the driver.

Bob, who advocated active feet throughout the swing, gave students the left-foot/right-toe drill for irons (the right foot up on its toe) and the right-foot/left-toe drill for the driver.

These drills put your body in the best position for swinging the club on the correct angle of approach to make solid contact. They also give you a feeling for how your eyes should look at the ball: With irons, look at the front of the ball; with the driver, look at the back. On the range, do each drill five times between regular swings.

FLICK'S WORDS OF WISDOM

Spin is huge in many sports, but it's paramount in golf. Hale Irwin told me that he always watched how his ball bounced after it hit the ground because that gave him an indication of the ball's spin. It was more feedback than simply watching the ball in flight. If his drives bounced a little left upon landing, he was probably imparting a slight bit of hook spin, and vice versa. Sam Snead told me something similar: He paid close attention to how his shots landed and rolled, especially on the range.

JIM FLICK, a longtime Golf Digest Teaching Professional and PGA Golf Professional Hall of Famer, worked with hundreds of amateurs and tour players including Jack Nicklaus.


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