May 3, 2009

Think Of Freddie's Path

To stop coming over the top

Out Then In Fred Couples' downswing path (orange) is well inside his backswing path (yellow). This image can help the over-the-top swinger.

Out Then In

Fred Couples' downswing path (orange) is well inside his backswing path (yellow). This image can help the over-the-top swinger.

If you've aimed correctly but your shots start left, you're probably "coming over the top" on the downswing. What causes this? You likely start back by overusing your shoulders, causing the club to go sharply inside the target line. Starting down, you fire your right shoulder too soon, causing your arms and clubhead to come down on an outside-in path. If the face is square at impact, you'll pull the shot; if it's open, you'll slice it.

Here's an image I give to my visual-learner pupils: Think of Freddie Couples' swing. This image works for two reasons:

(1) It helps you feel your hands and arms swing the club straight back and up, not to the inside. This puts you in a solid position at the top so your arms can drop down on an inside path, your right shoulder staying quiet. Swinging down from the inside promotes releasing the club and closing the face at impact for a better compression of the ball.

(2) Imitating Couples' rhythm also helps those who get too quick starting down -- another cause of the over-the-top. Fred's transition looks almost lazy. He builds speed through impact, not before, a secret to his distance.

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.