Start Your Swing At Impact

April 22, 2012

About seven months before Lee Janzen won the 1993 U.S. Open at Baltusrol, I gave him a drill to help improve his iron play. At the time, Lee had a bad habit of sliding toward the target with his hips and then falling back slightly as the club came down. He would try to save the shot with his hands but wound up hitting some hooks and blocks.

Even if you already shift your weight correctly, I think this drill will help you make solid contact more consistently.

I told Lee to simulate a good impact position, and then follow through to the finish. I wanted him first to pose as if his swing were frozen at impact. The shaft would be leaning toward the target (1). His left leg would be firm (2). He would have his weight off his right foot (3). And he would feel as if his body were directly over the ball (4). He would then swing from this point into a complete finish position.

Lee began rehearsing this impact-to-finish move before he hit shots. It didn't take long until his ball-striking got so good, he won his first of two majors.

I'd like you to follow his example. Instead of making your normal practice swing, get into a good impact position like you see here. From this point, finish the swing. Then relax and do it again. Remember how it felt each time, and then when you hit shots try to re-create that feeling. You can even do this as part of your pre-shot routine. Simulate. Simulate. Then go.

Rick Smith, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, is based at Treetops Resort, in Gaylord, Mich., and Tiburón, in Naples, Fla.