Shape Shots By Rehearsing Your Finish
There's a well-established principle in learning called reverse chaining that can be applied to improving your golf swing—especially if your goal is to curve the ball or alter its trajectory. The concept is that if you know the type of finish position your body and club should be in to create a certain ball flight, your mind intuitively adapts, so your body and club know how to move to reach that destination. In other words, the downswing and through-swing happen simply as a result of trying to get into the proper finish position. Reverse chaining allows you to swing with an uncluttered mind and fearless execution. Here I'll teach you the elements of a good finish for a draw, fade and a knockdown. Pose these positions first, then make practice swings without a ball trying to re-create them. Finally, hit shots with your only swing thought being to finish properly. If you can learn how to end these three swings, the rest of the action will feel like it just happens without any further thought. —With Ron Kaspriske
1.) DRAWS: THINK "HIGH C"
For a right-hander to curve the ball on target with a right-to-left ball flight, mimic this "high C" finish position (above). Notice how my spine is bent away from the target. That creates the shape of a backward letter C. Also notice how my hands finish high above my body and the club is tracing down my back. It's much more of a wraparound finish than for a fade swing.
2.) KNOCKDOWNS: STOP THE CLUB SHORT
To lower your ball flight and hit a more controlled shot, your finish will have a truncated look. Notice how my club and arms are in front of my body and the shaft is upright (below). As you finish, feel like the back of your left wrist is still flexed a little, like you're about to fling a Frisbee. It will feel like you've stopped the club from continuing around your body.
3.) FADES: GO LOW AND LEFT
To curve the ball on target with a left-to-right ball flight, your hands and arms need to finish low and left, having moved across your body (below). Notice the club's shaft finishes in a position roughly parallel to the ground, much different than a draw. The other thing to point out is how much my upper body has rotated. My chest is pointing well left of the target. In other words, my upper body kept rotating long after I struck the ball.
Cameron McCormick is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional. Based in Dallas, he has been Jordan Spieth's instructor for more than a decade.