Effective golf swings compress the ball on the clubface at impact then the ball rebounds off the face into flight. I demonstrate and prove this during all my instructional entertainment demonstrations blasting golf balls through pieces of wood. The ball flattens like a pancake, and goes off like a bullet. The golf ball elongates by the time the golf ball goes through the wood making it impossible for a golf ball to be pushed through the hole the blasted ball made.
Here’s a simple thought that we would benefit from for exerting effective force into the ball… The clubhead must not pass the hands prior to impact. The head should be behind the grip as it comes through the hitting area. If the club’s weight (the head) gets in front of your hands prior to impact, the club begins to decelerate, making it difficult to keep the clubhead stable and on-plane. Consequently, you lose the ability to compress the ball.
There are four points of pressure that help keep the clubhead behind the hands and on-plane during the down swing. These 4 points can be obtained at the address position so that when the swing is in motion you do not have to even think about them.
They are: 1) the last three fingers of the top hand 2) the right forefinger 3) the bottom hand wrist, and 4) the upper chest and lead arm. During the swing, pressure is loaded onto these four points; then the swing transports the weight of the club behind these same points. If the clubhead passes any of these points of pressure prior to impact, both your distance and accuracy suffer.
1. SQUEEZE WITH LAST THREE FINGERS
THE LAST THREE FINGERS of the top hand and the middle two fingers of the bottom hand exert force on the shaft. The other fingers should gently feel the club. When placing your top hand on the golf club, pull up on the shaft with the last three fingers, and then place your thumb and forefinger on the club: Do not push down on the grip with the top of your left hand. Pressure from these three fingers supports the left wrist hinge during the backswing and the unhinge through impact, allowing the clubhead to release effectively to apply maximum force. Most people, when I test their grip pressure, are squeezing the golf club with the thumbs and when you do this it does not allow the wrist to hinge causing a restrictive motion.
2. BOTTOM HAND FOREFINGER PRESSURE
HERE’S AN IMPORTANT POINT: Nearly every bad shot in golf results from the shaft coming off the bottom hand forefinger before impact. When this occurs, it’s all but impossible to control the clubhead. As you address the ball, you should feel very little pressure on your bottom hand forefinger. However, as you start your swing, the weight of the club puts pressure onto your forefinger. This pressure must be sustained throughout the downswing, with the forefinger staying in front of the clubhead. To help maintain this pressure through impact, when taking your grip extend the forefinger down the shaft.
3. BENT BOTTOM HAND WRIST
AT IMPACT, THE FORWARD leaning shaft and clubhead exert force into the ball. When the bottom wrist is bent back, pressure is applied to the lead arm and shaft as the clubhead approaches impact. If the clubhead weight passes the hands prematurely, the bottom hand wrist straightens, slowing down the clubhead. To ingrain the correct feeling of the bent bottom hand wrist, sprinkle some grass on your left thumb and take your grip. Make some short pitching-length swings. If the right wrist stays bent, force is sustained during the downswing and the grass will remain in place.
4. LEAD ARM AGAINST CHEST
AT IMPACT, THE SHAFT forms a straight line with the lead arm. The lead arm is resting against the upper lead chest with the body behind the arm, this supports the club and helps apply force down into the ball. If the clubhead gets ahead of the lead chest, or the left arm separates from the body, the club moves off-plane. Learn to keep the left arm and chest together by making practice swings with a headcover under your lead upper-arm (Vijay Singh is famous for hitting hours of golf balls on the range doing this drill). In a good swing, the headcover remains in place. If the headcover falls out, you have not sustained enough pressure through impact.
These are 4 key points that can take place at your address position are critical for a faster clubhead speed through the impact area and to maximize your distance for all shots.
By: Todd Keirstead
For anyone interested in contacting Todd for private golf lessons or corporate outings email him at firstname.lastname@example.org