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Drills for better balance (and more hit fairways)

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Charles Howell III swings with great balance, and not only is he one of the best ball strikers on the PGA Tour. He’s also one of the longest drivers of the ball on Tour. 

The greatest drivers of the golf ball all had one thing in common. They hit more fairways in regulation than their peers, and they all had one common denominator: balance.

Golfers with poor balance lose control of not only their drives, but the rest of their shots as well. Balance is the key to control in all sports, and in golf it is paramount. If you want to hit more fairways and gain more distance, the first thing you want to work on is creating a balanced swing. That means starting with a balanced setup and staying in control as your weight moves from heel to toe and side to side.

Many players swing harder with their drive because they want to get more out of it and hit the ball as far as they can. This is fine if you can hold a balanced finish until the ball lands. If not, you are giving up control in an effort to gain distance. Here are a few drills that can help you with your balance and create understanding of how hard you can swing and still stay in control.

Balance Drills

First, set up with your driver and get up on the toe of your back foot and hit balls. Swinging on one foot will help you find your balance quickly and you begin to feel how hard you can swing without falling over. Next, place your feet together and hit balls. Again, you will feel how hard you can swing without losing your balance. You will also feel a solid turn with your feet together because it restricts your lower body. Hit some balls this way then move into your normal stance and see how much easier it is to swing in balance.

Use both of these drills to find out how hard you can swing and still stay in control. Most players feel like 80 percent is the max that they can go at the ball and still stay in balance and control.

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Bernard Sheridan is the owner and founder of Par Breakers Golf Academy and Indoor driving range located in Golf USA Limerick, Pennsylvania. Bernard is a certified in the following golf instruction methods: Golf Channel Swing Fix Instructor and Impact Zone , Putting Zone, Body Balance Fitness, U.S. Kids Golf, Eye Line Golf 4 Elements putting and certified Mizuno Club fitter. Bernard is now in process of acquiring his biomechanics golf certification. Bernard is also the founder of Par Breakers Junior Golf Camps and that was voted Best Golf Camp in the Philadelphia area by Main Line Life magazine in 2008 along with Best Golf teachers Honorable mention by U.S. Kids Golf 2009-10. Find out more at http://www.parbreakers.com

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Curt

    May 1, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Couple of great drills there, need to go back to them this year!

  2. Roger

    May 1, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Bernard, Balance is the key!
    20 years ago my Coach started me at 40% effort and then 50%
    and so on up to around 75% effort.
    It’s a great way to swing easy and find what works real well.
    Many 60% swings are Real Good ! With a Great Centre Impact
    on the club being the other Key Point !
    Cheers, Roger

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Instruction

The value of video

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In the age of radar and 3-D measuring systems, video analysis has somewhat taken a backseat. I think that’s unfortunate for a few reasons. First of all, video is still a great assist to learning, and secondly, it is readily available and it can be accessed continually.

Of course, it has limitations, that is a given. It is ultimately a 2-D image of a three-dimensional motion. The camera cannot detect true path, see plane, and can be misleading if not positioned properly. That said, I still use it on every lesson, because, in my experience, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Things like posture, ball position, and aim can all be seen clearly when the camera is positioned exactly as it should be. In swing observations such as maintenance of posture, club angles, arms in relation to body, over the top, under, early release can all be a great help to any student.

But the real value is in the “feel versus real” area! None of us, from professional to beginner, can know what we are actually doing. The very first reaction I get upon viewing, is “wow, I’m doing that?” Yes, you are. You did NOT pick up your head as you thought you were doing, you ARE lifting well out of your posture, you are NOT coming “over the top”, your aim is well left of where you think you’re aiming, your club is pointing well right of your aim point at the top of the swing, your transition is excessively steep, your lead arm is very bent at impact, the clubhead is past your hands, your wrists are cupped or bowed and on and on!

Some of these positions may be a problem; some may be irrelevant. It’s all about impact, and how you’re getting there that matters. The chicken wing that is causing you to top the ball may very well be the result of a very early release, or a steep transition, or too much waist bend etc. The weight hanging back on the rear leg may be the result of the club so far across the line at the top, and so on.

I never evaluate video without knowledge of ball flight or impact. If one were to observe a less-than-conventional swing, perhaps a Jim Furyk, with knowing how he put matching components together, it might seem like a problem area. Great players have matching components, lesser players do not! IMPACT is king!

I have a video analysis program, as I’m sure your instructor, or someone in your area, does as well. It can only help to take a good, close slow motion look at what is actually happening in your swing.  It takes very little time, and the results can be massively beneficial to your golf swing.

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Davies: How control the right hand at impact

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Alistair Davies shows you how to work the right hand correctly through the hitting zone with a great drill and concept.

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Shawn Clement: Dealing with injuries in your golf swing, lead side.

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Happy Father’s Day weekend and U.S. Open weekend at none other than Pebble Beach weekend! Whoa, cannot wait to see the golf action today!

In this video, we talk about how to deal with hip, knee and ankle injuries to your lead side as this one is PIVOTAL (pardon the pun) to the success of any kinetic chain in a human. This kinetic chain is a golf swing. Now, what most of you don’t get is that you were born with action; like a dolphin was born to swim. Just watch 2-year-olds swinging a club! You wish you had that swing and guess what, it is in there. But you keep hiding it trying to hit the ball and being careful to manipulate the club into positions that are absolutely, positively sure to snuff out this action.

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