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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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Me and My Golf: The difference between long and short irons

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Long irons vs. short irons. In this week’s Impact Show, we discuss the differences between long irons and short irons. We talk through the different ball positions, postures, and techniques for both irons and give you some golfing drills to help you differentiate both irons!

 

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Walters: Avoid these 3 big chipping mistakes!

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Chipping causes nightmares for so many amateur golfers. This s mainly due to three core mistakes. In this video, I talk about what those mistakes are, and, more importantly, how to avoid them.

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The Wedge Guy: The importance of a pre-shot routine

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I believe one of the big differences between better recreational golfers and those not so good—and also between the tour professionals and those that can’t quite “get there”—is the consistency of their pre-shot routines. It is really easy to dismiss something that happens before the ball is even struck as irrelevant, but I strongly urge you to reconsider if you think this way.

To have a set routine to follow religiously before every shot gives you the best chance to execute the shot the way you intend. To do otherwise just leaves too much to chance. Indulge me here and I’ll offer you some proof.

It’s been a while back now, but I still remember an interesting account on this subject that used the final round of the 1996 Masters—when Nick Faldo passed a collapsing Norman—as his statistical proof. This particular analyst reviewed the entire telecast of that final round and timed the routine of both players for every shot. What he discovered was that Norman got quicker and less consistent in his pre-shot routine throughout his round, while Faldo maintained his same, methodical approach to every shot, not varying by more than a second or so. I think that is pretty insightful stuff.

A lot of time has passed since then, but all competitive tour professionals pay very close attention to their pre-shot routines these days. I urge you to watch them as they go through the motions before each shot. And notice that most of them “start over” if they get distracted during that process.

While I do not think it is practical for recreational golfers to go into such laborious detail for every shot, let me offer some suggestions as to how a repeatable pre-shot routine should work.

The first thing is to get a good feel for the shot, and by that, I mean a very clear picture in your mind of how it will fly, land and roll; I also think it’s realistic to have a different routine for full shots, chips and pitches and putts. They are all very different challenges, of course, and as you get closer to the hole, your focus needs to be more on the feel of the shot than the mechanics of the swing, in my opinion.

To begin, I think the best starting point is from behind the ball, setting up in your “mind’s eye” the film-clip of the shot you are about to hit. See the flight and path it will take. As you do this, you might waggle the club back and forth to get a feel of the club in your hands and “feel” the swing that will produce that shot path for you. Your exact routine can start when you see that shot clearly, and begin your approach the ball to execute the shot. From that “trigger point”, you should do the exact same things, at the exact same pace, each and every time.

For me (if I’m “on”), I’ll step from that behind-the-shot position, and set the club behind the ball to get my alignment. Then I step into my stance and ball position, not looking at the target, but being precise not to change the alignment of the clubhead–I’m setting my body up to that established reference. Once set, I take a look at the target to ensure that I feel aligned properly, and take my grip on the club. Then I do a mental check of grip pressure, hover the club off the ground a bit to ensure it stays light, and then start my backswing, with my only swing thought being to feel the end of the backswing.

That’s when I’m “on,” of course. But as a recreational player, I know that the vast majority of my worst shots and rounds happen when I depart from that routine.

This is something that you can and should work on at the range. Don’t just practice your swing, but how you approach each shot. Heck, you can even do that at home in your backyard. So, guys and ladies, there’s my $0.02 on the pre-shot routine. What do you have to add?

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