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A Simple Drill to Help Strike the Ball Solid

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The hip-height-to-hip-height swing drill has helped many golfers achieve solid contact in a very short amount of time. In this article, I’m going to explain why you should practice this simple motion and how to do it to see your ball striking improve.

Doing this simple hip-height-to-hip-height swing motion can help you learn the tempo of your swing while improving many other aspects of your swing simultaneously.

Gaining control and developing confidence in your short swing is an excellent way to improve and imperative if you want to decrease your score. My instructional preference is to encourage the beginner or struggling golfer to practice brushing the ground in the same place every time, which develops control and fluency.

Set upMPA TOP fundamental in golf is being able to brush the ground in the same place every time. Gaining control over this shorter motion will build a huge amount of confidence into your golf game. It is also just as important as the more often practiced full swing.

The hip-height-to-hip-height golf swing helps golfers attack different aspects of their game with more assurance. Better balance, weight distribution, setup, grip and just getting comfortable over the golf ball are just a few of the benefits in making this motion correctly (stay tuned for tips and videos on those aspects of the game). It’s a necessary part of your game to focus on.

BSMPFT1What’s awesome about mastering this type of motion is that it lends itself to making a good full swing for longer shots. In fact, beginning golfers progress swiftly in this drill because they are typically relaxed. They often begin with little grip pressure and tension, so their swing automatically becomes longer after practicing the hip-to-hip swing.

BSFTThe hip-height-to-hip-height motion also allows you to effectively move the bottom of your golf swing forward and sweep the ball off the ground. Doing the drill, you will feel the weight of the golf club and get used to controlling the face and path on your shorter shots.

WingThe picture above is usually the “before picture” with many of my students, and the picture below is the “after.” This simple drill will get you hitting the ball solid every time!

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Jess Frank is a PGA Teaching Professional at Deer Creek Golf Club in Deerfield Beach, Florida. He's owner of the Jess Frank Golf Academy, and his passion is to help golfers play better and have more fun on the course. Students have described his instruction style as non-intimidating, friendly and easy to understand. Jess works with every level of golfer, and his lesson tee includes complete beginners and high-level golfers. Playing lessons are also a very important part of his lesson program. His greatest joy is seeing his students smile and get excited about playing golf! Please feel free to email him at pgapro@jessfrankgolf.com or contact him directly at 561-213-8579.

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Bert

    Sep 3, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Nice well-written article, I used to practice this way and have become lazy in my old age. I intend to restart this routine slowly and make it a habit again.

  2. Doug Ferreri

    Sep 2, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Nice rendition of what Paul Bertholy, PGA taught me in 1980

  3. HeineyLite

    Sep 1, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Wow, a bunch of arm chair golf instructors!!!! Mr. Frank is only giving his opinion on what he thinks is a great drill. Leave it at that, try it, and if you don’t like it stop. Modern golf is here and we should all learn from it… Plus Mr. Frank is a professional… WELL DONE JF…

  4. Andrew Cooper

    Aug 31, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Good article and a great drill for all golfers. Its really effective because of its simplicity. Its amazing that some can’t take this drill without throwing in talk of power levers, zero spine bend, P3, P4, stacked etc.
    Just swing the club back and through and aim to brush the ground in a consistent spot. Your body will figure it out. Don’t try to throw your weight around or keep it rooted in one spot, don’t try to hinge your wrists or keep them stiff. Just swing the weight of the club back and through and let your body support and coordinate itself with the swinging motion. As the author says, get a feel for the weight of the club and develop control over the face and path and you can’t go wrong with this.

    • 4right

      Sep 1, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      When you go thru a session with an instructor that uses technology especially “Gears” you have those terms. That is modern golf and that is what most tour pros are doing. Try it sometime.

    • Dan

      Sep 22, 2017 at 5:57 pm

      Very well said, Andrew – I can’t agree enough. I have been fortunate enough to play golf since I was 5. I’m an engineer in life, but I’ve always enjoyed myself more on the golf course, and been more successful, when I don’t get too technical. Maybe it has it’s place for those trying to tour for a living, but not for the rest of us.
      Jess, thanks so much for a well written explanation of a simple, but important drill. One that I have forgotten by middle age, but will definitely benefit myself and my kids, whom I’m trying to get into the game.

  5. Skip

    Aug 31, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    That “before” pic though LOL. C’mon, nobody swings like that. Even a rank beginner wouldn’t be swinging with the hands connected to the chest.

  6. Mike

    Aug 30, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Thank you will try it tomorrow 🙂

  7. Billy

    Aug 30, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Great drill, Jess, but should you practice it with all the clubs from wedge to driver but only clipping the rubber range tee with the driver? Or should you stick to the shorter irons?
    Which club do you start with for beginners; the heavy wedge or the lighter 7-iron?
    Also, how often should beginners practice this drill each day and how many repetitions for muscle memory and confidence to take hold? Thanks.

    • Jess Frank

      Aug 31, 2017 at 7:32 am

      Hey Billy! Thanks for your note! I like to use a pitching wedge with beginner golfers off of a tee to produce solid contact and confidence. Yes, you can use any club but I recommend 7 iron to wedge to see the flight of the golf ball. You can practice this drill every day for the rest of your golfing life:)

      • AV

        Aug 31, 2017 at 11:19 am

        In my observations, ‘golfer’ and ‘practice’ is an oxymoron. Attempting to ‘practice’ with an inadequate body is not only frustrating it’s self-defeating. So the ‘golfer’ just hits a bucket of balls on the range and is ‘ready’ to conquer the golf course.
        Only serious and committed golfer train and practice because they know their game needs constant maintenance. Very few take an athletic approach to golf and are just satisfied having ‘fun’.

        • chipin

          Aug 31, 2017 at 5:43 pm

          sooooo obvious, You are being a fool!

        • Boss

          Sep 1, 2017 at 3:33 am

          Must be fun to lose so many balls every round, eh AV? Is it really that fun to lose that many balls?

  8. Bill

    Aug 30, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Great drill explained well. The other name for this drill is the 9 to 3 drill. Great for warming up after a bit of a layoff. And the drill as mentioned always progresses to a longer swing perfect for all irons.

  9. Oppai

    Aug 30, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Yeah but you’re stacked. Try doing that without stacking your left side and then tell us how the striking is for your students. I bet they don’t have enough coordination for this drill without keeping both their feet down, so how is that going to help with the whole swing? It’s only going to hurt their bodies

    • Rors

      Aug 30, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      Being stacked is the best way in not hurting your body. The more the spine extends in the backswing, the power levers remain constant… Thus the spine has less rotational drag moving back and forth. Read the “golfing machine” by Homer Kelley…

      • SportsMed

        Aug 30, 2017 at 2:25 pm

        Very well put Rors’… Your spine at address in forward bend shouldn’t stay there at P3 or P4. The spine should go to zero at the point. Extension… This drill is very simple and should be very easy even for a novice player… Great drill Mr. Frank

        • Jess Frank

          Aug 30, 2017 at 8:37 pm

          Thank you very much SportsMed and Rors! Is this the real Rory McIlroy:)) Sports med I have always loved this drill for almost 20 years of teaching golf:)) Happy to share it with the Golfwrx world:) All levels of players get great results:)

      • LoBlo

        Aug 31, 2017 at 12:07 pm

        Yeah until their ribs hurt, the back hurts, the ankle hurts, and can’t hit their driver, and they all end up quitting stack like the entire Tour. Brilliant.

        • HiRoad

          Sep 1, 2017 at 12:12 pm

          I guess you’ve never seen a video from athletic motion golf. A vast majority of touring professionals are stacked… Even back in Hogans day…

          • LoBlo

            Sep 2, 2017 at 3:40 am

            But we don’t recall them as legends. Name some, if you would, please

        • Frankie

          Sep 2, 2017 at 4:52 pm

          I wish I could provide you with 3D evidence to prove you so wrong, the average PGA Tour player at the top has their pelvis tilt 10 degrees TOWARDS the target (meaning right hip is higher than left hip) at the top of the backswing along with their thorax side tilt 35-40 degrees toward the target as well. These actions can’t happen without extension, the thorax bend at address actually goes to nearly 0, meaning almost vertical and the pelvis bend goes from 20 to 10-15 at the top of the backswing. I have a K-Vest 3D and the numbers are there, it is impossible to maintain thorax and pelvis bend and have 0 side tilt in the backswing, the head goes so far back and down, literally behind the back foot and chest level from address at the top. But as always, you will just refute clear evidence and stick to your own completely made-up beliefs with no evidence

    • RonaldRump

      Aug 30, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      Hence the point of the drill!!! If you set your weight into the right side you’re not making a functional swing…

    • Jess Frank

      Aug 30, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      Thanks for your comments Oppai! I really appreciate the feedback! Students get better and gain confidence quickly in my experience on the lesson tee. In fact, just had a student struggling big time and used this drill and they started to hit a high draw. May not apply to everyone but I know it works!:) Thanks again!

      • stephenf

        Aug 31, 2017 at 11:04 am

        I have yet to see a student who wasn’t helped by this drill, and most are helped a _lot_. As for being “stacked,” we need to quit being locked into modern-era jargon. If you’re making a part swing like this, there’s not a lot of body movement anyway. And drills don’t necessarily mimic, and aren’t obligated to mimic, every movement in a full-effort swing.

        Bottom line, it’s a helluva good drill, no question.

      • AV

        Aug 31, 2017 at 11:22 am

        You gotta crawl before you can walk, and talk, like a true golfer. Every good golfer has suffered immensely to achieve his game. True?!

      • chipin

        Aug 31, 2017 at 5:42 pm

        Soooo Obvious you have no idea what you are talking about!

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Instruction

Trackman Tuesday (Episode 2): Driver Loft

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Welcome to Episode 2 of Trackman Tuesday. In this weekly series, I will be using Trackman data to help you understand the game of golf in a little more detail and help you hit better shots and play better golf.

In this week’s episode, I look at driver loft. What effect does driver loft have on your shots and how important is it, really?

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How Far Away from the Ball Should You Be at Address?

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How far away from the ball should you be at address? This video is in response to a question from Tom McCord on Facebook.

In this video, I look at the setup position. I offer a simple way to check your distance from the ball at address with your driver, irons and wedges.

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Tour Pros Revealed: 3 Tests to See How You Stack Up

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You want to be better at golf, more consistent and longer off the tee. I am sure a lot of you would love to stop hurting. You would like these things with minimal work, if possible. You also want them yesterday. That about sum it up?

In the next 5 minutes, you’ll learn about the one thing that solves these problems for good. Before we dive in, though, I want to tee up three stats for you from my research.

  1. PGA Tour players can jump between 18-22 inches off the ground while LPGA Tour players can jump between 16-20 inches off the ground. Long drive competitors can often leap 30+ inches off the ground!
  2. Elite-level golfers who drive the ball 300+ yards can shot put a 6-pound ball more than 30 feet with less than a 5-percent difference in right-handed to left-handed throws.
  3. Elite golfers in the world can hurl a medicine ball with a seated chest pass just as far in feet as they can jump in inches (ie. a 20-inch vertical leap and a 20-foot seated chest pass).

What do these numbers have to do with you and your game? More importantly, what do these stats have to do with solving your problems? Let’s start by telling you what the solution is.   

Objective Assessment and Intelligent Exercise Prescription

Say that three times fast. It’s a mouth full… But seriously, read it two more times and think about what that means.

It means that before you act on anything to improve your health or your game, you need to objectively assess what the problem is and get to the root cause. You should use quality objective data to arrive at intelligent health and golf improvement decisions based on the long-term likelihood that they will be successful. We can’t just select exercises, swing changes or training aids based on what is hot in the market today or what the latest celebrity was paid big bucks to sell to us.

There is a reason why the infomercials you see today on Golf Channel will be different in 2 months. The same gimmicks run out of steam when enough people realize that is what they are… gimmicks. When looking to achieve your goals of playing better golf and/or having less pain, don’t just grab for the quick fix as so many golfers today do. 

We are in the information age. Information from quality data is power. Using this data intelligently, you can fix problems in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost. Hopefully, I am giving you the power to make a meaningful and lasting change in your game. I’m sorry to say that most amateurs will not be hitting 300+ yard drives despite what the latest marketing ploy will have you believe. But, if you know what tests you can do to measure the areas that affect your distance off the tee, you can at least gain insight into where your biggest return on your time investment will be. 

This is where working with a golf fitness expert can be so valuable to you. Not only can they help you interpret your results from the tests, but they will also be able to prescribe you the most effective means to move closer to 300 yards from where you are right now.  

If you have a problem with your car not accelerating as fast as you would like or not being able to reach top end speed on the highway, I hope you take it to the mechanic and don’t just look up quick fixes on YouTube to see what you can do on your own. The reason you pay the mechanic to fix your car is because that is what they do all day. They will get it done as quickly as possible. More importantly, they’ll get correctly so that the problem doesn’t pop up again in 2 weeks.

A golf fitness expert is no different. Use them for their expertise and knowledge. Once you have a diagnosis of what is holding you back and a plan to correct it, you are on your way and won’t have to waste any more time or money trying silly quick fixes that never stick.

The three statistics mentioned earlier represent numbers measured across the globe by industry leaders and at our facility 3-4 times per year on hundreds of golfers each time. Our facility has thousands of data points. With this much data comes the ability to draw conclusions from objective assessments. These conclusions drive the intelligent implementation of successful solutions directed at the root causes of problems for thousands of golfers around the globe.

The first three statistics have an R-value of over 0.85 in correlation to clubhead speed. Translation: if you perform well in the first three tests with high numbers, you are very likely to have a high club speed. Further, if you improve in any of those three tests relative to where you started, you are almost assured to have a higher club speed than when you began (assuming swing technique and equipment is relatively unchanged).  

Keep in mind that in statistics, correlation is not the same as cause and effect. But when the R-value is that close to 1 and anecdotally you have seen the results and changes we have, you put some weight behind these three tests. So:

  • See how high you can jump
  • See how far you can shot put a 6-pound medicine ball
  • See how far you can chest pass a 6-pound medicine ball from a seated position

Doing so will give you an idea of how much power you have in your lower body, total rotary system and upper body respectively. Train whichever one is the worst, or train them all if you want. Rest assured that if you improve one of them, you will more than likely increase your swing speed.  

By doing these assessments and addressing the one or two weak areas, you will improve with the least work possible. Sounds about what you were looking for, right? If you are able to identify where you need to improve BEFORE you buy whatever is claiming to fix your problems, you will save lots of money and time. You will actually start to improve with the least amount of work possible and in the least amount of time possible.  

What’s next? After completing the assessment tests, start working to improve them.

  • Coming Soon: Lower Body Power for Golf
  • Coming Soon: Upper Body Power for Golf
  • Coming Soon: Rotary Power for Golf
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