Connect with us

Instruction

A drill that can help every golfer find their balance

Published

on

Golf, for most of us, is the greatest game there is. But let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to tip the balance from greatest to most EVIL. It’s a fickle game, because there are so many ways to resolve the problem of executing good golf shots. What works well for one person in your foursome is frequently the kiss of death for the rest of the group, and that is arguably the greatest quandary for all of us.

So is there a medicine, or swing characteristic out there that seems to work for everyone? I think I have one that can make your good shots better, and your bad shots more manageable. It’s a characteristic that many great players on every major Tour that we have measured through BodiTrak and other pressure-measuring devices have in common. It’s called a linear Center of Pressure Trace (COP) and I’ve got a wonderful drill that I think can have an immediate impact on your ability to hit straighter golf shots.

So what is a linear COP trace? This is a trace of a golfer whose backswing and downswing COP motion is parallel to each other, while almost being directly on top of each other. It’s a characteristic of someone who is swinging wonderfully in balance.

Here is a wonderful example of 2 Time PGA Tour Winner James Hahn's linear COP Trace with his driver.

Two-time PGA Tour Winner James Hahn has a linear COP Trace with his driver.

One role of the golf club, which is frequently overlooked in the game of golf, is how the golf club helps or hinders a golfer’s ability to stay in balance. It’s safe to argue that if you can develop a linear COP trace, you will be able to improve your delivery of the golf club and stay in better balance.

Research has shown when a golfer’s COP trace is closer together for both backswing and downswing motions, this golfer’s shot pattern is more consistently accurate. When a golfer’s COP trace is wider apart, or disjointed, the golfer suffers more frequently with inconsistent results, due to being out of balance and needing to make more drastic, last-second “saves” to hit the golf ball solidly and straight.

Note How Wide the bottom and top lines are for this COP trace.  This golfer has to spend more subconscious energy staying in balance.

Note how wide the bottom and top lines are for this COP trace. This golfer has to spend more subconscious energy staying in balance and subsequently will have a less consistent ball flight.

So what is this magic elixir? This drill that can potentially help all of us? First, you need an alignment rod. Place that rod on the ground and stand on it, with the rod lining up with your mid foot. Next, try to maintain your feeling of pressure with 50 percent of your pressure on your toes and 50 percent on your heels throughout the entire motion of your golf swing.

Note how the model is standing on the shaft midfoot.

Note how I am standing on the shaft “midfoot.”

For many of us, this drill can be quite challenging! During different parts of your motion, you may feel more pressure moving to your heals, or your toes. That’s frequently your feet’s subconscious reaction to stay in balance, or counter balance, the motion of the golf club throughout your golf swing. If you’re unable to perform the skill set to your preference, practice again with a smaller, slower range of motion, like a chip shot. As your balance skill set improves, increase your speed and range of motion until you are making a full swing.

So give this drill a go. I think you’ll find that by improving your balance, a linear COP trace will help you improve your motion, and improve the consistency of your ball contact and flight. Good luck!

Your Reaction?
  • 92
  • LEGIT9
  • WOW5
  • LOL3
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP3
  • OB1
  • SHANK18

Certified Teaching Professional at the Pelican Hill Golf Club, Newport Coast, CA. Ranked as one of the best teachers in California & Hawaii by Golf Digest Titleist Performance Institute Certified www.youtube.com/uranser

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Pingback: How to Hold a Baseball Bat Right Handed? A Step-By-Step Guide!

  2. Troy Vayanos

    Aug 12, 2016 at 1:36 am

    Great post Tim,

    There’s no doubt balance is a much neglected part of the golf swing. So many golfers I see are nearly falling over themselves at the end of the golf swing. Great balance is a common trait you see in all professional golfers on the worldwide tours.

    Regards

  3. jonsnow

    Aug 9, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Would this drill work any differently depending on the type of golf shoe worn? I’ve got a pair of True zero drop shoes (no heel) & wonder if this would work better, worse or no real difference if I wear them when trying the drill. Thanks for the article, I’m 58 & as I get older balance during my swing becomes more & more of an issue.

    • Tim Mitchell

      Aug 25, 2016 at 10:57 am

      Jonsnow…I’ve never worn or used a True Zero Drop Shoe, but based upon it’s characteristics, I think it could give you better feedback. I love having my student’s try this exercise with their shoes off too. Good luck!

  4. CCshop

    Aug 6, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    True a linear trace is most balanced but those are just boditraks “perfect” balanced numbers. But that is so few people, even with tour pros. Worked with people at boditrak and even a third of the tour pros have that X or Z shape trace. And another third have swings in between not considered linear. If those guys are making “saves” in their swing they’re doing a hell of a job. Don’t see any issues with those guys making money. Everyone’s swing has a unique trace.

    • Tim Mitchell

      Aug 7, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Well said CCshop. A few additional comments. Traces need to match up to individual swing characteristics and talent levels. Touring Professionals are the most talented players on the planet. They get away with or manage swing “flaws” that most of us have little to no chance of playing good golf from. Case in point…there’s not too many players that play good golf with Bubba Watson’s foot work or trace. Also…as a general rule, irons traces are significantly more linear than driver traces on tour.

  5. Messico Smizzle

    Aug 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    how does this work if u have an open or closed stance? do u still put under the middle of stance but the trace will be straight in line with your stance line?

    • Tim Mitchell

      Aug 7, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Yep. That’s exactly what you do. This drill can still help you achieve a more balanced golf swing with an open or closed stance…the task is still the same. An additional note, the COP trace frequently matches your downswing swing direction. So, if you’re playing from an open stance, this COP trace can help you can deliver the golf club on a more consistent fade path. If you’re playing from a closed stance, you can deliver the golf club on a more consistent draw path.

      • Messico Smizzle

        Aug 7, 2016 at 10:04 pm

        Thank you for that response and an interesting article. I agree that this focus on balance seems very important to consistent golf. When u just causally watch an amateur vs tour pro the poise/balance is pretty remarkable.

        Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Instruction

Clement: Laid-off or perfect fade? Across-the-line or perfect draw?

Published

on

Some call the image on the left laid off, but if you are hitting a fade, this could be a perfect backswing for it! Same for across the line for a draw! Stop racking your brain with perceived mistakes and simply match backswing to shot shape!

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

Instruction

The Wedge Guy: The easiest-to-learn golf basic

Published

on

My golf learning began with this simple fact – if you don’t have a fundamentally sound hold on the golf club, it is practically impossible for your body to execute a fundamentally sound golf swing. I’m still a big believer that the golf swing is much easier to execute if you begin with the proper hold on the club.

As you might imagine, I come into contact with hundreds of golfers of all skill levels. And it is very rare to see a good player with a bad hold on the golf club. There are some exceptions, for sure, but they are very few and very far between, and they typically have beat so many balls with their poor grip that they’ve found a way to work around it.

The reality of biophysics is that the body moves only in certain ways – and the particulars of the way you hold the golf club can totally prevent a sound swing motion that allows the club to release properly through the impact zone. The wonderful thing is that anyone can learn how to put a fundamentally sound hold on the golf club, and you can practice it anywhere your hands are not otherwise engaged, like watching TV or just sitting and relaxing.

Whether you prefer an overlap, interlock or full-finger (not baseball!) grip on the club, the same fundamentals apply.  Here are the major grip faults I see most often, in the order of the frequency:

Mis-aligned hands

By this I mean that the palms of the two hands are not parallel to each other. Too many golfers have a weak left hand and strong right, or vice versa. The easiest way to learn how to hold the club with your palms aligned properly is to grip a plain wooden ruler or yardstick. It forces the hands to align properly and shows you how that feels. If you grip and re-grip a yardstick several times, then grip a club, you’ll see that the learning curve is almost immediate.

The position of the grip in the upper/left hand

I also observe many golfers who have the butt of the grip too far into the heel pad of the upper hand (the left hand for right-handed players). It’s amazing how much easier it is to release the club through the ball if even 1/4-1/2″ of the butt is beyond the left heel pad. Try this yourself to see what I mean.  Swing the club freely with just your left hand and notice the difference in its release from when you hold it at the end of the grip, versus gripping down even a half inch.

To help you really understand how this works, go to the range and hit shots with your five-iron gripped down a full inch to make the club the same length as your seven-iron. You will probably see an amazing shot shape difference, and likely not see as much distance loss as you would expect.

Too much lower (right) hand on the club

It seems like almost all golfers of 8-10 handicap or higher have the club too far into the palm of the lower hand, because that feels “good” if you are trying to control the path of the clubhead to the ball. But the golf swing is not an effort to hit at the ball – it is a swing of the club. The proper hold on the club has the grip underneath the pad at the base of the fingers. This will likely feel “weak” to you — like you cannot control the club like that. EXACTLY. You should not be trying to control the club with your lower/master hand.

Gripping too tightly

Nearly all golfers hold the club too tightly, which tenses up the forearms and prevents a proper release of the club through impact. In order for the club to move back and through properly, you must feel that the club is controlled by the last three fingers of the upper hand, and the middle two fingers of the lower hand. If you engage your thumbs and forefingers in “holding” the club, the result will almost always be a grip that is too tight. Try this for yourself. Hold the club in your upper hand only, and squeeze firmly with just the last three fingers, with the forefinger and thumb off the club entirely. You have good control, but your forearms are not tense. Then begin to squeeze down with your thumb and forefinger and observe the tensing of the entire forearm. This is the way we are made, so the key to preventing tenseness in the arms is to hold the club very lightly with the “pinchers” — the thumbs and forefingers.

So, those are what I believe are the four fundamentals of a good grip. Anyone can learn them in their home or office very quickly. There is no easier way to improve your ball striking consistency and add distance than giving more attention to the way you hold the golf club.

More from the Wedge Guy

Your Reaction?
  • 88
  • LEGIT15
  • WOW6
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP4
  • OB1
  • SHANK9

Continue Reading

Instruction

Clement: Stop ripping off your swing with this drill!

Published

on

Not the dreaded headcover under the armpit drill! As if your body is defective and can’t function by itself! Have you seen how incredible the human machine is with all the incredible feats of agility all kinds of athletes are accomplishing? You think your body is so defective (the good Lord is laughing his head off at you) that it needs a headcover tucked under the armpit so you can swing like T-Rex?

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW2
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending