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When it comes to getting the right move of the right or trail elbow in the golf swing right in the downswing, Wisdom in Golf has you covered! See the proper sequence of events in the golf swing like Joaquin Niemann, Justin Thomas, and Jon Rahm!

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Shawn Clement is the new Director of Development at the Royal Quebec Golf Academy in Quebec City, Canada and a class A PGA teaching professional. Shawn was a 2011 and 2015 Ontario PGA Teacher of the Year nominee while Directing at the Richmond Hill Golf Learning Centre. He was also voted in the top 10 (tied with Martin Hall at No. 9) as most sought after teacher on the internet in 2016 with 83 000 subscribers on YouTube and 36 millions natural views. Shawn has been writing for numerous publications since 2001 including Golf Tips Magazine and Score Golf Magazine. He also appeared of the Golf Channel’s Academy Live in July 2001 with Jerry Foltz and Mike Ritz. Shawn Clement has the distinction of being one of the only professionals fit by Ping’s Tour fitting centre where he was fitted with left and right handed clubs including 2 drivers with 115 plus miles per hour and 300 plus yard drives from both sides.

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Instruction

Clark: Beware of trying random swing suggestions!

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There is value in every instruction book; it just depends who is reading it- John Jacobs.

Every swing tip you read or see or listen to, very likely has merit.  Very few are wrong, and none are necessarily right.  There is value in every one and there is harm in every one.  Knowing which ones or which parts of them are relevant can be your key to a more effective golf swing.

Let’s take an  example.  “Shallowing out” your transition, or flattening your down swing plane is great advice.  Why? Because the vast majority of golfers are far too steep in transition (golf club pointed at the ground starting the downswing).  But let’s say you happen to be in the minority; let’s say you are too flat, or “under the plane” coming down down.  Being unaware of your current swing position, if you were to employ the tip that advised “flattening”, you are, in all likelihood now, too flat and you may well hit a foot behind the golf ball.

Another piece of advice we see quite often is “be sure to get sufficient width” in your swing in order to create more power.  I have seen this tip misunderstood all to often.  Let’s say your swing is already too wide; you are pushing the golf club well away from your body and excessively shifting your center to your rear foot in order to create the coveted “width”.  If you are not aware of your current move, and you ADD width, you are now likely so far off the golf ball, you have little to no chance to get back to it. Without ample swing lag and a very late hit, you might strike the ground well behind the ball or miss it altogether.

More…Pronate, supinate, release the club…many have come to me with excessive hand action (often far too early) and almost always at the cost of using too little body motion.  What if you are “handsy” right now and someone suggested this action.  Well…you guessed it.  You won’t even get the ball airborne, and you can yell “fore left” upon impact.

I am using these examples (among many) to make a point:  as a teacher I totally agree that these examples can be quite effective for some.  They can also be quite disastrous for others! Whether it be a change in tempo, path, plane, weight distribution or whatever-all these things need to be executed cautiously with the context of your own golf swing.

What to do?  You can make any change you think will help, just be sure you get the big picture. You may consider a thorough video and/or trackman analysis to get an idea what your swing is doing right now, what your individual tendencies are and decide if certain suggestions are in the right context.  The key to real improvement lies in knowing (in detail) your habits, and knowing how the entire motion works as one whole dynamic.  

There is no one grip, but there is a grip for everyone.  There is no one ball position but there is a ball position for everyone.  There is no one posture, or alignment, or backswing or downswing for everyone, but there is one position which fits your swing, your plane, etc.  The great Ben Hogan reminded all of us “the secret is on the dirt”. His advice was quite clear-break the code, find your own best way, the way that works-to do that you need to know where you are right now. After all is said and done the only thing that matters is impact!  The club face, the angle of attack, the true path of the swing and center of face contact are the only things to which the golf ball responds.  We all must find our own way of getting there.

Golf is the greatest game in the world with so many wonderful folks.  Unfortunately it is also the only game with more teachers than players.  Advice is all around; the internet, the magazines, the Golf Channel, your buddies, husband, wife…every one of them means well and, as I’ve said, are likely helpful.  However, great harm can be done if you are not discerning enough to know helpful vs. hurtful.

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Davies: The best ball-striking drill ever!

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Alistair Davies Golf shares with you how to improve and master ball-striking in golf. This is a great drill that can be done at home or at the course to make a real difference to your game! Get ball and turf contact consistently.

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Instruction

Short Game University: How to hit wedges 201

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In the previous article of Short Game University, we discussed how to hit a basic wedge shot covering three very important fundamentals

  • The pivot: How you twist and turn
  • The low point: Where the club hits the ground
  • Your face to path: Controlling the ball

I promised you in the next article we’d discuss the second steps of how to hit wedges, which involves controlling your distances and how to control your trajectory. We’ll assume that you have the first part down and you can hit solid, straight, consistent wedges so now it’s time to move on. But if you cannot hit the ball solid each time then you will find that the next two items will be much harder to master. Lastly, we’ll also assume for the sake of our article that each time you hit a wedge shot, the face is clean, dry, and the grooves are not filled with hardened dirt or sand.

How to hit wedges 201

Controlling your distance

Obviously, after hitting the ball solidly and online, the next factor is to hit the ball the distance you want it to go. Now, remember we are focused on carry distance when it comes to wedges, not the total distance. The only thing you can control is how far it goes — what it does when it hits the ground can only be estimated at best.

There are many techniques for controlling the distance that have been discussed and written about, but I’d like to focus on what I’ve found to be the easiest for people to adopt with very little practice — I’m not saying it’s the only way or the best way — but it’s the quickest.

1. Adopt 3 swing stages

The last thing we want to do when it comes to controlling distance is change our swing. That is much harder to do than simply altering our backswing length. I simply suggest three positions for you to “remember,” and from there you will see the ball traveling different distances.

The first position is when the club shaft is belt-high in the backswing, the second is when the forward arm is parallel to the ground in the backswing, and the final is when the hands are shoulder-high at the top.

These three positions will give you stopping points to focus on, thus altering your backswing length and overall distance production. Don’t forget you can use any club to do this, and sometimes club distances can overlap.

2. Using the same tempo and swinging shorter to longer

Now that we have identified the three swing length stages, the hard part is making sure you use these backswing lengths all with the same tempo. It does no good if you take it back to chest high but then swing down at Mach 1. The only way this is going to take distance off the ball is if you move back and through at the same tempo regardless of the backswing length used. Remember, our goal is to make the same swing each time so that we can produce the same distances consistently from each position!

Now that we have found our three positions, swung with the same tempo, the final key for distance control in this example is to make sure you are swinging “shorter to longer” meaning you always move into a full-finish for each of these positions. We never want you to cut off your finish or slow down through impact because these factors will cause you to hit the ball unsolid, not be able to control your distances, and will bring into play the potential for the super-fat shot that only goes 15 yards — which stinks!

Controlling your trajectory

On the professional side, they have no problem hitting the ball solidly or controlling their swings producing different distances, but they can also do this using any trajectory they want. Think about a back pin into the wind- a low, driving shot is better. What about a tucked pin over a bunker to a narrow green, a high shot is the only way.
So how do you simply go about changing your trajectory? Most people would answer put the ball closer to your front foot to hit the ball higher and closer to your back foot to hit the ball lower. And they would be right, except for one thing…

Most people fail to understand what this is actually trying to accomplish: altering your dynamic loft at impact.

Let’s take for example a 56-degree sand wedge, the static loft is 56. But when you put the ball back in your stance and lean the shaft forward trying to hit the ball lower it is reduced to 54 degrees (or whatever.) When you put the ball forward in your stance and hit the ball higher the shaft “backs up” (very slightly) and the dynamic loft could be increased a touch and the ball goes higher. Now obviously there are other factors that can play into trajectory control, but this oversimplified example is basically all you need to know at this point.

The best way to control dynamic loft is to practice hitting slow-motion shots from 50-yard shots (using your normal ball position) higher and lower, and you will feel how you have to manipulate the shaft in order to do so. If you want to become a great wedge player, then you must understand how to control your distances and trajectories.

So, how do we put this together?

The easiest way to put this all into motion is to start with a distance of 30 yards, lay out towels at 25, 30, and 35 yards. You would begin with the club and swing length that you would use to hit the ball this distance (30 yards) normally. Next with the ball in your normal wedge position try to hit the ball higher and lower to the same 30 yard distance marker. If you can do so, then you have now learned how to control your dynamic loft!

Next, see what it takes to do the same thing (low, normal, and high shots) to the shorter distance and next to the longer distance towel. Did you alter your tempo or move the ball around in order to do so? How did you feel it?

Once you have figured out this, you now have a better feeling of what you need to do in order to hit wedges different distances and with different trajectories. From there, you can expand this drill to cover shots from 30 yards all the way up to a full wedge swing. I will promise you that if you work on your wedges in this way, you will lower your handicap and become a much better player than ever before!

 

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