Improving swing without a club
By Kim Jeong-kyoo
Golf is a game that is possible to be practiced as well as improved without swinging a club. Your body and mind can be trained to be in the right positions without swinging the club. You can learn and practice fundamentals including grip, posture, ball position, aim, alignment and mind-set at home.
Your hands are the only contact you have with the golf club; how you hold it directly affects clubface position during the swing. No doubt, an incorrect grip results in less-than-solid contact.
For a proper grip, rotate both of your hands about 45 degrees to the right so the Vs formed between your thumbs and forefingers are parallel to each other and point at a spot somewhere between your right ear and right shoulder.
Posture is one of the critical pre-swing basics that should not be overlooked. Assuming the address, keep your back flat and let your arms hang freely under the shoulders. At the top of the backswing, your back needs to be facing the target with the hips rotated 45 degrees, which creates a tight coil between your upper and lower bodies. To hit the ball flush it's essential to build up a tremendous amount of torque at the waist on the backswing, unleashing it into a powerful downswing action.
Of equal importance is the ball position. Poor posture is greatly attributed to improper ball position. Placing the ball too far forward or too far back in your stance causes your shoulders to be open or closed, thus making solid contact impossible.
When the ball is too far back toward your right foot in your stance, the shot tends to start travelling to the right and curves more to the right as the clubface is open when it meets the ball. Similarly, when the ball is too far forward, it starts to fly to the left and curves more to the left as the clubface is closed when it meets the ball.
Producing a solid, straight shot is no easy matter unless the clubhead meets the ball when it is descending with all clubs in your bag, except for the putter and driver that need to be hit with a level or slightly ascending blow, which requires you to position the ball off the tip of the left shoulder or slightly to the right of it.
Golf is a target game and without precisely aiming at it, you cannot be successful, no matter how solidly you hit the ball. Select a small intermediate target on the ball-target line and get your body and eyes parallel to that line. Once you've aligned properly, you will feel comfortable and have a definite feeling that you can make the shot called for.
Also critical to solid impact is confidence and good mind-set. Avoid saying to yourself, for instance, 'Don’t hit it in the water, please!' If you whisper something negative to yourself, you will, nine out of ten, end up doing so as your mind pictured water instead of the fairway. The same is true with the trees, bunkers and all other hazards for that matter.
Be positive and murmur to yourself, say, 'Draw this shot right into the middle of the fairway.' That way you can create a positive image of perfect shot and concentrate on the shot at hand, accomplishing your intended result.
Learning a new swing movement takes time. It takes a long time for your body to learn a motion. It's essential to practice a new motion for a long time so that a conscious action is transformed to an automatic action by the muscle memory.
Again, you can increase your muscle memory without swinging a club. You can do this by continuing to picture yourself making certain movements repeatedly on a regular basis.
When your conscious mind is working dominantly, you are able to deal with only one thing at a time. Hitting a poor shot, you may blame your inability to concentrate. However, your real problem may not have been your failure to concentrate. Probably, you'd focused on the incorrect thing or too many swing thoughts instead of your ultimate target.
It is of critical importance that you always think of sending the ball to the target. The ultimate goal of swinging a club is to send the ball toward the target, not for the sake of producing powerful shots. Practice swinging your arms and hands concentrating your mind on the target, and your swing will soon be improved.