Swing Keys to Solid Hitting
By Kim Jeong-kyoo
Korea Times Golf Columnist
To swing properly you need to set up correctly. Your shot quality depends on how to prepare before starting to swing. Once you've completed your pre-swing preparations including grip, posture and alignment, 90 percent of the shot you are about to make is already destined. Out of the remaining ten, five is swinging the club itself and the other five is your thought.
Here are some in-swing keys that you can benefit from to perfect your swing. Give them a shot without bias. Who knows if they'll serve you as your lifelong basics?
1. Keep your head steady
To hit the ball far and straight on a consistent basis you need to focus on keeping your head steady throughout the swing. It is natural that your head should move to the right away from the target on the backswing, but for solid, powerful contact you need to keep your head quiet behind the ball through the ball as it was at address.
What has to be done first to attain this is to fix your eyes on the ball until well after impact. However, you need to avoid staring at the ball. Looking at the ball with overly steady or fixed gaze tends to cause reverse weight shift and reverse pivot, resulting in poor shots. Just glance at it so you can keep your head and chin behind the ball through the ball and well into the follow-through.
2. Focus on a smooth rhythm and tempo
Focus on a smooth rhythm and tempo, particularly at the start of the backswing and during the transition from backswing to downswing.
For a smooth, rhythmic swing, count ``one'' at the top of the backswing, ``two'' at the halfway point of the downswing and ``three'' at impact.
3. Swing in the correct sequence
Equally crucial to making solid contact is to coil your upper body against the resistance of your lower body and complete the backswing. Wind up fully for sufficient torque at the top so you can swing down by the reflexive, unwinding force. Otherwise, it is hard to initiate your downswing from the ground up.
For an efficient golf swing it's necessary to let your upper body initiate backswing, making sure that your lower body leads your upper body on the forward swing. In a good golf swing shoulders, arms, hands and clubhead do not move first on the downswing. They are not initiators of your downswing.
For a powerful, complete release of the clubhead through the ball, you need to save your shoulder rotation as long as you can so your shirt buttons are facing in back of the ball when the clubhead meets the ball.
4. Drag the ball
Similarly, avoid trying to hit the ball hard with your right hand. To hit the ball far and straight you need to pull the clubhead through the ball. Imagine yourself dragging the ball with the clubhead with both hands.
5. Create a tug-of-war position
Another key to hitting the ball firmly is to create a tug-of-war position halfway down and pull the club through toward the target.
In a good golf swing the left arm is resting against the upper part of the chest at impact with the clubhead staying behind the left chest. For powerful impact you need to avoid unhinging your right wrist prematurely. That causes the clubhead to get ahead of the right forefinger and eventually your left chest. When that happens, the club works off plane and its head speed decelerates.
Worse yet, unhinging your right wrist too early makes it difficult to square the clubface at impact and finish with a full, balanced follow-through.
To prevent the clubhead from getting ahead of the hands prematurely you need to avoid rushing the clubhead down from the top.
To learn to swing the clubhead down with your wrists hinged, make practice swings with a driver with its head cover on. That prevents an early hitting action, helping you create a tug-of-war position halfway down, as the air resistance inhibits your wrists from unhinging prematurely.
Keeping your wrists hinged in the downswing means preventing the clubhead from passing your hands too early, also meaning that you can increase clubhead speed gradually through the ball. You will achieve maximum clubhead speed through impact, thus hitting the ball far and straight.
6. Strive for a perfect finish
Last but not least important, swing at a leisurely pace, striving for a perfectly balanced follow-through. A perfect finish means a perfect swing and thus a perfect shot. Virtually, a golf swing without a finish position in mind is like a trip without a destination.
Here are some benchmarks of the perfect finish. First, be in good balance. Second, your bodyweight is on your left side with your right foot up on its toe so all spikes are visible. Third, the knees are together. Fourth, your belt buckle is looking at the target or slightly left of it. Fifth, your right shoulder is closest to the target.