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When it comes to golf, sadly there is no one magic solution that covers all common afflictions. We’re all different and therefore what has worked wonders for a member of your fourball is unlikely to do the same for you. So, in the article below, I run through 10 of my favorite drills in the hope that there will be something in there that will help the majority of golfers on their way to lower scores.
1. BEST GOLF DRILLS: BALL-STRIKING
Striking the ball consistently is king. The most important thing is knowing where you strike the ball on the clubface. To get a better idea, use a bit of dry shampoo (or hairspray) and spray it on the face. This will tell you if you are good at hitting the ball in the middle or if you tend to favor the heel or struggle with how to eliminate those dreaded toe strikes. Bottom line you will know your miss and can practice on better center of the face impact.
2. SLICE FIX
So many golfers are desperate for a tip on how to stop slicing the ball and believe it or not, a simple swimming noodle can come in handy. This is because it will improve your understanding of the swing and help you figure out how to check your swing path. You move the club around the body in a semicircular movement, so place the noodle accordingly and take some swings – slowly at first so you can observe the path.
Feel how you move back in a circle. At the bottom, the club is moving down and coming through impact, before going on around in that circle to the finish. Using this drill should improve your directional control, get your clubface more toward the target and start to produce more solid strikes.
Many club golfers get diagnosed with a swing that is too fast when it’s really the order in which they change the direction that needs correcting. We want to get a feel for the rotation of the body, almost setting the club at the top and then having a smooth change of direction.
Take your set-up and feel like you make a really nice shoulder turn, rotating 90 degrees from your start position so your left shoulder is pointing down towards the ball. Then set the arms and wrists, so they take the club to the top of the swing.
Finally, you want a smooth rotation of the lower body, with the lead hip and leg starting to rotate. Avoid making a little turn and a big jerky snatch from the top. Get used to this feeling and the three distinct checkpoints and you’ll notice you start to hone a much better downswing sequence
4. BUNKER DRILL
This is a must-try drill that will improve your understanding of how to play bunker shots and how the club should interact with the sand. When practicing, having an image to look at will help, so draw a box in the sand to form a small rectangle around the ball. Your goal is to remove the sand inside the box. The box gives you a visual of where you want the club to enter before throwing the sand out toward the target.
Take your set-up with the ball a fraction forward of the center and a little more pressure on your lead side. Then, open the clubface slightly so you start to use the sole in a more efficient way to prevent the leading edge from digging into the sand, which slows momentum.
Take a big swing and let your right-hand work down and underneath, so the sand is thrown out nice and high and the ball comes out toward the target.
5. STRIKE THE MATCH
You won’t get the desired result with your long irons without the correct speed through impact. But it’s not all about swinging as fast as you can. Learning how to compress the golf ball is far more important. As the club comes into impact, imagine yourself striking a match, imagine that same sound.
A sharp sound through impact means you’ve generated good speed, and crucially, at the right moment. This will help you improve the launch, control and increase the distance you hit your irons.
6. TEE PEG DRILL
The is a difference between pitching and chipping, so before working on your short game, it pays to improve your understanding. Designed to help your pitching, this drill is especially useful in getting rid of that nasty habit where the leading edge of the club digs down too much, one reason for those dreaded duff (chunk) shots.
Instead, tee the ball up, take your normal set-up position, and rehearse a few swings, visualizing just clipping the ball up and away off the tee. A shallower angle of attack will allow the sole of the club and the bounce angle to do the work. Breaking the tee is a no-no, as this means that the leading edge of your club is digging down.
7. HYBRID DRILL
Even though the best golf hybrids are designed to be easy to hit, there’s a tendency for club golfers to get too shallow and try to “lift” the ball instead of compressing it flush. In fact, you need more of a downward impact, which is where this drill will help. Place a coin two or three inches in front of the ball and play your shot as you would do normally. If you miss the coin, it’s because the sole of the club is traveling upwards too soon – the likely result is a thin contact and a dreaded skull or skinny shot.
You want to hit the coin, as this tells you that you have the correct downward angle of attack. This will lead to ad more pure and consistent strikes, which is going to give you added distance too.
8. PUTTING DRILL
You could be the best player in the world at reading greens, but if you don’t start the ball on the right lines, the putts simply won’t drop. This is why clubface alignment at impact is so crucial. In a bid to improve in this area, many people turn to their putting technique, but the answer is often much simpler.
The task here is clear: hit the ball along the yardstick into the hole. This is one of my favorite putting drills that will help you to square the clubface at impact on a more consistent basis while giving you visual feedback as to whether you’re pushing putts by opening the face or pulling them by closing it.
In both cases, the ball will roll along the yardstick or whatever flat surface you chose. If your speed is right, you’ll find the bottom of the cup.
9. FACE CONTROL
You can practice this at home to improve your awareness of how the clubface is affected by the way you hold the club. Attach a pencil to the center of your clubface with Blu Tack, as shown. You will be surprised at where you are aimed vs. where you think you are aimed!
At address, the pencil should cover the alignment stick. From here, you’ll get an understanding of where your clubface is during the backswing and whether you tend to open it (pencil up), close it (pencil down), or keep it fairly neutral (pencil straight).
A strong golf grip with lots of knuckles showing on the top hand will encourage more of a closed clubface when you take the club back; a weak golf grip will see the pencil pointing more toward the sky. Work on presenting the club back to the target without any twisting or manipulation.
10. FIXING THAT DREADED TOP
Topping often comes as a result of trying to hit up on the ball. It’s a common fault in which you see the elbows separating and the wrists then acting to save the shot. If you’re guilty of this and want a drill on how to stop topping the golf ball, you’ve come to the right place. First, apply the resistance band as shown.
What I’m having to do is fight the resistance pulling my arms back toward my body. It helps you get used to the feeling of your arms extending as you go out and down toward the ball.
After a few swings, remove the band and you should find it’s far easier to get your arms extended. Brush the ground with the sole and get that ‘whoosh’ sound (One of my favorite sounds on the planet). This will tell you that you’re extending your arms more and your chances of topping the ball will be greatly reduced.
IMPORTANT: Practice these individually. You don’t want to be bogged down by too many swing thoughts. We all know what happens with paralysis by analysis…At your next range session pick one that applies to your game and focus solely on the drill. Pay no mind to immediate results – it’s the 10,000 hours theory – it will not happen overnight. But, if you perfect each of these drills, and really practice them individually and with intent/purpose…you can and will reap the benefits. Once you feel comfortable, take some of these to the course and watch your scores creep down slowly but surely.