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15. Practice Drills

15.1 Swing Drills

***WARNING*** Very important to remember that these are drills we have discussed during a lesson, the notes are to remind you of the drill. If you are reading this having not had a lesson you may use the drill incorrectly, this could cause more harm than good, if you are unsure then contact me for more information.

a) 3 Ball Drill

When you are practicing more than one task, it is far more productive to split your practice and concentrate on one thing at a time. After a lesson I will normally leave you with a few tasks or drills to improve your overall technique or to challenge your ability. Hit 3 balls trying each individual task then hit 3 at the end trying to blend all thoughts together. This will normally be 9 – 12 balls then change club and repeat. For each ball hit we want perfect posture etc so this may be something you need to focus on before the swing.

Example.

  • 3 balls on left arm straight at the top of the backswing.
  • 3 balls balanced finish position.
  • 3 balls both together.

b) Stop/Start Swing

Mainly a backswing drill, stop at a certain position that we are trying to improve (normally position 1 or 2 of swing plane and positions but occasionally used for short game). Look and see if the club or your body is where it should be. Eyes back to the ball then continue the swing to completion. It is difficult to execute this drill effectively as you will be tempted to rush it due to the strange feeling of stopping and checking your swing.

c) Pump Drill

Great to help over the top downswings. Full wind up then initiate the down swing with a downward movement of your hands, go down to chest height then back up again to generate the feel. The difficulty is to hold your shoulders still and your back to the target as you let your hands drop.

d) Point Then Hinge

This is a good drill to understand your wrists hinge and not your elbows. Turn your shoulders and slightly roll your wrists until the club points directly away from the target, at our range this will normally be the bay number on the back wall. Stop the swing and hinge your wrists so your left arm and the club is now in a right angle position. (The butt end of the grip needs to be aiming down the ball and not your toes).

e) Baseball Swing

I do not know of any other drill that instantly gives a feel for the correct move as this one, I use this several times a week with clients. Stand tall with the club opposite your stomach. Swing the club around your body as if swinging a baseball bat remember it’s to help your golf so turn your shoulders and torso on the backswing and use your feet correctly on the through swing. This drill is to help feel how the club moves around your body but more importantly to feel how your wrists roll and release in front of you where the ball would be hit. It also is used to feel the effect of grip pressure, too tight and the club will not roll and too loose it can twist in your fingers.

f) 1-2-3 go

The first two parts of this are the same as the point and hinge drill. The third is the understanding to complete your backswing by simply rotating your shoulders fully from position 2 while resisting your legs from giving in to the strain. 3 is the top of the swing position and then go! Swing down and through the ball to a balanced finish.

g) tempo line drill

Line up 3 to 5 balls a small distance apart. Set up to the ball nearest to you. Make a normal swing and hit the first ball, do not look up and follow it or hold your finish position because we want the swing to now come backwards and back up to the top of the backswing. As you are swinging back up take a small step forward to position yourself to hit the next ball. Without stopping swing back down and hit the next ball, again keep the swing flowing and you are going to repeat until all the balls are hit. You will know having tried this during our lesson that you can’t swing to fast or erratic because it will be impossible to complete the task. Start off with only 3 balls and maybe tee them all up to make it easier at first, use a lofted club initially and as you progress choose a longer, less lofted club.

h) 1-2 counting

This helps you to feel where the club head is during your swing, also it’s very useful if you are getting too many thoughts of how to swing and hit the ball. Say out loud ‘one ‘ as you complete the backswing then say out loud ‘two’ at a impact.

I) blind swing

Set up perfectly, close your eyes then swing and hit the ball! Great for hitters! Also useful to feel the swing.

j) hum bug

Start humming out loud just before you start the swing, keep humming all the way through your swing and after you finish for a few seconds. The aim is to keep a controlled hum with out any stopping or increase/decrease in volume.

k) favourite drink foot

Brilliant drill for transferring your weight through impact, finish in a position where you can balance a glass on your back heel without spilling it. Your shoe laces will point at the target. Your right hip will now be fully turned to face the target increasing power and precision.

L) ball under heel

This is referring to your back foot heel, place a ball under your heel when you set up. As you swing back the ball helps you to keep the flex in your knee so you can wind up the coil. Remember to follow through as normal.

M) clock face

This can be used to picture where the club and also club face are coming into impact and thought the other side. Firstly the ball is at 12 o’clock, the target is positioned at 9 o’clock and you are standing in the middle of an imaginary clock face. To understand the correct angle of attack, line of attack and release, the shaft (hand of the watch) comes into impact from behind you through 3 o’clock (the shaft is parallel to the floor at this point), 2 o’clock, 1 o’clock. Impact, the shaft is at 12 o’clock the swing now continues anti clockwise through 11 o’clock, 10 o’clock, 9 o’clock (the shaft will be parallel to the floor at this point). The above clock face positions are also useful to use thinking of the club face, the toe or tip of the leading edge of the club point at the same time positions. The club face is aiming at the target at 12 o’clock but the toe is at 12 o’clock, most slicers of a golf ball do not let the club face rotate around the body, they keep it facing the target after impact. This will be down to poor technique, lack of knowledge or other sport influences.

N) Follow through drill

This is one of my most used exercises, we do spend a lot of time improving the set up and backswing, but without following through impact efficiently all that work can have little effect on consistency, accuracy and distance. From your set up position (without a ball) swing through to your finish position. Make sure you turn your torso, fire off from your back foot and keep your arms extended. The below photo sequences shows the exercise very well and is clear to see how it will benefit my client (thank you to my client for the permission to use on the website).

Actually follow through swing sequence

ftt1   ftt2  ftt3  ftt4  ftt5

Practice drill follow through swing sequence

ft1  ft2  ft3  ft4  ft5

15.2 Putting Drills

a) round the clock putting

You need 12 balls and place them around the hole like a clock face, start off close no more than 2 feet away, start at 1 o’clock and try and hole every putt. If you miss it is important to start again rather than just carry on. Once you hole them all, move the balls back to 3 feet, etc going as far away as you can.

b) line em up putting

Line up 5 balls approx 1 foot apart starting 2 feet from the hole. Start from the nearest ball to the hole and putt it in, then the next ball and keep going back until you have putted them all in. If you miss one then you MUST start again.
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c) pyramid putting

The aim is to make a pyramid shape with the balls and not aiming at a hole, start by putting a ball short and left (no exact distance but remember the next balls will be going further). The next putt you are trying to go past on the right side and approximately 12-18 inches past the first ball. If you fail to go to the right or past then start again. The next ball you do the same, the fourth ball will be the point of the pyramid. Now you start to come back but still going to the right. After 7 balls you should have roughly made a pyramid or Christmas tree shape. Don’t cheat yourself, if you fail you must start again rather than continue.

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d) compass putting

This drill is a more simple version of the round the clock drill, place a all N, E, S, W. All equal length away from the hole and putt each one in. I prefer this as a warm up exercise before playing as its less time to set up and complete.

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e) gate putting

Place 2 tees in the putting surface approximately your putter head width apart. The tees need to be 12-18 inches in front of your ball on the intended line to the hole. Roll the ball through the gate! This helps in your accuracy but also in reading or judging the slope and speed of the green.

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f) look putt

To gain feel for distance I like to practice putting looking at the target rather than the Ball. Your eyes will help you judge the feel for distance. It takes a few attempts to become confident that you will still hit the ball even though your not looking at it.

15.3 Short Game Drills

a) Alignment stick chipping

This is a brilliant drill to stop flicking your wrists or scooping under the ball. You can use anything to extend the line of the club shaft, an alignment stick is light weight so will not effect the swing of the club. Hold it underneath the shaft, the top end will be touching your left side. The movement away from the ball is mainly controlled by your shoulder turn, then as you swing through impact keep turning and your arms and wrists fairly firm. You will feel the alignment stick hit your left side if you flick. To optimise the results of this drill make sure you are following the set up guide lines for chipping.

BackSwing (using an alignment stick to keep arms and wrist firm)

Through swing (using an alignment stick to keep arms and wrist firm)

b) ladder chipping (information to follow).

c) Back heel up chipping

Lifting your back heel approximately a ball height off the floor and maintaining this throughout the swing will make sure you keep your weight on your front foot. Your ball strike will greatly improve which will increase your distance control.

Heel
d) hit the line bunkers (information to follow).
e) sandy divot (information to follow).