With my more advanced students I like to break the back swing into three steps. Step one is the hinging of the wrists described in last week's column.
Step two takes the club from this step to a point where the left arm is level with the ground and the hands are around chest high. Since the hinging of the wrists took place early in the back swing we simply do nothing more with the wrists.
Momentum created by the length of the club and weight of the club head will cause a little more hinging but this is nothing we need to consciously make happen. The reason I like to use this second step as a reference point is that the correct positions are easily defined.
The left arm is level to the ground, the shaft now forms a right angle with the arm and a line extended through the shaft points to the ground just inside the ball. The shoulders have turned about 45 degrees from the start position. The upper left arm should feel as though it is connected to the chest, this helps with our goal of a synchronized swing of the arms and body. The hands are in line with the feet.
Many golfers make the mistake of trying to keep the left arm ramrod straight. This is poor advice since it creates tension and stiffness in the swing resulting in decreased club head speed. The left arm should feel tension free, a slight bend is fine.
The reason I feel that this drill is for more advanced golfers is that the less experienced player often makes the mistake of trying this when playing on the course, a huge mistake. While this is technically correct it must be practiced at home with the use of a mirror.
Also practice on the range, take several practice swings by swinging to the position and then to the finish. Do not try to stop the swing at this point, simply allow momentum to complete it. Do not manipulate the swing when you are hitting the ball. Remember, practicing effectively will help us develop the coveted instinctive golf swing.
Terry Gingell, PGA professional, is the Director of Instruction at the Genoa Lakes Golf Club and Resort. For information regarding golf instruction and Junior Golf Camps call Terry, 690-7970. There are also junior camps at Eagle Valley.