PRE-SHOT ROU­TINE

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

efore I tell you about the back­swing trig­ger, you need to learn the cor­rect way to get into your setup. I model it after the leg­endary Ben Ho­gan. He al­ways started by align­ing his shoul­ders well to the left of the tar­get, and by the time he squared his stance, his shoul­ders were still 15 to 17 de­grees open to the tar­get line. This al­lowed him to start the back­swing by mov­ing his left shoul­der out (in front of him) and around, which got his arms and hands on a long route to the top.

To un­der­stand what the long route is, con­sider the op­po­site: the short route. Imag­ine your shoul­ders in a closed po­si­tion at ad­dress.When the left shoul­der turns back from there, the arms and hands go to the in­side and ar­rive at the top rather quickly. That’s the short route, and it causes the hands, arms, right shoul­der or right hip to start the down­swing, usu­ally by “throw­ing” the club away from the body on an out-toin path.The re­sult typ­i­cally is a weak slice.

With the Ho­gan swing – start­ing with the move I’m teach­ing here – the hands and arms are still go­ing back when the lower left side of the body in­vol­un­tar­ily starts for­ward. In ef­fect, the long route al­lows the lower body to get a head start on the down­swing.There’s a men­tal re­quire­ment to have this in­vol­un­tary down­swing:There has to be a cog­ni­sance of the tar­get be­fore the shot be­gins. It’s much like a dog ly­ing in a blind, then see­ing a bird fly­ing over­head and sud­denly perk­ing up.

Mod­ern play­ers who best demon­strate a sim­i­lar ac­tion are Jim Furyk, Ja­son Day and Martin Kaymer.Watch how their lower bod­ies start the down­swing while their hands and arms are still swing­ing back.

The shoul­ders-open setup is per­fectly nat­u­ral. Be­cause the right hand is slightly lower and out past the left hand on the club at ad­dress, the right shoul­der is lower and out past the left shoul­der.Also, the hips are open about 12 de­grees, the shoul­ders about 17 de­grees.This puts the body in a top-to­bot­tom spi­ral, ready to start wind­ing up.

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