DAVID LEADBETTER

A sim­ple way to stop steer­ing it

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents - DAVID LEADBETTER

How to feel a proper re­lease.

Many times in golf in­struc­tion, the eas­i­est way to get a player to learn a skill or cor­rect a mis­take is to have them overem­pha­sise the move­ment needed to ex­e­cute the task, or do the op­po­site of what they’re do­ing. I call this teach­ing phi­los­o­phy the art of ex­ag­ger­a­tion. I use it to im­prove tech­nique in all facets of the game.

For ex­am­ple, a com­mon issue is try­ing to steer the ball in play. By that, I mean the fol­low-through is trun­cated and reg­u­lated in an ef­fort to care­fully guide the ball in the right di­rec­tion. This type of swing al­most al­ways has the op­po­site ef­fect, and the re­sult is a poor shot.

What you should do in the through-swing is re­lease the club. That means the club­head should move past your body and to­wards the tar­get as the ball is struck. Steer­ing a shot not only pre­vents the club from do­ing what it’s de­signed to do, it slows it down way too soon – there’s no power.

A great way to learn the feel­ing of the proper re­lease in the through-swing is a drill where you lit­er­ally throw a club at your tar­get. It re­ally works for play­ers who grip the club too tightly or are wor­ried about hit­ting a shot off-line. Find an old club and try it in an empty field. Make a swing, but let go of the club as you fol­low through. You’ll im­me­di­ately re­alise that to do this, you have to lighten your grip pres­sure as well as main­tain a feel­ing of ex­ten­sion in your arms.

Once this feel­ing of re­lease be­comes rou­tine, you can even use the men­tal im­agery of throw­ing the club on the course. It’s es­pe­cially help­ful when fac­ing a nar­row fair­way or deal­ing with a pres­sure sit­u­a­tion. –with ron kaspriske

“Learn to prop­erly re­lease the club with this drill.” David Leadbetter, a Golf Digest Teach­ing Pro­fes­sional, runs 32 academies world­wide.

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