“Making the training drills more difficult causes your swing to naturally evolve to a higher level of quality.” – Daniel Lee
Regardless of how far we are hitting a shot, we are always looking for effortless power and ease of body movement. Knowing how to achieve those things is critical and it’s very important to be creative when you practice. You should take your drills onto the course which will help you tremendously when trying to overcome obstacles you see and feel out there.
The golf course can become your practice area and will give you great value from a standpoint of time management. Out there you will be able to create an environment that offers the needed challenges that the driving range often fails to provide. Although it is harder to get positive results on the course, we get a clearer picture of our true weaknesses. On the range, you can get away with your compensations and hit good shots, but under pressure of competition, it starts to fall apart – in other words, your practice is not hard enough. You need to be able to bring the challenges of the course to your range practice so you can feel how to fix them. One of the great benefits of doing this is that it makes your practice more fun. You can not only test yourself physically, but mentally, which is the hardest part of golf to conquer.
The Gary Player Walk Through Drill
The first drill in this series is what I call the Gary Player Walk Through Swing. Essentially it is a traditional style swing where your mass releases effortlessly through impact and continues into a nice walk on the follow through. You want to feel that your movements post impact are as if you simply turned to walk toward your target. One difficult habit to change, is the way you view the move you are trying to accomplish. Instead of trying to force contact with the back of the golf ball, concentrate on feeling that your weight is freely advancing through every shot. Your main objective should be to move yourself rotationally, from point A to point B. The ball is simply picked up by the club moving on its arc, and the flightline is tangent to that circle. The rotation of the hips should work the same way you’ve seen Gary Player move for many years.
Uphill Walk Through Shots
This is the same move as the drill above, we’ve just added a contour change that teaches you a multitude of things by taking all the things you are normally working on and amplifying them. By swinging against the hill you’ll sense the need for a change in the geometry of your set-up, otherwise you will feel restriction in your ability to get through the shot. If your lateral movement and turn start to reverse and send you back down the hill, you know you’re being restricted, and that will cause loss of power and consistency. If you can create comfort in the geometry of your address you’ll “feel” that nothing is holding back your rotation and that you are perfectly in-plane and in a state of rotary equilibrium. If you’re jammed by the hill, you’ll feel restriction in your walk towards the target, post impact. You’ll start to develop a sense of whether or not you’re balanced as you walk towards your target, or if you’re fighting it.
The Happy Gilmore Drill
The next drill is one that you may have seen in the farcical movie, Happy Gilmore. Even though Adam Sandler looked pretty ridiculous doing it in the movie, one of the PGA Tour’s finest, Padraig Harrington, can be seen doing this on a regular basis during practice. I tend to take it to a greater extreme by starting farther back and seeing how fast I can actually move while staying in balance and on line. To get the timing of exactly how your feet should move requires a very specific rhythm, just like when you’re dancing. What you’re trying to feel is the relationship of when to wait, and when to go. Learning through “feel,” in balance threatening modes, forces your brain to develop proper physics and physiology in the transfer of energy. This is the same thing that happens to us subconsciously when we first learn to walk, and walking is something that most all of us know how to do. The drills tap the same part of the brain that taught us to walk efficiently, and adapt that capability to the learning of perfect swing mechanics.