“In a technically proper golf swing, each of your arms should play a passive role.” – David Lee
By doing the cross-footed drill in a right-handed only mode (left arm for southpaws) we can increase our sensitivity to keeping shoulder and arm muscle out of the swing. This drill will let you feel how important it is to allow the arm to start down in a state of complete “dead-fall” and to feel the counter-fall and turn of the body sling the arm through impact.
If you try to “strike” the ball with the right arm in this drill, energy will go back into the body, changing the swing-plane, and you will in all likelihood miss-hit the shot every time. Even though the club is being handled by the right arm only, the player is not learning to hit the ball with the arm. In fact, this drill trains the arm not to participate in the power scheme – the exact opposite of how it appears. Right arm drills are difficult initially because of the large arc size but become very easy once they are done properly. Routing the right arm correctly will add great technical quality to your swing.
In a cross-footed mode, just as in a spread-footed normal stance mode, the drill can be done three different ways. First, it can be done in a front-route, where the club is started from a position about two feet behind the ball, swung over the top of the ball and then in a full circle around the body to the point of contact and on into the follow through. The second mode is in an up-route, where the swing is started with the club turned to a vertical position with the hand opposite the breastbone or sternum. From there, the club is pushed vertically until the hand is even with the top of the head. The shoulders are then turned about ninety degrees back, the arm and club drop into the “slot” and the delivery is made with the turn of the body slinging the arm and club to the finish of the swing. The third mode is a normal backswing where the arm and club are heaved from the ball to the completion of the backswing by the core. The change of direction must be totally without effort, and the delivery powered by the counter-fall and turn, just as in the other two modes.
One of the important benefits of this drill is that it teaches you how to isolate your “perfect” swing-plane because you can’t hit the ball solidly from the drill unless you’re in that ideal plane. The drills can be done with any club other than the putter and if you hit a perfect right handed drive, the ball should travel at least 70% of the distance of your cross-footed, two-handed tee shots. Handling the club in this mode may feel cumbersome until proper core movement from the body begins to hold the club in-plane with centrifugal force. Notice how the body is leading the arm coming into impact and slinging it and the club to the finish of the swing. You’ll be amazed at how solidly the ball can be struck in any of the right-handed, cross-footed modes. Once the arm is in a state of pure tension release, you’ll be able to hit controlled draws, and the swing will “throw” the ball right where you are looking – what a great feeling!