Tom Tucker is a teaching professional at Plum Creek driving range in Batavia. He provides instruction for BuffaloGolfer.Com twice a month. This installment examines hitting up with the driver and how much pressure the grip should impart. For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.
Swing Up With Your Driver
For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.
I teach most of my students to hit the driver on an ascending arc, in other words somewhere in the up and left portion of their swing arc. I may or may not also have them set up a little closed, and with some “radial axis spine tilt”. That’s a golf term for tilting the upper body a little away from the target at address to facilitate an upward swing at the ball. The key is to get the tilt away from the target by sliding your hips forward an inch or so, not just leaning back and away. The latter puts too much weight on the rear leg at address.
I consider striking the ball at about a 4 degree upward angle to be optimal for most players.
That setup works well most of the time, but every now and them I have a student that has a bit of an issue with this spine position, and they start to “drop kick” some drives.
hit up
“Drop kick” means that they are hitting the ground way behind the ball before they hit the ball, because they are slow to transfer their lower torso weight forward at impact. That’s usually accompanied by a reluctant pivot instead of a deliberate pivot.
Their swing then becomes all arms.
Through discovery (there’s that word again, golf is a game of discovery) I have found that these students can execute an upward swing arc easier by simply tilting their head only slightly away from the target, then turning their chin a little to the left. instead of setting up with radial spine axis tilt.
If you feel that the trajectory of your drive is too low, or if you simply want to have a higher trajectory drive in your swing arsenal for when you need it, try this:
Move the ball well forward in your stance, off the big toe of your front foot.
Tee the ball up relatively high. Don’t worry, you won’t swing under it as long as you catch it on the upward part of your swing arc.
Close your stance one inch ( or not – experiment with this part of the setup). If you swing from “inside to inside”, like I teach it, you’ll need a closed stance because your strike will be in the up and left portion of your swing arc. If you are an “inside to outside” swinger, then you may be able to keep your stance alignment square.
In your setup, don’t place the driver directly behind the ball. Instead, move the driver head back about four inches from the ball to define that spot in your brain as where the bottom of your swing arc will be located.
Tilt your head slightly away from the target. and turn your chin slightly to the left
Feel like you are swinging up at the ball when you hit it.
A great way to practice this swing without a ball is simply to set up to a tee as described above, and when you swing observe that you are swinging upward and over the tee, not striking it.
Try it, you’ll like it.
Grip Pressure
For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.
Every now and then I get one of my better players getting together with me because they’ve lost their consistent curvature – usually their draw.
It most often is caused by a swing path that has gotten a little too much down the line or even outside to inside.
But every now and then it’s caused by their clubface not squaring up at impact, not syncing with their normal swing as usual.
If this sounds like it could be you, you may benefit by gripping the club with a little less grip pressure, or getting new grips.
When your flight if off, the mental pressure to correct it can cause you to grip the club a little tighter, inhibiting a natural squaring up of the clubface at impact.
Worn grips can also cause your grip to be tighter, causing the same problem.
If your ball flight has started to become inconsistent, try a grip pressure that’s a little less firm and see how it works out.
Just about every student that I teach asks me how tight their grip should be on the club, but there’s no one answer to that. It’s personal preference all the way. It needs to be firm enough to keep the club from flying out of your hands, and loose enough to allow for natural rotation through impact.
Golf is a game of discovery, and grip pressure is another tool to use in that process.
Comments: ttucker @
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