Approach Shots

Use this at-home drill to improve your shoulder turn and your ball striking

collin morikawa swings

It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to “hit” the ball with your irons. Often, it’s because you don’t take enough club to begin with, so you subconsciously feel the need to swing harder. Say goodbye to your sequence and timing, especially in your upper body.

No two golfers are the same, but something I see in players who swing too hard is their back shoulder dropping too far down on the downswing. This mistake causes the club to get “stuck” behind the body. Timing and sequence immediately go out the window, introducing the entire gamut of misses (fats, thins, slices, hooks, etc.).

Making a more level turn with your upper body creates consistent and powerful contact. Smacking a cart seat between swings gives you the right feel.

Christian Hafer

The fix? Replace the drop with more turn. Place a club across your chest while standing near the corner of a wall in your home or next to a cart as I’m doing here if you’re on the course. Turn back, then through. Make your turn level enough so that the grip end of the club smacks the wall (or the cart backrest) in the same spot it started. When it does, you’ll sense your upper body properly rotating instead of your shoulder dropping. Repeat that on real swings and the ball will rocket off the clubface, even with less than full speed.

Debbie Doniger teaches at GlenArbor GC in Bedford, N.Y.

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