Like many Canadians, Mike Weir’s first sport was hockey. Growing up north of the border, Weir played hockey during the winter months before transitioning to golf in the summers. Because he was a left-handed hockey player, he adopted that for his golf swing as well. And though Weir eventually gave up the sport to focus on golf, he still draws back on his hockey experience to help his golf swing.
At the Senior Players Championship, Weir was spotted doing an interesting drill that uses some of that long-ago hockey skill for his swing. Weir sets up to the ball in his normal posture, but he grips the club like a hockey stick. He then winds up and hits the ball with a hockey slap shot motion.
Better spine angle, more tilt
“It helps me stay in my tilt, a little bit better and my spine angle a little bit better” Weir says. “If you’re a tennis player, there’s a backhand in tennis that translates to sport, weight transfer. There’s a number of different benefits when trying to integrate another sport into what you’re doing.”
Essentially, what Weir is aiming to do is prohibit early extension. Early extension occurs when your hips thrust forward (get closer) on the downswing to the ball, and you come out of your posture. When this happens, you crowd the ball and run out of room to get the handle down in front of them. This can lead to loss of clubface control, lack of power, and stalling your pivot.
By employing the slap shot drill, Weir is promoting proper posture at impact, which is essential in both the golf swing and a slap shot. If you’re struggling with early extension, pick up a hockey stick. It might just help you improve at two sports at once.