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Use this drill to fire up your backswing for better results

April 19, 2020
john tillery demonstrates drill

The relationship between your torso and arms during the backswing is a critical one that has a direct effect on the rest of your motion (to say nothing of the quality of your shots). Getting out of sync here stems from a variety of errors, from overactive hands to bending your right arm too early in your takeaway. To avoid these mistakes, try what I call the Firewood Curl Drill.

To begin, imagine a friend has loaded you up with some wood to carry to a fireplace or firepit, with your arms bent at a 90-degree angle as shown in the photo above. (If you have some firewood handy, go ahead and give it a shot. If not, or you’re the “don’t want my shirt to get dirty” type, stick to imagining.) Next, settle into an address posture, one that mimics both your golf setup and also allows you to support the weight of the wood, which would naturally force you to curl your arms toward your shoulders as well as place the center of the firewood’s mass directly in front of the center of your chest. Perfect.

Now make a mock backswing, still holding the imaginary log. As you turn away from the target, notice how your arms maintain their position (i.e., remain connected to your torso), otherwise you’d risk dropping the wood. This is the exact feeling you need in the early part of your backswing. Not only does it provide a proper connection, it forces you to make a bigger body turn—and helps you lay the wood on the tee box.

John Tillery teaches at the Academy at Cuscowilla in Eatonton, Ga.

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