"Casting", "Flipping", "Scooping", or "Early Release": All of these terms describe a golfer's tendency to be over-active with their hands through impact. If this describes you, (or even if it doesn't) here is a five-step, 30-minute practice plan that should be repeated several times a week for several weeks to help you ingrain good release fundamentals for the New Year (all tips are written with a right-handed perspective)!
- Hit 20 bump-and-run chip shots holding a rod alongside your grip that extends up the left side of your body. If you cast, you will whack your left side with the rod — ouch!
- Hit twenty 10-yard pitch shots (medium-high trajectory) with only your right hand. If you cast, you will probably hit a low bladed shot or possibly scoop right under the ball and get limited distance.
- Hit twenty half-swing punch shots on the range with a short iron stopping your finish at hip height with arms and wrists straight pointing to the target. If you have an impact bag, I would alternate between hitting the bag and doing these punch shots for added benefit. If not, just make sure in your finish position your trying to hold back your right wrist so you maintain a slight angle in it (forward press).
- Hit 20 full swing shots with your right-arm only using a short iron.
- Do 10 sets of the following: Line up four balls in a row and hit them in this order — half swing with right hand, half swing punch shot with both hands, full swing with right hand only, full swing with two hands, normal finish.
This will be an intense workout if done properly, especially for your right hand/arm. If you have energy left, I would suggest going through different clubs in your bag and applying the new sensations these drills can provide, however integrate your pre-shot routine to a specific target just as you would on the course.
Good luck and have fun! If you follow this regiment you'll be on your way to a cast-free swing!!
Erika Larkin is the Director of Instruction at Larkin Golf Learning Community, at Stonewall Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia. She was named the 2012 Middle Atlantic PGA "Teacher of the Year" and the 2011 "Top Golf Pro" by Washingtonian Magazine — and she's oobgolf's newest columnist! She writes on a variety of topics including instruction, so if you have a question for her or an idea for a column, e-mail her at ErikaLarkin@pga.com. Enjoy!
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