Better Shotmaking For Us "Older" Golfers
This is kind of a continuation of the Examination of Impact article I wrote previously. But it deals with a different aspect to the “Thin To Win” impact principle.
As I’ve gotten older (I’m 56 now!), I’m noticing soreness in the fingers of my right hand during or after practice sessions or rounds of golf. I suspect it’s arthritis or arthritis-like, but why wouldn’t it be? I’ve spent countless hours in my life hitting hundreds of thousands of golf shots, and that’s a lot of pounding of the clubhead into the turf.
The first concession I made to this was to shift to graphite shafts in all my irons and wedges, and let me tell you, not only was this helpful in reducing impact shock, my shotmaking feel improved dramatically. But graphite shafts in irons is for the next post. Let’s stick with this subject for now.
What I decided is to change my impact so that I began taking shallower divots, or no divots at all on most iron shots. As I’ve begun to do that, I’ve greatly reduced the soreness, and you know what else? I’m hitting better quality iron shots than ever before. Here’s all I did to change my shotmaking.
1 - Move a little further from the ball. I adjusted my ball position at address so that the ball is just a slight bit further away from me. That allows me to swing more around my body, making a slightly flatter swing plane, and delivering the club to the ball on a shallower downward path.
2 - Widen the Swing. My takeaway move is now a little more of a “push back” with minimal hinging of the wrists. I think of getting my left shoulder under my chin and letting the backswing get a little wider.
3 - Rotate the Core! My singular swing thought through impact is to make my body core rotate all the way through, leading the arms, hands, grip and clubhead. This insures a shallow angle of approach to the ball, shallow or no divot, and consistently solid impact.
So, there you have it. If you're looking for a little less wear and tear on your hands from lots of golf, I strongly suggest you get away from digging huge divots and learn to pick the ball a little more. One of the other advantages of this principle is that your game “travels” better from course to course, various kinds of turf and on wet days.
The next post will be about graphite shafts in irons, so bookmark this site or subscribe to the RSS feed so you don't miss it.
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Steve Wozeniak PGA says:
Good stuff Terry, people just have to watch out when getting further from the ball that they do not REACH with the arms, then they start working out of there sockets and joints NOT the shoulders which include the pec and lat muscles...also swing plane can only be as steep as your "inner rail road track" and as flat as your "outer rail road track" or line of flight. I find most people are way to flat to begin with!! The ONLY reason the swing is "flatter" with longer clubs is because there longer (your railroad tracks gets wider) Talk to you later, Steve. www.stevewozeniak.com
Good point Steve (for those of you who don't know, Steve is a PGA Teaching Pro). I think very many golfers reach too far for the ball. Here's a "check" I use. Address the ball with the club soled properly, only holding in lightly in your right hand. Step into the set up, and allow the left arm to hang naturally from the shoulder. The upper half of the grip should lay nicely into the hand without having to move it more than an inch further away from the body.
Think of it this way. If the left arm is hanging naturally, that's an easier place to return to at impact than if you have "manufactured" some place "out in space" away from the body. Besides, your body rotation can be faster and more powerful if the arms are close to the body than if they are "out there".
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