Let The Left Side Lead
(all you lefties out there, please read backwards)
After playing very little the past few months, like most of you, I’m trying to put my game back together for this season. In my case, it has been tougher, because I got a light sprain of my left ankle back around Christmas. That caused me to unconsciously retard my weight shift, so I was “hand slapping” at the ball from too far back. That then lead to a too-far-right alignment, and a too-far-forward ball position – all of which crept in gradually until I thought I should just quit.
But an ankle brace and Aleve began the road back, followed by drills on getting back to proper alignment, set up and ball position. But there was still something missing, as my consistency just hasn’t been there and even my good shots were just not as sharp as I’m accustomed. So, in my practice this week, I had one of those “ah ha” moments. I’m not sure why it hit me, but I realized that I was way too “right handed” in my shots – probably stemmed from slinging the club at the ball from the back foot to a forward ball position.
I’m totally convinced, you see, that this game is much more of a backhanded effort than we realize. No matter which side of the ball you play from, the front side of your body has to lead the swing. For right-handers, that means the entire left side has to be stronger through the ball than your right side. This is tough, because as right-handers, that is our underdeveloped side, both in strength and coordination. We subconsciously are going to go with our stronger, more reliable right side.
What hit me was that I was holding on too tightly with the right hand, and that side was trying to dominate the swing. Wrong!!!! When I realized that, I just made a conscious effort to lighten the right hand and -- “voila!” -- the Terry of old began breaking out. So I worked on that on everything from pitches and chips, through short and middle irons, hybrid, fairway wood and driver. The effect on my dispersion pattern and distance was immediate and remarkable.
So, my lesson to all of you through this is to understand that your left side is underdeveloped, as compared to your right, so it will take more focus to keep it stronger and in a lead position throughout the swing. Try this the next time you are on the range. Consciously lighten your right hand grip by taking your thumb and forefinger totally off the club, holding it only in the middle two fingers of your right hand . . . lightly.
Hit some shots and watch what happens. I think you’ll be surprised.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.
[ comments ]
I think this goes hand and hand with maintaining the proper lag angles THROUGH the ball. As long as the club head is lagging behind the hands THROUGH impact, you'll be in good shape. And just as you said Terry, that's never going to happen when you try to hit the ball with your right hand.
This is EXACTLY what my club pro tried to fix in the lesson I took last week. He changed my grip to be slightly stronger and enphasized the same point Terry closes with. The pressure in the right hand to hold the club should only be on the middle and ring fingers.
It's good to share a flaw with an accomplished golfer (even for a short while). This gives me hope :)
Bryan K says:
Yes, this is it.
One of the many things I fixed over the winter. My driver was going so well a couple of weeks ago, and then BAM...nothing. The past 4-5 rounds (out of about 25 already this Spring), the driver has been inconsistent at best, and consistently terrible more consistently. I revisited grip, weight distribution, backswing, and swing plane with no success. As I sat hear reading this, rubbinig my sore right wrist, it suddenly all makes sense. I'm not leading with my left arm.
Can't wait for tonight.
Terry, you have touched on the curse of my golf game. I started playing 5 years ago at age 42. When I decided I wanted to give golf a try, I first when to a pro for lessons. The first time I hit golf ball, a pro was standing behind me. He quickly determined that my right hand dominance was going to be my biggest problem. Five years later, I still struggle with it on every shot. I've learned what if feels like to push with my right side instead of pulling with my left. Still, if pulling with my left is not my dominate swing thought, I will revert to pushing every time. I will try changing the way I grip with my right hand.
Bryan K says:
tennesseeboy: It's not only the grip, though the grip is extremely important. For me, the most important thing is the way I start my swing. I have to consciously think about using my left shoulder muscle to start the forward swing. If I can do that, then I have no problem. The last few days, I just realized that I'm not consciously thinking about that. I guess I must have figured I had that part of my swing grooved or something, but what happens is that I don't feel like I'm swinging very hard when I implement that into my swing. Of course, I tend to get good results, so it really comes down to me being confident enough that solid contact is going to achieve the desired results so I don't try to overswing (which gets my right arm involved).
I am with you on this Terry, it is kinda simple for me. I just have lighter grip pressure with right hand and try to feel me leftside pulling the club also helps me stay inside which is another goal of mine.
Thanks Terry - that is just what I was trying to figure out while getting the winter rust off my swing.
Bryan K says:
I thought I'd post an update, since I've been asked directly.
After 36 hole over the last couple of days, and along with one other minor adjustment (opening my club face on my backswing), I've been getting some good results with my driver. I'm not making the best contact, but the ball is consistently going 200 yards.
After experimenting with stack and tilt, my ball striking is much more consistent.Keeping my weight over my left foot and concentrating on pulling through with my left shoulder works wonders.
[ post comment ]