Do you have an issue with slicing the ball or are you plagued by inconsistent ball striking? If so, you may want to read on.
Most Amateur Golfers Slice it
In my experience, around 80-90% of amateurs have a shot shape that moves left to right. And for many golfers this is more than just a little fade.
There are multiple factors that cause this devastating shot, but one of the most common swing faults, is when a golfer comes ‘over the top’ in their downswing.
Golfers compensate differently after making this move, but in general, it causes a steep, ”out to in” path and an ”open to path” club face.
All common denominators of faders/slicers and will cause poor ball striking.
If you have followed my brothers ‘road to scratch’ progress, you may remember that he struggles with this same move.
This has held his progression back for many years, and it wasn’t until he came across the alignment stick drill that he has been able to begin to correct it.
As you can see in the video of Dean below, the drill is an alignment stick positioned at around 45 degrees.
And the goal of the drill is to miss the stick on your downswing.
If you throw your hands too far out (come over the top), then you’ll collide with the stick.
This offers you great feedback (and sometimes a sore hand) and you can easily tell if you are performing the drill and achieving a much more optimal path.
I also successfully use this drill with many of my players and I believe it is the best drill to eradicate this common swing issue.
The main reason for this, is it forces you to perform the correct move early in your downswing.
There are other swing path drills which hit the spot way too late and allow you to ”come over the top”, then compensate later.
Generally, the less compensations you have coming into impact, the better you are going to be.
It Keeps Focus External
One of the beauties of this drill is it’s an external task. In my experience, this allows you to concentrate less on internal thoughts like ‘drop your hands underneath’.
Studies conclude the more you can keep your focus external, the better you can co-ordinate your body to hit the desired golf shots.
Golfers tend to be plagued with internal dialogue which often end up with the player being overwhelmed and in less control of their motion.
I have found drills of an external nature to somewhat combat this.
Here is a lesson example with one of my players so you can see the positive effect the drill has on his motion.
In the before video, his hands come way out in the downswing and this causes his shaft to get really steep and left coming into impact. This was causing lots of slices and poorly struck shots.
In the after, his hands/shaft come down on a much better line, which resulted in some far better golf.
Obviously this has taken repetitions and time to ingrain, but there’s no doubt, this drill gives the players a great feel to improve their motion.
I have a whole catalogue of players that this had benefitted.
This Drill Isn’t Perfect
However, this drill in its current form is far from perfect.
The main issue I hear from players regarding this, is that there not very confident setting it up without a coach present.
They are not 100% sure where to position the bucket or at what angle to have the alignment stick.
This is going to be different for each player depending on the golfers individualities and where they are in the change.
They also struggle with setting the ball up in a consistent spot from session to session.
Golf is a game of small margins, so its important things are as consistent as we can possibly make them (without going all Dechambeau on you)
So, in its current form, it is not an exact science and there are consistency issues, but we have eradicated these concerns with our new training aid which is releasing very soon.
So keep an eye out for it in coming months. 😉
Transfering Your Skills to the Course is an Issue
There is another problem a golfer may have when using a drill/training aid.
Lots of golfers do not transfer the techniques from using the tools on the range to their swing on the golf course as successfully as they could do.
One of the main reason for this is, golfers sometimes tend to tune out whilst using drills/aids in practice.
This often happens because after a few shots, the task becomes easier to complete without too much thought. Golfers then go into automatic mode which has been proven to lower the players engagement.
And once engagement falls, skill retention and improvement will likely fall with it.
Do Not Become Too Reliant – Mix it Up
A great way to combat this in practice, is to mix up your practice routine.
So, hit 3 shots with the drill in place, then take the drill away and hit two shots just trying to hit golf shots as you would on the course.
Studies conclude that the more often you can force your brain to solve a new problem in practice. Ie hitting different shots with different clubs etc, the higher the chance of retaining the skills.
Simulate on the Course What You Have Practiced
Another thing I get me clients to do, is to imagine that the alignment stick is present when they are on the course.
I find this simulates the exact same feelings that they have been practising with and they find it easier to transfer the move to the course.
Lots of golfers will change from an external focus in practice ‘’miss the alignment stick’’ to an internal one on the course ‘’drop hands underneath’’.
No wonder results can be polar opposite from the range to the course.
Seek Professional Advice Before Trying This
This drill is very beneficial for many of my clients but it’s certainly not a universal problem, so I would always advice seeking professional advice before committing to changes.
So, If you know that this is a swing fault of yours, this is something I would definitely advise for you to add to your practice routine.
Not sure if this drill will work for you?
PGA Golf Development Professional – my passions in life are playing and coaching golf. I also run our Game Changer Academy which is helping golfers like yourself take their game to another level.