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Saturday, September 21, 2013

How to Hit a Draw for Lefties 4

Welcome back, class! I take it that you had plenty of time to practice that not-quite-full draw swing we created earlier in the week. Let me remind you...

Each day has 2 posts -- one for righties and one for lefties -- and will be identical except for the diagrams and some instructions that might be clearer if I write them specifically for each type of player. The posts will be scheduled one minute apart so both posts will show up at almost the same time. Any of you who have questions can leave them in the comments of the appropriate "handedness post," which should eliminate a lot of confusion. And yes, this is the post for left-handers.

Today let's see if we can't take that partial swing and turn it into a full swing -- a draw, of course. Our setup will be the same:

Setup for draw

As you'll recall, we kept the swing short enough that both of our upper arms could stay in contact with the sides of our chest all the way back and through, and that our lead shoulder didn't turn enough to move under our chin. But now I'll tell you why we kept the original practice swing so short.

When we make a full backswing, our trailing arm has to lose contact with the side of our chest unless we keep our swing extremely flat. (And even as flat as Hogan kept his swing, he said his arm had to separate from his side when he made a full swing.) It takes a bit of time for that trailing arm to swing back down and re-establish contact with the side of your chest.. and during that time, your shoulders will turn slightly back toward your setup position.

In fact, they will turn to about the same position as our practice swing. So our practice swing has taught us the proper arm position at the point where we reconnect during the downswing.

All you need now is an understanding of how to make this downward-move-to-reconnect... and the way that move feels depends a bit on whether you have a modern swing or a classic swing.

The modern swing is the hip-driven swing, most often associated with Hogan. It developed as an attempt to maximize the power of the steel shaft, and it's the method I focused on in my books Stop Coming Over-the-Top, HIT IT HARD, and More Golf Swing Speed. It's the most commonly taught swing method these days -- though certainly not the only one -- and it's based on the idea that you focus on driving your hips around, which pulls your hands and arms down to impact.
For those of you using the modern swing, it will feel as if your arms DROP from the top of your backswing -- after all, they're being pulled around by your hips -- and they will drop until the upper part of your trailing arm touches the side of your chest in the position you learned with the practice swing. It will feel as if your arms are dropping straight down but, in actuality, your shoulders are turning as your arms drop so everything happens on plane.
The classic swing, on the other hand, is taught by a large number of teachers like Manuel de la Torre, Bob Toski, and the late Jim Flick. It's the original swing that developed during the days of hickory shafts, and it's the method virtually EVERYBODY uses for the short game because it offers the most control and feel there. My Accurate Iron Play book is based on classic methodology but works for everybody -- just look at Steve Stricker.

In the classic swing -- as in the modern swing -- your hips also provide drive for your swing. The difference is that they aren't the focus of the swing motion. A classic swinger uses his or her arms and hands much more to create club head speed. (And yes, that's why you sometimes hear instructors tell you to "ring the bell" to start your downswing. It's a classic swing thought, as opposed to the dropping motion of the modern swing.)
For those of you with a classic swing, it will feel as if you PULL your arms down from the top of your backswing and you will pull until the upper part of your trailing arm touches the side of your chest in the position you learned with the practice swing. And again, it will feel as if you're pulling your arms straight down but, in actuality, your shoulders are turning as you pull so everything happens on plane.
I'm sure you're wondering if it's possible to combine the two... and yes it is. I suspect a huge number of pros do just that but, based on what I've heard from them and their instructors, I'm pretty sure Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson both combine the techniques -- pulling down with their hands and arms as they drive their hips and legs forward. It can create a tremendous amount of club head speed -- hell, Henrik swings so hard that the face of his 4-wood caved in during warmup on Friday! The tradeoffs are that timing becomes more critical and back problems become more likely... but it can be done if you're so inclined.

For this post I'm going to assume you'll be happy just using one at a time in order to get a consistent draw!

I suspect you already know whether you focus on upper body or lower body power for your swing, simply because most instructors teach either "dropping your arms" or "swinging your arms." ("Swinging your arms" seems to be most instructors' preferred method of describing what I've called "pulling your arms down." The teachers I mentioned earlier all use that terminology.)

To stretch your practice swing out to a full swing, you really only need to remember one thing: PRACTICE SLOWLY. It won't take long for you to get a consistent full motion as long as you practice slowly enough to make sure you consistently move from the top of your backswing down to the connected position of your practice swing. Make a few slow swings, then gradually speed up to a normal speed. Do this several times during your time on the range -- slow swing to faster swing, slow swing to faster swing -- and do it each day while you're learning the full motion. It won't take long for you to get where you can draw the ball with your full swing.

Tomorrow we'll tie up all the loose ends.

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