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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Another Drill to Help You Stop Slicing

This little video is from last week's School of Golf. Martin Hall has two drills to help you square up the club face using what he calls EDPU -- elbow down, palm up. First, here's the video:

Now what he's doing here may seem pretty obvious, but it's easy to miss it. In all likelihood you're going to focus on forearm rotation to get that palm pointing up when you do these drills, but that's wrong. The key is the elbow down part. Let me explain what's happening by stretching out the swing a bit.

When you make your normal downswing and your hands are around waist high, your lead arm is a little below parallel to the ground and your lead elbow is pointed down toward the ground. That means that the back of your lead hand is facing away from your body -- that is, if someone were standing on the other side of the ball facing you, they would see the back of your lead hand. So far so good.

The problem is that most slicers now pull their lead elbow toward the target. As a result, the lead elbow is chicken-winged away from the body and the back of the lead hand continues to point mostly away from your body. This is the problem, and I'm going to show you why right now.

If you stick your lead arm out so that your hand is in that waist high downswing position and then just swing your hand and arm away from your body as if your lead arm were a door -- keeping your lead arm parallel to the ground -- the back of your lead hand will face the target when your arm points straight out over the ball. Your lead shoulder acts like a hinge, and that's what keeps the lead elbow pointed down.

Then, as your trailing elbow straightens, it's going to force your lead elbow to bend -- your upper arm will stay very close to your side -- and your lead hand will rotate enough to turn the palm up; that will cause the toe of the club to turn toward the target. Remember, your body is turning as all this happens, so the drill Martin showed is an exaggeration of what actually happens. But even with a massive forearm twist you won't get that palm up consistently if you chicken-wing your lead elbow away from your body.

So it will help you do these drills if you keep your lead elbow close to your body while you do them. It's almost as if your upper arm -- from shoulder to elbow -- is rolling against your chest and side as you swing the club past your body. The momentum of the club will pull your lead elbow and arm away from your body during the followthrough when the time is right for it to do so.

Once you get used to that "rolling upper arm" motion, you'll find it very easy to get into that "elbow down palm up" followthrough position that Martin is talking about. That's because you'll be using the big muscles of your upper body to get the rotation and not the smaller (and weaker) muscles in your forearms and wrists.