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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Wall Slap Drill

I was going to do a post about some of the suggested changes to The Rules of Golf, but that can wait till another day.

A few days back, Jean Luc left a comment on an older post called Inbee Park's Pause. The material in that post had helped him -- he had been having trouble with pushed shots -- but he was looking for some help to eliminate some of the wrist rolling the new movement caused for him. He had seen a new book by Jim Hardy called The Release: Golf's Moment of Truth and was fascinated by one of Hardy's approaches to the release. He wondered if I had any ideas on whether it would work.

I don't usually use my comment responses as the basis of new blog posts but, given Jean Luc's positive response to this one, I felt it might help some of you. Jean Luc says the drill I included in this comment felt a lot like the drill in yesterday's Tommy Fleetwood post, but this one is specifically designed to minimize wrist rotation. The comment also explains why I haven't included many tips from Jim Hardy in my blog, although he's clearly been able to help a lot of golfers.

And at the end, I'll add some thoughts so you can use this drill to learn a draw or a fade.

Here, I'll just let the comment itself explain everything:

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Jean Luc, I haven't read Hardy's book. And when I found info on the web about the two releases he talks about in the book (at http://www.tworeleases.com/), it seemed a bit contradictory to me -- for example, I'd say the LOP motion is a swinging motion, not a leverage motion, while the RIT motion can be either, depending on your hand and arm action. With no more explanation than I found there, it's hard for me to make hard and fast statements about what Hardy's doing.

That said, let's see if I can give you some help with what you want to do.

Hardy is somewhat controversial among swing geeks because, although much of his material is very helpful, he makes statements that clearly contradict fact. For example, in this GC video:

http://www.golfchannel.com/media/golf-fix-jim-hardy-talks-one-plane-swing/

he says that Hogan's swing is a one-plane swing. But in Five Lessons Hogan himself says:
On the downswing plane, a golfer swings on a slightly different plane than the backswing. THE PLANE FOR THE DOWNSWING IS LESS STEEPLY INCLINED AND IS ORIENTED WITH THE BALL QUITE DIFFERENTLY FROM THE BACKSWING PLANE. The golfer gets on this second plane -- without thinking he is changing planes -- when he turns his hips back to the left at the start of the downswing. (p87)
Hogan says his swing is a two-plane swing in three consecutive sentences, yet Hardy says it's a one-plane swing. So I'm hesitant to get too involved with his theories in this answer.

But I can tell you that what you picked up from my stuff is a two-plane swing. That's why you can finally create a bit of a looping motion. It's a more natural, more relaxed way to unwind rapidly on your downswing.

But you don't have to use a roll release (or a throw release, for that matter) to use the loop move and still square the clubface at impact. Let me suggest a feel drill for you:
  1. Take your address position without a club. Set the palm of your trail hand square to your target line. An easy way to do this is to set up next to a corner wall in your house, so you can lay your palm flat against the wall. Your trail wrist should be cocked backward just a bit, as if you had just slapped the wall. That should feel pretty normal to you.
  2. Now take your lead hand and grasp your trail wrist, as if it was the grip of the club. Your trail wrist is still slightly cocked.
  3. Now "swing" back to the top of your backswing. Don't try to rotate your wrists. With your shoulders turned 90 degrees, your palm will be aimed maybe another 45 degrees farther. Again, this should feel pretty natural.
  4. Now just "swing" down and, keeping your grip on your trail wrist, slap the wall with your trail hand. (Okay, it won't be much of a slap, but that's the motion.) You won't feel any rotation in your wrists, but you'll have to turn your body all the way through. Jimmy Ballard would call this "releasing your body." And again, it's the natural way to swing. It has the added bonus of creating a natural weight shift when you do it.
Experiment with that for a while, then start trying to make a similar move in your backyard with a club. That'll feel a little awkward at first because of the weight of the club. Just do it slowly until it starts feeling comfortable, then speed it up.

And let me know how it goes. I'm betting that you'll start to get the motion you're looking for. Just remember: You don't have to "throw" the club to get that release. The speed you'll learn to develop with the clubhead will create that motion all on its own.
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That "slapping motion" I mentioned in the comment comes when the palm of your hand hits flat against the wall on your downswing. But this helps you learn to square your palm at impact, and therefore to square your clubface at impact. And as I said, you won't have to rotate your forearms to reach the top of swing position or on the way down.

Now, if you want to learn to hit a fade or slice with this move, it's simply a matter of changing your foot position.
  • For a fade, OPEN your stance slightly when you set up next to the wall. Now you'll get a slight out-to-in move, but your palm will still aim straight ahead when it hits the wall, giving you a slightly open clubface at impact.
  • Likewise, for a draw, CLOSE your stance slightly when you set up next to the wall. Now you'll get a slight in-to-out move, but your palm will still aim straight ahead when it hits the wall, giving you a slightly closed clubface at impact.
Just alter your foot line and then follow the drill instructions as I described them earlier, and you should develop a pretty consistent draw or fade.

Hopefully this will give all of you yet another option for learning how to shape shots the way you want... and you can thank Jean Luc for it. ;-)

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