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Friday, September 11, 2015

Patrick Reed on Flagging Your Short Irons

Golf Digest has posted an article by Patrick Reed on how to hit your short irons close. There are two things he said which are closely related and I want to call your attention to them.

Patrick Reed short iron setup

First, Patrick says he tries to feel that his hands are "inside his chest" during his backswing, which is just another way of saying he tries to keep his hands "in front of him." In case you aren't familiar with those terms, let me give you an image that might help you understand.

Suppose you were standing between two parallel walls, and they're just far enough apart for you to stand between them with one shoulder touching each wall. That's a 'U' shape -- each wall is at a 90° angle to your shoulders, and your shoulders are the bottom of the 'U' just like this [_], with the open side of the 'U' facing the ball. Got it?

Then imagine that, as you make your backswing, the walls move with your shoulders so you always have that U-shaped wall-shoulder-wall unit turning together. At the top of your backswing, you make a 90° shoulder turn and the open side of the 'U' faces away from the target.

Now, what Patrick says is that he tries to feel as if his hands are always 'between the walls' during his backswing. At the top of his backswing his hands will actually be a little bit outside 'the walls,' but he's trying to keep them from getting too much outside. That would cause problems during his downswing because his legs are much stronger than his hands; if his hands fall too far behind during his downswing, he'll leave the clubface open (the common term is 'get stuck').
A quick word of explanation: I know some of you don't understand how this works. In a few words... if you keep your hands 'in front of you' then you tend to keep both arms reasonably straight for a longer time, which means you don't bend your trailing elbow as much. And if you don't bend that elbow as much, you don't twist your forearms as much, which means you don't open the clubface as much during your backswing.
Second -- and this is related to the first -- he tries to feel that he isn't rotating his forearms during his downswing. As Patrick puts it:
You also have to control clubface rotation. If you keep your arms in front of your body during the downswing, the face will square up, then close after impact.
If you've followed this blog for very long, you know I make a big deal of trying to feel that you don't rotate your forearms regardless of whether you're going back or coming down. That's because the bending and unbending of your elbows will automatically take care of the necessary "rotation" as you turn back and through.

This is a big deal to Patrick Reed, and you know how he can stripe it when he's swinging well. (And how he can hook it when he doesn't!) Many of you are having trouble squaring up the clubface because you're rotating the clubface much more than you think -- you open the clubface too much on the way back and then you have to work extra hard to close it on the way down. The only way to fix that problem is to stop opening the clubface so much during your backswing.

So take a lesson from Patrick and stop trying to open the clubface on the way back. Instead, let your natural body motion automatically rotate the clubface properly all the way through your swing.

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