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Friday, September 2, 2016

Jeff Ritter on Practice Swings (Video)

This is another of Jeff Ritter's Instagram videos, this one about why you keep hitting shots fat. Although he focuses on chips and pitches here, it's just as true with your sand shots and your full swings.

Did you catch that? You may be practicing hitting the ball fat with your practice swings!

Jeff's right, of course. Most players make practice swings just to loosen up, without even thinking about what they're doing, and as a result their practice swings look nothing like their real swings. But that means you're practicing a swing you never intend to use! If you want to improve your contact, you have to start thinking about what you're doing.

So what does Jeff suggest? Simply that you make sure your practice swings duplicate the shot you want to make.
  • Set up beside the ball -- not close enough to accidentally hit it, of course -- and be sure your club is brushing the ground just past the ball.
  • Make sure the bounce of your club is grazing the grass and you're not digging into the ground. Again, decide what you want to do when you actually hit the ball. Digging a bit is okay if that's what you're after, but for most short shots it's not.
And let me add this about practicing your full shots. Make sure that you're following the same procedure. Make sure your practice swing makes contact with the ground so you'll take a small divot in front of the ball. And make sure it's a small divot -- a strip of bacon, not a strip steak, to borrow a popular image.

Jeff uses the phrase a more mindful rehearsal swing. That's what you want to make. Think before you make that practice swing -- make sure you're actually rehearsing the shot you want to make -- and your actual swings will get better.