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Sunday, December 18, 2016

In Case the Hands Drill Confused You...

After posting yesterday's post with the hands drill late on Friday night, I was laying in bed and suddenly realized that some of you might be confused by something in the one-piece takeaway drill that the hands drill was piggybacked on. Hopefully, today's post will eliminate that misunderstanding and you'll get the full value from both the OPT drill AND the hands drill.

When I design a drill with a specific purpose, sometimes I forget that the players using them may not recognize the why behind it. And while players learning an OPT may have understood the why (I mentioned it briefly in the original post), those of you who just focused the hand drill may not. So here's the explanation.

The OPT drill was designed to teach weekend players the correct feel for this position, as illustrated by the photo of Paula Creamer in the OPT drill post:

Paula Creamer's one-piece takeaway

Many players have trouble getting into this position because they slide their hips away from the target. Many instructors call that a sway, and it's a bad thing. It  happens when players don't brace against their trailing leg properly. Among other things, it prevents you from creating a good shoulder coil, which hurts your distance.

In addition, some players move their shoulders away from the target also, which makes them lean backwards and contributes to problems like slicing.

And both of these problems cause a faulty weight shift, which magnifies the other problems.

In order to teach a proper OPT, I needed to teach players how to maintain correct posture as they turned away from the ball. The way I did that was to have players straighten up during the OPT drill. The reason is that we turn and coil and shift weight properly every day, because we're used to doing it when standing erect.

So I had players straighten up to make their turns and then bend over again so they were in the correct takeaway position at the point Paula is demonstrating in the photo. Then, after they were used to the correct feel, they could just make a normal takeaway.

You may be wondering why I used that drill to set up the hands drill, since most of you using the hands drill weren't worried about making a correct OPT. That's a good question!

And here's your good answer:

If you make an incorrect weight shift during your takeaway, the hands drill becomes unbelievably difficult. If you want to see what I mean, forget the turn for a minute and just try to lift the club up from your address position -- as in the Bann video in the last post -- but try to lift it while bending even lower as you do. You'll have to really exaggerate the lift just to get the clubhead off the ground!

Swaying with your hips or moving your shoulders too far sideways during your takeaway creates the same sort of problem. Doing the OPT drill will prevent that.

You've been told to make a wide takeaway to keep the clubhead low to the ground and to create width in your swing. But most of you will do that by making a faulty weight shift, then you'll lose your width at the top of your swing. Width at the top of your swing is much more important than width at the start of your swing, simply because you don't hit the ball with your backswing. If you have width at the top of your backswing, you'll create width during your downswing. Stretching your arms during your takeaway doesn't create width; coiling your shoulders properly does.

Let me repeat that: If you have width at the top of your backswing, you'll create width during your downswing. Stretching your arms during your takeaway doesn't create width; coiling your shoulders properly does.

Use the OPT drill to learn the waist-high position of a correct takeaway -- which will create a proper weight shift to your trailing side -- as demonstrated by Paula in the photo. Then practice doing the hands drill from your address position to Paula's position. That will give you the most success with the least effort.

I hope that clears up any potential confusion I may have created with yesterday's post. Golf is really pretty simple; it's when you try to explain it that it gets complicated. ;-)

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