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Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Art of Swatting Flies, Part 2 (Video)

About a week ago I posted a video from instructor Trent Wearner on how to create more clubhead speed with a flyswatter action. (You can click the link to see Wearner's video.) Today I want to expand on the idea a bit, try to help you feel it a bit more clearly.

In that post I also linked to another post I had done called The Wall Slap Drill. That drill should have helped you get a solid lower body action, one that would make the flyswatter action easier to create and apply to the ball.

Today I want to link to yet another post I did, this one on hitting sand shots with soft arms. The instructor, Rob Strano, likened it to the Carlton Dance -- but his video was specific to hitting sand shots. In today's post I'm going to show you how to combine that technique with the flyswatter motion and apply it to your regular shots.

First, here's the Strano video again:

Now, what you can take directly from that video is the whole "soft arms" idea, the dancing feel. But if you try to do it the way Strano suggests when you play your normal shots, you'll run into a couple of problems:
  • First, you'll create an angle of attack that's much too steep for a standard shot. In a sand shot you want hit the sand first and throw the ball out of the trap, but from a normal lie you want to hit the ball first.
  • Second, if you bend your elbows as much as Strano indicates, you create a very narrow swing arc -- that's why the angle of attack is so steep -- which automatically reduces your shoulder turn. That's going to cut your top clubhead speed.
So the question becomes how to create that soft arm dance feel while creating a big arc and a shallower angle of attack.

Fortunately, the adjustments aren't difficult.

The wall slap drill does more than give you a solid move into the ball. I originally designed it to help to help players extend their arms more. This is something that many of the pros say they consciously work on (Annika is one who comes to mind). That will help you get a bigger shoulder coil with a shallower angle of attack, to take better advantage of the clubhead speed created by the flyswatter motion.

The only other change you should make for regular shots is the amount of elbow bend created by the Carlton Dance feel. As you can see in the video, Strano's elbows are so soft that his elbows bend quite a bit. To create that flyswatter feel, your elbows STILL have to flex during your swing's change of direction. They just don't need to flex as much during a standard swing.

And I won't leave you to guess the amount of flex you need. You're going to bend your elbows straight up for this. (When you do the actual wall slap drill, your arms will automatically create a swing plane because of your combined shoulder coil and elbow bend. What I'm teaching you here will just keep you from exaggerating it.) Here's how you do it:
  • Set up for the wall slap drill and swing your arms up so they're parallel to the ground (the top of the wall slap drill). Get as close to a 90° shoulder turn as you can, which should be easier since you aren't making a full swing. Your trailing hand should point straight out to the side, at just about the height of your armpit.
  • With your arms in that position, change position so your foot line is perpendicular to the wall (you start the drill with your foot line parallel) and your trailing hand's fingertips are touching the wall.
  • Now, bend your lead elbow just enough that your fingertips move four to six inches higher on the wall.
  • Finally, without bending your elbows any more, cock your trailing wrist just a little. This is the position you want to swing to during the drill. The sequence with a club will feel like this: (1) arms swing up to armpit height, (2) lead elbow flexes slightly as arms stop moving upward, (3) weight of club causes wrists to cock, (4) arms start down and then (5) you consciously try to smack the ball by swinging the shaft just past the ball. Yes, the flyswatter move is an actual swatting motion; you use effort (both arms and legs) to swing the clubhead through the ball! When you do the drill WITHOUT a club, this is the feel you are imagining.
By combining the Carlton Dance feel with the wall slap drill, you'll learn the sequence to create a lot more clubhead speed without tensing up during your downswing. You aren't trying to feel as if you're tense and exerting a lot of power. Rather, you want to feel that you are loose and swinging FAST! You're not a weightlifter, you're a sprinter.

I think that's the best I can explain it right now. Learning how your swing should feel is one of the most difficult things to learn because everybody feels it a bit differently, but it's not impossible. It just takes a little imagination.

And as usual, if you have questions, just put them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them.

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