Swinging aggressively isn’t a bad thing, but it can be if taken too far. Golfers who swing too aggressively often jerk the club back on their backswing, thrust forward violently from the top of the swing, or execute a host of other actions that throw off the rhythm and timing of their swings. The result: bad shots and added strokes to their scores and golf handicaps.
Block shots rank high on the list of bad shots by golfers who swing the club too aggressively. When driving, being too aggressive often forces golfers to fire their bodies too quickly on the downswing, causing the club to drop behind the players too far to the inside. From there, golfers either block their shots or hook them, depending on their release at impact.
If you tend to block shots, you may be swinging too aggressively. If you are, you must learn to curb your aggressiveness to improve your game. Once you learn to control your aggressiveness, you can use it to lower your scores and golf handicap. Below are four golf tips I recommend in my golf lessons to help eliminate blocked shots.
Tip #1: Better Posture, Better Impact
When your lower body races ahead of your upper body-the result of being too aggressive-your upper body tends to tilt away from the target. Being too fast with your upper body produces blocked shots. Since you want to “feel tall over the ball,” make sure you set your spine straight at address. Also, make sure you’re not squatting too much. If you are, flex your knees slightly. And make sure the ball isn’t too far back in your stance. Setting the ball forward helps keep the back straight during the swing.
Tip #2: Less Tilt, More Coverage
When you’re too aggressive, your upper body often tilts away from the target. If that happens, your back shoulder will drop, causing the club to drop too far under the backswing plane. Your path becomes too inside out through the swing plane. Now if your legs get too aggressive and your front hip clears too soon, your upper body falls away from the target. That’s not good. If you want to eliminate blocked shots, keep your upper body straight during the swing and your back shoulder “covering” the ball through impact. In other words, stay stacked over the ball throughout the swing.
Tip #3: Release The Head Early
Keeping your head down and straight contributes to blocked shots. Lack of head movement causes you to lose your forward tilt toward the ball. If your head stays down and straight, your hips lunge toward the ball, pulling you out of your posture and leading to poor contact. But if you turn your head slightly with the shot you’ll have better results. You’ll keep your spine straighter and get the club back in front of your body sooner. When your arms get out in front of your body, they can swing down the line better. Watch Annika Sorenstam and David Duval. They’re great examples of releasing the head early.
Tip #4: Brace Your Left Side and Release
Getting the club too far inside also results in hooks. To compensate for hooks, some golfers “hold” on through impact, so they don’t flip the clubface closed during impact. But this can cause you to pull your arms away from your body. Since you can’t release the club from that position, you end up blocking the shot. To overcome this problem, brace your front side. With a firm front side, you can swing the club down the line and release it, resulting in a straighter, truer drive.
Numerous drills exist that ingrain the four tips suggested above. For example, to learn to maintain posture, take a narrow stance and then drop your back foot away from the target line about 12 inches. Using a middle iron, hit shots from this position, which discourages your upper body from tilting back on the swing and teaches you to hit against a firm left side. Use drills like this to improve your swing.
If you block shots off the tee, it may be because you’re swinging too aggressively. Being aggressive has its advantages as long as you keep it under control. Then, you can use this aggressiveness to your advantage, as I teach in my golf instruction sessions. If you’re serious about chipping away at your golf handicap, learn to control your aggressiveness and put it to better use.
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