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Pre-Swing Fundamental Tips

Video Tips on Pre-Swing Fundamentals

What is the correct ball position for fairway woods /hybrids
At what angle should the club shaft be hitting my spine? Does this vary from club to club? How do I know if I am bent over enough?

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  • A Forward Ball Position Promotes a Fade

    The farther forward you play the ball in your stance, the more you will tend to fade or slice the ball. This is because by time you get to the ball, you are already on the forward side of the arc and swinging inward. This puts cut spin (left to right spin) on the ball. This combined with an open or square clubface will give you a fade or a slice. If you happen to close the face through impact, the shot will be pulled and stay left.

  • Always Aim Your Face Where You Want the Ball to End Up

    When trying to work the ball, always aim your club face where you want your ball to end up and your body where you want the ball to start. It's important to stay focused on where your body is aligned and swing along this line through impact. Your club path will get the ball started on the correct line and then the face angle will work it back to your target.

  • To Fade the Ball Set the Face Open

    Get used to seeing the face open at set up when you are trying to fade/slice. This is perhaps the most awkward part of trying to work the golf ball. Looking down and seeing a club face open or closed can really throw you off. Accept that it is correct and stay focused on your swing path which should be along the line to which your body is aligned. Remember to always open the face first and then take your grip; not the other way around.

  • Play the Ball Back For a Draw

    To hit a draw or a hook, play the ball slightly further back in your stance than you would for a straight ball. This ball position will help you work the ball back in because it is on the inside of the arc. Thus, you will have an inside out angle of attack which will help you spin the ball back to the left if your face is square or closed.

  • Play the Ball Left For Loft

    To hit the ball higher, play the ball forward of the center of your stance so you will catch it on the upswing and add loft. After your club hits the bottom point of your arc and starts coming up, the face angle changes and will have more loft. This helps propel the ball up into the air. Note that you still have to hit down on the ball, because if you make contact high on the ball, that in turn will knock the ball down.

  • Visualize Railroad Tracks

    To help with your alignment visualize railroad tracks. You are standing on one track while your ball lies on the other track. When you stand behind your ball down your target line to line it up, visualize yourself standing on one track and the flight of the ball on the other. This will help you to align your body parallel left of your target as it should be. It is a common mistake to aim your body exactly at your target which will in turn make the ball fly parallel right of your target.

  • Use Your Heels to Line Up

    When aligning your feet focus on where your heels are aimed. If you have a flare to one or both toes, it makes aligning your toes difficult. What matters is that your heels are lined up parallel to each other and the target line. Often times golfers will have a significant flare with their front toe. This will make the toes align open to the target line and can throw off their alignment. It's best to put an alignment stick along your heels rather than along your toes if this is the case for you.

  • Shoulder Alignment Outranks Hips

    Aligning your shoulders and your arms are more important than aligning your lower body, because the club is connected to your upper body. Always remember it's your arms that are swinging the club. Obviously if your lower body is misaligned, your upper body may follow, but this is not always the case. It's important to have everything aligned perfectly, but pay closer attention to where your shoulders are aimed as your arms will follow your shoulders.

  • Aim Parallel Left of Your Target

    Because the ball sits in front of you, when on the course feel like you aim parallel left of your target. Do this in moderation. For instance, I always feel like I aim 5 yards parallel left of my target. Just remember you are not standing on your target line, but rather next to it. The ball is in front of you and will fly on a parallel line to where your body is aimed.

  • Pick an Intermediate Target

    Pick an intermediate target just a few inches in front of your ball in line with your intended target. It's much easier to aim at something only a few inches away than something 200 yards away. I call this "free cheating." It is perfectly legal with the rules of golf and tremendously helpful so take advantage of it to get your alignment deadly accurate.

  • Master 3 Ball Positions

    Try mastering 3 ball positions to become consistent with your angle of attack. One for irons, one for fairway woods and one for driver. In the old days pros used to teach a progressive ball position where you start at the back foot with your wedge and then progressively move the ball forward as loft decreases. The issue with this is that you have to master about 14 different ball positions. With your irons, you need to trap them at the bottom point of your arc, so it makes sense to play them all in the same place in your stance. That way you are using the loft that is built into your club for a reason.

  • Grip With Medium Pressure

    Squeeze the club with your fingers at a 4 on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the tightest you can hold it. Many players use the analogy of holding a baby bird or squeezing a tube of toothpaste. The idea is to hold the club firmly enough that it won't slip out of your fingers or change position, but not too tight that it will affect your swing. When you squeeze too tightly, your muscles become rigid and jerky. This makes it almost impossible to have a nice smooth swing that stays on plane.

  • Grip With Pressure Points

    Feel like you are holding the grip with the last 3 fingers of your lead hand and the middle two fingers of your rear hand. Putting pressure in these important areas is all you need to hold onto the golf club and will keep you from being overly tight. If you squeeze too tight with your entire hand, it will cause your forearms to get tight. This will make your swing slow down and it will be difficult to keep your swing smooth.

Pre-Swing Fundamental Tips from the Ask Maria Archive

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