Monday, March 12, 2012

Practice Like a Pitcher

"Practice Like a Pitcher"
By Sean & Stef Mysel
3/12/12



One of the hallmarks of a great pitcher is the ability to work both sides of the plate and all areas of the strike zone.  Golfers too, must be able to work the ball both with fades, draws along with changing trajectories based on the conditions.  When teaching my students, I show them how controlling swing planes, club face angles and swing speeds we can hit an array of different shots.  Here are some ways to hit some of them:

Trajectories

1)  High Trajectory -  One easy way to hit a high shot is to hit the ball harder.  More club head speed into the ball equals a higher spin rate which induces the ball to climb higher in the air.  Second we can simply use a higher lofted club.  Finally, we can move the ball slightly forward in our stance which promotes more of a scooping action with the club head.

2)  Low Trajectory - Here we are usually told to play the ball further back, however, this can cause us to push the ball off to our right (for righties) and change up our timing.  In my view, an easier way to make this work is to use a lower lofted club and take a shorter backswing.  Taking a shorter backswing helps reduce club head speed and will create a lower ball flight.  Another way of lowering the ball flight is to cut off your follow through by relaxing the tension in the muscles in and around your elbows which helps to reduce backspin.

Sidespin

1)  Fades - Identify a target about 5-7 yards left of your designated landing area, open the club face a few degrees.   As you make your downswing, hold off bringing your hands through the shot and let them lag behind your body rotation.  This serves to restrict the club face closing through contact and as the ball compresses off the club face, it will slide off the club with clockwise spin.  With this shot as with a draw, you will need to experiment to find the speeds and timing necessary to control the ball.

2)  Draws - Here we do the opposite.  I like to close my stance slightly and reverse the timing of my swing where I bring my hands through quicker and use the same body rotation speed.  What we want here is to close the face and swing out to the right causing the ball to have counter clockwise spin and starting 5-7 yards to the right of our landing area.

Hit different shots when you practice, what you will find is not only the confidence to try these shots on the course, but practice becomes far more interesting.