Swing Trainers. You Can Find At Home. By Kevin Sprecher

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1 Swing Trainers You Can Find At Home By Kevin Sprecher Golf is a game that requires both innate feel and learned technique. There are distinct drills and exercises to create a swing change and new, more effective technique. Making a swing change will invariably cause you to feel different things. The unusual feel may at first be awkward and inhibit the swing change, so it s important to ease into the different feel. Training aids can help accelerate the learning process. Some can be attached or unattached to the body. Some can be used outside or inside, with or without a ball. Similar to a drill, a training aid is only good if it helps you make the necessary swing change. Your teacher should be able to see immediately if it will help. While most players go to their pro, golf shop or local golf store to find a training aid to improve their game, there are many beneficial items you can find at home. Consider the following such training aids, including how to use them and the ills they cure. Clothes Hanger This can be used to master a one-piece takeaway, which is important for the beginning of the full swing, in chipping, pitching and putting. It also aids in keeping the elbows close together throughout the swing so there is no disconnection of the arms and body. Place a coat hanger over the forearms just below the elbows, with the hook facing up. Make some half swings, moving the shoulders and keeping the hook in front of the center of the body. On the forward swing, allow the hips to turn through and keep the arms in front of the body. This half swing teaches a one-piece move, which is the efficient way to chip, putt and pitch. This aid also keeps the body and arms connected through impact and helps promote proper release after impact. Laundry Bag Fill a canvas bag with towels or sheets until it is full. The bag can be used as an impact bag to improve the impact position of your club or to improve your swing path and release. Set up to the bag as if it were the ball. Practice a slow swing, stopping in the bag. Things to look for at impact include a flat left wrist, your head behind the bag, your weight on the front foot, your hips turned open, A clothes hanger can be used to master a onepiece takeaway and to help keep the elbows close together throughout the swing so there is no disconnection of the arms and body. Photos By Mario Muñoz GOLF ILLUSTRATED 31

2 your shoulders square to slightly open and tilted twice as much as at address when using irons. Practice hitting the bag with the toe of the club to promote a draw or a hook. You can also place the bag outside the front foot and stop after you Use a laundry bag as an impact bag to improve the impact position of your club along with your swing path and release. have hit the bag. This promotes proper extension and release. It also helps encourage the proper weight shift. Walkway This can be the walk-through space in your hedges or any walkway. It can be used to improve both your swing path and your posture throughout the swing. Make several swings, missing the side of the hedge. Stand more toward the front of the opening if you re trying to fix an out-to-in downswing or if you are trying to take the club more inside in the backswing. Stand closer to the back of the opening if you are trying to stop coming too far from the inside on the downswing or trying to take the club more outside in the backswing. Stand with your rear up against the hedge and keep it against the hedge until impact. This will help your posture improve and become permanently natural. Car Wash Sponge Place a sponge between your forearms to keep the arms from rolling or separating during the swing. This is especially helpful for chipping and pitching. It is also a great drill for those players whose forearms separate in the swing. This separation tends to occur when the upper body doesn t turn back enough, forcing the arms to move independently. When the right elbow gets too high in the backswing (the flying right elbow), this aid is crucial. As the left arm is pulled across the body on the downswing, usually due to a lack of body turn, this aid corrects the problem. Keeping the sponge in front of the body will promote a one-piece move back and through. It also encourages a body shot, as opposed to an arm shot, and solidifies good fundamentals. Baseball Bat/Tennis Racquet A baseball bat or a tennis racquet (with the cover on) is a wonderful aid for improving your swing speed, producing a better arm release and creating lag. Start with 10 continuous swings. Be sure to maintain balance while increasing speed. This drill promotes a flatter swing plane and better release of the arms. It can also help produce lag in your swing and illustrate a square face at the top. Small Ball A small beach ball can help enhance your leg motion, increase your coil and improve your Any walkway can help you correct your swing path and improve your posture so that it will become permanently natural. 32 GOLF ILLUSTRATED

3 Placing a small ball between your forearms can help you focus on moving the triangle during your putting stroke. If your right elbow gets too high in the backswing (the flying right elbow), try placing a sponge between your forearms to cure the problem. setup position. While at address, put the ball between your knees and place your weight on the inside of the legs and feet. You never want to set up with the weight on the outside of your feet. Remember, if you overdo pinching in the knees, you limit the amount of turn in the backswing. Start the backswing with the shoulders and feel the hips and knees rotate (not slide). The ball between the knees promotes knee rotation so the weight stays on the inside of the back leg/foot and results in good balance. Do the following drill with just your body (no club). Place your arms across your chest and assume the proper setup position. Make a backswing by turning the upper body to the right. Feel the weight shift into the right leg and maintain your spine angle. Initiate the downswing with the lower body and allow the right shoulder to lower or drop, producing an inside swing path. Now go to a full finish. Make sure all Placing a small ball between the knees encourages knee rotation so your weight stays on the inside of the back leg and results in good balance. 34 GOLF ILLUSTRATED

4 A tennis racquet with the cover on is a wonderful aid to promote a flatter swing plane and a better release of the arms. 36 GOLF ILLUSTRATED the weight shifts to the left leg. Finish with the right shoulder slightly lower than the left and in balance. Base Of A Wall This can be used for improving the swing path in putting as well as during the full swing. With the putter, set up the toe of the putter against the wall. Make several practice strokes, watching the path of the clubhead. The club should never bump the wall at any point in the stroke. If it does, it indicates an outside swing path. You must realize that the stroke works on a slight arc. The toe of the putter should work away from the wall. It should not stay against the wall. If the putterface stays too close to the wall, it can cause the face to be too closed in the backswing. This forces you to open on the forward swing to compensate. If the shoulders work properly, the putter path will be on a slightly inside path. An incorrect path can be the result of the arms pulling to the inside or pushing the club out. In the full swing, set up with the clubhead against the wall. Make a half backswing. Notice the club goes back and inside the wall. It does not travel along the wall. It moves slightly to the inside due to the turning of the body.

5 You can use a wall to help fix swing path problems. It is also quite useful for correcting a steep or laid off shaft. The shaft should be parallel to the wall or slightly to the inside. Wall Using a wall can help you fix swing path problems. It is also useful for correcting a steep or laid off shaft. Set up with a wall about 6 inches from your rear, maintaining your golf posture. To fix a swing path that is pulled inside during the backswing, make sure the clubhead does not strike the wall. If it does, then the club went too far to the inside. To fix a shaft that is too flat going back, make a slow backswing and do not allow the clubhead to strike the wall at any point in the backswing. Remember, when the left arm is parallel to the ground, the shaft should have a slight tilt back not straight up, but not touching the wall. For a swing path that is out to in or steep in the downswing, make sure as you start the downswing that the clubhead stays on the wall until the halfway-down point. At this point, the shaft will be pointing to the right, indicating an inside-out swing path. Making a swing change takes time and practice. However, having the tools to make the change at home will lessen the awkward, new feeling and invariably improve your technique. The base of a wall can be used for improving your swing path in putting and during your full swing. Remember, not all drills or aids are perfect for everyone. Try some or all of these training aids at home for just a few minutes a day. I m certain at least one will work for you, enabling you to make the changes you seek to improve your complete game. GI 38 GOLF ILLUSTRATED

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