Thursday, March 5, 2015

Top 10 - Drills Pros Use and You Should Too

Think you aren't good enough to do some of the drills that the pros work on from time to time? Think again. There are several old standby drills for every part of the game that the pros know and you should too. whether you are a high handicap player or a scratch golfer, there are fall back drills that can help every player improve.

Even if you aren't having a particular problem in your swing, it's good to visit the following drills from occasionally to help keep your game in sync. We all lose consistency and need some check points to make sure we are staying on track. If our swings or timing never changed, we'd all be on tour AND winning week in and week out. There are just too many variables with the human body and mind to have that be the case.

These drills are there to help with basic timing, path, club face, power and contact. They are my Top 10 Best Easy Drills that can help everyone regardless of skill level:

Full Swing Drills:

Feet Together
This drill eliminates lateral swaying and helps you make a more efficient pivot. The result is improved contact (clean hits) and increased distance. If you find yourself moving around too much or having problems with your timing, this is a drill that will surely help. It is also just a great pre round warm up drill in general.

  • Place your feet together and make a few practice swings. This will help you get a feel for your balance.
  • Then try hitting balls with your feet together. This will teach you how to pivot in place and help eliminate a sway.


Impact Pre-Set
This drill helps train you on getting to the proper impact position. If you find yourself with poor contact (fat or thin shots), this drill will help you make sure everything is lining up correctly at the moment of impact.

  • Start with your usual address position. From here, forward press yourself into your impact position. Your hands should be left of your zipper if you are a right handed player. Your back foot heel should be in the air just a bit and your stomach will be facing the target. Make sure your shoulders remain square to your target line. If you have gotten yourself in the correct position your weight will be on your front leg.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds and then rotate going back and forth from impact to address. You will soon feel a clear difference between the two and it will help you identify where you want to be at impact.


Connection
This drill helps keep your arms connected with your pivot. If you are struggling with inconsistent contact and hitting errant shots or shanks it could be because your arms are moving away form your body. It's the perfect drill to work on your timing.


  • Place head covers or a large towel under your armpits. Make practice swings holding the head covers in as you swing back and forth. This will give you the feel of a "connected swing."
  • Once you've got the feel down try hitting balls.

Chipping Drills:

Descending Blow
This drill helps prevent those fat and thin chip shots around the green. If you are struggling with poor contact and distance control due to lack of clean contact and spin, this is one you will like.

  • Lay a swing plane pole flat on the ground about 5 inches behind your ball. Start without a ball and practice swinging down over the top of it and hitting down into the ground with a nice descending blow.
  • Once you get the hang of it and you are letting the club make contact with the ground, then try placing a ball about 5 inches in front of the pole. You should soon feel you are hitting down on your chips with a descending blow as opposed to trying to help it up.


One Foot Only
This drill will teach you how to hit down on the ball and compress it. If you have had problems getting the ball to pop up and spin when you are chipping this drill will help.

  • Stand only on your front foot. You can place your back foot on the toe and rest it on the ground behind your front fooot for balance. Keep your center of gravity over your front foot and don't allow yourself to back up and scoop.
  • Keep you weight balanced on your front foot practice hitting down into the ground without a ball. This allows you to make a descending blow.
  • Once you get used to "letting" the club hit the ground, try hitting some balls.


Putting Drills:

Flag Stick
This drill will help ensure you get each of your putts to the hole, but also leave your misses as just a short tap in. If you have been having big problems with distance control, this is the drill for you.

  • Take a club or the flagstick and place it a foot and a half or two feet past the cup. Work on getting all of your putts from different lengths and different breaks, along with up hill and down hill putts to finish between the hole and the stick. If you do, you putting the correct speed on each putt that will allow it to stay on the break line without dying off too soon, but not too much speed that it won't take the break.


Track It
Whether you putt on a straigh line or an arc, this drill will help you groove a consistent path.

  • If you prefer to move your putter on a straight line, you can either purchase a straight putting track or simply make one with two of your clubs. Just lay them on the ground just a little further apart than the width of your putter. If you prefer to putt on an arc you will need to purchase The Putting Arc, or one similar to ensure you are making the same arc every time.
  • Start at about 3 feet, aim your track and make 10 putts in a row. Then step back to 6 feet and do the same and so on. - If you iss any of the 10 putts at any distance, pull them all back and start over until you get 10 in a row.


Portal
Learn how to hit your putts dead center on your putter face. Hitting in the center of the face is the only way to increase accuracy and control speed.

  • Start by placing a tee just outside the toe of your putter and another one just behind the heel. This creates your portal.
  • Roll 3 footers and focus on moving your putter between the tees.
  • When you are able to get through the tees easily and sink putts, drop back to 6 feet and so on to see how far out you can go.


Sand Drill:

Two Lines in the Sand
This drill will help learn to enter the sand at the same point every time. If you are having problems entering the sand to soon, taking too much sand, or not taking enough sand, this is a great drill for you.

  • Use the bottom end of your grip and draw two lines in the sand aimed towards your target. They should be about 8 inches apart from each other.
  • Make a few practice swings in the sand to try monitoring the depth of your splash. Your club head should enter at the first line and exit at the second.
  • Once you are making a nice shallow splash you are ready for a ball. You should soon have a consistent angle of attack and depth on your bunker shots.


Driving Power Drill:

Coil Cranker
This drill helps you calm down excessive leg action on your backswing that can weaken your coil. It will also help deter any unnecessary movements.

  • Use a stability or physio ball and place it between your legs. (Note that this is a drill for the backswing only.) Squeeze the ball with your knees to help resist too much hip turn.
  • While squeezing the ball see how far back you can coil your shoulders (your goal should be to at least get your left shoulder to the ball and well past your left knee). You will feel a lot of resistance and that is the feeling of power!
  • Once you are able to do this without a ball, try hitting some drives.


Not everyone is equally fexible so you might not be able to go back that far, but the like anything else, you may have to start small and work your way up stretching more and more each week.

Again, even if you aren't having specific issues, if you want to work on getting your swing in sync, adding power and stability and gaining accuracy with your path and clubface, these are great drills to have in your arsenal. Use them to perform self checks between rounds. They are good enough for the pros and will help you stay on track too!


About the Author - Maria Palozola


Maria Palozola is an LPGA member who has been instructing for over 20 years. She is ranked a Top 50 Teacher with the LPGA having been voted by her peers as the Midwest Section Teacher of the Year in 2013, 2011 and 2008. She is ranked a Top 5 Teacher in the State with Golf Digest.

Maria coaches online at her game improvement site www.mygolfinstructor.com and gives private lessons at www.stlouisgolflessons.com.