Ask the Top 100: Stop hitting balloon balls
Dear Top 100 Teacher,
I’m an experienced player with a 7 handicap, but when I initiate my downswing I lift my head and I come out of my spine angle. As a result I cast the club, releasing it before impact and hit a short, straight ball that balloons. How can I retain my spine angle and keep my head level or even have it move toward the ball so I can hit a nice low ball?
Walter H. New York, NY
NOT a single player EVER raises their head! They do however change their spine angle (that is, their posture), which moves their head.
Raising up in your downswing is caused by throwing your wrists from the top to the ball – we teachers call it casting, which is fine in trout fishing, bad news in golf. Casting also can be caused by weak lower back and lower abdominal muscles.
Here are a couple of drills to help you stop raising up out of your spine angle:
Drill No. 1: Grab your left wrist with your right hand while facing a wall. Now take your address position and place your forehead against the wall. Make a slow motion backswing and downswing, allowing your head to come off the wall at finish. If you are moving around and changing your spine angle you will soon wear a sore spot in your forehead! This drill will eliminate any side-to-side or up-and-down movement of your head in your swing.
Drill No. 2: Face away from the wall and take your address position like you did above. Now back up until your rear end touches the wall. Make swings while keeping your butt against the wall. If you’re outdoors, you can actually hit balls doing this drill. You will need a plastic chair or golf club that you can place against your rear — you should feel like you are sitting down on it slightly. As you come into finish you can allow your butt to come off the chair or golf club.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Chuck Evans is director of instruction at Emerald Bay Golf Club in Destin. Fla.