I like puns, so in case you haven't figured it out by now this isn't an article about Lindsay Lohan playing golf
This is only a catchy hook to get you to read this blog post about low hands into the impact area (near the ball) to help with better compression, extension and release: All the good stuff in golf shots.
This article is about Low Hands, that's different slightly than Lohan. Okay, so here we go.
Upside Down Trebuchet (Catapult)
The reason people struggle so much with golf is that almost everything pertaining to the movement of the golf swing is illogical. What I mean is that down is up, and up is down; missing the ball to the right, you need to swing more right, missing left, you need to swing it more left. The reason for all of this illogic is that the swing mechanisms themselves are an upside trebuchet. Allow me to explain with a nice little graphic to show you what I mean.
The first image is the usual trebuchet, which shows that the object is released after the second arm has reached past parallel. At this point the object (usually a deadly sized stone or a bucket of burning liquid) is thrown over the castle wall much to the discomfort of the poor dwellers within.
The image below illustrates the exact same effect except that its upside down. Therein lies the confusion. Up is Down, Down is Up. Here we can see the following progression of the down swing:
Arm is Nice and High and the Club is Parallel to the Ground
Arm is Parallel to the Ground but the Clubhead is still lagged back
Arm is Ahead of 90 degrees parallel to the Ground but Clubhead is still lagged
Clubhead is Released and the Ball is Projected toward the Target
The ball is then projected from the ground toward the target or when we make an error in this process, toward an unsuspecting spectator. OUCH!
So how do most golfers go wrong? There are a number of usual reasons which I will outline here to help us to improve our ball striking
Misunderstood Concept about how to hit the ball - most people think they should hit the ball from behind it and therefore have to unhinge the wrists in order to achieve that.
Little to no Weight Shift - Usually again an incorrect concept about not swaying or keeping the head still. All of these ideas make it very difficult to hit the ball properly or to have a descending blow on the golf ball.
Poor Attack Angle - hitting down is key to hitting the ball first, do not scoop upwards thinking you need to lift the ball.
Too strong a loft on the golf club - golfers learn by ball flight, and new golf clubs are only decreasing the loft to sell more distance, thereby creating a serious swing fault
Ball Position is off - People being told the ball should be in the center creates some lovely swing faults. Ball forward everyone!
People always ask me what is the one way that we can accomplish and solve all of the above listed issues. After some pondering, I would have to say that having your hands low into impact will solve nearly every issue and help us to conform to the trebuchet idea outlined above.
Here's what we're going to do.
We'll set the correct parameters for low hands to be a possibility
We'll make the correct move in the back swing to be able to avoid the fear of hitting the ground
We'll Get our Hands low
Proper Set up Parameters
Ball position should be dictated by the length of the club.
The butt end of the club should point at the lead hip joint with the clubface just behind the ball. Do not push your hands forward trying to achieve this. That mis-aligns the clubface to the right (right handed golfers)
You will also need your ball position forward of center to help your brain to adjust and promote a proper weight shift. I'll do an entirely different article on this later.
Your hands should be straight down from your shoulders and there should be a pre-setting of the wrist. If you want to know how to do this, just hold the club out in front of you and then hinge the club upright. Bend over at the waist without losing this wrist hinge. This will allow you a pre-set wrist hinge and also allow you to stay close to the ball. All of these are good things - do not back away from the ball!
Correct Move in the Back Swing
You need to create space at the bottom of the swing in order to be able to swing down at this. We do this simply by hinging our wrists. Once we come back down to the ball in the follow through we should not lose this wrist angle. I don't want you to HOLD onto the club though, this is not the correct idea. We retain the lag in our wrists by swinging down at the ball.
Lindsey Low Hands
The above trebuchet diagram shows you clearly how the club needs to be into the impact position. By getting our hands low in the downswing we actually make it very difficult to hit the ground. Here is the biggest "yeah but" that I get from students all the time: Won't I hit the Ground or hit the Shot Fat? I will explain why by having low hands we can actually avoid hitting the shot fat and in most cases we will likely hit the ball thin, or have a very nice shallow divot.
Here's a pretty good example of what I am talking about in a graphic format.
The above image shows what happens when we actively try to get our hands lower in the downswing. The hands reach their bottom (Red line) long before the club can possible reach the ground. The end of the red line shows the hands rising after impact, which will pull the club out of the dirt. This ensures that the club releases into the ball and also increases the clubhead speed.
If you can imagine the club is going downward whilst the hands are naturally rising. This opposing motion can be easily felt via employing a good tempo. The speed "after" the ball makes this rising happen faster and as a result more whip and torque on the club through the ball and more clubhead speed.
If you've had a lesson with me, you will know that I harp on alot about the wrist and their importance, and it is for this reason. I am trying to get your clubhead speed to maximal levels and provide improved accuracy. You shouldn't have to give up one for the other and if you ever plan to improve at golf, you know that you will need both distance and accuracy to be able to play off low handicap figures.
The above image is an actual swing where we can see the effects of this swing movement and the impact through the ball. You can clearly see that a strike downward toward the ball at the start of the back swing will have a massive impact on all areas of the swing.
With this simple little idea we can fix a whole host of swing issues. Don't be scared to try it, it's really a leap of faith. Oh, and in regards to the driver, the same applies. Low hands means positive attack angles in golf without having to change your swing. DO NOT SWING UP through the ball or you'll enjoy the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
For more in-depth information, give us a call. We'll put you on our camera in our sim and show you how to do it.