Hybrid tips: Start ripping your rescue club
Courses are getting longer to test players with their longer clubs. This is a danger zone as the long iron is a difficult club to hit consistently well and, while the hybrid is easier to hit, it still needs to bottom out or bounce on the ground.
This is because it has a lower centre of gravity for a higher launch angle but, from distance and with a lake or bunker to carry, it is still not an easy shot to pull off.
Other sports train us to lift a ball by putting the bat, racquet, hand or foot under the ball and make an upward movement. In golf this is difficult. Lots of golfers will try and lift the ball moving their body upwards or standing up into impact. The body weight is moving up and away from the ball so, while there is speed, it is without leverage or weight. And the clubhead is difficult to control, thus creating inconsistency in ball striking.
PULL NOT PUSH
Watch a good ball striker and it looks more like a squat into the ball than a lift. This action gives a grounded or planted feel to a player. The connection with the ground gives a firm base to swing from. It’s important to note that my body drops slightly due to the increase in knee flex as I pull on the grip of the club with my legs, stomach and chest – it is not a push with the hands. By using my body, I can exert more force into the golf ball.
Place the club behind your head and get into a squat position, keeping your feet flat on the ground. If you can’t keep your feet flat then it will seem almost impossible for you to maintain your posture during the downswing, which is important for consistency. My advice to you would be to think about your flexibility as much as you do your swing.
ARE YOU LIMITED?
In a squat you can feel pressure through the ground and this can produce force. Sports scientists have shown a link between players standing up out of their posture during the downswing, with the fact they can’t squat with the club over their head. This is usually due to limitations in the golfer’s mobility. Add some flexibility to your body and you might start finding those long par 4s and par 5s with a bit more regularity.