By Erika Larkin on 5/27/14
In describing the correct downswing motion to some students recently, I found myself explaining it as a pull-push. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it — and so I decided to share it with all of you this week for my column.
So what does "pull-push" mean?Well, let's start at the top of the backswing which, in essence, is the start of the downswing. Our lower bodies should be leading the change of direction which includes a small lateral shift of the hips towards the target. This move allows the upper body and arms to start falling on plane. The hands and wrists should maintain a full hinged / "lag" position while the arms get "pulled" down automatically with the change of direction of the body.
So when is it time to "push" — and how?When the hands have dropped down about as far as the trailing hip / thigh it's time to push out — or in other words... "fire!"
Unhinge those wrists to unload your speed and power at the ball and square up the face. Extend your arms out and through impact to make a good divot pattern and release the upper body to keep the club moving through on a good straight path.
If you rehearse some downswings with this pattern of movement in mind, I know it will help you. If might make you realize your have been pushing when you're supposed to be pulling (or vice versa.) Or, you might realize your timing has been off.
For exampleIf you pull for too long in the downswing, the club will get off-plane and the face may stay open. To practice, swing to the top and count "1," make your transitional move and let the arms get pulled down. Count "2," then pump your arms back a few inches to get some rhythm and then fire at the ball with your arms hands and chest (your hips should already be in position from step 2). Count "3." Finish in-balance and repeat this drill in a choppy fashion a multitude of times and when you get the timing down smooth it out to your natural tempo to create a seamless swing.
Erika Larkin is the Director of Instruction at Larkin Golf Learning Community, at Stonewall Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia. She was named the 2012 Middle Atlantic PGA "Teacher of the Year" and the 2011 "Top Golf Pro" by Washingtonian Magazine — and she's SkyGolf's newest columnist! She writes on a variety of topics including instruction, so if you have a question for her or an idea for a column, e-mail her at ErikaLarkin@pga.com. Enjoy!
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