Fine-Tuning Your Swing
I try to make sure that the clubhead is the first thing that moves away from the ball in my takeaway. This is a simple move but one that people will often get wrong. If the clubhead moves first, it should start the club working on a good path. Then, as I turn to the top of the backswing, I resist my upper body rotation with my legs. From the top of the backswing I'm then looking to simply rotate through the ball and on into a smooth follow-through, with your right shoulder aiming towards the target in the finish.
Coming up short or hitting the ball long - these are the things that really wreck your scoring. If you start missing greens, you've got to get it up and down. So it really is worth getting a real understanding for how far you hit the ball. When you get to a certain level where your ball-striking is consistent, you should head to the range and hit ten balls with your 7-iron. Measure the five middle ones and you'll get a good idea as to how far you hit that club.
You can move the ball in your stance to change the directory of your flight. So to hit a punch, for example, you should move the ball back in your stance. Importantly, when you do this you'll not only be reducing the loft but also striking the ball more from the inside of your swing arc (imagine the arc of your swing going around you). So you have to expect the ball to draw a bit, and I always aim a fraction right to allow for that. But from there I make exactly the same swing.
With a driver, I widen my stance and move the ball forward because I'm trying to hit it on the up. That's about all that changes really. I tee it up quite high with my driver because of the launch characteristics I'm after. It goes further when I launch it at about 10.5°. That's the optimum launch angle for me with regards to carry and roll. My driver carries about 290 yards and rolls out to 315. The other thing I try to do it keep moving at address. It's a good idea not to stand there too long before starting the swing as this can create tension in your arms.
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