Pete Taylor is a 15 handicap golfer who has been coming to my Performance Lab for some time. He has had issues with a poor strike when using his irons which mainly occurred when his weight shifted too much onto his back foot at impact. This resulted in a heavy shot and a loss of distance. His 7 iron would sometimes only travel 115 yards.
We originally worked on the correct weight transfer by using several swing drills to get his swings low point in front of the ball, at times it was 5 inches behind the ball!
After a little practice we managed to avoid hitting the ground before and we increased the distance to 126 yards carry, see picture above.
However, as with lots of golfers who struggle with hitting the ground before the ball Pete had developed a bending of his arms through impact. This move meant that Pete was striking the ball with the bottom groove of his clubs which gave a Smash factor reading of 1.38 at best. For those who are not familiar with the Flightscope system the Smash Factor reading is a measure of the strike.
This move also robbed Pete of clubhead speed so we decided to us a drill to improve this position. The results were fantastic.
As you can see in the next image I gave Pete a ball and asked him to get into his normal 7 iron address position whilst holding the ball.
After making a normal backswing the drill is to throw the ball to a point a few inches in front of the golf ball. This would be impossible to achieve if Pete used his old arm position but after only a couple of attempts Pete had totally changed his weight shift and arm position.
Pete then hit his 7 iron again and was able to completely change his arm and body positions as you can see in the image below.
This new dynamic position created a new low point of his swing at 4 inches in front of the ball instead of 5 inches behind. Other notable changes from this new technique were that Pete's launch angle went down from 15.7 degrees to 13.8 degrees but because of his increased ball speed (96mph to 106mph) his peak height increased from 50ft to 55ft. The smash factor also increased from 1.38 to an incredible 1.44 due to the strike being in the middle of the clubface.
The number that matter and that pleased Pete the most was that his carry distance went up from 126 yards to 146.2 yards a fantastic gain of 20.2 yards!
This also increased his total distance from 138 yards to 159 yards a gain of 21 yards!
Great work Pete!
I believe that this huge difference was gained because we used a drill that didn't involve a golf club and ball with a target. When most golfers try to make a swing change whilst still trying to hit the ball towards a target the tendency is to fall into old habits in an attempt to get the ball on target.
By isolating the body part that was causing the problem and working on it without a club the changes can then be carried over when using a club and ball much easier.
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