Golf is one sport where you can make adjustments for age. In tennis a good player in his 20s will probably defeat a good player in is 50s all things being equal. In running a runner in his 20s will probably beat a runner in his 40s in the 100-yard dash. Age has its effects on us when it comes to most sports. But in golf you can make adjustments to your game to compensate for age.
Off the tee is where making adjustments really pays off for older players. Senior players with low golf handicaps can’t afford to give up too much yardage to younger players with equally low golf handicaps and expect to win. Of course, hitting longer drives off the tee won’t guarantee you’ll win a match, but it certainly doesn’t hurt, especially if your shots are straight down the fairway. So as you get older, you need to make changes to keep up with the younger golfers.
These adjustments should include two key changes on the tee. First, you should start hitting a draw off the tee. Second, you need to change your swing so that it not only provides power and accuracy but also doesn’t hurt your back-the Achilles heel of most golfers as they get older. Together, these two changes will help you compete successfully against younger players for years to come. Here’s a quick golf lesson in how make both changes.
Learn to Hit a Draw
Most teaching pros agree that hitting a draw generate anywhere from 15 to 20 yards more off the tee than hitting a fade. With an iron, hitting a draw can add as much as an additional club to your shot. The extra yardage you gain with a draw is due primarily to the run you get when the ball lands, something you don’t receive when you hit a fade.
The reasoning behind the extra run is simple. If you fade/slice the ball, the clubface is open at impact. When you open the clubface at impact, as I’ve explained in my golf tips, it adds loft to the ball. It also slides the ball across the clubface, which means you never fully compress the ball at impact, costing you power.
In contrast, when you pull the ball or hit a draw, the clubface is closed, so you end up taking loft off the ball, which helps make the ball run when it hits. You also compress the ball more at impact, which adds power and distance to the shot. The trick is learning to hit a draw if you don’t know how.
Here are seven things to help you do that:
Position the ball back in your stance
Place you hands in a “strong” grip position
Start the club back on the inside
Let clubface open in the backswing
Cup your left wrist at the top of the swing
“Walk-through” the shot for your follow through
Key Points about the Tips
When taking advantage of these tips, keep the following points in mind:
Positioning the ball back in your stance slightly will allow you to hit a draw, but you have to be careful not to place it too far back.
Cupping your left wrist at the top of the back swing allows you to release fully on the downswing, without fear of hooking.
Sliding your right foot forward toward the target at impact results in what some players call a “walk-through” swing. With this type of swing, the player uses his/her whole body to hit the ball, shifting his/her weight through the ball, adding more power and distance to the ball at impact.
With a walk-through swing, the upper body is slightly more “over” the ball at impact than with a swing where the body is held back, eliminating the reverse “C” position that often contributes to back pain.
The Plank of Wood Drill
A good drill to tech yourself to swing on the inside path needed to produce a draw is to place a two-foot piece of wood on the outside of a teed ball. Place the wood opposite you and parallel to the target line. Now address the ball and swing away. To be on the correct plane to hit a draw, your clubhead must stay inside the board. If you hit the board when you swing, you know the clubface has gone outside the target line, which could generate a fade.
Practice this drill the next time you go to the range. It will help you learn to hit a draw, if you don’t know how to do it now. Hitting a draw is something even younger players can benefit from.
If you’re older and you hit a fade, think about switching to a draw and using a “walk-through” swing like Gary Player. Doing so will enable you to get the most from your swing. The changes should be enough to help you power the ball those extra few yards so you can continue to compete against younger opponents.
Copyright (c) 2007 Jack Moorehouse