Summer is finally here!
In fact, it has been here for well over a month and unlike other years, the weather has not played a role in stopping most of us from participating in our outdoor activities.
Unless you do not like the heat, the summer so far has been perfect.
Central Alberta and this great country of ours provide all an opportunity to participate in many activities during the summer months.
Whether you enjoy camping, boating, hiking or simply sitting on the beach, this summer has provided the sunshine and heat to play outside virtually every day.
Fishing is one of the favorite past times for many people in the summer months.
Although different activities, the attraction and what entice people to either golf or fishing are the same.
Both sports are played in the great outdoors in a beautiful, serene setting.
They can either be social or an individual sport and most importantly, every one of all ages and genders can participate in them.
The only real difference I see is that at the end of the day you can eat the fish you catch, but you can not eat a birdie or eagle if you get one in golf!
All kidding aside, fishing can be detrimental to your golf stroke. The motion that you make when throwing out your line, otherwise known as ‘casting’, is one of the most common mistakes in golf.
This motion, although critical to great form when fishing, will cause golfers a great deal of problems.
In the next few paragraphs, I shall define what casting actually is and how it affects contact and direction when hitting a golf ball.
For the purpose of this article, I shall explain what should happen in the swing for right-handed golfers. The opposite is true if you are a left-handed golfer.
First of all, we need to understand what casting actually is. Casting is the breakdown of the angle created between your left arm (for right-handed golfers) and the golf club too early in the downswing.
In other words, you are pushing the golf club in the downswing rather than pulling through to impact.
The main cause of casting has to do with gripping the golf club too tight. Too tight of a grip pressure causes tension which starts in the wrists and works its way through your body.
Tension directly affects your ability to allow the golf club to return back down to the ground and ultimately creates inconsistent contact and compromising distance.
Players will typically grip the golf club too tight because it gives them a sense of control.
In fact, it is this control that creates the casting motion.
To assist in eliminating too tight of a grip pressure, imagine holding onto a tube of tooth paste without the cap off.
A correct grip pressure will allow you to grab the tooth paste without squeezing any of the paste out. A relaxed grip pressure is the first step to eliminating a casting motion.
Next you have to properly set your wrists or create the proper angle (hinge) in the backswing.
How you do this is that when you are at the top of your backswing, you need to be sure that your left arm is straight and there is a 90-degree angle between your left arm and the shaft of the club.
This is called hinge and is an important step to eliminating the casting motion.
Gripping the golf club too tight will not allow you to create the proper hinge in the backswing
Finally, the downswing is where the casting motion happens, and generally speaking casting happens at the very beginning of the downswing.
There is a whole sequence of events that happens at the start and throughout the downswing. These events are directly related to how your body works and/or turns throughout the backswing.
Players who cast are attempting to push the club back to the ball in the downswing.
In other words they are gripping the club too tight with their right hand (for right-handed golfers). It is this pushing motion, or the attempt to control the golf club, that causes the casting motion.
The start of the downswing can be very complicated if I describe piece by piece the sequence of events that happens.
Simply said, it is the transfer of weight from your back foot to your front foot through to your finish position.
To get this feeling and to assist in the elimination of the casting motion, you need to feel that you are pulling the club at the start of the downswing.
Doing so will assist in eliminating the casting motion, giving you the best opportunity to make solid contact and maximize club head speed and create increased distance.
Scott Bergdahl is the head professional at Lakewood Golf Resort near Sylvan Lake.