Golfers need distance, direction

Direction and distance are the two main goals most golfers are looking for when they step on to the golf course.

Scott Bergdahl

Scott Bergdahl

Direction and distance are the two main goals most golfers are looking for when they step on to the golf course.

If I could hit the ball where I am aiming with a little more distance then this game would be easy!

Of course it would, because then we would not be spending time looking for our balls in the bush and we would have shorter irons into the green.

This is, of course, what the male and female tour players have found and as a result their scores reflect this.

We can not forget that they spend countless hours for many years understanding and then training themselves to repeat a swing.

As a result, their swings seem so effortless while hitting the ball out of sight, right down the middle or to the pin.

Most golfers when queried feel that they have a poor swing. Generally, this personal evaluation is derived from the fact that they can not hit the ball consistently in the direction that they would like to.

In most cases we tend to listen to our playing partners offering tips when we are having a bad game and as a result our thoughts become negative towards our own swing.

In my experience I notice that most players have great aspects of their swing motion, but are missing a few components that will send the ball further and straighter.

The sign of a good swing is one that can be repeated with desirable results.

The most common result from golfers is inconsistency. The game would be so much easier if I knew where the ball was going.

This statement, although universal, is all too common when you place a golf club in one’s hands.

There can be many reasons for this and will differ from player to player, but the number one fault made by most golfers and the one that creates inconsistency is what we call a reverse pivot.

If from shot to shot you hit the ball right, left, top the ball, scull it, pop it up and then hit it right down the middle, then it is possible that your fault is a reverse pivot.

A reverse pivot is where your weight transfers to your front foot instead of the back foot in the backswing.

At the top of the backswing, you need to ensure that approximately 70 per cent of your weight is on your back foot (right foot for right-handed golfers).

How you do this is critical to consistent contact and direction.

The question now becomes, how do we get the weight to the back foot? First of all, you have to understand the body motion.

What we are attempting to achieve is to create a rotational motion with the body, not a lateral motion.

To understand this, stand upright with your weight even on both feet.

Now turn back to where your shoulders are at a 90-degree angle to where they started.

If your weight is still even on both feet, then you have just simulated a rotational move.

At your address position your weight should start even on both feet. As you get to the top of your back swing your weight should now be approximately 70 per cent on the back foot and 30 per cent on your front foot.

If done properly, your body will be wound up and as a result will create more distance and accuracy with less effort.

To properly rotate the body and position — the weight on your back foot instead of the front foot at the top of the backswing — you must allow one thing to happen.

This one thing in most cases is the missing link and one that we have been taught all of our lives not to do. That one thing is to let the head move! Yes, that is right, the head must move.

We have heard all of our golfing lives to keep the head still.

The overwhelming response from most golfers is that the head can not move.

As a result you either create a reverse pivot (weight staying on your front foot in the backswing) or your hips move laterally to take the weight to your back foot. As a result, your body is in a poor position to consistently return to the ball . . . inconsistent contact and direction.

The upper body has to move laterally as it is turning to the top of the backswing. If done properly, the head moves only slightly (approximately one inch), but this is enough to place the weight on your back foot, ensuring that your body is wound up properly and giving you a better chance to hit the ball straighter, further and with more consistency.

Freeing up your head and allowing it to move slightly will allow your weight to move to your back foot, creating better consistency.

Scott Bergdahl is the head professional at Lakewood Golf Resort near Sylvan Lake. His column appears Tuesdays in the Advocate.

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