A full-length mirror is a great learning tool. Ideal for times when you can’t play a course or practice at a range, a mirror can help you make adjustments to different aspects of your game that will improve play, create consistency, and drive down your golf handicap. In fact, spending 10 minutes in front of a mirror daily can be like taking a golf lesson free of charge. The trick is discovering which drills to use and allocating your time wisely by developing a program of daily exercises.
Most golfers don’t think of a mirror as a learning tool. But the idea is growing in popularity. In fact, mirrors are becoming so popular that manufacturers are producing models designed specifically to help master pre-swing and in-swing fundamentals. These mirrors can help improve everything from your stance, posture, and alignment to ball position, head position, and swing path. They can also help improve your putting. In short, they can help solidify your game. Below are some drills you can try.
Checking Grip, Posture, and Balance
Mirrors are ideal for improving your fundamentals. First, get your clubs re-gripped and your lofts and lies checked. When the clubs comes back, set up a full-length mirror in a room with a high ceiling, either in your home, garage, veranda, or whatever. Then, take a 6-iron or 7-iron and work on key fundamentals that will make you a better player next spring. You don’t have to do these exercises for hours at a time. Working on them for 20 or 30 minutes a day is more than enough.
Using the mirror, check your grip, clubface, and posture. Use a book to compare your grip to that shown in the book. Is it the same? If not, what changes do you need to make to make it identical? Now face the mirror. When you sole your clubface, is it square, closed, or open? As you sole your clubface, examine your posture. Are your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and your front foot slightly open (about 20 degrees)? How’s your balance? Is it about 50 percent on each foot?
Now, place a ball on the ground, slightly forward in your stance. Place your club in the middle of your stance, just behind the ball and assume your normal posture. Is your head behind the ball? Next place the club behind your back and along your spine. Touch your rear and upper back to the club. Then without moving your spine, hold the club in front of you and let your arms hang relaxed. Look at your posture in the mirror. Mentally take a picture of it. Take your right hand off the club and let it hang to reinforce this image in your mind. That’s your ideal posture.
Ingraining Your Pre-Shot Routine
You can practice other fundamentals, like your pre-shot routine, using a mirror. Facing the mirror, take 5 or 6 swings at about 30 percent normal speed. But before you do that go through your entire pre-shot routine. Now, switch to a down-the-line view (swinging toward the mirror). Take five more swings at 30 percent effort going through your entire pre-swing routine. Before swinging, check your grip, posture, and balance. Is your swing path on the correct swing plane or are you coming over the top?
Increasing Your Body Turn
Many players lack the flexibility to make a good shoulder turn. A mirror can help you improve it. To do so, stand with your back to the mirror. Now hook a broom handle behind your back and hold it in place with your arms. Turn to the right all the way until you can see yourself in the mirror. Hold that position for a count of seven, and then rotate all the way to the left. Hold for a count of seven. Then turn back to the right, and so on. Five minutes a day is enough. Within a short time, your flexibility and your body turn will have improved.
These suggestions are just some of the mirror drills you can use to improve your game. There are dozens more out there. All you need to do is find them. So check my golf tips and those of other teaching pros you may have saved, do some research using old issues of golf magazines and golf books you’ve kept, or “google” the Web. Before long you’ll have more drills than you can shake a club at. You can even research manufacturers of golf mirrors and review their products using the Web.
With winter fast approaching, many golfers are storing their clubs until next year. That doesn’t mean you can’t work on your game. Using the suggestions we offer above as well as any other drills you can uncover you can string together an entire mirror program designed to sharpen your game. With some creativity, a little discipline, and the right mirror, you can have a productive off-season, one designed to improve your golf game and cut your golf handicap.