“Band-aids” are a necessary part of the game—especially if you want to keep your golf handicap low. Band-aids are quick on-course fixes that correct swing flaws. They’re not permanent solutions. Designed to work only one day, band-aids help you salvage a bad day on the course. They also help tide you over until you can take some golf lessons to correct your problems. Once the round is over, you can consult your teaching pro or review your library of golf tips to see what you should change.
When weekend golfers have a bad day, the cause is often found either in their set-up, their take away, or at the top of their swing. For example, weekend golfers often flex their knees too much when setting up to hit the ball. This can play havoc with your swing. Fixing set up flaws on-course can turn what could become a bad day into a not so bad day. The key is finding the flaw first, as I say in my golf instructions sessions. Once you’ve done that, you can then make the proper adjustments.
Below are the key checkpoints to review on bad days:
Shoulders And Hips
To increase the chance of a solid, on-line shot, you must set up with feet, knees, and shoulder parallel to the target line. It’s easy to allow the shoulders to rotate open at address when you’re having a bad day. Take one of your long irons from your bag and line up the shaft at a target, with the butt end positioned where you would normally place a ball. Align your body parallel to the club. If this position doesn’t feel right, then you may need to work on aim and alignment.
Posture errors are not only uncomfortable, they are disastrous to your swing. Check your posture to make sure you’re in a balanced and athletic position. Set up to the ball with your feet together and you legs straight. Tilt from your hips allowing your arms to hang naturally from your side, and set the club behind the ball. Next, set your feet apart (about 6 inches) and flex your knees slightly. You should feel balanced. Repeat the drill and make a few swings. Do the same but hit some balls. If you make solid contact this way, this is your drill for the day.
On bad days there’s a good chance your backswing’s is a little too far inside, forcing an over-the-top, outside-in swing. That’s not good. To regain the sense of what a good take away feels like, set up with the butt of a long iron in your stomach and choke down on the shaft. While maintaining your spine tilt, turn your hips and swing the club back until it reaches about eight o’clock. From there hinge the wrists, so that the club points down the target line. Do this a few times, then hit some balls. If your ball striking improves, do a few of these stomach drills before each shot.
Top Of The Swing
If your swing feels out of control at the top, you may be reverse pivoting or losing control at the top. Neither flaw is good. The fix: Grab two irons and make some swings holding the club together. During these swings make sure your front shoulder turns behind the ball and over your back thigh. If this is hard to do, you may be sliding your hips instead of turning them. Next, assume your set up, take one of the clubs and place it across your chest, and make some mock backswing. If this feels odd, then your pivot was your problem. Continue making mock swings with your eye toward turning your left shoulder behind the ball.
No one wants to have a bad day on the course. But it happens. The key to overcoming bad days—and maintaining a low golf handicap—is determining what needs adjusting and then applying quick on-course fixes. Weekend golfers, as I’ve learned in my golf lessons, tend to form flaws in their postures and backswing a lot. These are the most logical places to start when finding and fixing flaws. If you still can’t get back on track after doing this, then play simple high percentage shots. Afterwards, seek out your teaching pro as soon as possible. He or she will help you correct your swing flaws with some quick golf tips.