That is a great drill, Harold. I can really feel the swinging action through the bottom which produces more speed.
Great. Now…your question was: How does an action which focuses on acceleration from the bottom on through generate more speed at the ball, since logic implies that this method would tend to generate the fastest speed after the ball, right?
I was kind of wondering, yes.
Alright, let’s look at it from both the mental and physical perspective. Invariably when someone is asked to swing faster, he or she tries to create the speed too early in the downswing. This is the "hitting effort" I referred to. You have exhibited this tendency, and so have I. And we know that such action leads to less power, not more.
However, if we focus instead on accelerating from the ball going forward, what happens?
We eliminate the tendency for an early release?
Ultimately we may do just that. But even if we do release a bit early, it’s more likely to be down here, closer to the bottom, which may not harm us. You see, your mind always anticipates the action. It never forgets where the ball is, and where you really want the speed to occur. If you can begin to feel your faster motion past the ball and into your follow through, you will actually be producing the critical factor― clubhead speed― a short distance behind your hands. In other words, you feel like you are reaching the maximum speed out here, a bit ahead of the ball, but the clubhead is reaching its maximum speed back here, as it contacts and moves through the ball.
Is that what is known as clubhead lag?
Well, from the standpoint that the clubhead should be the last element to reach the ball, yes. But trying to get clubhead lag can be just as harmful Goodbye Hit, Hello Swing, Part III 42
as trying to force the clubhead at the ball faster, which is what most golfers do. It is very difficult to consistently and successfully manipulate the clubhead, in either fashion. Golfers spend untold hours on the practice range trying to groove the "timing" of a perfect release, which seldom holds up for long. What they should be working on is a natural swinging motion, where good timing is a built-in feature.
As you practice the faster motion drill with a club, and hit balls, you want to have the feeling, in all cases, that the clubhead is bringing up the rear of the swing. You may not realize it, but that’s what’s happening in your own smooth, effortless swing motion. You’ll start to gain confidence that, regardless of how far "back" the clubhead feels like it is (and the more the better as you get faster), it’s never going to be late to the party. You’ll get to know that when the clubhead is trailing, the speed will be there. And you will feel it as that flash of speed comes through the ball.
That’s kind of opposite to the traditional approach, isn’t it?
It’s the opposite of what most people do, yes. They power the clubhead at the ball because they believe that this is the way to hit the ball far. Let me give you one more practice exercise, then we’ll tee up some drives. Grab your seven iron.
The seven? Did I receive a promotion? I must be coming up in the world.
I’d say moving from eleven to eight handicap is a significant advancement. Do I hear five by next summer?
That’s a stretch, but who knows…
Alright…here’s the exercise. I like to think of it as an impact drill. Choke down a little bit on the grip and address the ball, with more weight on your left side.