Golf School: Practice Your Finishing Position to Shape Your Ball Flight
Perhaps a skill for the more advanced golfers but learning how to shape your shots and getting confident with the process can make a huge impact on your game. Trying to hit into a green with a left to right wind and a matching ball flight can leave very small room for error. You can also eliminate entire hazards by shaping the ball away from it instead of trying to simply forget it’s there…which rarely works.
A recent Golf Digest article explains how rehearsing your follow through can help with your shot shaping skills. By knowing what type of position your body and club will finish in, your mind will adapt and make sure you reach that destination during the rest of the swing.
Rehearse these finish positions first and then keep them as your only swing thoughts when hitting your next bucket.
1.) DRAWS: THINK “HIGH C”
For a right-hander to curve the ball on target with a right-to-left ball flight, mimic this “high C” finish position (above). Notice how my spine is bent away from the target. That creates the shape of a backward letter C. Also notice how my hands finish high above my body and the club is tracing down my back. It’s much more of a wraparound finish than for a fade swing.
2.) KNOCKDOWNS: STOP THE CLUB SHORT
To lower your ball flight and hit a more controlled shot, your finish will have a truncated look. Notice how my club and arms are in front of my body and the shaft is upright (below). As you finish, feel like the back of your left wrist is still flexed a little, like you’re about to fling a Frisbee. It will feel like you’ve stopped the club from continuing around your body.
3.) FADES: GO LOW AND LEFT
To curve the ball on target with a left-to-right ball flight, your hands and arms need to finish low and left, having moved across your body (below). Notice the club’s shaft finishes in a position roughly parallel to the ground, much different than a draw. The other thing to point out is how much my upper body has rotated. My chest is pointing well left of the target. In other words, my upper body kept rotating long after I struck the ball.