Natural Punch Shot

Hey TT, I have started to struggle with my swing because I can't seem to get the ball in the air enough. It's been killing everything from my wedge to my driver. Although my distance is fine, I'm just not getting the high soft shots I'm wanting and it's bugging me because I can't hold faster greens sometimes. It might make me a good wind player, but it's killed my long irons because I've had a 4 iron shot to a green and I blew past the green because I only got the ball one foot off the ground. I'm thinking it's because I'm trying to keep my weight centered, but when I get my weight forward, I tend to hit a dead push.. please help, thanks.

Too many variables to troubleshoot at once.

Firstly, weight shift should occur during your swing start 50%-50% at address go 35%-65% (front foot 35%, back foot 65%) on the way back, at the top let your hips start the downswing and start the transition back to your left foot.  At impact a 65%-35% distribution is ideal with a 90%-10% finish.   Most important thing about weight shift (especially if you are a top-heavy like me) is to keep the weight on the inside of the right foot, don't let your foot roll backwards on the backswing otherwise all your power goes out the window and you have to make a miracle move to get yourself transitioned back in time.  Most times you will end up hanging back and hitting a weak slice.  No weight shift equals a swing that is all arms and no body drive.

Secondly, swing plane, are you taking a divot??? Are you picking it clean off the turf???  Thin shots can often be blamed on attempting to lift the ball in the air with the clubface instead of driving though the ball with the clubface.

My suggestion would be get some impact tape and make sure you are hitting the center of the clubface with the ball, then post back your results.

The root of all evil (and that includes duck hooks, shanks, topped shots and severe pulls) is hanging back and/or the hips not clearing.  The right foot getting stuck for us righties and improper weight shift.

Weight shift on the backswing should never get beyond the inside of the right foot.   Agreed with Mike.

I have been hitting a higher trajectory these days and even fairway woods stick the greens.  I'm pretty consistent with my ball striking. 

Keep in mind that what I am promulgating is my own personal experience and some of the golf tips I have applied.  The observation I see is that too many people attempt to take "the big 90 degree backswing" and what happens is the left foot lifts off the ground (that was how I learned to swing a golf club way back when) and too much weight gets on the back foot .  Even the golf pros are going to a more compact backswing these days.   In 2007, a Golftec video showed that I was turning my hips almost 60 degrees on the backswing (huge power loss).   A much more accomplished golfer pointed out that I was hanging back (my problem was a snap hook).  I also used to have back problems by swinging too hard (could hit 270+ with my driver).  Even somebody pointed out that I should roll my left foot on the backswing.

In 2009 I went to a more compact backswing.  I applied what I observed in Don Trahan's videos (www.swingsurgeon.com), Paul Wilson's anti-slice videos (www.revolutiongolf.com  - now they haveJim McClean) and some tips from Eddie Kilthau and John Brott (www.allexperts.com).   Don Trahan promotes a straight back takeaway ("in da mitt" - referring to imagining taking it back like going into a catcher's mitt), compact backswing and a vertical finish ("tru da tree" T finish - the release is along the the target line).  Paul Wilson promotes what appears to be a stack n tilt swing with the hips initiating the downswing, then the shoulders and finally rotating the wrists (you hold the angle) with an easy swing.  Eddie taught me the palm down-palm up drill (along with the weight being on the forward part of the front foot and the heel at finish) and John taught the "athletically ready" stance. 

When I learned how to play golf in 1972, what was taught was to have the hands way ahead of the ball at address (even with woods), a slight lifting of the left foot on the backswing, tilting the head so the left eye is directly over the ball.   I used to be able to hit some low screamers of drives with my 3 wood that would go almost 300 yards.   Also it seemed like the trajectory was lower overall and the ball rolled a bit.   Keep in mind that clubs were a bit more lofted then vs now (a 5 iron was 31*).  A lot of the golf instruction promoted hitting down on the ball. 

My dad has always had a high trajectory on his shots basically since the old days and it looked like he had his hands behind the clubhead with the driver at address. He still hit the ball a long way.   He also could have gone pro in the 1950s (but went in the Navy instead).  Has maintained an 8 handicap even until now at age 78. 

Tony Jacklin has some great stuff on Playing Lessons From the Pros on Golf Channel.  One is hitting through the ball (still accelerating). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've found on video that a lot of my problem is on the top of my backswing I have a tendency to tilt my shoulders, head, and basically my entire upper body toward the target. So my coach had me sway to get the feeling of proper weight transition, however, this made things complicated in terms of consistency even though I started to hit the ball better. So for the sake of consistency I've started to try to stay centered throughout my swing and I then had started to thin the ball. I think my main problem for me is my upper body tilts forward at the top of my swing. And when I do get my weight forward good at impact and make solid contact, I have a tendency to push the ball (a nightmare for driving), and I think it's because I fire my hips hard toward the target when I turn. I've toned that down a little so my pushes have started to go away. But do you guys have any drills for me to stop my upper body from tilting at the top of my swing? If I can just straighten out this I should break through into the 70s consistently, so I greatly appreciate the help guys. :)

I hit a somewhat high trajectory these days.   This is what works for me.

Having some spine tilt will help your ball flight. It also keeps your takeaway lower.

What would probably be a good idea is to go to Revolution Golf (www.revolutiongolf.com) and watch some of Paul Wilson's videos (particularly the anti-slice series); these are some good videos about takeaway, initiating the downswing, etc.    Also check out Don Trahan (www.swingsurgeon.com) - this might help.  Paul and Don both promote a compact backswing (the "big 90 degree" backswing is probably the reason people have such a hard time; they try to get to parallel at the top but don't have the mobility to do so and turn the hips too much AND lift the left foot).  Don has the "in da mitt" (picture the club going into a catcher's mitt on the takeaway) and "tru da tree" (doing the follow thru on the target line);  he promotes more of a vertical swing and probably is one of the biggest foes of the "rotational golf swing" because of the back problems it causes.  

I would watch Paul's videos - that, IMHO, is probably the best golf swing mechanics.  You keep your eye on the ball from backswing thru contact.  The lower body is fairly quiet on the backswing. The hips initiate the downswing (he also has tips on not firing the hips too hard).   His main point is the reason people slice is because they swing too hard.  One thing I found beneficial was he made mention if your backswing is properly done, you should be labored in talking when at the top (that indicates proper torque).     

 

 

Great information, I found one video on swing surgeon that helped me. The reason why my driving is suffering so greatly is because of a wide stance which made many more problems appear. Although everything else I keep a stance in lined with my shoulders and hips. I haven't been able to get out to the range recently (on vacation now), but I'm playing tomorrow and we'll see how things go. I'll tell you how it goes soon after.

Christian M
Great information, I found one video on swing surgeon that helped me. The reason why my driving is suffering so greatly is because of a wide stance which made many more problems appear. Although everything else I keep a stance in lined with my shoulders and hips. I haven't been able to get out to the range recently (on vacation now), but I'm playing tomorrow and we'll see how things go. I'll tell you how it goes soon after.

There are numerous articles about stance width but the general guideline is maybe one shoe width more than your shoulders for driver and fairways, about shoulder width for long and middle irons, and about hip width for short irons.  Too narrow of a stance causes a loss of balance.  Too wide causes things like swaying, too much weight on the back foot, inability to shift weight to the front foot, a restriction in the shoulder turn, and so on. 

Like I mentioned, I've used some of The Surge and Paul Wilson tips.   Don Trahan was part of Peak Performance Golf and then morphed into Revolution Golf and then branched on his own.  The commonality between these two is they teach a more compact backswing and the front foot remains planted on the backswing.   Don also recommends a shorter driver (43.5-44.5" for most males).  

I think I might have just had nothing but a phase going on because I seem to be doing fine now, my driver still seems to be launching low but I've gotten that solved (shifting my weight back a tad in my driver posture). Everything has been doing good now in my game and I'm back to making steady progress shooting in the 70s more now. :)