Every golfer can relate to a feeling of nervousness and dread, especially with the driver. Nobody wants to dribble a ball off the tee. Nerves lead to awkward golf swings and ugly shots. One common, nervous flaw is the tendency to tilt backward in the swing, a fault caused by an improper pivot and weight shift. Pivot and transfer drills can groove a proper swing motion that holds up under pressure and staves off tee box anxiety.
Think about a proper address position. Your body is tilted slightly forward, toward the golf ball. Because your right hand is lower than your left on the club if you are a right-handed player, your right shoulder needs to be a bit lower than your left shoulder. That means your spine is tilted slightly to the right. That is the correct spine tilt. Those angles stay close to the same for the entire swing. The only time your spine angle changes dramatically is for a balanced finish position.
Place a club across your upper back. Hold it in place with your left hand near the clubhead and your right hand on the handle. Lean your body into a proper address position. Pivot your torso to the right like in a backswing. Maintain your spine angle. Allow your weight to move to your right foot. You will feel a correct backswing tilt. Transfer you weight forward and pivot to the left, retaining the spine angle. Hold the finish for a second before repeating the drill.
Address a golf ball with a driver. Narrow your stance by sliding your left foot over to your right foot. Make a backswing, pausing at the top. Step your left foot forward in to its original position, like you are softball batter striding to hit a pitched ball. Let your weight transfer lead the downswing and pivot naturally toward the ball. Swing through to a full finish with your weight balanced on your left leg.
This drill is mostly mental, which means you can use it any time, even on the golf course. Imagine your spine at address parallel to the frame of a swing set. As you swing the club back and through imagine your spine stays parallel to the frame. It may also help to picture your swing as a circle that moves around your spine like the spokes of a wheel. Any tilting, forward, backward or otherwise will disrupt the spine angle you are trying to retain. Make practice swings focusing on this image.
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David Raudenbush has more than 20 years of experience as a literacy teacher, staff developer and literacy coach. He has written for newspapers, magazines and online publications, and served as the editor of "Golfstyles New Jersey Magazine." Raudenbush holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in education.