Keep your eye on the ball. Head down, or head up. Follow through with your swing. Keep it nice and easy. You’ve heard these generic bits of advice about sports performance so many times since you were a kid that you don’t even know what they look like in real-life practice anymore, right?
Golf, more so than many other sports, truly is a game of precision and intention. That and agonizing over every single part of your swing so often that your muscles just learn it, and then you forget everything and just trust your body. So, in the interest of learning it in detail so you can forget it, let’s actually focus on that elusive “follow-through” technique that really does make a difference in the arc and consistency of your shots. Try this drill for better follow-through in your swing.
Note: this drill assumes you’re playing right-handed golf. Just switch the terms right and left if you’re playing as a lefty.
1. Head to the driving range
Grab your balls and your bag at the driving range and set up in your tee box. Make sure to warm up normally to avoid straining your muscles during practice. Most especially, do several circles with both wrists, in both directions. Follow-through has more to do with your wrists than you think!
2. Swing normally
After you’re 100 percent warmed-up, take one of your normal driver swings. Simply pay attention to your natural range of motion.
3. Go through small movements
Pick two clubs to swing with for a moment. Your woods would be too awkward for this, so grab a couple irons. Holding both in your hands, square up to the empty tee and pull the club head a foot or so back using nothing but your wrists. Slowly swing the club through the tee, and about a foot to the front side, using nothing but your wrists.
4. Add onto it
Shake out your arms a few times, and try this again. This time, add a back and front shift of your weight from foot to foot as part of the swing.
5. Move back to your driver
Now you can include your arms and elbows in the swing but go about half your normal speed. Don’t worry about hitting the ball just yet, only focus on the swing. Going about half your normal speed, pull back into your upswing just halfway, and then use just your wrists to bring the club further. Pull through your down swing using your arms, just about halfway through, and then use your wrists to pull the swing further. The club won’t wrap all the way around at this point.
6. Add your trunk and core (the real power generators)
Still moving at about half your normal driver swing speed, add your normal core twist into the back swing, but still focus on that last wrist-driven part of the backswing. Now, slowly move through the downswing, this time allowing your trunk and hips to come to the party.
Exactly how far around you get here depends on your fitness, flexibility and age, so don’t push it past where is comfortable. Make sure to avoid crunching or bending your left elbow too soon to get the club head back behind you. Instead, swing all the way through, before bending the left shoulder. Then, and only then, use that wrist turn at the end to get the club all the way back behind you.
7. Add the ball
After you’ve practiced this sequence of events, add the ball and see the results. The goal here is to do this careful, almost obsessive set of swing thoughts enough times that the motion becomes second nature to you. Then, you can set it and forget it.
— C. Pedroja