I love the off-season. It’s the perfect time to develop and reinforce key techniques. But putting into a coffee cup can get boring after a while. Here’s a drill to try in your basement or living room. It is a bit risky but productive and exciting too.
Grab your 56- or 58-degree wedge and some small whiffle balls. Start with the ball in the middle of your stance (A). Then narrow your stance so your heels are closer together than your toes (B). Keep the shaft of your club perpendicular to the ground or very slightly leaned towards the target (C). Then reach down with your lead hand (left for right-handed golfers) and touch your left knee (D), as this will put your shoulders in a level position and your spine perpendicular to the ground.
Hit a few practice shots from this setup with only your trail hand (right hand) on the club. Try to softly pitch the balls onto a couch four or five paces away. I love the feel of hitting one-handed shots with the right hand as it naturally allows the club to open and slightly hinge in the backswing before releasing naturally in the downswing. Finally, in your follow-through, the club head can overtake and pass the hands, allowing for soft pitch shots and great use of the bounce of the club.
Rotate hitting three balls with only your trail hand on the club and then three balls with both hands on the club trying to feel the same thing. Do this four or five times to really get the feel of the correct setup and how the club works. Then use both hands like you would outside on the course and hit pitch shots to different targets. Once you’re comfortable with the whiffle balls graduate to real golf balls.
Why do I like this drill? Indoors you will learn to soften up your hands and arms in a hurry, otherwise you will not hit high and soft landing shots. Plus the firmness of the floor under the carpet gives great feedback on how the club head is working along the ground. It should slide along the ground rather than crash down into it. This feedback allows for quick learning of solid contact, a shallow angle of attack and nice use of the bounce.
Learning to feel the correct pitch shot technique and enjoying some valuable indoor practice is the perfect type of preparation before golf season starts.
Sharpen your short game
This article was originally published in the April 2016 edition of Golf Canada Magazine. To view the full magazine, click the image to the left.