It’s getting to be about that time of year again… at least for those of us up north.
We brush the dust off the sticks and start looking for that bucket of balls from the local driving range, the bucket that we just didn’t have time to hit before putting up the clubs for the winter.
We snag the welcome mat off the front porch and sneak out to the back deck to squeeze off a few shots over the at the neighbors garage without anyone seeing us.
The first few swings are only to shake the rust loose from the joints. The next few swings, to add a little nitrous. After that it’s time to make contact. Finally, with a little persistence, the goal is to hit a good one.
For those of you who live down south, you might not understand this, but for some of us “yankees,” we know how important it is to get the ball in the air for the first time of the year. Some of us get lucky and see that success relatively soon. Others… well not so much.
Now that we have reached that all pivotal checkpoint in the season, it’s time to add a little strategy to the practice regimen and that is exactly the topic of Todd’s instructional video below.
As we begin getting back into the swing of things, there are four categories or “buckets” that we should consider as we go about practicing. As you go about practicing these four buckets, hit three balls then change clubs and “buckets.”
First, and most important thing to focus on is technique.
Whether it’s take-away, coil, release or follow through the technique is the foundation that we build our game on. As we practice technique, we aren’t focused on the the tempo, balance or technique. We just one to take one aspect of the game such as the proper grip. A proper grip is important because it’s the foundation for the way the club head makes contact with the ball. Another technique drill we can practice is the take away.
Without a proper takeaway, the golfer is setting up for a lot of fundamental issues.
In the next bucket, focus on tempo, timing, rhythm or flow.
The tempo is where we heighten our awareness of the technique. A side effect of having poor tempo is a vast disconnect between the upper and lower body. In this video, we talk about the 90-70 drill. The 90-70 drill puts emphasis on a 90% speed back swing and a 70% speed down swing. As we perform this drill, we are heightening our awareness of tempo.
We can learn more about our tempo from the two club drill.
As we transition to the third bucket, balance, a good drill is to hit balls with the majority of our weight on the lead foot.
That’s not to say that it is the only drill to practice while focused on this bucket. At US golf TV, we have put out a lot of content on balance drills.
For example, the cone drill provides enhanced core stability and hip flexibility.
The feet together drill provides the golfer with a better sense of torque power as opposed to swaying power.
The single leg balance drill provides added hamstring strength and overall flexibility. Feel free to practice any one of these drills while emphasised on balance.
Finally, we encourage focus on the last bucket to revolve around performance.
Naturally while practicing the first three, performance will improve. We cycle from bucket to bucket and find that that the practice session was generally more productive. Turning the focus of each bucket on and off as we transition through the session is going to help with a more important aspect of the game…mindset.
Finally, taking our practice to the tee can elevate our awareness of many things. Our mindset often gets cluttered by many things on the course so being about to turn awareness of anything on and off is an invaluable skill for practicing this bucket drill.
For more complete information on each of these, watch the video with Todd above.
By following this cycle of buckets, we expect to proportionally elevate all four aspects of the game. Take these tips to the range and watch the strokes fall off hopefully just as you watch the winter rust drop off.