Play Better at Fox Hollow #1 The Forward Press
Even with new club and ball technologies, more consistent course conditions, and thousands of instructional books and videos available, the facts from the National Golf Foundation tell us the average golfer isn’t getting better. We’re here to change that. So, what should you work on when The Golf Channel tells you one thing, Golf Digest tells you another, and that annoying guy in your foursome weighs in too? We say, start simply, before you even begin your swing. We’re starting with the Top 5 Pre-Shot Fundamentals that will improve your game this year. We can say they’re the Top 5 because we’ve seen these tips and drills work over and over again. If you’re ready to make smart improvements, read on, and stay tuned for the rest of the Top 5 coming soon.
The Forward Press
Today we’re talking about the position of the club, specifically the angle of the shaft, at address and during the first part of your backswing. On the surface, this seems like the easiest of fundamentals, but even the golfers who think they’re doing it right, get it wrong sometimes. We see it happen all the time because we’re watching for it from a unique angle that a golfer can’t get without seeing their swing on video.
Why it’s important–We’d like to start the club in roughly the same position it will be returning to at impact. That means we want to start with a relatively straight line running from the shoulder, through the arm, down the club, to the ball. If that line isn’t straight at address, then we’re relying on our timing to get it straight during our swing, which isn’t always the best percentage play.
What to watch for–Beware of the optical illusion created by having your eyes set up behind the ball. Since your eyeline isn’t directly over the club at address, the club will look like it’s perpendicular to the ground, when in reality, it’s slightly tilted behind the ball. That’s a problem. To have the shoulder/arm/club line straight, you’ll need it to appear like it’s not.
Drills for Skills–Here’s where the forward press comes in. Right before you begin your backswing, perform a subtle forward press that brings the club’s grip more in line with your front leg. This will give your backswing a trigger instead of just yanking the club up from the ground. The best image to think about is starting to swing a bucket full of water. You wouldn’t just yank it back. You would give it a small forward press and then swing it back. That small action not only gets the momentum of the swing started, it also creates that straight line running from your shoulder, through your arm, down the club and into the ball. And when you start straight, you’re more likely to return to impact in that same power-packed position ready for a solid strike on the ball. One last warning on the forward press: as your hands press forward, don’t let the clubface open to the right. Make sure the clubface stays square to the target line as your new forward press becomes the key to solid shots and lower scores.
If you have any questions on the forward press, please give us a call at Fox Hollow. And stay tuned for upcoming pre-shot and full-swing tips throughout the summer, so you can Play Better at Fox Hollow.
Mike Seiffert, PGA
Fox Hollow Golf Club
Eric Larson, PGA
GM/Head Golf Professional
Fox Hollow Golf Club