There’s a reason that certain golf drills are used over and over by teachers everywhere–because they work.  And today’s lesson is one of the most used and most successful drills because it works.  If you’ve ever hit a low fast-hooking shot to the left or a high block to the right, read on because chances are, the toe of your club wasn’t where it was supposed to be.

 

We’ve moved on from our pre-shot tips and are starting with the Toe Up Drill because it’s a perfect place to start talking about the full swing.  The Toe Up Drill takes us through the beginnning of the backswing, back down through impact, and into the beginning of the follow through.  If you can master that part of the golf swing, the rest is easy.


THE TOE
The clubhead is described like a foot.  It has a toe, a heel and a sole.  When we set up to hit a shot, the toe is pointing away from us, making the grooves on the clubface perpendicular to the target line.  Now let’s go through the three phases of the swing and check the toe of our club throughout.

BACKSWING
As we start the backswing, the clubhead stays low to the ground and then starts to arc up. When the shaft of the club is parallel to the ground we stop to take a look at two things:

1. The toe of the club should be pointing up.

2. The shaft of the club should be pointing right down your target line.

If your toe isn’t pointing up or the shaft isn’t pointing down your target line, correct the positions until they’re right.  Then try it again and again and again until it feels natural.  Pay attention to what your hands, wrists and arms are doing to make the toe and the shaft get to the proper positions.

DOWNSWING
We’re not going to worry about completing the backswing right now.  Once we get the toe up as the club gets to parallel, we’re starting the downswing.  We’re simply trying to reverse the previous motion so when we get back to impact, the toe is pointing away from us and the grooves are perpendicular to the target line.

FOLLOW-THROUGH
As the club drives through impact, extending down the target line, we want to let the shaft get to parallel to the ground on the follow-through, and then stop to take a look at the same two things we looked at in the backswing:

1. The toe of the club should be pointing up again.

2. The shaft of the club should be pointing right down your target line.

Again, if those two things aren’t correct, make them correct, and then try to get back to that position.  Take note of what your hands, wrists and arms have to do make the toe point up as the club gets to parallel to the ground.


Now we need a good drill to help us practice this toe-up idea.  And it’s a simple one:

THE TOE-UP TO TOE-UP DRILL

1. Watch it.
2. Don’t watch it.
3. Hit it.

Swing the club back to parallel to the ground, watching to make sure the toe is getting up and the shaft is pointing down the target line, and then continue the downswing into the follow through until the toe is up again and the club is again parallel to the ground.  Repeat that  in one continuous motion, back and through, until it feels natural.  Then, you’re going to continue that motion without watching it.  You’ll be staring at the ground where the ball would be, trying to repeat the same toe-up to toe-up motion as when you were watching the clubhead.  Then, step forward to a golf ball and hit it, still not swinging the club past parallel on the backswing or the follow-through.

What should you be watching for during this drill?  These shots won’t be traveling very far because you’re not taking a full backswing, so don’t be worrying about distance.  You should be watching for the direction of your shots.  If you’re missing to the left, chances are the toe of your club hasn’t gotten up during the backswing and you’re hitting the ball with a closed clubface (pointing to the left).  If you’re missing to the right, chances are the toe of the club isn’t getting up during the follow-through and you’re hitting the ball with an open clubface (pointing to the right).  If either of these are happening, go right back to the drill and start again.  Watch it, don’t watch it, hit it.  Repeat 100 times, or 1000 times or as many times as it takes to make you remember to get the toe up on the backswing and your toe up on the follow-through.

Add the Toe-Up drill to your practice routine and you’ll see straighter shots and more solid contact.  And as always, if you have questions about this lesson, give us a call at Fox Hollow, or talk to your local PGA Professional.

 

Good Golfing,

Eric Larson, PGA
GM/Head Golf Professional
Fox Hollow Golf Club
763-428-4468

Mike Seiffert, PGA
Master Professional
Fox Hollow Golf Club
612-741-0671