Eagle Vale G.C. head pro Chris DeVincentis wants amateur players to think of their swing as throwing a punch.
For maximum power, you wouldn’t start the punch next to your ear. You’d reach back to generate all the momentum possible.
The same thing should go for the golf swing. It’s step one of a basic lesson that ends in an easy to remember swing thought.
On the takeaway, DeVincentis wants the player get as wide as possible going back. At some point on the backswing, the wrist will hinge and create a 90-degree angle. This is where the “narrow” starts. Going back to “wide” here looks like a fisherman casting his pole. That won’t build any speed.
The key to narrow is remaining in that 90 degree position.
“We would like to keep that as long as we can into the downswing creating that thing you hear–lag,” DeVincentis says. “Dropping the club into the slot with lag.”
On the follow-through, the 90 degree angle is released and the arms extend again for a “wide” finish.
There are a couple of easy drills to practice and check on your wide-narrow-wide.
The first is to take a normal stance, but put the ball just behind the club head at address.
“See if you can extend that back and roll the ball away,” DeVincentis says. If you are picking up the club on the backswing, the ball won’t move much at all.
You can also put a ball on both sides of the clubhead at address. Push the one behind to make sure of the proper wide backswing and then hit the second ball as normal.
A second drill is to take a normal stance with the ball in the normal position. However, you will take no backswing. The idea is to push the ball forward and work on the wide finish.
“We’re just going to rotate our body and extend our arms through, so you can feel what it feels like to have your hands arms and body move together and extend,” DeVincentis says.
A frisbee throw is another good analogy for this lesson. To get maximum distance on a toss, you have to bring your arm back as wide as it goes and follow through the same way.
This tip also can prevent issues from players who keep their head down too much. While it’s a common diagnosis from the amateur “teacher”, keeping the head down actually often causes more harm than good. To properly finish wide, a golfer is forced to pull their head up from the ball after impact.
At the end of the day, this isn’t a complicated lesson.
“If you’re looking for speed and consistency, you want to get wide, narrow and wide on the follow through,” DeVincentis says.