Jack Nicklaus: Why You Lose Your Grip
By Jack Nicklaus and Roger Schiffman; Illustrations by Jim McQueen
WHAT I WROTE IN 1973
Loosening the hands at the top of the swing is a major fault of weekend golfers and a sure shot-wrecker. The answer lies not in putting a stranglehold on the club, but in maintaining a consistent firmness in the hands. If you haven’t swung the club back adequately by turning your body, loosening your grip will be instinct’s way of getting it there.
It’s never a good thing to let go at the top. If I do it a little today, it’s because my body won’t turn like it used to. But I never, ever tried to turn. Never consciously made a shoulder turn. I let the club turn me. I let my body coil through inertia, with the momentum of the club pulling me back.
It should be a flow back, but only go as far back as your body will allow. If your swing is a little shorter as you grow older, that’s fine. When you try to force a bigger turn, you move off your plane; you lift your hips, your shoulders, your head; and yes, you loosen your grip.
When I was playing really well, I might have let go a little with my right hand, but never my left. Keep that left-hand pressure constant, and you’ll be much more consistent.
Jack Nicklaus writes only for Golf Digest. In this series he looks back at his classic lessons published in the magazine.
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Get better swing plane where it matters, near the ball
Learn how to turn back, not sway.
Wide = Far: How to get more out of your full-swing shots
Written by: Keely Levins
The Jutanugarn sisters had one heck of a 2018. Older sib Moriya picked up her first LPGA Tour victory, while Ariya won the U.S. Women’s Open title, was LPGA player of the year and moved to the top of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. So when they give advice on better ball-striking, it’s wise to listen.
One of Moriya’s favorite drills to hit it higher and farther is as simple as it gets.
Take any full-swing club and set up to the ball normally. Now adjust your feet so they are several inches wider apart, and then start hitting shots.
“We call it the flat-feet drill,” Moriya says. “It helps shallow out your angle of attack, which is going to help you hit it more solidly using the club’s proper loft.”
Moriya also uses this drill to slow hip rotation, which improves her swing’s timing. And a wider stance has a benefit for amateurs: It helps prevent the common fault of swinging with weight on your back foot to try to “help” the ball up. Your weight should shift into your lead foot in the downswing.
To improve this drill, alternate hitting 10 balls with the wider stance and then 10 with your normal stance.
Written by: Keely Levins
You’ll Pitch Better If You Don’t Hang Back
By: David Leadbetter
Great advice to remember when hitting pitch shots is to swing through impact on a shallow angle, letting the bottom of the clubhead slide along the turf.
Having said that, I’ve seen the application of this advice prove troublesome for some amateurs, because they try to do it off the wrong foot—the back foot. This typically happens because the golfer wants to help get the ball in the air with some unnecessary hand and body english. There’s no need for that. Wedges have more than enough loft to produce a high-and-soft shot, especially if the angle of attack is shallow—think skim, not dig.
So what I want you to do is make sure your body is being supported by your lead foot as you swing through impact. An easy way to ingrain this into your pitching game is with the classic step drill. It’s reminiscent of Gary Player’s signature move of walking toward the target in a seemingly continuous motion after he struck the ball. In this drill, swing down feeling all of your weight shift into the front foot. As your club is about to meet the ball from that shallow approach, your back foot should be off the ground and starting to move toward the target. Hit the shot and step forward as you see me doing here.
Getting your weight forward is going to help make your pitching game much more reliable.
MORE FANCY FOOTWORK: THIS ONE CURES THE SHANKS
Shank one shot, you try to brush it off and move on. Shank the next? Full panic sets in. Before you walk off the course and put your clubs on eBay, let me help. First, understand that the shanks most often occur when the golfer has moved too close to the ball at impact. Sometimes we unknowingly drift toward our toes as we swing, and this causes the club to strike the ball near or on the hosel. So what can you do? TRY THIS: At address, lift your toes inside your shoes (below), and keep them up when you swing. This will prevent you from moving toward the ball and clanking one off the hosel.
—With Ron Kaspriske
By: David Leadbetter