Tom’s Tip: ‘Force on the Course’ drill

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, August 25th, 2017


With the opening of the NFL season only few weeks away I thought
who better than my friend, former NFL running back Barry Foster, to
assist me in demonstrating a terrific golf drill.
Foster was voted All-Pro honors in 1992 along AFL-AFC Offensive
Player of the Year for the Pittsburgh Steelers. During his time in the
early to mid 1990’s playing for the Steelers Foster was a real force
in the NFL able to run around or run over his opponents.
Barry contacted me a few weeks ago to let me know he was back
playing golf again and was struggling with coming over- the- top and
pulling his shots left of his target. He was trying numerous things to
make the correction, but to no avail.
So with Barry acting as my model you’ll see how this week’s tip
will help to rectify a problem that a lot of golfers battle. For this
drill all you need is an object like the pole shown in the photograph.
I asked Barry to stand next to one of the poles supporting the
main frame of the Golf Center of Arlington where we practice. I had
him move up enough to ensure his arms would have plenty of room to
swing through on the downswing.
The point of the drill is to make sure not to hit the pole on
the follow-through which sounds easy until you try it.
I asked him to start off making some slow motion swings with the
pole in front because it can be intimidating. A large physical object
like a pole forces you to make the corrections necessary otherwise you
will be on a collision course that will cause pain and a broken club.
Again, start out in slow motion until you get comfortable and gain
confidence in the drill. The photo of Barry in action showcases a
remarkable visual representation of what I’m talking about.
Checkout how well Barry is staying down and through the shot
long after impact. He has maintained good knee flex well past impact
and that will help maintain good balance throughout the swing. Look at
how the club head has been fully released because he is able to swing
through uninhibited.
Both of his forearms have turned over naturally as opposed to
previous action which blocked the rotation of the arms. In the photo
take a close look at how Barry’s right shoulder is working down and
under which is the correct motion. Prior to that the shoulders were
spinning while making the downswing, forcing him to utilize too much
upper body strength creating a hitting action instead of a swinging
Foster is a great athlete, but he is not using the torso to his
advantage which limits effectiveness. I equate it to an upper cut
punch as opposed to a round house punch where your energy is wasted.
Initially, when standing in front of a pole and make some
swings, most people will try to steer away from the object so they
won’t hit it which is natural. As you begin to make some slow motion
swings that trepidation will dissipate quickly as confidence is
gained. The more frequent use of the drill will create a comfort
level which allows the body and mind to make the subtle adjustments
which allows you to increase speed in the swing. Very soon thereafter
you will be missing the pole with ease and not steering your club away
from the pole as occurred on the initial attempts.
Finally, after making several swings missing the pole, step away
and set up to the golf ball and take a swing. At this juncture don’t
try to over analyze what you have been doing….just swing. You will
be surprised with the results.
Practicing with a pole creates positive visual images instead of
random swing thoughts that come and go. This type of mental and
physical training will help ‘kill two birds with one stone’, allowing
you to swing freely and release all the stored up power which adds
distance and control.
When you’re on the golf course substitute the pole for a
tree…get next to the tree and make your swing. The motion will help
to re-enforce what you’ve practiced and give immediate feedback all
while preparing to make the next swing. By missing the pole, or tree,
on the downswing you are coming back into the impact area at a
shallower angle of attack instead of a steep angle which is best known
as coming over-the- top (or outside-in).
I have taught this drill for decades and it really works. I can
promise you this, doing the drill and applying it on the course while
have an immediate effect on your shot making ability. If you want to
be a ‘force on the course’ include this drill into your practice
routine today.

Tom Ward can be contacted at


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