Tom’s Tip: Use your shadow to learn feel

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, July 6th, 2019

Image result for Golf swing by feelTOM WARD

We are halfway through the calendar year. Here are a few quick
pointers as a remnder to keep things simple as you start the second
half of the season.
To a beginner, hitting a golf ball seems easy until they try it.
Golf can be a frustrating, and time-consuming game to learn. My
recommendation is for all beginners to practice patience and learn how
to play golf on the driving range first… where your mind will not be
on scoring, but on learning.
Some things to know and practice:
1. First, and most important, search and ask around about a respected
golf instructor in your area, and have them explain their program
prior to starting an instructional series. You don’t want someone
giving advice who is not qualified.
2. Secondly, you learn to play golf by feel, not mechanics alone. Too
much detail is confusing. You cannot think your way through a golf
swing….feel your way!
3. Finally, short practice sessions regularly are better than one
long session. Practice, and good repetition, will teach muscles to
learn to feel – creating an internal dialog from within… and only
you can describe. Start with a plan and take your time. As the saying
goes “You must learn to crawl before you can walk.”
The simple way to learn proper feel
Place a golf ball on the ground with sun to your back. Take your
stance in a position whereby the shadow of your head covers the ball.
As you swing, keep your eyes on the shadow. During the swing the
shadow will move slightly, however if it moves off the ball you have
lost the correct swing center. If the shadow remains on the ball you
have kept the swing in the correct position.
Repeat this excellent drill daily to reinforce good habits that
will yield the results you are seeking. Swing the club by feel, and
you learn feel through good motion.
Keeping an eye on the shadow will teach you the feel of the upper
body staying in position – neither moving to the right or left- nor up
or down.
Keep your weight on the inside of your feet to keep other body
movements from moving the “swing center”. Never allow the weight to
transfer outside as it will pull you out of position. Allow rotation
of the shoulders and arms to carry the club to the top of the
Over swinging is very common among players striving for more
distance. Mathematically, a longer arc should create more club head
speed. Not so..unless done correctly. Over swinging will definitely
throw the club head in a very poor plane swing.
How far should you take the club back?
Only as far as your shoulders will allow -with balance. If the
club goes back farther than the shoulders, the left wrist will break
down. This will not only open or close the clubface but will take the
pulling action away from the legs, thus allowing the shoulders or
hands, or both to take over and dominate the forward swing. This type
of motion puts the club in an outside-in plane (over the top).
How does a player cultivate the proper length of backswing?
We are all individuals and our muscle coordination is not the
same, therefore it would be foolish to try to force the club to a
parallel position at the top of the backswing. Trying to take the club
head to parallel will not only shorten your distance it will wreck
your accuracy as well. So returning to the earlier premise: The club
should not go back any further than you can turn your shoulders.
How can golfers learn this?
By feel. Keep the left wrist in a flat position in relation to
the back of the left forearm and back of left hand. This will allow
the wrist to hinge naturally, not break, which will allow the club to
go back only as far as the shoulders turn. Practice this drill daily,
and before long your muscles will get conditioned and trained to
stretch further under control, creating the arc you desire without
over swinging.
Going to parallel is not the answer to solid shot making, and
power. You get distance from the speed of the lower body pulling your
left arm through the ball at the target.
What is the best way to learn to read the topography of greens when putting?
The overall contour of the green can be accessed from 50-100 yards
out. It’s a fact that a ball will roll away from mountains and towards
the ocean. So, if there is a hill near the green the ball will roll
away from it. If there is a lake near the green the ball will roll
toward it.
The Grain affects the roll! Grain is mostly seen on the fringe of
the green. Putts with grain roll faster and farther, against the grain
slower and not so far. Check from both sides as well as behind the
ball when lining up…..the appearance of the grass shows the grain.
If it looks shiny the grain is away from you. If dull, the grain is
towards you.
Tom can be contacted at


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