Tom’s Tip: Use a Pole for control

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, March 11th, 2017


Here’s a familiar scenario a lot of golfers do battle with on a
daily basis. I’ve seen a lot of golfers over the past few decades
start the downswing by leading too much with the upper body, forcing
an over the top movement which results in a loss of power and control.
This week’s tip will help to rectify that error immediately and help
get your swing back. All you need is an object like the pole shown in
the accompanying photograph.
I had my student in the photo stand next to one of the poles
supporting the main frame of the covered driving range where we were
practicing. He set up right next to the pole so that his left foot was
actually touching the base of the pole as a starting reference point.
Also, I had him move up far enough to ensure that his arms would have
plenty of room to swing through on the downswing. The point of the
drill was 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 of him because it can
be intimidating.
Like a lot of golfers, my friend was battling a lateral shifting
(commonly called swaying) with his upper body as he made the
transition on his downward move back into the ball. That improper
action was causing him a major power loss which resulted in spraying a
lot of shots to the right of his intended target. With a large
physical object like a pole to deal with he was forced to make the
immediate corrections necessary otherwise was on a collision course
that would cause pain and a broken club. That’s why its important to
start out in slow motion, until you are comfortable and confiden,t
which doesn’t take long to incorporate. The photos showcase a
remarkable visual representation of what I’m talking about.
The larger photo of the golfer on the left is the correct motion
and the smaller photo on the right is the incorrect motion. Take a
close look at the photos to see some glaring differences that can
affect the golf swing.
In the smaller photograph you can see how the golfers clubface is
open well after impact leading to slicing and pushing shots to the
right. The golfer is coming up and out of posture which pulls his head
up too. Take a look at how the legs have locked up and the arms are
swinging far to the right away from the target and blocking the
forearm rotation leading to a slow down in clubhead speed in the
When you compare the larger top left photo you can really see
some major significant differences. First, checkout how well the
golfer is staying down and through the shot compared to the bottom
photo. He has maintained good knee flex well past impact and that will
keep his head down. Look at how the clubhead has been fully released
as he is able to swing through uninhibited because he has no blockage
restricting his motion. Both of his forearms have turned over compared
to the bottom photo where his arms are restricted leaving his clubface
wide open.
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 only natural. As you begin to make some slow motion swings
that trepidation will dissipate quickly as you gain confidence…. I
As you continue to do the drill you will get acclimated and the
body and mind will make the subtle adjustments… then increase the
speed of the swing. Soon you will be missing the pole with ease and
not trying to steer the club away from the pole as with the initial
Finally, after making some 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 everything, just swing …you might surprise yourself
with the results.
Practicing with a pole (in this case) in front of you creates
positive visual images instead of having random swing thoughts that
come and go. This type of mental and physical training will help ‘kill
two birds with one stone’ which frees you up and results in swinging
freely on the course….. releasing all the power you’ve stored up
gaining added distance and great control of your shots.
I’ve used this drill for decades with my students and polling
numbers shows it works extremely well in getting the desired results.
So it’s time for you to take your own pole and reap the rewards to
better shotmaking.
Tom Ward can be contacted at


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