By David Leadbetter
Photo J.D. Cuban
Many times in golf instruction, the easiest way to get a player to learn a skill or correct a mistake is to have them overemphasize the movement needed to execute the task, or do the opposite of what they're doing. I call this teaching philosophy the art of exaggeration. I use it to improve technique in all facets of the game.
For example, a common issue is trying to steer the ball in play. By that, I mean the follow-through is truncated and regulated in an effort to carefully guide the ball in the right direction. This type of swing almost always has the opposite effect, and the result is a poor shot.
What you should do in the through-swing is release the club. That means the clubhead should move past your body and toward the target as the ball is struck. Steering a shot not only prevents the club from doing what it's designed to do, it slows it down way too soon—there's no power.
A great way to learn the feeling of the proper release in the through-swing is a drill where you literally throw a club at your target. It really works for players who grip the club too tightly or are worried about hitting a shot off-line. Find an old club and try it in an empty field. Make a swing, but let go of the club as you follow through. You'll immediately realize that to do this, you have to lighten your grip pressure as well as maintain a feeling of extension in your arms.
Once this feeling of release becomes routine, you can even use the mental imagery of throwing the club on the course. It's especially helpful when facing a narrow fairway or dealing with a pressure situation. —With Ron Kaspriske