How To Develop A Powerful Golf Launch Pad?
Each golf tournament, as a full-time coach and teacher, I often reexamine the techniques that I and others have used. During the past 20 years, we have seen golf technique information and golf instruction evolve. The how-to emerges in abundance to the degree where the students desperately need. And this makes me think that someone helps them not only with a golf game, but also with any possibly puzzling knowledge that would them from a correctly focused path to advancement.
A professional golf player once repeatedly reminded me that: “Correct golf instruction is originated from several key rules that are acquired and then applied forever.” For this reason, I feel that personal instruction in golf, which is a live instruction between student and coach, has become far too complicated. And golf is also severely under-coached as well as over-taught.
First, an instructor needs to find out the motion of a student and determine a starting point. Good fundamentals play an important role in any golf motions. In fact, they should be first firmly in place: base, grip, posture, ball position, alignment, weight distribution, spacing, and tension levels of the hands or arms. All these elements create the launching pad or the setup.
What is Golf Launch Pad?
The golf launch pad is basically static compared to the golf swing, which should be dynamic. Most dynamic golf swing problems could be traced back to the setup. At the club level, most students coming for instruction do not really realize the essential importance of a good launching pad, and do not understand how considerably the results of bad launching pad conditions can affect their ability to produce a solid contact with the golf ball and make the kind of ball flight and trajectory that would allow them to have a better control, which lead to a better score.
For instance, a lot of club golfers have a tendency to align themselves too far in the left field (left-handed golfers) with the bodies. Thus, the club face is usually aiming left of the foul line. Whenever I prepare my student to both conceptually as well as optically understand the alignment, I often ask them to feel as though they liked to aim their body lines (shoulders, hips, knees, and feet) at the shortstop and the club face at the second base bag.
From this setup position, the golf club will be swung inside early, lifted, and then re-routed on the top to make up for a bad alignment position. This results in a very steep attack angle and pull-slice or pull ball flights. For a golfer whose usual 5-iron might fly 170 yards, a pull flight often goes long left 180 yards, and a pull-slice flight often goes short right, 140 yards, so it is easy to notice how this is a challenging way to perform and score.
These issues are only a few of the problems that I often notice on the lesson tee. Most amateur players want their instructor to fix their golf swings, and when you talk about the launching pad, they never believe in the important relationship between the swing motion and the launching pad. In fact, the correction should start there.
Much of the practice should be performed in front of a full-length mirror. On the lesson tee, I place a mirror and many still picture of different world-class golfers so that the student would see fundamentally good launching pad conditions. After excessive repetition of this process, they would be able to make constant visual comparisons between the pictures and their images in the mirror. The best way to make a student convinced that what is happening is actually true is to create a situation in which they could see success and convince themselves. Seeing is believing, particularly when there is a true comparison.
When I switched my focus to the finish condition, many people out there tried to scream: “What about the backswing? What about the transition? My in-between? My shoulder turn? My leg drive? My impact condition? I do not neglect all of these questions because in the swing of my students, each of these would be a problem. At the appropriate point in the instructional relationship, I do resolve them if necessary.
So conditions of a finish consist of the following:
- An even shoulder condition.
- An even pelvic or hip condition.
- A vertical right foot.
- A left knee that finds the relationship with (behind and touching) the right knee.
- A vertical spinal column.
- An even head and even eyes looking even at the horizon.
- A sense of balance indicated by the ability to swing at a controlled pace..
To sum up, a mirror and a lot of repetitions will help build this feeling. I often begin with taking some clips of the student’s movement and simply stopping at the point when their own full end. After that, I show them a detailed comparison with any world class ball-strikers, female or male. The pictures never lie.
Teaching my players to “post up” into a balanced, controlled finish, is vital. If I’m able to modify the player’s launching pad and post-up condition, the in-betweens start to beautifully fall into place.