How to Groove Your Swing!
By Bob Duncan
Golfers everywhere are engaged in one simple effort – to groove their swings. They take lessons, view videos, read magazines and practice incessantly in the search for consistency. But few are creating the conditions that will find the groove move… Sometimes just swinging the club and observing ball flight are not enough.
To groove your swing you’ll need 4 things:
1) A bucket of range balls
2) A ‘Lie’ Board
3) An empty cardboard golf club box
4) Reality Check – You’ll also need clubs that fit!
Let’s start with #4. Does it make sense to groove a swing and then get fit for clubs? Brutal reality: N-N-N-ope! Why would you want to groove a swing with a piece of equipment that you’re not going to use? In fact, the chances are that the clubs with which you are trying to groove your swing may actually prevent the move you’re trying to groove.
Of course, many players say they want to groove their swing before they get fit for clubs. That’s like trying to perfect walking in shoes that are a size too big, or groove a tennis serve with a racket that is too short.
Here’s the takeaway: Clubs should be properly fit, but they can be adjusted after you play with them – and in fact often should be. Technically every club in your bag should be checked for lie (most titanium drivers cannot be adjusted for lie) and players often ‘tweak’ their lie angles once fit. Wedges are your ‘scoring clubs’ and though many players don’t check them, if you want to score better it only makes sense. Groove your swing with clubs that SUPPORT the groove!
The next few points should be considered when you go for a fitting so you can re-create the performance you get during the fitting session.
The range balls are a given – you’ll need them, obviously. Moving on to the Lie Board, these are made so you can hit balls off of them, and are available in most pro shops. They are critical in clubfitting, and once your clubs are fit they provide feedback for how much you hit down on the ball. Too much and you’ll make a loud noise on the board, too little and you’ll ‘blade’ the ball and feel a lot of vibration.
A note of caution – the ball should always be placed 3 to 5 inches from the front end or target-side of the board to insure that you don’t accidentally hit the back of the board.
The Lie Board makes up for a lot of ills, but it definitely provides excellent feedback. You should make ‘soft’ or ‘short’ noises when your clubs contact the board.
The cardboard box is the last key to your groove. Place it against the lie board and aimed in the direction of your target. Then place the ball about 3 inches from the box, set up, and swing slowly to hit the ball and not hit the box. Start with about a 7-iron, slowly building up speed over 6 – 8 balls until you get to near your normal swing.
Don’t over-think this. The correct swing is NOT straight back and straight through. Inside-out or outside-in you’ll hit the box. Correctly applied, the club arrives to the ball slightly from the inside, and leaves slightly to the inside.
The purpose of all this is to set up ‘parameters’ and ‘guides’ to help you start grooving your swing. The box keeps you from swinging too far outside-to-in, or inside-to-out, and the Lie Board keeps you from digging too deeply into the ground.
Now, start grooving away! You’ll be surprised at where the ball goes. But beware – grooving your swing doesn’t necessarily transfer completely to the golf course. If you’ve been reading my articles you know it doesn’t apply everywhere on the course. You’ll need more than a grooved swing to play great golf.
Bob Duncan is a PGA Life Member and Master Clubfitter, and is the developer of the Golfer Positioning System. G P S is a comprehensive ‘playing method’ which focuses on performance on the course while directly linking practice and play. Bob teaches his G P S system in his traveling G P S Player’s Academy, and individually at RiverRidge Golf Complex in Eugene, Oregon. Please visit his website at golfecoach.com, and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.