Above is a before and after comparison of a young golfer who was mightily struggling with his game. On the left, he was moving his hands and club almost horizontally, out toward the ball at the start of his downswing. This move is known as swinging over-the-top. You can see that his club path was 7.4 degrees left of the target through impact. He was slicing the ball to the right because his club was moving across the back of the ball to the left. Remember, the ball takes off toward the face and curves opposite the path (relative to the face). What’s more troublesome is that with his irons, his club was getting far enough outside the target line just prior to impact that he was hitting shanks.
A shank occurs when the hosel — the part of the club head into which the shaft is inserted — makes contact with the ball. As you can see, it doesn’t take a big miss to create a REALLY bad shot that flies dead right with almost no height.
The fix for my young student was to have him focus on the direction in which he moved his hands at the start down. Rather than moving his hands at the ball, I had him drop his hands down almost behind his back, toward his right foot, just like Rory McIlroy. That’s what I mean by “drop it in.” It worked great! He was able to get the club to approach the ball from the inside 9.2 degrees, and also upward into the ball (Attack Angle +4.2), which is the way to hit the ball farther. Accordingly, this very happy golfer gained 18 yards.
If you are fighting slices or lacking distance, the drop it in move might be exactly what you are looking for. As always, check your grip and setup to make sure the easy stuff is not what’s getting you into trouble.
Hit ‘em Great!John Dunigan is a PGA Master Professional and Director of Instruction at White Manor Country Club in Malvern, where he runs the John Dunigan Golf Academy. An expert in Junior Golf, Dunigan received the prestigious PGA Philadelphia Section Junior Golf Leader Award for 2012, and was named Philadelphia Section Teacher of the Year in 2008. He lives in Kennett Square.