This Ultimate Tour Player Drill That Has Been Used By Major Champions Could Be The Key To Improving Your Golf Swing

Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Nathan Cook shares how a popular tour player drill can improve your game...

Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood practising
(Image credit: Instagram @theswingplaneperfector)

Improving your golf swing is something that most golfers spend hours upon hours thinking about, and for some, countless sessions at the driving range tinkering with. If you are someone who battles with hooking the golf ball or are looking for an inside takeaway fix, this drill is the one for you! 

Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Nathan Cook walks us through it, and explains how incorporating this into your preparation could improve your golf swing...

Improve Your Golf Swing With The Ultimate Tour Player Drill

The drill went viral recently when Tommy Fleetwood showed just how good he is by adding an extra degree of difficulty to the exercise. This has been a popular part of many tour pros preparations for some time, with the likes of Major winners Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick, and Justin Rose all using it at one time or another.

It's perfect for golfers that struggle with maintaining the clubhead in front of their body, known as an inside takeaway. When teaching amateurs, the club often moves inside or behind the body, which flattens out the swing and restricts the ability to coil and turn at the top.

That can then lead to issues in the transition, like how to start the downswing and re-routing the club. This causes golfers to get steep and cut across the ball, or the club can get stuck under the ideal plane line, making the consistency of strike difficult.

If this sounds like you, here's how to set this drill up and how it can help...

How To Set It Up

Fleetwood uses the 'Swing Plane Perfector' when doing this drill, which is a great training aid if you want to spend the money on something more robust and precise, but it can be set up using just two alignment sticks.

Ultimate Tour Player Drill Checklist

  • Place one alignment stick three inches inside the ball pointing at the target
  • Place the second one two feet behind the ball match your shaft angle at address

A PGA pro practising at a driving range

(Image credit: Nathan Cook)
  • Set this up on your driving range, start with a short club and rehearse the feelings before hitting shots
  • Once you feel more comfortable, try some half-swing, 50% speed shots - this will give you a good feeling of the new positions
  • As the feeling becomes more natural and the confidence increases, move to full shots

PGA pro Nathan Cook practising golf at a driving range

(Image credit: Nathan Cook)

A lot of amateurs come out of their posture through impact, which can be caused by the club being under the ideal plane, so this drill will really help anyone needing to work on how to prevent early extension in your golf swing, but it's important to start slow.

PGA pro Nathan Cook practising golf at a driving range

(Image credit: Nathan Cook)

The Benefits

You shouldn't do a drill just because you've seen one of your favourite tour golfers doing it. It's got to be relevant to your game and provide some benefits. There are plenty of reasons to try this out at the range, as it will allow for better width in the takeaway, it helps keep the clubface parallel with the spine angle, it gives the arms space to freely get to the top of the backswing and it reduces clubface rotation through impact for more consistency.

Who Shouldn't Use This Drill?

If you are a golfer in need of a fix for how to stop slicing the ball, you may be better moving the ball inside the stick on the floor and trying to swing under the stick rather on top of it.

That will allow you to work on shallowing the club better, which in turn will help you move better and make more solid contact.

Nathan Cook
Top 50 Coach

Location:  Hamptworth Golf Club, Dibden Golf Centre and Skylark Golf &  Country Club

Nathan is an extremely passionate coach who works across a variety of clubs in Hampshire. His dad was a semi-professional footballer and coach, and he played football and tennis to a high standard growing up. The ambition was always to become a tennis coach, until he started playing golf aged 15 and he fell in love with the sport.

Greatest teaching success:

I would say I have two, the first is coaching a young lad for the previous six years who has now turned into a plus-2 handicap at 17 and is heading to college in America. The second would be a guy I met six years ago who had never picked up a golf club before but came along to a 30-minute initial lesson. He’s now a member of a golf club, a 12 handicap, has regular lessons, attends various events, brings his daughter to my junior coaching, and has genuinely become a friend. 


Teaching philosophy:

I believe that golf should be for everyone; regardless of age, ability, sex or background. The clubs I teach at are all very different from members only to pay-and-play. I want to ensure that my coaching stays consistent with all of my students and am very passionate about making the game as enjoyable as possible for everyone. My weekly junior programme is very diverse with a mixture of boys and girls, and children from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. I’ve also set up a golf society called the Top 100 Tour which gives all golfers the chance to play the best 100 courses in England. The idea is to offer amateur golfers the chance to play at some of the most exclusive golf courses that they might not have a chance to play otherwise. 

Greatest teacher:

The head pro from the club where I grew up and learnt to play in Boston, Lincolnshire. He was a great coach, really motivated us to go out and compete against each other all the time. He produced two golfers that are now on the European Tour, one on the Challenge Tour and two PGA professionals, including myself. All from a small club with limited facilities but a great club and a passionate pro. He was definitely someone who inspired me to become a golf coach.