How To Stop Blocking Drives
This can be one of the most debilitating faults in the game costing you plenty of shots and lost balls! Here we are going to take a look at how to stop blocking drives and we will focus on the three main causes: lateral shift, early body rotation and late release. Identify which one applies to you and then use these fixes to resolve the issue.
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1 Lateral Shift
If you want to discover how to stop blocking drives the first fault to check relates to the way your weight is shifting at the start of the downswing. Ideally, as you transition from the top, your hips should ‘bump’ towards the target before rotating through. For many of those who struggle with a block, the hip bump has become excessive. The problem here is that your upper body moves too far ahead of the ball and the club caught behind you. The position shown below is what you really need to avoid!
From here an open face at impact is the likely, destructive outcome. In practice, place an alignment stick in the ground next to your left hip at address. As you move into the backswing, a gap will emerge between your hip and the stick, that’s good.
However, as you start the downswing you are looking to nudge the stick with your hip (not push it into a 45˚angle) before rotating your upper body. This drill offers a great visual aid to help you know when your lower body is starting to slide too much. Keep this move in check and your blocks may well straighten out.
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2 Early Rotation
The next problem stems from trying to hit the ball too hard. It is important for all golfers to try and generate as much clubhead speed as they can whilst maintaining their balance. However, as players search for power this often causes them to lose the rhythm in their transition from backswing to downswing. They try to hit the ball with an aggressive and poorly timed rotation of the upper body. Again, the club gets trapped behind the player and the ball flies off to the right.
The fix here is to reach the top of the backswing and then let the club drop. This is a move that all good, and powerful, players have in common – you will often hear it referred to in commentary as lag. This lag ensures the angle in the wrists remains for a little longer in the downswing helping to deliver more power. However, in this instance it will also help you hit the ball straighter too. Get it right and you’ll have more room to deliver the club squarely to the ball for more powerful, accurate drives.
Alternatively, try to smooth out your transition from backswing to downswing. Start by taking 20% off the pace of your swing and try to groove a movement that is more in sequence on the way down. A simple adjustment to your rhythm could make a huge difference!
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3 Late release
The final fault to look out for is a late release. Before I explain how to resolve the issue, it is important to be clear about what we mean by release. This refers to the angles in your wrists and right elbow during the downswing. For maximum power you want to release these angles as late as possible – a last minute injection of speed through the hitting area is ideal.
However, if the release happens too late, you will, without doubt, hit a huge block. Timing the release correctly will square the club at the right moment and deliver both power and accuracy. If your release is happening too late, he fix is to make some practice swings holding a basketball or football. Get the timing of the release right and the ball will fly straight at your target. If you’re late, the ball will shoot into the ground in front of you.