Two Keys To A Better Golf Swing

By Rick Sopka
PGA Teaching Professional,
Rick SopkaMangrove Bay Golf Course

Over the years of teaching and research, I have realized that golfers fall into the same patterns. One that stands out the most is instability in the lower body in the backswing, most commonly found in men. Another is the inability to lever the club properly, most commonly found in women.

Starting with the lower body you have to realize how to load the hip properly in the backswing. Most men have the problem of too much lateral movement in the takeaway which gets the weight to the outside of the back leg. This is a major power leak. The hard part of the correction is the golfer associates this lateral movement with power which is completely incorrect.

You need to achieve torque in the backswing. To do this, you need differential between the hip turn and the shoulder turn which is commonly referred to as the XFactor. A good drill for this is to pigeon toe your back foot at address. This will restrict your hips and make it very difficult to move laterally off the ball. Just remember that the weight transfer going back is very subtle.

The levering or hinging of the club is the next area of focus. When working with women I hear the same thing over and over ...”Rick I want to hit the ball further” or “all my clubs go the same distance”.

You need to start with the grip. Many women have the tendency to grip the club in the palm of their hands which causes a problem when attempting to hinge the club. With the grip in the palm, the club is usually lifted and the left wrist is extremely bowed at the top of the backswing which causes a closed club face.

The first step is to get the grip more in the fingers. This will feel strange at first but over time will become more comfortable. With the hands in a proper position, the hinge will feel much more natural. Now you can start to learn how to properly release the club. A good drill for this is to grip the club in the fingers with the hands separated about three inches, take a backswing and you will feel how the club naturally hinges. Always remember that hand action alone in the golf swing can increase most women’s distance by 50% because without a lever system there is no speed and with no speed there is NO DISTANCE.

I always ask my students what the definition of “release” is. It’s to let go. Don’t be afraid to let go.

For more information you can visit my website at or call the Mangrove Bay pro shop to set up a video swing evaluation.

Rick Sopka is a PGA Teaching Professional at Mangrove Bay Golf Course and the 2010 North Florida Section Teacher of the year. To schedule a lesson call pro shop at (727) 893-7800. To talk to Rick directly, call his cell phone at (813) 380-6532.


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