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Short Swing Transition Drill

References: Inverted Praying Hands Drill, and Upper Torso Angle of Inclination Explained

The objective of this drill is to train your body to move correctly at the point of transition from backswing to downswing through to impact. No weight should transfer to your rear foot at any point during this drill.

Drill Summary:
  • execute a short backswing as you exert downward pressure down on your forward leg
  • start your downsing by shifting your hips laterally forward while maintaining a stationary head
  • swing through to an abbreviated finish while maintaining good impact angles in your hands and wrists.
Drill Details:

Perform this drill in golf posture with any of these variations:
  • with folded arms
  • with extended arms, no club, hands held in the inverted praying hands position,
  • with extended arms, club in your hands gripped halfway down the shaft
  • with extended arms and club gripped normally
  1. Position an imaginary ball in the center of your stance.
  2. Set up to the ball with your weight 50% - 50% or 45% - 55% favoring your forward side.
  3. Turn your shoulders on an angled plane simultaneously with your arms to start a very short backswing.
  4. Keep your rear elbow close to your side during this backswing, which will cause the rear elbow to bend downward.
  5. The backswing stops when the shaft is parallel to the ground.
  6. Pressure more weight downward into your forward foot gradually as you execute your backswing.
  7. During the takeaway for this short swing, your front knee should bend slightly and your back knee should straighten slightly. Note that longer swings would generate more bending and straightening.
  8. After a short takeaway (shaft parallel to the ground, butt end of the club pointing slightly outside the target line) start your forward swing by shifting your weight laterally forward.
  9. As you shift your weight (hips) forward laterally, your head stays stationary as your shoulders turn towards the ball, followed by your arms, hands, shaft, and clubhead, as you pull into the ball.
  10. Your forward leg straightens gradually, and straightens fully just after impact.
  11. The sequence must be specific; do not allow your arms and hands to move faster than your shoulder turn.
  12. For a swing with the ball positioned in the center of your stance, , your upper swing center should be covering the ball at impact, your lower swing center should be slightly forward of the upper swing center.
  13. It's critically important that the weight shift of the hips be a forward lateral movement, not a movement that opens the hips.
  14. At the point of impact, your hands should be in the inverted praying hands position - straight forward wrist, cupped back wrist - which, along with correct weight distribution, produces forward shaft lean.
  15. Maintain the "inverted praying hands" position of your hands through impact and hold your positions into an abbreviated follow through, regardless of whether you are actually using a club for the drill or not.
  16. Hold your finish and check to make sure that your hands are positioned correctly, that most of your weight is now on your forward foot, and that you have some radial axis tilt to your spine - caused by your hips moving forward and your head staying stationary.
  17. It's also very important to note that this slight tilting away from the ball at impact and into the finish is caused by your upper swing center remaining stationary while your hips move forward laterally with a stationary head, NOT by leaning to the rear to cause the tilt.
  18. There should be no significant up and down bobbing movement of the head.
  19. Your upper torso angle of inclination (tilt) should be maintained throughout the drill.

  • Practice this drill with folded arms in front of a dressing mirror or a full length pane of glass where you can see your image. Make sure that your head stays still during the drill.
  • If you tend to bob up and down too much during transition, do this drill without a club, with your head leaning very gently into a wall and your hands held in the inverted praying hands position.
  • If you have trouble with moving your hips laterally and keeping your head still in order to keep your upper swing center from moving laterally also, practice this drill with folded arms in a doorway or against a wall. Position the wall or doorway about two inches outside of your front foot, and feel your hip touch the wall or doorway frame during the lateral weight shift forward, while making sure that your head does not move forward, and that your front shoulder maintains the same distance from the wall or doorway that you had at setup.
  • If you tend to let your rear elbow fly away from your side during your takeaway and backswing, use a headcover under your rear armpit when you do the drill - or buy an Izzo Smooth Swing - available through Amazon.com - to keep your elbows together. Your elbows should maintain the same amount of space between them for your whole swing, keep monitoring that if your strikes are not pure.
Master this drill, and you're on your way to becoming a great ball striker.
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[ Lessons from Tom Tucker - Class "A" Teaching Professional - WGTF "Top 100 Golf Teacher" ]