A Lesson Learned: Take a divot

A Lesson Learned: Take a Divot
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Henrik Stenson has one of the most consistent and accurate swings on the PGA Tour.
By
Trevor Gliwski
PGA.com

Problem Area: Hybrids and Irons
Series: Lesson Learned

Even before I knew I would be writing this week's "A Lesson Learned", I was excited about the Deutsche Bank Championship.  After growing up in Massachusetts and having taught Jacque Brand, the CEO of Deutsche Bank, this week was going to be special for me regardless of the outcome. But now, after watching so many great golfers produce some amazing shots and incredibly low scores - writing this week takes on a whole new level of excitement. 

Congratulations to Henrik Stenson - who rose above the rest of the field - with a fantastic round of 66 on the final day, and a tournament total of -22, for a 2-shot win over Steve Stricker. 

After watching Stenson and the tournament all week, two big lessons stand out that can really help the average golfer.  First, all pros hit down on the ball and second, the pros swing hard not easy. 

I have taught golf for a number of years now with a Trackman launch monitor and because of the research Trackman has done over the last 15 years, we now know without a doubt that pros hit down on every shot except Driver and putter.  Unfortunately, I have seen too many amateurs that don't hit down on the ball enough.  Henrik Stenson took a divot on every shot he hit this week except his driver and putter.  He was even taking divots with his three wood off the tee!  The best way to learn to hit down is not by thinking hit down, but by thinking take a divot or at least brushing grass ahead of the ball.  The easiest drill is to stick a tee in the ground ahead of the ball and practice hitting the ball first and then the tee.

The second major lesson you can take from the Deutsche Bank and Henrik Stenson is that it is a myth that pros swing easy.  I didn't see any easy swings this week especially from Stenson.  The pros don't swing 100% on every shot, but you can't hit the ball 300 yards swinging easy.  The pros swing hard and make it look easy because their swings are so fundamentally sound and they have great sequence.  So many golfers have poor sequence because they start their downswing with their upper body, not their lower.  This incorrect sequence produces violent looking swings with no power.  The best way to learn proper sequence is to put a club on the ground in the middle of your stance and imagine the club is the finish line in a race.  The race is between your back knee, hands and club head.  When you get to the top of your backswing the gun goes off and the race begins.  Pros win the race with the back knee, followed by the hands and the club head is the loser in the race every time.  Too many golfers struggle because they are winning the race with their hands or the club head, not the back knee.  Practice winning the race with your back knee first and you will have great sequence, more power and it  will also help you hit down on the ball.

Take a big page out of The Deutsche Bank and Henrik Stenson's book and hit down on the ball and swing hard in sequence not easy.  These two lessons learned will take you to new levels of golf!

Trevor Gliwski is a PGA Teaching Professional based out of Naples, Florida.  

 


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Comments

mark03092005

Thanks for this!... It's these sort of articles that explain basic fundamentals that are the most value to amateurs. We need simple, basic information. Sometimes the instruction that is directed at us is far too complicated. We're simply not going to retain it playing once or twice a month. 'Keep it simple stupid' is a sound principle!
Thanks Trevor. This is the sort of swing thought that will save me strokes this weekend.

gtisch183

I agree, this is an excellent article however, your comment regarding, "we now know without a doubt that pros hit down on every shot except Driver and putter" is inaccurate. Tour professionals often pick the ball clean, especially with longer irons, such as a 4 or 3 to include fairway woods whether off the tee OR from the fairway.

samcdonough

Trevor Gliwski really captures the essence of good fundamentals in this article. I guess that is why he is Naples "best" instructor!! Great article!