A Lesson Learned: The half-swing shot

Tiger Woods injures his back
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Tiger Woods goes down in pain after injuring his back during The Barclays
John Crumbley, PGA

Problem Area: Hybrids and Irons
Series: Lesson Learned

Published: Monday, August 26, 2013 | 10:18 a.m.

It was a great way to start the FedEx Cup playoffs - seeing three of the major championship winners and Tiger Woods all in contention for the win on the final day of The Barclays.

Phil Mickelson's Sunday charge was impressive, and I really thought Justin Rose would pull it out but in the end, it was Masters champion Adam Scott - who finished an hour and a half ahead of the rest of the field, that posted a score good enough to win.

But what I (and no doubt many others) found most intriguing was the performance of world No. 1 Tiger Woods. I think most golfers can identify with how difficult it is to play golf with back pain - but to have spasms so strong that you are dropped to your knees; that's really a feat to finish the round.

Obviously, Tiger went to a 'half swing' method for the next few shots until he felt his back was strong enough for a couple of closing drives. And that's this week's "A Lesson Learned" - how to hit the half-swing shot. It's important, not just for painful backs, but anytime you need to finesse your shot rather than power through it.

There are three important things to remember when taking a half-swing.
1.) Your arms need to be loose. Your arms still need to swing fast (takes pressure off the back) so keep the tension out of them.
2.) Make sure your arms, chest and belt buckle are in synch. As opposed to a power swing, where the lower body leads the way in creating torque, your loose armed swing should work together in a synchronised, coordinated fashion.
3.) Though your backswing and follow through are abbreviated, you should still end the swing with your belt buckle facing the target.

I encourage you to practice this shot on the range before taking it to the course. And as always, anytime you need help with your game, go see your local PGA Professional.

John Crumbley is the Director of Golf for Cornerstone Golf Properties. Crumbley teaches out of Mystery Valley Golf Club in Lithonia, GA. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnCrumbleyPGA

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