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Sat, Oct. 19

Gunby: ‘Swoosh!’ How to aim, align, hold and release your golf club
Tee It Up

We will continue our discussion with winter practice suggestions to include aim, alignment, hold and release.

This is a great time to focus on your aim and alignment. A majority of mishits result from improper aim or alignment. Let’s be clear on a few things. Aim involves the clubface and your target. Alignment involves the body’s relationship to the aim – feet, legs, shoulders, etc. Aim comes first, followed by alignment. You cannot align until you have aimed.

Alignment rods are good for working on aim and alignment. A local club fitter and entrepreneur has developed an excellent swing aid that addresses the aim and alignment as well the swing path. Plus, it assists you with videoing your own swing from proper angles. It is called “Golf Pucks,” and it really helps with all swings and shots. It should be available in March, and I would strongly recommend it to effectively and efficiently improve your aim, alignment and swing path.

If you want to improve your hold, this is a great time to do it. Repeat a good hold as much as possible – while watching TV, listening to music, or whatever, but just focus on your hold. Make it perfect. Then when you have repeated your hold enough that it becomes a habit, experiment with the amount of tension you apply to the hands.

Let’s talk about the “hold.” Notice, I did not use the word “grip.” Grip infers tension or tightness, whereas hold is just that – holding something. You can hold it lightly or firmly, depending on the circumstances that you face on the golf course.

We have all heard the advice that you should “hold the golf club like you would hold a bird.” When was the last time you held a bird? You may have flipped a few, but not many of us have ever held a bird. Figure out what works for you and when. Hitting a ball out of the rough may require a firmer hold than hitting a driver off a tee.

With proper tension, the club will naturally get into good positions more often and the wrists will hinge, creating leverage, without you consciously forcing it. Then you can “feel” the release and start gaining clubhead speed.

While making a full swing with a golf club (without a ball, again), if you cannot hear a “swoosh” at the bottom of your swing, you are either holding the club too tightly, swinging too slow, or need hearing aids. These flexible-shafted golf club training aids with a weighted ball on the end are great for getting the feel of a good swing and you will feel what you must do to get that “swoosh” sound at impact.

Another way to get this feeling is to turn a driver upside down (hold it just below the clubhead) and swing it, with the grip end about 4 inches above the ground – again focusing on hearing a “swoosh” at the bottom of your swing.

Pretty soon, the weather will warm up (for the most part) and you will find that your repeated fundamentally sound mechanics have now become habits. Now all you have to do is experience, adjust, experience, adjust and experience, adjust. And have FUN playing a great game called golf.

John Gunby Sr. is a columnist for The Daily Courier. Reach him by email at:

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