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Golf Tips: Adjust your setup follow through to control ball flight

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Next time you watch professional golf on TV pay attention to the practice swings the tour pros are making. There are some consistencies that almost all players perform while practicing their swing before their shot. 

First thing you would notice is they never take their eyes off of the target when making practice swings. The reason for this is when they are making their practice swings, they are trying to picture the shot they want to execute. 

For example, they are envisioning either a high or low ball flight, or a fade or draw shot pattern. In order to properly execute the ball flight they are picturing in their mind what they need to adjust in their follow through to achieve the desired trajectory.

If you are trying to flight the ball higher you will make your arms follow through higher. Meaning, when I am attempting to hit a high ball, I try to make my right bicep hit my chin in the follow through. This action along with a setting up with my lead shoulder higher than my trailing shoulder, and moving the ball up in my stance, will result in a higher ball flight. 

Mark Wehrman demonstrates the low ball flight finish position which puts your arms across you chest in the follow through. PHOTO BY PIERCE KING

If you want to flight the ball down you will want to do the opposite of what I just described. You would move the ball back in your stance, slow your swing down as much as possible, and in your follow through, finish with your arms more across your chest.

When it comes to hitting a draw or fade, we also need to make a few adjustments in our setup and follow through. 

When I want to hit a draw, I will set up with my feet slightly closed at address, pointed more to the right for a right-handed golfer, and strengthen my top hand on the golf club by turning my left hand more to the right, to promote a more closed club face at impact. During the swing I will make sure to “fire” my hips first at the top of my swing, which helps me release the club head earlier in to the ball. 

To achieve high ball flight Wehrman recommends trying to make your right bicep hit your chin in the follow through of a swing.  PHOTO BY PIERCE KING

When trying to fade the ball, I will weaken my top hand on the grip, which is the left hand for right-handed golfers, by turning it more to the left so I only see one knuckle when looking down at my grip. During the swing I will hold off on releasing the club so as the heel of the club is leading the way in to impact. This action will keep the face from closing too early and allow me to hit a fade by having an open club face at impact.

One thing to note while processing this information, for all of these shot types I never attempt to change my backswing. 

The one quote I have liked to use over the past couple of years is that, “no one has ever hit a ball in their backswing.” To piggy back off of that philosophy, remember this, what happens after impact is just as important as what happens before impact. 

Lastly, make sure to keep a good eye on your target when making practice swings and always try to picture your shot so you have a clear vision in your mind of what you are trying to do.

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