Column: Tips for fine-tuning finish

How your finish is indicative of how you start, says golf instructor Jennifer Greggain in her bi-weekly column.

As a golf instructor, my students will often come to me when their confidence is very low. They comment that their current ‘slump’ started with a few bad shots that slowly led to a vicious cycle, ultimately resulting in low confidence levels.

That said, one of the first things we work on in their golf swing is their finish position.

Why is the finish position so important when it happens after you strike the ball? Simply put, if a golfer has a good finish position, they are more likely to have a good impact position. And many golfers know that a good impact position is crucial to good ball striking.

There are three elements to the finish that I like to emphasize.

First, be sure your lower body is completely turning, with your weight shifting through impact and post impact. This rotation and shift of weight to your lead leg will result in better ball striking, and thus more distance.

Many students try to help the ball into the air by ‘hanging back,’ and try to create loft by swinging upwards through impact. To achieve proper trajectory with an iron shot, you want to strike the ball in a downward, descending motion.

So be sure to completely shift your weight through to your lead leg in your finish position.

The second thing I emphasize is good extension with the arms through impact. Many amateurs tend to allow their hands to get closer to the body as they strike the ball. Gravity would actually prefer your arms completely releasing away from your body through impact.

Finally, let the club face naturally release through impact. This is something that should happen with gravity and inertia, so you shouldn’t need to force your hands to ‘roll over.’ If you are holding your grip too tight, it will be difficult to release the club. You only need to hold the club as hard as you would an open tube of toothpaste. By maintaining a light grip pressure, you are able to allow the proper transfer of energy from your body through the club and onto the ball.

In speaking on the mental game, for many students, a failure to commit to the shot can result in a poor finished position. If you can ‘let each shot go,’ while fully committing and trusting it, the above three elements should come that much easier.

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