Getting connected

By: Shawn Kelly, Journal Golf Columnist
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“Connection” in the golf swing is a valuable concept to understand in order to help create a well-timed athletic swing. Prominent PGA teacher Jimmy Ballard has always been the leading proponent of connection theory and was one the first to teach this concept of staying “connected” during the golf swing. I believe this is one of the concepts that really helped me create my swing. Let’s see if we can make it easier to understand and give you some drills to help you stay connected during your swing. Connection is defined as the coordinated movement of your arms and body together during the swing. The arms must stay in front of the body during the swing and not get inside the plane or behind you in the process. Timing in a golf swing means that the arms and legs work in unison. If the arms get moving too fast on the back swing (usually from too tight of a grip pressure at the start of the swing) you will probably become disconnected and out of timing. Drills Club in the belly Use any club and put the butt of the grip in your belly. Your arms should reach out on the shaft and take your normal grip, and should form a triangle in front of you. Staying relaxed, turn your torso to the back swing until the shaft is parallel to the target line and your weight has shifted to the back foot. Now shift your weight to the front foot, uncoil your torso and swing the club until it is pointing to the target. When you’re finished, weight should be in the front foot and you should be in balance. Make sure the triangle created in the beginning does not change its shape. This is a drill I do often to feel connection in my swing. Do a few hundred of these and you will get your feeling of connection. Ball between your arms Take a small ball or rolled up towel and put it between your forearms. Take a normal grip on any club and swing it back and forth similar to the last drill, not letting the club swing behind your back. The feeling will be that your arms will not separate and you must stay connected to move the club. Wall drill Stand with your back against a wall, about a foot away and make a back swing. You should be able to swing to the top without hitting the wall. If you can do this you are in connection. Note that the wall can be the netting at a range or the fence in the backyard. Again, from experience let me add that I wouldn’t practice this indoors unless you happen to be adept at sheet rock repair. Connection is a “feel concept” that is difficult to convey in print, so you’ll need to practice these drills at the range so that you can actually feel connection and timing. I work on connection in all of my own practice sessions because it is fundamental to my success in golf. Once you get connected, you will be well on your way to better golf shots. May is PGA Free Lesson Month Throughout the month of May, PGA Professionals nationwide are conducting free 10-minute lessons to help you improve your game, or get you started in the game of a lifetime. In support of this effort I will offer free lessons on Saturday, May 22 from noon to 3 p.m. Call The Ridge any day at (530) 888-7888 to schedule your free 10-minute lesson.