Fix Your Finish To Improve Your Golf Handicap
How you finish often reveals what’s happening during your swing In fact, I often key on a player’s finish in my golf lessons to determine exactly how to help he or she can improve their game. You can do the same for yourself—if you know what to look for.
Below I describe four of the more common finishes I see when giving golf lessons, possible causes of the finish, and ideas on how to eliminate, the swing faults that cause them.
The high finish position is among the most common. Hands held high and a flying left elbow (for right handers) characterize the position, associated with pushes, thins shots, and shots struck toward the clubface’s heel. High finishers tend to swing on an in to out path that’s extreme, with the club traveling to the right of the target, minimizing control.
If you read my golf tips, you’ll find that the in-to-out swing is my preferred approach; however, in this case, it’s extreme. When the inside-out move becomes severe, you push the shot. When club comes too far inside with a closed clubface, you pull the shot. Also, swinging too far inside delivers the club below the swing plane, preventing the club from striking the ball on a descending path. The key is not to exaggerate the move too much.
The low finish stems from an overly out-to-in swing path, caused by a downswing motion initiated by the arms instead of the body. Players developing this finish come over the top of the plane, as I’ve explained in my golf tips, causing the clubhead to cut across the ball through the impact zone. The position is associated with pull slices, pull hooks, and shots off the toe. Since the club is moving steeply and across the ball, none of the shots are well struck. Nor do they fly toward the intended target.
If you freeze this finish, you’ll notice that the player’s hands and arms seemed to be all jammed up. That’s because the arms have moved earlier than the body, impeding the arm’s movement and limiting their extension. To fix this problem, you obviously need to work on the body/arm synchronization, so your arms don’t out race your body on the downswing.
I don’t know how popular this finish is statistically, but I often see it in my golf lessons. With this type of finish, the player’s head is in front of his or her left leg, or the golfer feels himself or herself falling forward. It stems from a poor rotation of the lower body through the hitting zone, causing the upper body to get ahead of the ball. The end result: the player fails to stay behind the ball during the swing.
To correct this fault, you need to work on your hip rotation. Try leading the down swing with your hips instead of your body. Try placing a chair to your front side, with the back of the chair just touching your hips. Take a few practice swings being careful to stay in contact with the chair’s back as you turn through impact. Also, try finishing with your head over your left leg.
Reverse C Finish
The Reverse C Finish, in many golf instruction courses, was thought of as the perfect finish— that is, up until a few years ago. Now, it’s not as highly regarded. With the reverse C, the golfer slides his legs and body laterally to the left (for right-handers) and too fast through impact. The weight, however, remains on the back foot. A reverse pivot—which occurs when you fail to transfer your weight from the front foot to the back foot—also produces a Reverse C finish configuration.
To correct this fault, you need more hip rotation and less slide. To cure the reverse pivot, you need more weight transfer. If your problem is the reverse pivot, try making your ordinary swing while lifting your front foot of the ground on your back swing, then replant it on the downswing. This helps transfer the weight from the front foot to the back foot, as it should. If you want to build more hip rotation in the swing, try taking practice swings with a shaft placed on right side of your hips. Your hips should rotate so that they never touch the shafts. If they touch, you slid.
The reverse C finish is one of the more prominent finishes. But like the lunge, low, or high finishes, it can indicate hidden swing faults that need correcting. The sooner you start working on correcting the swing faults discussed here, the sooner you’ll start lowering your golf handicap.