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Useful hints, tips, and tricks from one of the most acclaimed golf instructors anywhere.

Randy Smith is the Head Golf Professional at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas, Texas. He is also a Staff Professional for Nike Golf and one of Golf Digest's Top 50 Instructors.

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Cure for Lifting the Club on the Backswing (Tighten Up Those Armpits)
Written By: Randy Smith on Sep 29 2006
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Randy SmithBy Randy Smith

Many times we see students lift their club into a position at the top of their backswing. This maneuver not only cuts down an upper body coil, it further hinders the swing by forcing the club to the outside and up position too abruptly. From this position on the backswing, you can expect the following things: a high weak slice or one of those fat and ugly steep shots.

To cure this problem, let's think of the position of our right arm when we coil to throw a punch with our right hand. Now this has the right arm tighter to the chest when we coil back to make a strike. This move can be incorporated into our golf swing. On the backswing, make sure to close off the right armpit as you start to swing up to about the shoulder height position. Also, close off the left armpit on the way back to the top of the swing. Throughout the swing the key is to make sure that the right armpit settles back down against the right side or closes it off. The left armpit remains closed off, with the arm against the chest as we swing through the ball.

One of the most important keys is to make sure that the left arm does not separate from the chest through impact. By using this method, you will find that you have more upper body coil, an effective weight shift to the right, a shorter and slightly more inside backswing, and consistent repetition of your proper swing plane... more power, more power, more power... and less left to right in your ball flight (for the right handed player). This also makes for a swing that is much easier to repeat, especially on the golf course.

A great drill to get those armpits down through the shot is simply by hitting balls with the golf glove under the arms. I'm not a big fan of the golf glove under the right arm so much, because it will only be under it for a period of time until it gets about shoulder high on the way back, where the glove would fall out. But the key glove would be under the left arm; that glove needs to stay there all the way through the swing, keeping that armpit closed off until the arm separates from the chest at the finish position. That's a big key. If done properly, you will find that the golf glove will be laying on the ground behind your left foot at the finish.

Give it a try, and I guarantee that you're going to hit some better golf shots.




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About Randy Smith

The all time leading PGA of America National Award winner with 18 national awards to his credit. Inducted into the PGA of America's Hall of Fame in the summer of 2005. Randy secured the National Teacher of the Year honor in 2002. In addition to this year’s award, he was the 1996 National PGA Golf Professional of the Year and 16-time winner of the President’s Plaque for individual contributions to The PGA’s National Golf Day. Randy has also collected numerous Section honors including the Golf Professional of the Year (1989), Horton Smith (1984), and Teacher of the Year awards (1995,’97, ’01 and ’02). He also served as the president of the Northern Texas PGA Section in 1988-89 and as PGA District 12 Director from 1991 to 1994.

He has been the personal golf instructor to numerous professionals and amateurs golfers. These include: 1997 British Open Champion Justin Leonard (PGA Tour) Harrison Frazar (PGA Tour) D. A. Weibring (Champions Tour) Jess Daley (Nationwide Tour) Numerous touring professionals on various mini tours. Amateur students who have received 13 NCAA All-American honors. Amateur students who have received a total of 100 college golf scholarships.

A PGA member since 1977, he attended Texas Tech University where he played on the golf team for two seasons. Randy and Paula have two children – Blake and Blair.

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