April 2 2013
D.A. Points has two wins and a runner-up finish in the last three years on TOUR. (Halleran/Getty Images)
By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy
As I sat and watched D.A. Points win The Shell Houston Open on Sunday, I thought to myself, "This guy has some of the best practice swings before each shot."
So many times at the TOUR Academy, we encourage players to take the things they “self-discover” from their practice sessions and transfer these ideas to the golf course. Sometimes, these things can be done in the way of a swing thought, or even an exaggeration of the concepts during practice swings.
Earlier this year, we broke down Tiger’s practice swings and their intent to help him feel a more "left swing" direction. This week, we were treated to two more very creative rehearsals by D.A. Points to help him transfer what he is working on at the practice facility to the golf course.
The first -- and I must say, a new one for me -- was D.A.’s practice putting strokes as if he had the long putter. You may have noticed Points lead hand was positioned around the sternum area with the lead elbow pointing at the target, just as if the end of the long putter was in hand. D.A.’s right hand was actually on the grip as he moved the shoulders back and through a couple times.
I am only guessing but it appears the purpose here was to help D.A. get his shoulders moving during the stroke around a steady head. With the long putter, the shoulders need work in a more “rocking” sensation around a fixed point, promoting less arc and face rotation. With the grip end anchored or “pretend to be anchored," this can help eliminate head movement and get the shoulders working. Generally speaking, the more side-to-side movement with the head, the more the hands will take over, and not the shoulders.
The second noticeable practice swing was that of his full swing. Here, Points took a couple hard practice swings keeping his trail foot down. This lack of movement in the trail foot trains D.A. to stay in his posture because it allows the pelvis to move up and back, rather than towards the golf ball. In addition, this emphasis on the trail foot can help stabilize the torso through impact, allowing the arms and hands to release properly past the chest.
One of the things D.A. guards against is his trail foot coming up to the toe quickly on the downswing. This results in loss of posture and a torso that can get out ahead of the arm swing. As a result, clubface rotation is reduced, resulting in shots missed to the right. With that said, I love the creativity of the practice swings to help maintain his feelings and thoughts even during tournament golf.
Good stuff D.A. Keep them coming!
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.