BASIC CROSS-FOOTED DRILL
While most instructors teach their pupils to swing from a conventional stance with their feet spread apart, Lee starts both beginners and advanced players with a basic cross-footed drill. "When you go cross footed, you have an initial feeling of instability," he says. "To protect you from falling, your brain will force you to use the counterfall and mass rotation to deliver the club to the ball instead of chopping down with muscle."
Start by crossing your right foot in front of your left foot, then place your club behind the ball. You'll get best results by positioning the ball slightly more forward than normal. Be sure to keep your left knee flexed so that it does not stiffen or lock up during your take-away. Now "heave" your arms and club back with the core muscles of your torso and shoulders. At the completion of your backswing, gravity will start you into the counterfall. All you have to do at this point is drop your arms and rotate your torso to the left. As you do, let your left foot come out from behind your right foot to catch you before you stumble.
With a little practice, you should be able to hit cross-footed shots about 90 percent as far as shots from a spread-footed stance, drawing or fading the ball as you desire. If you keep falling backward, topping the ball or hitting behind the ball, you're probably introducing upper-body muscle tension during the transition, the downswing or both.
ONE-HANDED CROSS-FOOTED DRILL
Once you've started to master the two-handed version, try the same drill one-handed to further hone your timing and eliminate any residual arm tension.
Take a cross-footed stance and hold the club with the shaft perpendicular to the ground, with the butt end in front of your sternum. Now raise the club straight up so that the butt end is in front of the middle of your forehead and use your core muscles to twist your torso to the right. That will set off the gravity-driven sequence leading you into the counterfall. Try this drill right-handed first. Then switch hands. Be forewarned that one-handed shots made with your left hand will carry only about 80 percent as far as right-handers because of the swing's relatively smaller arc.
DAVID LEE, Gravity Golf Schools
Hot Springs, AK; Brooksville, FL; 800-444-2992; gravitygolf.com
Three-day group lesson: $1,975; Individual lesson: $150 per hour