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IT’S ALL IN THE RELEASE If your driving suffers from a weak fading ball flight, here are some drills to help. WORDS BY PETER MASTERS PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOWARD BOYLAN

If I have a bad shot with the driver, it’s usually connected to a problem with the release. I’ll get ahead of the shot and then won’t be in the right position to square the clubface: the result is a weak shot to the right. Let me show you what I’ve worked on to cure that fault, and what you can do to combat a weak fade.

Stay behind a good release comes from staying just behind the ball at impact and working the left shoulder up, rather than inside and away from the ball -to-target line.

The fault I’ve always had a tendency to hold the clubhead off through impact, which means preventing the toe from overtaking the heel and creating a powerful draw. My left shoulder gets too active at the start of the downswing and moves behind me, dragging my arms and hands across my body. This means the clubhead can’t catch up and I’m left with the face staying open at impact; a common problem for lots of amateurs, too.

The cure To beat this, I think about holding my left shoulder in its rotated, topof-the-backswing position as the downswing starts to uncoil. This lets me work everything in sequence. In short I stay behind the ball for a little longer enabling my turn through the ball to coincide with the delivery of the arms and club. See here how I’m trying to keep the shoulders squarer at impact. In reality the left moves out of the way, but it needs to go up and round, not down and back.

STAY CENTRED OVER THE BALL On the subject of bad habits, I’m always looking to stay more centred over the ball in the takeaway. I’ve always had a slight move of the head and body to the right in the takeaway. It was a trigger movement to get the swing started, but too much weight shift like that can sometimes cause timing issues as you try and get back to the ball. The weight transfer should be from the turn and coil, rather than shifting sideways.

Try the separate hands drill //DECEMBER 2010




IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DELIVERY It’s important that you get yourself into a good position at delivery. Get ahead of it and it’s not so much a question of not releasing, as not being able to. You then have to whip the club through to make it catch up and you’re in danger of smothering the shot and pulling it to the left.

This is a drill that trains you to get into the perfect impact position.

Find the slot You should then drop the club back into the perfect delivery position, by dropping it into the starting position as you execute the downswing.

Separate the hands on the club like this and start in the position I’m showing you here.

Try working the club back, the split-hand grip helping your right elbow fold into the body.

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At impact, my left shoulder is encouraged to move up and left, rather than down and behind as I come into the ball.

If you look now, you can see how my shoulders have remained more square as I get ready to deliver the club.

MY DRIVER TaylorMade’s R9 Supertri driver, with its deeper clubface and deeper centre of gravity, promotes a higher launch and higher spin rate. It’s the first driver to combine TaylorMade’s two leading technologies, that of movable weights and flight control, with the adjustable hosel.

WHY I USE A 3-WOOD My confidence has been low with the driver because of these issues that I’ve been working on in my swing. With a 7-iron you can get away with it, but a driver requires you to swing it well. I take 3-wood a lot because I’m long with that club and the extra loft makes a big difference. My 3-wood only has 13° which is very strong, but it’s five more than my driver. Certain courses suit the 3-wood. At the Players for instance, a lot of the guys run out of space with driver, but are too short with the 3-wood. I can hit 3-wood almost as far as most hit their driver, so it sets up well for me there.

FACT FILE Henrik Stenson Born: April 5, 1976, Gothenburg Height/Weight: 6ft 1in/14st 2lb Residence: Dubai Victories: Seven Turned pro: 1998 Best 2010 result: Open Championship 3rd World ranking: 45th Ryder Cups: 2006 and 2008 Web: // DECEMBER 2010


TIPS SPECIAL: It's all in the release with Henrik Stenson