Tina Tombs, a GOLF Top 100 Teacher at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, was explaining the best way to maximize a quick warmup when she mentioned the way in which she’d finish it: by hitting shots with her feet together.
I’d heard of this drill before but never actually knew how it helped (the point of this article). So I asked. But first, let’s backtrack. Here’s how Tombs, a former LPGA winner, said she’d make the most out of a 15-minute range session.
“I think a great warmup is hitting 15 footers to the edge of the green. Then if you can hit a few chips, you hit a few chips, and then you can put a towel on the end of a club, flip your club over and stretch,” she said. “A lot of people spend a lot of time hitting balls and then they don’t have feel for the greens or feel for their chipping, so I think it is important to warm up for feel first to get your mind and your body ready to play. You can hit 20 balls with your feet together, whatever you need. But it’s really important to putt and chip first. … If I have that feel of the greens and know I can get it up and down, I know I can do a lot of things. But if you don’t have feel of the greens I don’t think you can score.”
OK, that seems logical enough. Now, here’s why hitting shots with your feet together is a smart warmup.
“The benefits of hitting balls with feet together is the in sync-ness of syncing up the arms, the club and the body,” Tombs said. “It slows things down and it trains the arms and the club to work together to sync things up timing-wise. You can’t take really big swings. You don’t want to hit it really far and swing 100 percent, so you start off small and just work it up and separate your feet.”
This aligns with what renowned golf coach Pete Cowen has said. In an old Today’s Golfer interview, he said 90 percent of players should swing with their feet together. But even if you don’t want to take that big of a step on the course, you can still practice that way.
“The key is to focus on these balance points and keep them all working together for the good of the swing,” Cowen said in a 2010 edition of Golf International Magazine. “Another benefit of this drill is that it encourages you to keep your knee and chin levels constant throughout, which is important.”
In the article, Cowen suggests hitting a few sets of 10 balls with a 7-iron (and using a tee at first to get started). Then, move back to your normal stance and you can see the difference.
“Try and maintain this balanced feel in your full swing to build consistency and control,” he said.