Jack Nicklaus Golf Tip: Wedge a Ball to Coil Your Spring Tighter

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Illustration by Jim McQueen

It’s hard to play well if your right knee — left for southpaws — straightens, buckles, or becomes otherwise unstable during the backswing. Such movement changes the arc or plane of the swing, making it difficult to accurately deliver the clubhead to the ball. Even worse, an unstable right knee greatly diminishes the amount of power-producing torque you can achieve between the upper body and lower body.

One quick fix for this problem is simply to set the majority of your weight on the inside of your right foot at address, and keep it there throughout the backswing. During my early days, my teacher, Jack Grout, took that idea a step further and had me wedge a golf ball under the outside part of my right foot, canting the foot and knee inward and virtually “locking” them there for the backswing.

Using this drill, it took me only a short time to sense the feeling of truly “coiling the spring” while going back, as well as maintaining the correct arc and plane. Much of this was due to a flexed, stable right knee. Give Jack’s drill a try if you suspect your knee action is costing you distance or consistency.

Next week’s topic: Anchor Yourself.

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