Using your hips and legs when you swing a golf club is a natural movement for most players, one which creates much of the power in your swing. Because of this, little is written about swinging a club without using your lower body. But sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you need to do just that--perhaps on an uneven lie where the ball is below your feet, or when the ground is slippery. We can infer some principles for this tricky situation from standard instruction.
You Lose Distance
“Your lower body serves as the engine of the golf swing …” Teacher Jim Suttie points out that the lower body helps create club speed, and more speed means more distance. When you must play a shot without using your legs normally, you will not hit the ball as far. You will need to take more club than you normally would for the distance you want to hit the ball.
You Gain Accuracy
You also gain accuracy. Less body movement means fewer opportunities for your body to alter the club’s swing path, increasing the chances that you will hit the ball solidly. This allows you to concentrate more on your target, improving your chances of pulling off a successful shot.
Widen Your Stance
Since you are not using your lower body, stability becomes an even more important aspect of your swing. By widening your stance, you minimize the tendency to lose your balance during the swing. You will also want to flex your knees a bit more than usual in order to reduce the stress on your lower back.
Reduce Your Turn
Because you cannot allow your lower body to turn, you are forced to reduce your shoulder turn. This is especially true if the ball is below your feet and you are bent over. You do not want to hurt your back, so limit your shoulder turn to whatever feels comfortable to you. This is not a power shot, so do not strain trying to make it so.
Maintain Your Spine Angle
Teacher Travis Fulton notes that “One of the most common errors in the golf swing is for a player to lose their spine angle in one direction or the other.” It is even more important to avoid this error when you cannot use your lower body. Because you are creating less power, it should be easier for you to retain your spine angle throughout the swing. It will improve your ability to contact the ball solidly and get the most out of your shot.
Open Your Stance
Teacher Jim Moffitt writes, “For shorter shots, such as pitches and chips, ideal alignment means having an open stance at address.” Everything you have done so far results in a much shorter shot than normal. Although it is certainly not necessary (many golfers play their short game shots from a square stance), you may find it easier to open your stance as you would for a short-game shot. This allows you to swing more freely, and may make it a bit easier to see the line of your shot as well.