Billy was having a terrible time today with his ball striking; not that Carl and I were doing much better. On the twelfth tee, Billy asked me to take a look at his swing, and then asked me to show him mine. He asked me what I felt I was doing with my swing, and I told him I was simply pushing the club back with my left hand and pulling it through with the left hand. I was pushing and pulling it.
Billy, who was having difficulty making a good turn with his shoulders, noticed that I was getting a full shoulder turn by pushing the club back with my left hand and arm. Billy was also struggling getting through the ball because his left side wasn't moving out of the way. He noticed that by pulling through with the left hand and arm, the left side moves naturally.
The push and pull idea was not mine. It was taught by Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Moe Norman, Billy Casper... It was the way virtually all the great players played the game. They pushed the club straight back with their left hand and pulled the club through the ball down the target line with the left hand and arm. As Sam Snead said, in a video on my site, the rest of the body just follows along naturally.
Billy tried this for the rest of the round and found his ball striking was much improved. He also decided to incorporate the idea of using a mantra to get his timing and clear his mind of unwanted intrusions during the swing. As he swung the club he said, "push and pull."
If you have toys in the attic--lots of thoughts darting in and out of your head--as you're swinging, try using a mantra. Say to yourself as you're swinging, "Push and pull." Swinging that way virtually eliminates the dreaded over-the-top move. You should hit the ball straighter, because the left hand pulling the club through impact keeps the clubface square longer, and prevents the right hand from taking over and ruining the shot.
There is no cure-all, that will make everything better for everyone. But pushing the club back and pulling it through with the left hand works wonders for some people. It worked for Bobby Jones, Billy Casper, Sam Snead, and Byron Nelson. Oh, and it was the way Moe Norman became the best ball-striker around. I suppose, if you're struggling, it's worth a try.
Billy likes it; and I like it too. Try the mantra as well. If you are repeating the mantra, "push and pull," those nasty little thoughts like "don't hit it left," get blocked out. The mantra can be anything, but for Billy and I, it's definitely "push and pull."