How to Stop Flipping – Bucket Drill

August 30th, 2010 by John Graham Leave a reply »

My latest blog post titled “A Leap from the Lion’s Head” generated a few requests on a drill that was mentioned in the post.  The drill that I talked about is called the Bucket Drill and is used to help a golfer stop flipping.  As I mentioned in the previous post, it is a drill I first saw used by Martin Hall and then by Brian Manzella.

Here’s a video of me doing the drill:

Here’s how to set up the drill.  The bucket needs to be placed directly in line of the downswing plane and behind the ball about a foot and a half.  The distance really depends on the height of the bucket and the club being used.  It needs to be far enough way so the drill is doable but not so far away that it is possible to hit the shot fat while performing an orthodox pivot and weight shift with a standard ball position.

Typically, the bucket should be tall enough that the player can’t take a backswing because the bucket will be in the way.  That is why you see me start the drill with the club head on the bucket.

Some things you’ll need to perform the drill correctly.  When you place the club head on the bucket, be sure that the club face is square to the plane at that point.  If done correctly, the club face will still be almost pointing directly at the ball just like it would be at address.  The goal of the drill is to hit the ball without hitting the bucket with a flat left wrist and keeping the club head below the grip in the follow through.  Check your follow through to see if it looks just like the above. If you allow the club head to come out too early, it will hit the bucket.  If you flip it, you may hit the bucket or you won’t be able to keep the head below the grip.  This drill will also exaggerate a steeper angle of attack into the ball and a divot after the ball.

Sometimes when players are doing this drill and learning how not to flip, they will hit shanks and shots way to the right.  The reason for this is because some player’s are using the flip the close the face and this drill takes the flip out which takes away the closing face.  The player will need to learn how to square the face another way.  One of the ways to teach them how to square the face a new way is too rotate the shaft to the left (closing) during the downswing.  Rotating the shaft does not require a straightening of the shaft and the left arm angle.  It is a strange sensation if you’ve never done it before but one I would highly recommend you learn.  Try practicing creating a 90 degree angle between your left arm and the shaft right in front of you.  Now, keeping your wrists in the shape they are in, twist the shaft about it self to the left.  You will notice that the face closes and your left wrist will go to flat and possibly beyond to bowed.  This is the move you need to make to close the face if you are having a hard time with shanks and shots that start way to the right with this drill.

Keep the comments and questions coming.  The great thing about this drill is if you can do it, you are doing many things correctly.  Keep practicing.

John Graham

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21 comments

  1. Jeffery Passage says:

    Yes, exactly what I needed to see, John. Brilliant!

  2. John Graham says:

    Jeff,

    Good luck with the drill. Keep me posted.

    John

  3. Justin says:

    Excellent drill. I’ve seen Brian’s variation in COFF, but I like your additions re how to avoid the shanks and how to work the shaft left with the pivot to square the face. Should the feeling be that the pivot does all the work? I assume yes … ah, so hard not to move the hands with the hands. FYI, great blog–you communicate very clearly. For example, I’ve never seen bounce explained so well.

  4. John Graham says:

    Excellent drill. I’ve seen Brian’s variation in COFF, but I like your additions re how to avoid the shanks and how to work the shaft left with the pivot to square the face. Should the feeling be that the pivot does all the work? I assume yes … ah, so hard not to move the hands with the hands. FYI, great blog–you communicate very clearly. For example, I’ve never seen bounce explained so well.

    Justin,

    The pivot won’t do “all” the work but it will feel like it. Let me know if you have any requests for future blog posts.

    JG

  5. Justin says:

    Thanks John. I did this drill for about an hour yesterday and surprised myself (I’m about a 16 hdcp) because after a few swings I did the drill successfully. I think? Should the ball fly almost like a knockdown shot? At any rate, I felt much better compression and even though the shots were low the trajectory was more boring than my usual high ball flight that gets high really fast. But an interesting blog post might be how to translate this drill and others to the full swing. I can chip, pitch, and punch, but when it comes time for the full swing the leakage always seems to return OR the lag feels like it’s there but doesn’t get released and it’s wipe city.

  6. John Graham says:

    Thanks John. I did this drill for about an hour yesterday and surprised myself (I’m about a 16 hdcp) because after a few swings I did the drill successfully. I think? Should the ball fly almost like a knockdown shot? At any rate, I felt much better compression and even though the shots were low the trajectory was more boring than my usual high ball flight that gets high really fast. But an interesting blog post might be how to translate this drill and others to the full swing. I can chip, pitch, and punch, but when it comes time for the full swing the leakage always seems to return OR the lag feels like it’s there but doesn’t get released and it’s wipe city.

    Yes, it will look and fly like a knock down shot if you did it like in my video. You can do the exact same drill with a fullswing. Start on the bucket and take a regular back swing from that position. The bucket will be farther away for a full swing vs. the drill as I showed it but it works just the same. Check out my Facebook Fan page. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Webster-NY/John-Graham-Golf-School/101541171754 You’ll see one of my juniors working on the drill. In that video, I just use a piece a particle board. Same idea though.

    JG

  7. Martin Chuck says:

    John, you do a great job!

  8. John Graham says:

    Martin,

    Thanks a bunch.

    That means so much coming from you.

    JG

  9. Yancy says:

    This is my favourite drill, unfortunately the baskets don’t care for it very much!

  10. John Graham says:

    This is my favourite drill, unfortunately the baskets don’t care for it very much!

    Yancy,

    I know what you mean.

    Has it been helpful?

    JG

  11. Yancy says:

    I built a perfect sized box out of a left over amazon box. Makes a bit of a racket when you hit it on the driving range, but it’s good to add that bit of nervous pressure to make real. 20 shots on my 5 iron and I can now hit a 5 iron again. I even went as far as using it with my 3 wood and it just makes all the difference when you aren’t flippin. I don’t have muscle it for distance. I can relax and do a nice Ernie or Annika type rhythm swing and just let the club do the work for consistent distances. This is now going to be part of weekly practice as it truely keeps you honest!! Thanks again John!!

  12. John Graham says:

    Yancy,

    I go back to myself any time I feel it necessary and it brings back the feeling I’m looking for right away.

    Glad to hear it.

    JG

  13. Mark says:

    John, I have a question about “twisting the shaft about itself to the left.” just to make sure I am getting this correct. First, it seems like I am rotating the shaft clockwise. If I am correct, is this move in lieu of forearm rotation? I am using a TGM hitting procedure and have a tendency to mess up the hinge action by using vertical hinging rather than angled hinging so your suggestion may provide me another avenue to square up the clubface and also get me out of the flipping. I look forward to your comments.

  14. John Graham says:

    Mark,

    Great question. Yes, rotating the shaft to the left (counter clockwise) would be in lieu of forearm rotation and would be closer to horizontal hinging than angled hinging. When doing the drill, it is really important to feel like you don’t rotate the shaft clockwise. This could lead to shanks and other open face issues as you are learning to stop flipping.

    Let me know if you have any questions and keep me posted with your progress. Please feel free to ask me questions at an time.

    JG

  15. Dennis says:

    Ted Sheftic (golf mag top 100 teacher) has a training aid for this. Inclined plexi body and adjustable base allows normal bswing. He teaches a re-centering move and shows me a lot of Mac O’ swings to illustrate.

  16. Tim Liddy says:

    John,

    How about putting a dowel stick about 1′ long stuck into the top of the grip and then not letting the stick hit your hip through the shot.

    Does this do a similar function?

    The more I play golf, the more I realize it is all about the D plane!

    Thanks and great web site.

    Tim

  17. John Graham says:

    Tim,

    I would say that would provide a similar function. Maybe a little less safe but it certainly will help with the same problem.

    Thanks for the kind words. Glad to hear the site is helpful.

    JG

  18. I worked on this drill today at the range and I’m capable of missing the bucket, but not capable of hitting the ball straight or with a draw. Everything I hit was a straight-cut or just a weak shot out to the right. It’s going to take some time to get this right; at this point it’s just difficult to get the right feeling so that I know what to repeat.

  19. John Graham says:

    Deron,

    That’s a great first step.

    Next it’s learning how to square the face without throwing the club. Will probably involve some twisting of the shaft while your wrists are still hinged.

    Keep me posted.

    JG

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