4. Drills to Achieve Shaft Lean

June 12, 202414 min read

Master Your Shaft Lean with These Effective Drills | Elevate Your Golf Game

Part 4 Shaft Lean

Hi Friends and golfers! Coach Erik Schjolberg here with EJS Golf coming to you from Scottsdale, AZ and McCormick Ranch G. C. It is a pleasure to start this series off on Shaft Lean. I am excited about what this can do for the general public. That includes those trying to get better at golf as well as those that are trying to understand this beautiful sport. Either way, this series is going to be loaded with facts, drills, myth busters, personal stories and those of my students. Shaft lean is something many of my online golf students are looking to attain.

Are you struggling to achieve consistent ball striking in your golf game? One critical aspect that many golfers overlook is shaft lean. Understanding and mastering shaft lean can significantly improve your ball striking and overall performance on the course. In this blog post, we will delve into what shaft lean is, why it’s essential, and how you can achieve it in your golf swing.

At any point for further clarification or research, don't hesitate to check out my other blogs or go to my YouTube Channel. I even have video shorts that can be found on the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. All of these are sources to be used to further understand the subject in front of you.

Achieving and maintaining proper shaft lean is crucial for consistent ball striking and overall golf performance. Practicing specific drills can help you develop the muscle memory and technique needed for proper shaft lean. In this blog post, we'll explore several effective drills designed to improve your shaft lean and enhance your golf game.

Impact Bag Drill:

The impact bag drill is a simple yet powerful exercise to help you feel and maintain proper shaft lean. Place an impact bag or a similar object where the ball would be. Practice hitting the bag with your hands leading the clubhead at impact. This drill reinforces the correct impact position and helps you develop the muscle memory needed for proper shaft lean.

The Impact Bag Drill – A Key to Improved Golf Swings:

If you're eager to refine your golfing prowess, especially when it comes to achieving that professional shaft lean, the impact bag drill is an exercise that's as straightforward as it is effective. This drill is designed to instill the feeling of the right positioning and maintaining the optimal angle at impact.

To get started with this training technique, you need an impact bag, or any suitable substitute, positioned precisely where the golf ball usually sits. By clicking on Gear, you will go directly to my page where you can find most of the different training aids that I use when coaching.

The goal for this drill is to consistently practice striking the bag in such a manner that your hands naturally lead the way, ahead of the club head, at the moment of impact. It's not just about making contact with the bag; it's about replicating the exact sensation and mechanical alignment that you would have if you were striking a real ball on the course. Try doing this with your eyes closed to really grab the feels you need! Also. feel like you are striking the bag as if you wanted it to fly really low. We don't want a "up" feeling.

Enhancing your golfing technique with the mesmerizing repetition of the impact bag drill is akin to sculpting your body's instinctual responses. As you engage persistently in this drill, it functions to embed the quintessential dynamics of the impact position into the depths of your muscle memory. With each repetition, you coax your body closer towards perfecting the optimal shaft lean that becomes nearly automatic, demanding less of your conscious thought during play. Mastering the nuances of this critical phase in your swing is crucial, and employing the impact bag drill stands out as an exceptionally proficient method to secure this skill.

By weaving the impact bag drill into the fabric of your routine practice sessions, you're committing to a strategy that has been time-tested and endorsed for its efficacy in cultivating the muscle memory integral for the ideal shaft lean. Dedicate yourself to this practice, and be patient. Follow the 15 Minute Plan Scottsdale's No 1 golf coach recommends. Read more about this and more at EJS Golf Academy. The fruits of your labor will, with time, manifest in markedly enhanced shot consistency and the elevated caliber of your play. Such improvement does not go unnoticed on the golf course; it could very well be the catalyst that propels your golfing prowess, allowing you to soar to unforeseen heights in your game.

Forward Press Drill:

The forward press drill is a cornerstone technique for honing the perfect initiation of your swing. By introducing a slight forward press of the hands at the onset, you can effectively lay the groundwork for achieving consistent shaft lean at impact. As you stand at address, take a moment to engage in a discreet yet distinct forward nudge of your hands towards the intended target. This action should feel organic, integrating smoothly into your takeaway without eliciting any sense of discomfort or unnatural strain.

Ingrain this forward press drill into your pre-shot ritual to consistently champion proper shaft lean thoughts and feelings right from the beginning of your swing. This small movement can make a remarkable impact on the fluidity of your swing. Once you're comfortable with this subtle press, take it a step further. Deliberately accentuate the press significantly, allowing this exaggerated movement to serve as a springboard for your backswing.

As you incorporate this technique, pay intimate attention to the fine movements occurring at the wrist. Sensitivity to what transpires at this pivot point of your swing is critical. Monitor the sensations, the positioning, and the level of tension in your wrists. It is essential to remember that within this intricate dance of your golf swing, the extension of your trail wrist plays a pivotal role. Embrace it as your ally on the course. Remember, a skilled golfer is one who respects the subtleties of their technique: and in this case, trail wrist extension is indeed your trusted companion!

Improving Wrist Hinge for Shaft Lean:

Mastering the wrist hinge is crucial for generating optimal shaft lean and enhancing the quality of your golf shots. A beneficial routine to refine your wrist hinge is to concentrate diligently on the movement during your backswing. An excellent way to engrain the correct technique is to perform a specific drill: grip the golf club with only your trail hand and focus on executing a precise wrist hinge. Keep a diligent watch on the shaft-to-forearm angle to ensure it remains constant. Engaging in this particular exercise will assist in engraining the sensation of the correct wrist hinge and will contribute to sustaining it through the moment of impact, which is pivotal for achieving the desired shaft lean. A great check is for you to feel like a waiter at the top of your golf swing. When you get to impact, cover the golf ball with your hand.

Maximizing Your Golf Swing with the Shaft Lean Mirror Exercise:

Delving into the realm of mirror exercises can significantly enhance your golfing technique by affording real-time visual cues that are invaluable for mastering the perfect shaft lean. To embark on this enriching practice, select a wide and clear mirror that offers an unobstructed view for this purpose. Ensure you have enough room to perform a full swing without impediment. Position yourself thoughtfully in front of the mirror, just as you would on the course, and prepare to address an imaginary golf ball. Stand in your usual golfing posture, remaining mindful of your body alignment and grip.

As you make your initial swing movements, pay close attention to your reflection. Keep a particularly sharp eye on how your hands are positioned in relation to the club head as you simulate the motion of striking the ball. It's of utmost importance to watch this interplay between your hands and the club head carefully to uncover any deviations from the ideal shaft lean. By harnessing the power of visual feedback, you're equipped to spot discrepancies immediately as they occur.

Nick Faldo, the renowned golfer with an illustrious career defined by six major championship victories, has been vocal about his views on the game and the techniques that underpin success. In reflecting on his illustrious time on the green, Faldo has pointed out one particular aspect of his training regimen that he believes was insufficient. His major regret, as he has shared, was not dedicating enough time to practicing with a mirror.

Mirror work, in the context of golf, involves using a mirror to analyze and refine one’s own stance, swing, and overall technique. Faldo sees this method as an invaluable form of feedback for any golfer—amateur or professional. The mirror acts as a silent coach, allowing the player to visually confirm the alignment of their body, the set of their feet, and the arc of their swing. This kind of immediate visual feedback is pivotal in making incremental improvements that can lead to a more consistent and effective golf game.

The wisdom of a six-time major champion like Nick Faldo holds immense value for anyone looking to improve their game. He emphasizes that the use of a mirror during practice sessions can help identify and correct mistakes that might not be obvious from feel alone. It's a tool that provides an unflinching truth, an exact reflection of what the player is doing right or wrong. If he could turn back the hands of time, it seems Faldo would have spent countless more hours in front of a mirror, dissecting every element of his swing to perfect his craft even further. Considering his remarkable career achievements, it's sobering to imagine how much more he could have accomplished with this simple, yet effective, addition to his training routine.

Through meticulous observation, you'll be able to pinpoint areas that necessitate subtle changes. These adjustments are crucial as they assist you in perfecting the desired shaft lean angle. By repeatedly performing this exercise and making fine corrections, you're not only reinforcing the correct movement pattern but adding it to your library in your brain. As you continue to practice with the aid of the mirror, you will progressively etch the quintessential shaft lean into your repertoire, thus solidifying the foundation for an impeccable golf swing, with a powerful strike!


By incorporating these drills into your practice routine, you can develop the technique and muscle memory needed to achieve and maintain proper shaft lean. Regular practice and attention to detail are key to mastering this aspect of your golf swing. If you need further assistance, reach out to me and I will personalize this for you ever more. I work online and in person. Find out what works best for you and reach out to me via the links below.

Erik Schjolberg

EJS Golf Academy

Scottsdale Golf Lessons

Online Golf Lessons

How the Impact Bag Drill and Mirror Work Transformed Jerry’s Golf Swing: A Success Story from EJS Golf Academy

At EJS Golf Academy in Scottsdale, AZ, I’ve had the privilege of working with countless golfers of varying skill levels, all united by their desire to improve their game. One such success story is that of Jerry, a dedicated golfer from Texas. Known for its gusty winds, Texas presents unique challenges for golfers, particularly in controlling ball flight. Jerry, who used to struggle with consistency and control, underwent a remarkable transformation through the Impact Bag Drill and Mirror work. This is the story of how Jerry became a mid-70s shooter from an 80s shooter in just four months.

Understanding Jerry’s Struggles

When Jerry first came to me, he was an enthusiastic golfer but often found himself frustrated with his inability to control his shots, especially in windy conditions. His scores hovered in the 80s, and he was determined to break through to the next level. During our initial assessment, it became clear that his main issues were inconsistent ball striking and a lack of control over his ball flight.

Introducing the Impact Bag Drill

The Impact Bag Drill is a powerful training tool that helps golfers develop a solid impact position. By practicing with an impact bag, golfers can feel and understand the correct hand and club positions at impact. For Jerry, this drill was a game-changer.

Step-by-Step Breakdown of the Impact Bag Drill:

  1. Setup: I instructed Jerry to set up with the impact bag positioned just inside his left foot (for a right-handed golfer).

  2. Positioning: The goal was to strike the bag with a forward shaft lean, emphasizing the importance of hands leading the clubhead through impact.

  3. Repetition: Jerry practiced this drill repeatedly, focusing on achieving the correct impact position every time.

Mirror Work: Visualizing Perfection

Mirror work complements the Impact Bag Drill by providing visual feedback. By practicing in front of a mirror, golfers can see and correct their positions in real-time. For Jerry, this was crucial in developing muscle memory and ensuring that his practice translated into actual improvements on the course.

How Jerry Used Mirror Work:

  1. Alignment and Setup: Jerry would start by checking his alignment and setup in the mirror. This helped him ensure that his stance, grip, and posture were consistent.

  2. Swing Path: He would then perform slow-motion swings, focusing on his swing path and positions at various stages.

  3. Impact Position: Finally, Jerry would hold his impact position in front of the mirror, comparing it to the ideal position he visualized during our lessons.

The Role of Shaft Lean at Impact

One of the critical factors in Jerry’s transformation was mastering shaft lean at impact. Shaft lean refers to the forward angle of the shaft at the moment of impact, which helps compress the ball and control ball flight. In windy conditions, this becomes even more important, as it allows the golfer to keep the ball flight low and controlled.

Benefits of Shaft Lean:

  • Increased Distance: Proper shaft lean results in better ball compression, leading to increased distance.

  • Better Control: It helps in controlling the trajectory and spin, which is crucial for accuracy.

  • Consistent Strikes: With a forward shaft lean, golfers are more likely to make solid contact, leading to more consistent shots.

Jerry’s Transformation: From the 80s to Mid-70s

Over the course of four months, Jerry’s dedication to the Impact Bag Drill and mirror work paid off. His scores began to drop steadily, and he gained confidence in his ability to control his ball flight, even in the challenging windy conditions of Texas.

Key Milestones in Jerry’s Journey:

  1. Month 1: Jerry focused intensely on the Impact Bag Drill, practicing daily. He saw immediate improvements in his ball striking.

  2. Month 2: Incorporating mirror work, Jerry refined his positions and developed a consistent swing path.

  3. Month 3: Jerry’s scores began to drop into the high 70s as his control and consistency improved.

  4. Month 4: Jerry broke through the 80s barrier, regularly shooting in the mid-70s.

Testimonials and Observations

Jerry’s journey is a testament to the effectiveness of targeted practice and the right drills. Here’s what Jerry had to say about his experience:

“Working with Coach Erik at EJS Golf Academy was a turning point in my golfing journey. The Impact Bag Drill and mirror work were simple yet incredibly effective tools that transformed my swing. The windy Texas conditions no longer intimidate me, and I’ve gained control over my ball flight like never before. Shooting in the mid-70s felt like a distant dream, but now it’s my new reality.”


Jerry’s success story is just one example of how the right approach and dedication can lead to significant improvements in golf performance. The Impact Bag Drill and mirror work are powerful tools that can help any golfer achieve a better impact position, control their ball flight, and ultimately lower their scores.

At EJS Golf Academy, I am committed to helping every golfer become the best striker of the golf ball they can be. Whether you’re facing the windy conditions of Texas or any other golfing challenge, the key lies in targeted practice and a commitment to improvement. Join us at EJS Golf Academy, and let’s transform your game together.

For more success stories and tips, visit my blog at EJS Golf. #EJSGolf #ScottsdaleGolfLessons #GolfLessonsOnline #BestGolfInstructorAZ #ImpactBagDrill #GolfSwingTransformation #ShaftLean #GolfImprovement #GolfTips #GolfCoaching #TexasGolf #WindyConditionsGolf #BallFlightControl #LowerYourScores #GolfTraining #ConsistencyInGolf

Are you lost at times on the golf course or the driving range and just don’t know how to correct your slice, hitting it fat, topping the ball, etc.?  What if you had a plan, maybe even on a notecard in your golf bag as many of my student do, that is your simple blueprint towards your desired shot?  This isn’t a pie in the sky dream.  These are the tools I want to give you so that your athletic ability, mobility, strength, etc. are working as one for you!  
I will liberate you from those thoughts of where your body parts should be during the golf swing.  In turn, you will give yourself the chance to self organize and focus on either some external cue I will develop with you or just being in the flow state. In my system you will no longer be subject to golf myths, swing tips of the day, guessing, etc.  ​

Coach Erik Schjolberrg

Are you lost at times on the golf course or the driving range and just don’t know how to correct your slice, hitting it fat, topping the ball, etc.? What if you had a plan, maybe even on a notecard in your golf bag as many of my student do, that is your simple blueprint towards your desired shot? This isn’t a pie in the sky dream. These are the tools I want to give you so that your athletic ability, mobility, strength, etc. are working as one for you! I will liberate you from those thoughts of where your body parts should be during the golf swing. In turn, you will give yourself the chance to self organize and focus on either some external cue I will develop with you or just being in the flow state. In my system you will no longer be subject to golf myths, swing tips of the day, guessing, etc. ​

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