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Squat, Spring and Swing: A new breed of power

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDeQNBN_oiw

In the video above you will notice that Rory McIlroy, the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer, does three things: he squats, he springs and he swings.

These three moves, as I have analyzed in the video, are imperative to create power and distance in your golf swing, as the world’s new breed of golfers have figured out.

The video above shows Chris Como, Tiger’s new instructor, trying to swing a golf club while free-falling, thus not having a ground surface to leverage. The result of his experiment? It’s nearly impossible.

If any of us were asked to jump, the very first thing we’d do is squat. Using the legs and the gluteal muscles to create power, we would squat and then push off the ground to create as much force as possible. We, as instructors, have come to see the value of Ground Reaction Force (GRF) as one of the main power sources in the golf swing. It is what long hitters use to create the speed they do, and it’s what many club golfers lack because they simply do not utilize the ground properly. The ground is the base of the kinetic chain and starts in motion the power that eventually reaches the arms and club. Without it, we’d hit it nowhere, and Como’s video is evidence of that.

Watch Rory as he uses his 5-foot 9-inch, 165-pound frame to create 125 mph of club head speed. If you still think the ground isn’t important in creating power, consider this: most of the long drive champions have a 30-inch or more vertical leap, which is amazing considering how big some of them are.

If you look closely at the video of Rory, you will notice something quite interesting — in the downswing, his hands reach their low point before impact and begin coming UP as the club reaches the ball. After the hands reach their lowest point in their arc, they begin pulling UP, which in turn snaps the head of the club DOWN! The low point is the “squat,” and the “spring” is the hand line coming UP.

For many years we were taught that in order to keep the force on the club, the hands drove DOWN as the shaft leaned forward, creating a position where the hands and club reached their low point together. But if you watch the best players recently, divots have gotten more shallow (I had the good fortune to play with Tiger once circa 2006, and I couldn’t help notice how shallow his attack angle was). The “barely bruising the turf” movement is the result of a whole new generation of players learning a new pattern of swinging the club IN and UP — forcing the club head out and down — as they spring up and turn through the ball into impact.

If you’re digging a lot of turf and looking for more distance, try the “squat, spring and swing” for yourself. At 66 years young, I’m one-club longer since learning to work within this pattern. Yes, you must be on plane and in good posture to do it, but if you are you’ll be amazed at how you will scrape the ball off the turf.

If you’d like me to analyze your swing, go to my Facebook page and send me a message, or contact me (dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com) about my online swing analysis program.

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Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors. Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He now directs his own school, The Dennis Clark Golf Academy at the JW Marriott Marco Island in Naples, Fla.. He can be reached at dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com

107 Comments

107 Comments

  1. TB

    Aug 13, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I also think that this is a key move to be able to sustain your posture as you move through the shot. Try to rotate your hips in front of your upper body without some sort of sit down move and you’ll build a pretty nice early extension, sit down and weight shift keeps that spine in the right spot and the bum backing away from the ball. It definitely adds for power but I think that it allows the golfers to maintain spine angle, which makes for a nice consistent strike on the face. Maintaining posture is a key fault for a majority of golfers, myself included. As you get more flexibility/torque between your upper and lower body, you’ll need this move. But this article is not really telling you how to do it b/c the author makes a living from golf instruction and therefore he should not give you a step by step plan for “trying” this out. Reading something and executing something are two totally different things. So, stop trying to get freebies or criticizing his advice, the point of writing the article is awareness to a brand or a name, not to fix your golf swing for free.

  2. Matty D

    May 29, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    I “think” Butch and Tiger said it best.

    “when I really want to step on one” as in driving (aggressively stepping on) ur left foot into the ground, straightening ur left leg, causing ur hips to rotate over quickly.
    Creating lots of POWER 🙂

  3. Antoine

    May 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Forget to mention I feel less tired and less of back pain after a 18-hole round.

  4. Antoine

    May 7, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I have learned and praticed this GRF move for two years now. It is not an easy move in the beginning but it pays off (in distance and direction consistency) when you have it. It is all about finding the exact moment to start the little squat (down) and when to start/finish the little jump in the downswing. I found out that for my senior swing speed this move has to been done when my hands start to drop at the end of the backswing. Thanks.

  5. Josh

    Dec 21, 2014 at 6:18 pm

  6. zoots

    Dec 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I wouldnt teach my kids this. Looks like a good way to blow out your lead knee…ala Mr. Woods

  7. tim

    Dec 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Fascinating read! I vividly remember seeing Tiger do this and always being fascinated. I am surprised about the comments that this is not an athletic swing. Does anyone think that Tiger and Rory do not look athletic. Probably some of the most violent swings in the history of the game. I have started to play with this swing. What I have noticed, is a real increase in consistency, especially with the irons. However, I have lost significant distance with the driver. Anyone had similar findings with trying to move to this type of swing?

  8. Chris C

    Dec 9, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    Fascinating discussion and impressive video. I have essentially attempted to maintain the same swing for the 55 years I have been golfing. Since I have lost at least 25 yards per club in length over the past several years, I figured why not? The good news is that I did not not require hospitalization following my attempt to incorporate squating and springing into my swing. The bad news is that I may need to refurbish my driver. My first two attempts at driving resulted in my bottoming out my driver a good six inches behind the ball. I concluded that I lacked sufficient spring and endeavored to channel Michael Jordan.Lo and behold! My next two drives resulted in dimples on the bottom of my driver. When the snow forces me into our local dome, I will venture forth with tin cup stuberness to see if I can master the right combination of squatting and springing prior to shattering either my club or my body. I suspect that I will eventually return to my efforts to emulate the beautifully simple swing of Steve Stricker.

  9. gvogel

    Dec 9, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I am calling bogus on this move.

    Sam Snead had a “silent” head – that is, it moved almost nothing at all – and he was as long as anyone in his generation. Sam could flat out kill the ball.

    Let’s say you are standing on a frozen pond. If you have flat leather shoes, you can’t generate any power. If you have spikes that you can dig into the ice, you can generate plenty of power. It isn’t because you can squat and spring, it is because you can pivot/torque off the inside of your right (trail) foot.

    It is the pivot/torque that we need; not the ability to squat and spring.

    By the way, I love Rory’s swing. It is poetry in motion. but it is poetry in motion because of his athleticism, and his amazing flexibility. Look at the way he walks – he is looseness personified.

  10. Jeff

    Dec 4, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    If you’re going to give this a shot, take some advice from Rory himself and get your body in shape. Strengthen your legs and shoulders and become an athlete. Making your body more explosive and powerful goes hand in hand with squat, spring, and swing. if you are going to attempt to swing like an athlete, please treat your body like you are one. Thanks for the write up.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Particularly your quads, hammys and glutes but anyone can do it just won’t create as much force. Squares with light weights with fit ball on wall is a great one. My wife teaches yoga and Pilates and has helped me a lot with that. Thx Jeff

      • Jeff

        Dec 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm

        Absolutely. I’d love to get into some kind of “yoga for golf” or Pilates for golf instruction. I know there’s improvement to be had for anyone that takes it up and in that way it’s a truly under explored area of our potential. Again this is why I like your articles so much. Thanks, keep it up.

        • Pat

          Dec 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm

          Forget pilates. That stuff is for women. I’ve been in the fitness/bodbuilding/sports and golf industry for a long time. Focus on strength training and stretching. Speed trainin(plyometrics) also helps generate more speed with less effort. Foam rolling is also a must to break up inflammation from strength training. There, I gave you the “secrets” to making the squat move easier to perform.

  11. Jake Anderson

    Dec 4, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Very interesting article! Thank you Mr. Clark!

    There is one thing that I would like to clarify, because it might cause a lot of problems for average players.
    You note that McIlroy’s hands reach their low point before impact! That is correct! However it is paramount to explain why this happens! McIlroy has a lot of lag and his hands lead the club, so that the wrists are still hinged when the hands reach the low point of the swing and the club has not reached the ball.

    The average amateur must be warned that the low point of the hands in the swing must be directly over the ball or slightly in front. And only because of the lag that a good players has, it is possible to hit the ball after low point has been reached.

  12. Shut

    Dec 4, 2014 at 4:07 am

    Has anybody realized that perhaps this video is completely misleading? That Rory intended on hitting this club this way because of the kind of lie he had, the grass he encountered, the conditions he faced and the green he was attacking as well the pin placement? Besides, he is hitting a longer iron here, and when have you seen anybody really take a gouging divot with a 3 or 4 iron????

    What a totally useless video analysis.

  13. KDC

    Dec 3, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    This is something that I have noticed over tha last couple of years. When I’m at my best I have the feeling of hitting “up” and there is never much of a divot. I think in Elkington’s book, Five Fundamentals, he mentions something similar (i.e not needing to take a divot)

  14. Mad-Mex

    Dec 3, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    A *WARNING* should accompany articles like these in my humble opinion, because you will have too many people out there who will go out and try this, jacking up an already jacked up swing!
    99% of us do not have the athletic abilities these pros have, much less a 15-20 handicap who plays with shafts in his blade irons that are way too stiff with not enough loft in his driver and demands to play from the black/back tees.
    BUT, I liked the article and took as , well, a very good, no, nearly outstanding INFORMATIONAL article. What ever happen to the “stack and tilt”?

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 4, 2014 at 7:01 am

      Mad, Good on ya for at least trying the idea. The worst thing that happens if you don’t like it, go back to the way you were playing. Just another few range ballsQ Thx

  15. Dennis Clark

    Dec 3, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Watch Rory’s hand path, there a lesson there!

  16. Greg

    Dec 3, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Snead talk about sitting on a barstool back in the ’40s? Looking at classic photos or Barnes, Snean, Hagen, Jones……. They ALL made this move. This is THE move in golf. It’s nothing new though.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      Yes the Snead “squat” I think he called it, nothing new you’re right. Its just that a lot more kids are are straightening left leg and driving up with with hand path which drives the club head down and out

  17. Bill

    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Sadly I have played golf for 20+ years not understanding that the ground is my friend. I always heard the old Hogan slogan “The secret is in the dirt” but I wish I had heard “The secret is how your legs use the dirt”.
    Now that I have started solidly grounding myself & flexing my knees more in a athletic position straighter & farther than ever…even though I’m older.

  18. Mark

    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Excellent video. I experimented with this briefly at the end of the season and is something that I’m going to work on this year. One thing that I’ve done over the past couple of off seasons is a lot of olympic lifting (squats, snatch, clean and jerk) and I think there are a lot of parallels to this type of movement in the swing. The movement in the hips is almost the exact same as a jerk – small drop in the hip level and then explode up. Only difference is you’re adding rotation into the mix. I suspect that building strength in legs/glutes/hips and core will be very advantageous for those interesting in integrating the squat and spring into their swing.

  19. Regis

    Dec 3, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I’m always puzzled by those who criticize writers of golf tips. I have a golf library that would rival the Library of Congress (Seriously, how many of you own a copy of Mindy Blake’s “Golf Swing of the Future-I gamed it for 2 years). Using the ground as a swing platform has been preached in one form or another for decades. But just looking at Dennis’ video makes my joints ache. That being said I loved it. Thanks Dennis.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Regis glad you enjoyed it. I’d like to see your library. Mine is 500 and growing! Thx

  20. Drew

    Dec 3, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Dennis,
    Is this a move you advise for those over 30? Rory’s swing is beautiful, but I look at it and wonder if his back will hold up over time.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Drew, Its a move anyone of any age can TRY. If it helps, great if not you can always go back to what you were doing. But if you do incorporate it, understand it thoroughly. It can be a big help. Thx for reading and commenting

  21. bradford

    Dec 3, 2014 at 11:31 am

    My Dad (2hcp at 72, so no slouch by any means) has watched my swing for years and said “You’re dipping”…It’s tough to explain to him that it’s intentional.

    It’s like an upside down trebuchet, where the upward motion of the body acts as the normally gravity driven counterweight. The club head is the payload, the ball is incidental.

  22. Jonny B

    Dec 3, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Great article and analysis pointing out some simple mechanics that many of us amateurs should work on to improve power.

    Does anyone else notice how eerily similar Rory’s swing is to Tiger’s swing with Hank Haney ala 2006 2007 timeframe when he was winning 40% of his starts – the massive squat and the spring action.

  23. tom

    Dec 3, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Thx Dennis. I enjoyed watching and reading this.
    Dennis is nice enough to spend his time to put this together, and people just criticize the heck out of it. I’m amazed that people continue to contribute here on Golfwrx only to get ridiculous backlash from so many others on here.

    • Philip

      Dec 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      Second that! Very thank-you for his persistence.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      we don’t even know they’re there 🙂 Thx

  24. Travis Tibbs

    Dec 3, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I find it funny how all of these people are so quick to disregard this as a legitimate swing philosophy. If you don’t like it or feel it is not for you, then don’t do it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, it just means it’s not for you. Take a look at Jim Furyk, how many times do you think someone told him that his swing was wrong. He is still one of the most consistent players on tour. This is merely a new style of swinging the club, no need to shoot it down so quickly.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      You’ve hit the nail on the head on Travis! read a suggestion and simply be critical for critical’s sake BEFORE you even try it. There but for the sake of some good sense go I

    • Shut

      Dec 4, 2014 at 3:55 am

      it’s not new at all.

      Rory will be done in 10 years’s time when his body refuses to do this. Problem is, in the argument, people will say “well nobody will care, certainly not Rory as he will have made billions.”

      That’s this modern swing in a nutshell. Swing your socks off (as in the video above), break your body, but make billions while you’re doing it. Why not? The sponsors moneys are huge, so go get as much of it as quickly as possible while you’re young.

      That’s why Snead’s swing was “Swing for a lifetime” yet Rory’s and many other modern swings like it will be “fatten up your bank account as quickly as possible” type swing.

      If Rory’s swing doesn’t stand the test of his body’s time into his 60’s (at least, since Snead was able to with his swing), then nobody should ever copy Rory’s swing, ever, if they wish to continue to be playing late into their life.

  25. Jafar

    Dec 3, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Can’t wait to try some of these techniques… wish I lived in warm weather climate.

    I don’t understand why people like to criticize these techniques, if it works for you then great, if not, move on and find something that does, no need to say someone is wrong, incorrect, or hogwash.

    Golf is the most individual game you can play, you don’t even need another person. So to each their own.

  26. Cardi

    Dec 3, 2014 at 9:35 am

    They have been teaching this for years on the Rotary Swing Tour website.

  27. Charlie

    Dec 3, 2014 at 9:31 am

    A spring promotes an upward swing (lessens a downward swing), thereby reducing backspin. Less spin = more distance when the golfer has a proper launch angle.

  28. James

    Dec 3, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I have swung the club like this as long as I can remember. Of course, I am not as talented as McIlroy but it is how I have hit the ball hard as I can. Thing is, I have had MANY teaching pros tell me how “wrong” this is. “You can’t swing like that!”, they would say. Glad I never listened. Basically, you are loading your legs and using them to apply all the power you have. Hence strong legs are important. Great analysis!

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 9:24 am

      Correct, it changes NOTHIBG else, your just adding power and using a more exacting force on the Golf club, Thx for participation.

      • Bobby

        Dec 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

        Thanks for posting about the golfswing. I always look forward to what you have to write about. This was a great article and gives me something to work on as opposed to trying to muscle the golfswing for distance. Disregard the critics. Teaching the golf may not be quite as dramatic as this but it holds some relevance I believe:
        It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

        • Dennis Clark

          Dec 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm

          As a well known entertainer once said: “The critics, don’t even ignore them” 🙂 Thx for comments

        • Dennis Clark

          Dec 5, 2014 at 5:29 pm

          Thx Bobby for your interest and comments.

    • Agree...

      Dec 3, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Agreed as I would take slight criticism for my head barely, but making a moderate lowering position as I tend to ball up (“ball up” is a bad descrip, but kinda feels like) my power in Backswing, but not losing where I need to be at downswing and moi. I would compare spring affect as pushing off ground with all of force I can to get a feel as I’m pulling club and my hands creating a more torquey snap just as I begin to come up from lowest part of swing arc. This came natural to me, doesn’t look weird…but I feel it gives me a really repeatable rhythm as well, an in an up path which for me is what I’m looking for, other theories may work great for some, but this exact description from Dennis is exactly what I feel and is the simplest swing for me to repeat and maintain a very consistent rhythm. Maybe I’m completely off base, but this works for me, and allows my legs to generate a very torque influenced swing which in turn feels like I’m loading as much power as my body can generate coming through the ball. It almost feels as if you’re using the “athletic position ” you use in pretty much every sport, but taking advantage of leg spring to unleash on a goofball. Just an opinion, and appoligize if this made no sense

      • Dennis Clark

        Dec 3, 2014 at 1:26 pm

        your not off base at all because it WORKS because I’ve seen it work. What I get a great kick out of is people who dismiss out of hand an idea that have not even tried. Thx for the comments

  29. Big Dawg

    Dec 3, 2014 at 5:24 am

    I think the heavier clubs of days gone promote more use of the ground for leverage. Although I wouldn’t think this stuff to death. Swing the clubhead ffs

  30. Jon

    Dec 3, 2014 at 5:09 am

    *sigh* More people talking about the golf swing who shouldn’t be. You can’t teach the most important parts of the golf swing because you can’t see the most important parts; you can only feel them. Thus the instruction industry is a joke, because unless you’re world class you’ll explain aspects of the swing completely wrong, ala everyone constantly talking about rory’s “Squat”. It’s not a squat. Anyone that is any kind of athletic intuits creating power by compressing and decompressing the spine, which creates the illusion that the legs are involved. They move passively, they move as a EFFECT of the spinal compression, not a cause. Chicken and egg. But by all means, the blind keep leading the blind.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Or as ben Hogan once said: My muscles have no memory; I TELL them what to do. Sightlessness is a terrible affliction that I encounter in golf forums all day.

    • bradford

      Dec 3, 2014 at 11:21 am

      While I agree with you about “feel”, I don’t think you’ve got this motion Dennis is talking about. If you did, you’d realize it’s a very active and intentional movement. The timing is where feel plays the biggest role.

    • Bobby

      Dec 3, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Spinal Compression? Seriously? Your spine bends forward, backwards and sideways and points in between. It does not compress and decompress to any noticeable degree outside of pressure on the discs between the vertebrae. Try this, sit upright in a chair and “compress” your spine to lower your head without any sort of trunk flexion. Pretty much impossible. Your spine is not an accordian. Your upper body lowers either by trunk flexion or bending your knees.

  31. Duncan Castles

    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:22 am

    Thanks Dennis. Interesting article.
    An extra club of distance is impressive, did it come at any cost in terms of accuracy?

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 7:11 am

      Thx Duncan; not at all. Unfortunately this is the beginning of my busy teaching season, so I wont get to play as much, but I’ve been real happy with making better use of the ground. Im glad you enjoyed the article.

      • Duncan Castles

        Dec 6, 2014 at 5:55 am

        Thanks for the reply Dennis. Am I right in thinking that spine angle and hip bend should be retained until the spring part of the swing?

  32. David

    Dec 3, 2014 at 3:04 am

    “Well MY coach prefers Adam Scott than Rory McIlroy’s swing, you should hit it cleaner and smoother.”

    Yeah, but McIlroy is the better ranked golfer than Scott, is 10 or so years younger with a better career already. Look, nobody will be able to copy Rory, that is why he is the phenomenon that he is. It’s true you can hit the ball further by squatting and springing etc. but you wouldn’t be able to do it like McIlroy does.

    Stick to what YOU want to swing like, and work for YOU. Everybody has a different body, use your own strengths and hide your weaknesses.

  33. Mark

    Dec 3, 2014 at 2:39 am

    A couple of our top Juniors are being taught this technique. Both can bomb it off the tee but have no idea where it will finish. Both are worse than they were before the swing changes.

    • Scott

      Dec 3, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      I do appreciate the article, but come on. It is WAY too tough for any of the people on this board to be anything that resembles consistent with this method. Go ahead and try it if you like but get used to some shots. Rory has all the time in the world to practice this method. I doubt anyone reading this has enough time to make that work.

      • Dennis Clark

        Dec 3, 2014 at 6:42 pm

        Scott. Thx glad you enjoyed it. Its not at all radical, The thing about This is it’s not really much different than anything you’re doing now. Just push off and feel like the hands pull up a bit. Try it. Let me know.

  34. Dennis Clark

    Dec 3, 2014 at 1:04 am

    I might add that I was introduced to this information through the work of Golf’s “Wise Guys”, Brian Manzella and Michael Jacobs, two of the most dedicated, hard working, accomplished teaching professionals in the world. AND the crack team of golf research scientists with whom they collaborate

    It has been my policy for over 30 years to study every qualified professional in my industry. But I do not simply take anyone’s word on anything. When I come across information that I feel will help my students, I TEST that info in the real world, that is on my lesson tee. EVERY single player I have helped through this process, has walked away a better player. THAT IS why I am suggesting it to my readers. If you think it will help you, try it, but be sure you understand it first. If not stay with what you’re doing. It IS for everybody who desires to incorporate ALL of it, not simply the parts that may feel comfortable. THx

  35. Dennis Clark

    Dec 3, 2014 at 12:39 am

  36. Moist

    Dec 3, 2014 at 12:35 am

    “a new pattern of swinging the club IN and UP — forcing the club head out and down — as they spring up and turn through the ball into impact.”

    Complete and utter hogwash drivel. NOT true, in any way, whatsoever.

    It only APPEARS to be so, when the courses are made to run out HARD and fast.

    If you’d ask old Trevino, in countless interviews and speeches he talks about how he’d grown up on hard-pan, almost dried-dirt-like courses in Texas, and when he came to the Tour he encountered these “soft fairways.” Well, these days, in our obsession to get more yardages, a lot of the courses are set up dry, hard, and runs out for miles. Even if you tried to hit down and through that hard stuff, you hardly ever would see any extra-deep divots because you just can’t dig down enough.
    But, when the courses are wet and soft, you do still them digging them deep and have HUGE divots.

    So it’s not all about how the few times you see them hit shallow. It’s the conditions and the course set-up. That’s also why old Lee Trevino was so good at playing the British Open where the conditions are hard and fast, basically dusty most of the time.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 12:53 am

      Michael explains this concept very well below: Watch and enjoy.

      http://www.xgolfschool.com/golf-show/episode-01-the-release/

      • No bueno

        Dec 3, 2014 at 1:21 am

        The worst explanation possible for the simplest thing about the golf swing; that all we do is we HIT the ball. The rest is all just about how athletic a person is to coordinate his body movements to get the job done the best way he possibly can. That video was completely unnecessary and confusing for most amateurs.

        • Dennis Clark

          Dec 3, 2014 at 7:05 am

          thx for the constructive addition to the discussion. I hope your students all improve this year.

  37. Dennis Clark

    Dec 3, 2014 at 12:32 am

  38. Doug L

    Dec 2, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Shawn Clement does a great job explaining this movement.
    Create Serious Speed!

  39. gg

    Dec 2, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 3, 2014 at 12:17 am

      Jack used the ground and the power of his lower body was tremendous; watched it up close in person at Lost tree for years in shorts! Rory, Adam, Byron nelson and a gaggle of others chose to squat but even those players who remain “somewhat” level are compressing the ground. What’s “new” is the teaching and emphasis on it because it is science, not opinion. Thx

  40. Slimeone

    Dec 2, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Moe Norman advocated “bruising the turf”. Is he part of the new generation?

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 2, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      Moe was not from any generation; he was from planet Moe, one of the most intriguing individuals to ever grace our game. or maybe our planet; watched him several times, talked to him and always loved his act. There is a savant in all greats to some extent

      • JT

        Dec 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm

        Sorry but this is silly. Good luck to anyone, Rory included, who hopes to bounce around and maintain any shot control.

        Please write an article comparing the swing from his hot steak at the end of 2014 to his pogo routine from the beginning of the year when he couldn’t contend.

        I would propose there is a noticeable calming of the bounce in the winning swing he produced during the last quarter of the season when he was on fire.

        • marcel

          Dec 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm

          finally 😉

          to keep the correct distance between the club during the swing and turf and ball requires more control of the spine angle and same height…

          my AAA+ coach has always preferred calm posture and clean striking.. Adam Scott is the best example…

          • Alex

            Dec 3, 2014 at 1:35 am

            Explain how having the hands forward at impact can allow you to have them also the same height off the ground?

            It’s not possible. Diagonals are longer than vertical or horizontal lines.

            So since your shaft is a fixed length, if you have any amount of forward shaft lean you have to have it lower to the ground at impact. How do you lower the handle any amount while maintaining perfect height at impact?

            Think about what you guys write. It would probably do you some good. All good players have a head lower to the ground than it was at address. The key is keeping it low through impact. Some people raise too early and cause issues. But if you drop and stay down you’ll actually kill the ball.

            And it’s actually pretty stable…because in order to lower like that you have to use your core and thighs.

          • Alex

            Dec 3, 2014 at 1:36 am

            Not to mention, forward hands and keeping secondary spine tilt at impact…how do you not lower into the ball?

            Show one good player whose head is the same height at impact as it is at address.

        • Dennis Clark

          Dec 3, 2014 at 12:09 am

  41. farmer

    Dec 2, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    The jump off the board is meaningless, because of the balance issues. The Rory swing mechanics may be fine for those physically gifted enough to copy them, but that’s an awful lot of stuff to try to incorporate into an existing swing.

    • Philip

      Dec 2, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      Well I’m almost 50, 35 pounds overweight (have to fix this), not that flexible (and this too), work all day sitting at a desk and spend too much time looking at a computer at home and I actually find the golf swing easier with the squat. It occurs naturally if I relax my body and make my swing. Creates an explosive swing for sure. Plus I find it so easy to clear my hips this way.

      Trick for me is to practice making a very, very slow backswing with either 3 wedges or a weighted club (1 weight ring + sand in the shaft for a 7 iron, like I have) allowing the weight of the club to turn your upper body against your back leg making sure to maintain your balance. Now for me my left knee starts to collapse towards my right leg as I am not as flexible as Rory, but I’ll work on my flexibility over the winter. It still works for me though. I then trigger my downswing by turning the toes of my right foot clockwise.

      Personally what I find is that as I practice in slow motion the mechanics just become part of my swing, no different than walking. Just have to take your time and spent 5-10 minutes each night doing slow motion swings from set-up to follow-through. At normal swing speed, as long as I maintain my balance for the entire swing (address, backswing, downswing and follow-through) I am maximizing my potential. What more is there?

      • Philip

        Dec 2, 2014 at 9:07 pm

        maintain balance (for me) = centre of gravity is not swaying all over the place

        • Dennis Clark

          Dec 3, 2014 at 1:07 am

          Agreed, that’s not the point of the article. Center of pressure and center of mass are very different centers.

  42. Pat

    Dec 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    One more thing. I do not recommend the squat for older golfers or fat out of shape golfers. You will blow out your knee or lower back if you don’t have the strength. Get in shape first(cardio and strength training) and make sure you do your stretches.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 2, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      agree Pat; YOGA and PILATES. Stay off the weights, particularly as you get older

      • marcel

        Dec 2, 2014 at 10:35 pm

        stay off the weights? Cardio is the biggest problem of older ppl because it eats protein / muscle content and not fat as believed. muscle needs stimulation thru moderate weight lifting. yoga is part of it not only bit of it.

      • christian

        Dec 3, 2014 at 4:46 am

        Wrong, the latest science advises older people to lift as heavy weight as they can control, heavy enough to only allow 3 reps. This ti activate deep tissue muscles that older people in particular really need to activate. Many-reps training/light training won’t let you contact those deep tissue muscle fibers.

      • Pat

        Dec 3, 2014 at 6:28 am

        Dennis, I believe that strength training is essential for older people. The only difference is that younger folks can push themselves, while the older generation needs to really be careful because of joint issues. I would recommend doing lighter weights and higher reps for this group. I have an extensive fitness backround and have worked with high level amateur golfers and bodybuilders in the past. For my older clients, I had them focus more on machines and exercises on the medicine and bosu balls and have them do lighter weights with higher reps. Much easier on the joints compared to powerlifting style training. Yoga or even basic stretching is crucial for golf. You cannot generate speed without flexibility. Christian I don’t care what latest science says. Making an older individual do only 3 rep sets is ludicrous. It would mess up their joints and the chances of severe injury increase lifting like a powerlifter which you are promoting for old people. Ever notice how strongmen and powerlifters have bad joints and suffer from devastating injuries? Horrible advice. Do not listen to Christian people.

    • Philip

      Dec 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      Personally I find this way more easier on my lower back, legs and knees. A more easier than my old slicer swing. Guess we are all different.

  43. Rich

    Dec 2, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I would argue that this a series of very complex moves in Rory’s swing that very few people could introduce into their game. Changing levels in the swings like that for most people would make it impossible to make clean consistent contact. Fat and thin shots would be the order of the day. While I’d like Rory’s 125mph club head speed, I certainly would not chase it to the detriment of solid contact. Solid contact will give you distance gains more quickly and consistently than this squatting business. If it’s natural, keep doing it. If it’s not, don’t try it for too long or you might sacrifice more than you gain.

    • rgb

      Dec 2, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      I tried, for the heck of it and no good reason, to do Kutcher’s rock-back-on-the-heel-before-the-swing swing. Totally threw me off. I love Rory’s swing (and Tiger’s old swing) but I’d damn near kill myself trying to tighten and unwind as much as they do. Ah, but to be 20-ish again.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Rich, the club forces and hand path are the dynamics most impacted by the ground reaction forces. Yes power might be a part of it, and I would not teach it carte blanche, it dramatically alters force for more competent players. Thx for comment

      • Rich

        Dec 2, 2014 at 9:30 pm

        No worries. So definitely not for everyone then?

    • marcel

      Dec 2, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      rich spot on. clean contact makes distance. if i hit my iron 2inch before the ball i lose 10% of the distance. i can out-muscle this by increasing speed and power by 10% and lose even more balance… or I focus all my power on correct height and swing plane?

      i am 5’7″ 36yo – driving close to 280yrd… 4i 200yrd… stiff shafts PX6.

      current back squat 242pnds, dead lift 220 pnds, shoulders 77pnds each hand. this helped my power and greater stability.

  44. Pat

    Dec 2, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I already do this in my swing. Being only 5’7, I can’t generate speed and power with width like taller guys, so I have found from an early age that doing the “Tiger” squat was the only way to add about 8mph to my driver swing. It also helps that I workout like these guys as well. Went from 110 to 120mph and currently sit at 71 kilos at 9% body fat which is just the right size for golf for my height.

  45. Dennis Clark

    Dec 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    on a more serious note…The ground creates power if you know how to use it, and the hands do NOT swing down and put pressure on the club.

  46. Double Mocha Man

    Dec 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    There’s already a sizable splash in the water where Mr. Como lands. Did he throw his bag of clubs in first?!

    • Philip

      Dec 2, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      No, they turned on the jets for some reason just as he jumped. I can’t think of why.

      • pugster22

        Dec 2, 2014 at 5:16 pm

        The air bubbles make the landing softer and gives the diver a visual reference.

  47. Philip

    Dec 2, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I started doing this last week as a natural progression of my swing (after applying that Chris Como tip on triggering my downswing). I am pretty solid on my address now and I noticed as I made a “very, very slow” backswing that as my arms got to the top at some point my body would naturally start squatting to allow my club to get to parallel. I remembered that video above of Rory so figured it couldn’t be all that bad.

    To help “feel” it I either use three wedges or a club filled with sand + weight ring. I can take a full swing in my apartment now without fear of hitting the cement floor – pretty cool for a guy who 6 weeks ago was still taking divots behind the ball.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      it is amazing how it starts to shallow you and create power at the same time

  48. JC

    Dec 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    This is cool. Dennis – any drills to help with these movements?

    • joey

      Dec 2, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      get your self a diving board and jump off it; if u can hit a ball while falling standing still should be no problem

      • Dennis Clark

        Dec 2, 2014 at 4:11 pm

        LOL well I think Chris is using a metaphor here…I know ur smart enough to not interpret this literally 🙂

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      I wouldn’t suggest a diving board :). But its really a matter of trial and error for me. Feel it. Hit some balls with the sun at your back, see if you can squat a little and the jump and let it go!

  49. CJ Bell

    Dec 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Love love love seeing these types of videos getting traction on big golf websites, check out Trackman Maestro and Mark Crossfield for further info on IN and UP hand path/wrist flexion extension….plus anything that makes hacks like Brandel Chamblee look even dumber are great. Keep pushing this stuff Dennis.

    • Dennis Clark

      Dec 2, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      Thx CJ, I wouldn’t go so far as to call Chamblee a “hack” he played the PGA Tour!! I disagree with a lot of his analysis but he could obviously play. 🙂

  50. Dennis Clark

    Dec 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Exactly Chip-and by Miller, Faldo and the the like. Sad really.

  51. Chip

    Dec 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Great video and article. I feel like Tiger has been doing this for years….. And getting criticized for dipping his head too much….

    • Denis

      Dec 4, 2014 at 8:10 am

      I squat and then spring into the ball as it sure does give me more speed. However, I am also pretty sure that for me this action hurts my shot dispersion and especially my back the next morning. I do it anyway though as I want to beat my friends drives.

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Instruction

Clement: Best drill for weight shift and clearing hips (bonus on direction too)

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This is, by far, one of the most essential drills for your golf swing development. To throw the club well is a liberating experience! Here we catch Munashe up with how important the exercise is not only in the movement pattern but also in the realization that the side vision is viciously trying to get you to make sure you don’t throw the golf club in the wrong direction. Which, in essence, is the wrong direction to start with!

This drill is also a cure for your weight shift problems and clearing your body issues during the swing which makes this an awesome all-around golf swing drill beauty! Stay with us as we take you through, step by step, how this excellent drill of discovery will set you straight; pardon the pun!

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Confessions of a hacker: Chipping yips and equipment fixes

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There’s a saying in golf that, paraphrasing here, it’s the person holding the weapon, not the weapon. Basically, if you hit a bad shot, it’s almost certain that it was your fault, not the fault of the golf club. It has a better design than your swing. And while that truism is often correct, it ain’t necessarily so.

For example, if I were to try to hit one of those long drive drivers, I’d probably mis-hit it so badly that the ball might not be findable. That stick is way too long, stiff, and heavy for me. Similarly, if I were to use one of those senior flex drivers, I’d probably hit it badly, because it would be too floppy for my swing. It’s clear that there are arrows that this Indian can’t shoot well. Maybe a pro could adapt to whatever club you put in his hand, but there’s no reason he would accept less than a perfect fit. And there’s little reason why any amateur ought to accept less than a good fit.

I was never a competitive athlete, although I’m a competitive person. My path led a different direction, and as my medical career reached its mature years, I was introduced to our wonderful and frustrating game.

Being one who hates playing poorly, I immediately sought instruction. After fifteen years, multiple instructors, a wallet full of videos, and a wall full of clubs, I am finally learning how to do one particularly vexing part of the game reasonable well. I can chip! But as you may have guessed, the largest part of this journey has to do with the arrow, not the Indian.

We may immediately dismiss the golf shaft as a significant issue since chipping generally involves a low-speed movement. And as long as the grip is a reasonable fit for the hands, it’s not a big deal either. The rubber meets the road at the clubhead.

Manufacturers have worked hard to get the best ball spin out of the grooves. Their shape is precisely milled, and then smaller grooves and roughness are added to the exact maximum allowed under the rules. Various weighting schemes have been tried, with some success in tailoring wedges to players. And some manufacturers market the “newest” designs to make it impossible to screw up wedge shots. And yet, nothing seemed to solve my yips.

So I went on a mission. I studied all sorts of chipping techniques. Some advocate placing the ball far back to strike a descending blow. Others place it near the center of the stance. The swing must have no wrist hinge. The swing must have a hinge that is held. It should be a short swing. It should be a long swing. The face should be square. The face should be open. There should be a “pop.” There should be no power added.

If you are confused, join my club. So I went on a different mission. I started looking at sole construction. Ever since Gene Sarazen popularized a sole with bounce for use in the sand, manufacturers have been creating massive numbers of “different” sand wedges. They have one thing in common. They are generally all built to 55 or 56-degrees of loft.

The basic design feature of the sand wedge is that the sole extends down and aft from the leading edge at some angle. This generally ranges from 6 to 18-degrees. Its purpose is to allow the wedge to dig into the sand, but not too far. As the club goes down into the sand, the “bounce” pushes it back up.

 

One problem with having a lot of bounce on the wedge is that it can’t be opened up to allow certain specialty shots or have a higher effective loft. When the player does that, the leading edge lifts, resulting in thin shots. So manufacturers do various things to make the wedge more versatile, typically by removing bounce in the heel area.

At my last count, I have eight 56-degree wedges in my collection. Each one was thought to be a solution to my yips. Yet, until I listened to an interview with Dave Edel, I had almost no real understanding of why I was laying sod over a lot of my chips. Since gardening did not reduce my scores, I had to find another solution.

My first step was to look at the effective loft of a wedge in various ball positions. (Pictures were shot with the butt of the club at the left hip, in a recommended forward lean position. Since the protractor is not exactly lined up with the face, the angles are approximate.)

I had no idea that there was so much forward lean with a simple chip. If I were to use the most extreme rearward position, I would have to have 21-degrees of bounce just to keep the leading edge from digging in at impact. If there were the slightest error in my swing, I would be auditioning for greenskeeper.

My appreciation for the pros who can chip from this position suddenly became immense. For an amateur like me, the complete lack of forgiveness in this technique suddenly removed it from my alleged repertoire.

My next step was to look at bounce. As I commented before, bounce on sand wedges ranges between 6 and 18-degrees. As the drawing above shows, that’s a simple angle measurement. If I were to chip from the forward position, a 6-degree bounce sand wedge would have an effective bounce of 1-degree. That’s only fractionally better than the impossible chip behind my right foot. So I went to my local PGA Superstore to look at wedges with my Maltby Triangle Gauge in hand.

As you can see from the photos, there is a wide variation in wedges. What’s most curious, however, is that this variation is between two designs that are within one degree of the same nominal bounce. Could it be that “bounce is not bounce is not bounce?” Or should I say that “12-degrees is not 12-degrees is not 12-degrees?” If one looks below the name on the gauge, a curious bit of text appears. “Measuring effective bounce on wedges.” Hmmm… What is “effective bounce?”

The Maltby Triangle Gauge allows you to measure three things: leading-edge height, sole tangent point, and leading-edge sharpness. The last is the most obvious. If I’m chipping at the hairy edge of an adequate bounce, a sharp leading edge will dig in more easily than a blunt one. So if I’m using that far back ball position, I’ll need the 1OutPlus for safety, since its leading edge is the bluntest of the blunt. Even in that position, its 11-degree bounce keeps the leading edge an eighth of an inch up.

Wait a minute! How can that be? In the back position, the wedge is at 35-degrees effective loft, and 11-degrees of bounce ought to be 10-degrees less than we need. The difference here is found in combining all three parameters measured by the gauge, and not just the angle of the bounce.

The 1OutPlus is a very wide sole wedge. Its tangent point is a massive 1.7″ back. The leading edge rises .36″ off the ground and is very blunt. In other words, it has every possible design feature to create safety in case the chip from back in the stance isn’t as perfect as it might be. Since a golf ball is 1.68″ in diameter, that’s still less than halfway up to the center of the ball. But if you play the ball forward, this may not be the wedge for you.

Here are the measurements for the eight sand wedges that happen to be in my garage. All are either 56-degrees from the factory or bent to 56-degrees.

A couple of things jump out from this table. The Callaway PM Grind at 13-degrees has a lower leading edge (.26 inches) than the 11-degree Bazooka 1OutPlus (.36 inches). How can a lower bounce have a higher leading edge? Simple geometry suggests that if you want a higher leading edge, you will need a higher bounce angle. But it gets worse. The Wishon WS (wide sole) at 6-degrees (55-degree wedge bent to 56-degrees) has a leading-edge height of .28 inches, higher than the Callaway which has over twice the nominal bounce angle!

One thing is missing from this simple discussion of angles.

If I place one line at 34-degrees above the horizontal (loft is measured from the vertical), and then extend another at some angle below horizontal, the height above ground where the two join depends on how long the lower line is. This means that an 18-degree bounce with a narrow “C” grind will raise the leading edge a little bit. A 6-degree bounce on a wide sole may raise it more because the end of the bounce on the first wedge is so close to the leading edge.

 

Let’s look at this in the picture. If the red line of the bounce is very short, it doesn’t get far below the black ground line. But if it goes further, it gets lower. This is the difference between narrow and wide soles.

This diagram describes the mathematical description of these relationships.

Our first task is to realize that the angle 0 in this diagram is the complement of the 56-degree loft of the wedge, or 90 – 56 = 34-degrees since loft is measured from vertical, not horizontal. But the angle 0 in the bounce equation is just that, the bounce value. These two angles will now allow us to calculate the theoretical values of various parts of the wedge, and then compare them to our real-world examples.

My PM Grind Callaway wedge has its 3rd groove, the supposed “perfect” impact point, 0.54 inches above the leading edge. This should put it 0.8 inches back from the leading edge, roughly matching the measured 0.82 inches. So far, so good. (I’m using the gauge correctly!)

The 13-degree bounce at 1.14″ calculates out to 0.284″ of leading-edge rise. I measured 0.26″, so Callaway seems to be doing the numbers properly, until I realize that the leading edge is already .45″ back, given a real tangent of .69″. Something is out of whack. Re-doing the math suggests that the real bounce is 20-degrees, 40 min. Hmmm…

Maybe that bounce angle measurement isn’t such a good number to look at. Without digging through all the different wedges (which would make you cross-eyed), we should go back to basics. What is it that we really need?

Most instructors will suggest that striking the ball on about the third groove will give the best results. It will put the ball close to the center of mass (sweet spot) of the wedge and give the best spin action. If my wedge is at an effective 45-degree angle (about my right big toe), it will strike the ball about half-way up to its equator. It will also be close to the third groove. But to make that strike with minimal risk of gardening, I have to enough protection to keep the edge out of the turf if I mis-hit the ball by a little bit. That can be determined by the leading edge height! The higher the edge, the more forgiveness there is on a mis-hit.

Now this is an incomplete answer. If the bounce is short, with a sharp back side, it will tend to dig into the turf a bit. It may not do it a lot, but it will have more resistance than a wider, smoother bounce. In the extreme case, the 1OutPlus will simply glide over the ground on anything less than a ridiculous angle.

The amount of leading-edge height you need will depend on your style. If you play the ball forward, you may not need much. But as you move the ball back, you’ll need to increase it. And if you are still inconsistent, a wider sole with a smooth contour will help you avoid episodes of extreme gardening. A blunt leading edge will also help. It may slow your club in the sand, but it will protect your chips.

There is no substitute for practice, but if you’re practicing chips from behind your right foot using a wedge with a sharp, low leading edge, you’re asking for frustration. If you’re chipping from a forward position with a blunt, wide sole wedge, you’ll be blading a lot of balls. So look at your chipping style and find a leading-edge height and profile that match your technique. Forget about the “high bounce” and “low bounce” wedges. That language doesn’t answer the right question.

Get a wedge that presents the club to the ball with the leading edge far enough off the ground to provide you with some forgiveness. Then knock ’em stiff!

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Instruction

Golf 101: What is a strong grip?

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What is a strong grip? Before we answer that, consider this: How you grip it might be the first thing you learn, and arguably the first foundation you adapt—and it can form the DNA for your whole golf swing.

The proper way to hold a golf club has many variables: hand size, finger size, sports you play, where you feel strength, etc. It’s not an exact science. However, when you begin, you will get introduced to the common terminology for describing a grip—strong, weak, and neutral.

Let’s focus on the strong grip as it is, in my opinion, the best way to hold a club when you are young as it puts the clubface in a stronger position at the top and instinctively encourages a fair bit of rotation to not only hit it solid but straight.

The list of players on tour with strong grips is long: Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Fred Couples, David Duval, and Bernhard Langer all play with a strong grip.

But what is a strong grip? Well like my first teacher Mike Montgomery (Director of Golf at Glendale CC in Seattle) used to say to me, “it looks like you are revving up a Harley with that grip”. Point is the knuckles on my left hand were pointing to the sky and my right palm was facing the same way.

Something like this:

Of course, there are variations to it, but that is your run of the mill, monkey wrench strong grip. Players typically will start there when they are young and tweak as they gain more experience. The right hand might make it’s way more on top, left-hand knuckles might show two instead of three, and the club may move its way out of the palms and further down into the fingers.

Good golf can be played from any position you find comfortable, especially when you find the body matchup to go with it.

Watch this great vid from @JakeHuttGolf

In very simple terms, here are 3 pros and 3 cons of a strong grip.

Pros

  1. Encourages a closed clubface which helps deloft the club at impact and helps you hit further
  2. It’s an athletic position which encourages rotation
  3. Players with strong grips tend to strike it solidly

Cons

  1. Encourages a closed clubface which helps deloft the club at impact and can cause you to hit it low and left
  2. If you don’t learn to rotate you could be in for a long career of ducks and trees
  3. Players with strong grips tend to fight a hook and getting the ball in the air

 

Make Sense?

 

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