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Are These The Two Worst Swings in Golf? Not So Fast…

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A golf swing is like a fingerprint; no two are alike. While some golf swings may look more aesthetically pleasing, there’s no one swing that will be effective for every golfer. Just look to the PGA Tour for proof. You have your Adam Scotts and Jason Days, who have seemingly perfect swings, and then you have your Bubba Watsons and Jim Furyks. Their swings look less pleasing, but they’re not less effective.

The point is, every golfer is different and some golfers can make nearly any swing work. How a swing looks isn’t as important as what happens at impact.

One of the best parts of my job at Combine Performance in Scottsdale is having all the instructional tools at my disposal that help me to NOT change something in a golf swing if I don’t have to change it. Using the latest technology, we can look deep into the mechanics to see what actually needs to change to improve performance.

To demonstrate this point, I want to discuss “the high” and “the low” in the golf swing, and everything in between. The two swings below will help you see that perfection isn’t necessary to play this game… and play it well.

The High

unnamed-1Our GolfWRX Tour photographer snapped this photo recently on the range at a PGA Tour Pro-Am. According to our source, crowds were gathering to watch this man hit 240-yard draws from this backswing position.

The Low

This is swing so rounded that the head must rotate off the ball, and it’s certainly not something you’d teach. I saw this swing with my own eyes, however, and this gentleman also hit the ball 240 or so with a nice draw. In fact, he shot in the low 80’s that day at Bighornn on the Canyon’s Course, which is no slouch!

The Middle Ground

StickneyAtTheTop

After looking at the high and the low in the previous examples, you can now understand that the rest of our swings are somewhere in the middle, including myself (see above).

As a young golfer, I spent years on the range trying to build a swing that looked good. It was my first priority, and figured that playing well would come as a result. Boy was I wrong! As I have said before, golf is all about learning how to score. I’d rather score like Furyk than look like Ernie Els on a day when he’s struggling to find the center of the club face.

Here’s the question you need to answer for yourself: Are you willing to own your mechanics and make the ball talk, or must you try to conform to what everyone says the golf swing should look like and possibly not break 90?

The lesson to be learned here is that sometimes you just CAN’T move in a certain way due to past injury or X number of years doing it the other way. The key is to make your golf swing manageable, and if you do that, you can likely perform to your expectations. You must understand, however, that drastically unorthodox swing will likely only achieve a certain skill level of play.

In the golf instruction world, we have the technology to know exactly what will improve your swing. The question is, how much time to you have to execute the change? If the answer is “not much,” my advice is to learn to OWN your swing. Make peace with it… and make sure your short game is killer

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (www.puntamita.com) He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email: tom.stickney@puntamita.com

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Robert Parsons

    Sep 1, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Working or not, I’d still try to fix it and improve.

    • Jeb

      Sep 2, 2017 at 1:26 am

      Would you tell the obese guy to shrink his gut as the first obvious fix? You can’t safely rotate your core carrying all that fat ballast hanging over your belt. Golf can be dangerous for such obese men if they attempt to swing all that fat around their spine.

  2. Ron

    Sep 1, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Completely agree with this article. The issue is finding an instructor who is knowledgeable enough to only fix what he needs to. Most instructors these days seem to have one vision of the swing and try to teach that method to every one of their students.

    • OB

      Sep 1, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      You don’t plug in a swing into a body, you assess the body and then tailor a swing to that body type.
      There is a book called The L.A.W.s of the Golf Swing where they classify the body types and then determine the optimal swing mechanics for that body. I have the book and it is written by a pro teacher and biomechanists. It is the only book that I know of that attempts to type the body and then prescribe a swing style. All other instruction books, articles and videos apply a generic swing into some kind of standard body shape without regard to physical limitations.

    • MacD

      Sep 2, 2017 at 1:32 am

      A smart instructor would first try to sell those weirdos a new set of Single Length golf clubs and convince them that they will only need one swing style for all clubs. Then let them go and muddle about for a while and then have them come back for lessons. They are stuck with the club cost commitment so then they can be milked for lessons to get the kinks out of their new swing. It’s the same as reeling in a big fish.

  3. Steve S

    Sep 1, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Golf is a game of results. I play with a guy who appears to cut across the ball on every swing, including putts. He consistently breaks 80. He somehow squares the clubface at impact and hits baby fades on driver thru wedge and makes a lot of putts. His tempo is also extremely fast. He snatches the club back so fast it appears to be as fast as his downswing(but it’s not). He breaks every rule of the “conventional” golf swing but it works for him. He’s never had a lesson and should never have one!

    • pooch

      Sep 1, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Exactly.
      Is the ball straight? is it in the fairway? Results.

  4. TT

    Aug 31, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Looking at “tubby” he’s got his top of swing in front of him because he can’t rotate all the belly mass whatsoever. Not only does his belly interfere with rotation, it giggles around on it’s own so he simply blocks his hips. Swinging that belly mass would destabilize him and he would topple over.
    He has a pure “arm” swing and gets away with it to his credit. Keep on heavin’ tubby.

  5. Mower

    Aug 31, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Does the “Low” golfer have some kind of condition not enabling him to make a full backswing? It’s kinda weird… or… no – it’s full-blown weird.

  6. Roger McIntosh

    Aug 31, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    If it ain’t broke don’t overanalyze it. Let the jokers have fun no matter how grotesque.

  7. cgasucks

    Aug 31, 2017 at 9:30 am

    You don’t hit the ball with your backswing. It’s impact that really matters. Jim Furyk would agree with me.

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Instruction

Me and My Golf: One simple swing thought for a great downswing

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In this week’s Impact Show, we analyze Jason Day’s golf swing and answer one question we get asked a lot. How do you start the downswing? We show you how Jason start’s the downswing and give you one simple swing thought that could make all the difference in creating a GREAT downswing.

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3 drills that will build a great putting stroke

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When you find yourself scratching your head because of all the putts you’re missing, take the time to hit the practice green and work out the kinks. All players go through slumps and face times when their stroke needs touching up, these three drills will go a long way in helping to reestablish a solid putting motion.

1. 4 Tee Drill

This drill is great for focusing on center contact as well as helping to maintain a square putter face through impact.

Most players will associate this drill with the two tees that many players on tour use for solid contact. But what makes this drill different is that by having two sets of tees, it forces us to have a good takeaway, as well as a good, follow through. Just have the two sets spaced 3 to 5 inches apart with the openings of the two sets being slightly wider than your putter. From there, any unwanted lateral movement with your putting stroke will be met by a tee.

2. Coin Drill

This drill pertains to those who tend to look up before hitting a putt which throws off our follow through and makes us manipulate the head. We do this for different reasons, though none of them are justifiable. Because those that keep their head down through the stroke will allow you to have better speed, control and just make a better stroke in general.

To perform this drill, just place the ball on top of the coin and make your stroke. Focusing on seeing the coin after you hit your putt before looking up.

3. Maintain the Triangle drill

One of the biggest things that I see in high handicap golfers or just bad putters, in general, is that they either don’t achieve an upside-down triangle from their shoulders, down the arms, and into the hands as pictured above. If they do, it often breaks down in their stroke. Either way, both result in an inconsistent strike and stroke motion. It also makes it harder to judge speed and makes it easier to manipulate the face which affects your ability to get the ball started online.

I use a plastic brace in the photo to hold my triangle, however, you can use a ball or balloon to place in between the forearms to achieve the same thing.

These three drills will help you establish proper muscle memory and promote strong techniques to help you roll the rock!

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Instruction

Tip of the Week: The “Rear-Hand Drill” for improved chipping

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Top 100 teacher Tom Stickney shows you a simple way to make sure you aren’t “flipping” or “slapping at” your pitch shots.

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