Think the golf swing should be easy? Think again. The best golfers in the world often make it look that way, but the golf swing is a ballistic movement that requires athleticism, rhythm, speed, mobility, stability, timing, and perhaps a little luck.
So, for the golfer looking to improve, what’s the most important of all of them? Answer: none! All of those things require balance, which is the foundation of building a better golf swing.
Creating good balance in your golf swing is an absolute must if you want to hit the ball solidly and consistently. If your body doesn’t have the ability to work around a stable platform while moving in the golf swing, however, you’re at a disadvantage. Without stability, you not only lose your ability to transfer energy efficiently through your body, but your body will be strained. That can lead to injury.
Golfers who lack stability, and ultimately balance, often struggle with swaying in their backswing. A “sway” is when a golfer’s hips move out over their trail foot in the backswing, often causing a reverse spine angle. To prevent the hips from swaying in the backswing, golfers needs to create stability in the trail leg as they turn the hips back and load into the trail glute.
Below is a video that demonstrates a simple exercise that uses a hill to help you create better stability in your golf swing, while at the same time helping you to maintain good dynamic balance so that you can make a more efficient golf swing.
Using hills is an amazing way for your mind to intuitively help your body swing the club more efficiently. Hills can offer great feedback so that you can rapidly make the necessary adjustments to create the stability needed to maintain balance while making a golf swing. With this drill, you will also learn to swing the club on a plane that’s not too steep (you’ll bury the club in the hill) or too shallow (you’ll duff or even whiff the ball).
For the drill, I recommend alternating between hitting shots from both uphill and downhill lies so that you create the stability needed to have a good balance in both sides of your body, because the golf swing works in a lot of dimensions. Do this enough, and you’ll become an expert at playing shots from different terrains, too.
Of course, a golfer may lack stability due to a physical issue, causing an inefficiency in how the body moves throughout the swing. In order to identify bodily flaws that lead to these inefficiencies, visit a fitness expert in your vicinity and get an assessment. This might show you that your body has limitations that are preventing efficient movement, thus affecting proper balance.
Specifically, I’d recommend a TPI fitness or medical expert simply because they understand how the body needs to function in a golf swing to produce better results. If they do find any limitations, they’ll be able to give you correctional exercises to get your body moving efficiently again, and build better balance. If you don’t have an expert in your local area, or just don’t have the time, I’d recommend you purchase a copy of my book, the Golfers Handbook. There is an easy to do assessment in the book that you can do at home.
Kelley: Should a Tour player’s swing be the pattern we copy?
PGA Tour players are the most gifted golfers on the planet. Their ball striking ability is remarkable to the average, even scratch, golfer. With the time to practice all day, usually perfecting their imperfections in their own swings, why are PGA Tour players’ swings always the model we seek?
Look at the progression and expectations in other sports played recreationally. If you start playing Tennis, you don’t expect to serve as fast and accurate as Rafael Nadal. When joining a gym, do we look and replicate the times and bodies of Olympians? However, in golf, players seek the worlds best trying to emulate them. Examining this idea, could this actually be detrimental?
Let’s start with the speed differential. The average PGA Tour driver club head speed is 113 mph. The average male amateur golfer driver speed is 93.4 mph. The average handicap for the male golfer sits between 14 and 15. Below is a chart from Trackman showing the distribution of clubhead speed among male golfers.
Speed is mostly a natural talent developed at an early age. It can be enhanced with speed training, gym work and even lifestyle changes. ?With such a differential in speed?, wouldn’t players first be better served focusing on center contact with the most efficient route to do so? This can include modeling simple looking swings.
Besides the speed differential, the world’s best golfers all have unique swings that have been perfected over time. Take for example the top ten players in the world. Different swings with different match-up moves throughout the motion. They have made it work for themselves with countless practice hours. Usually time the average golfer doesn’t have.
A main example would be Rory McIlroy, often a sought out golf swing among students. Here is a quote regarding his swing swing sequence after visiting the Titleist Performance Institute Center. “At the start of McIlroy’s downswing, his left hip spins violently counterclockwise, as it does for every elite, long-hitting player. but then, and only with the driver, Mcllroy makes a funky move you could not teach. a moment before impact, his left hip suddenly changes direction and jerks back, clockwise, and then rotates again.”
With the average golfer on a time constraint?, golfers could actually look at what the greats do the older they get in their careers. The swings become more simple, using their instincts to get their body in efficient and more teachable positions. This is usually in their set-up then backswing, with less excess movement for an efficient strike. Take for example a young versus older Ben Hogan. (Picture below)
Below is another example of a young Jack Nicklaus compared to an older Nicklaus later in his career.
This is in large part due to the concept that less can be more at times. Unfortunately in golf, all to often players are told to do more with their swing, only to jeopardize center contact even seeking vanity over function.
A concept that could be beneficial is next time you want to work on your swing, focus on efficiency and minimizing the ?motion for center contact and a better face/path relationship. Then you can build. Rather then taking a bit from a Tour player’s swing, understand how your body should move to achieve your desired ball flight. Once you have a foundation, then add speed and your own DNA to the swing.
The argument could be made the opposite should be taught for aspiring junior golfers, especially the way the game as going. This article is intended to open a discussion and perhaps change the view of how the golf swing is being taught based on your skill-set and what you are trying to get out of the game. Also, what may be teachable and not teachable. You can change swings with concepts alone.
Clement: Why laying up = more power
You have been there before — you can’t get over the hazard on a par 5 and decide to lay up and take the club you need for the distance and the ball makes it into the hazard after you took this smooth swing that smoked the ball 15 yards farther than you expected? We uncover the mystery right here!
Kelley: Simplify your swing with the hammer drill
Regardless of your handicap, a simple hammer can teach you how to efficiently address the ball, start the swing and then put your body in a dynamic position at the top. If you can hammer a nail, there is no reason you can’t simplify your swing. This drill can also change the parts in the middle of your swing you have been struggling to change.
To start, grab a hammer with your trail hand as if you are hammering a nail into a wall in front of your body. You will notice how this instinctively gives you a slight tuck of the trail elbow and drops your trail shoulder below the lead with angle in the trail wrist.
Once gripping the hammer, move the weight of the hammer as if hammering a nail. This will give you the feel of the takeaway.
From here, the golf swing is no more then a lifting of the arms as the right arm folds and the body goes around a bit.
From this position, holding your spine angle and placing the left hand on the right hand will pull your body into a coil or “turn”. This places your body in a position to efficiently swing the golf club back down to the ball.
A great way to combine the hammer drill with a golf club is to hold a hammer on the grip of the club or tape the hammer down the middle of the shaft. Start with just your right hand on the club and make slow swings.
Once you have practiced this a few times, the hammer can be removed and this feel can be integrated to a normal golf club. To continue this feel, simply turn the clubhead in as if you are hitting the ball with the toe of the club (below picture). When turning the club like this, the center of balance goes more to the clubhead, helping replicate the actual hammer feel.
What’s great about this drill is that the actual task is driving the technique. Rather than being thoughtful of several technical positions in the golf swing, replicating the instinctive motion of the hammer will put you in the proper positions. This drill will also help you place your focus of attention on the actual club, which is often overlooked.
19th Hole2 days ago
‘This guy does not stop’ – Tour pros take aim at Patrick Reed over latest rules controversy
Equipment2 weeks ago
OLD vs. NEW: TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC 2011 irons vs. My modern irons (Full launch monitor numbers)
19th Hole5 days ago
Rory Mcilroy delivered a ruthless verdict when asked if he could rekindle friendship with Sergio Garcia
19th Hole2 days ago
PGA Tour pro buys second-hand set of legendary clubs on eBay
Equipment2 weeks ago
What’s the difference between Titleist’s new 2023 Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls? Here’s a full breakdown
19th Hole2 weeks ago
‘I’m annoyed at the LPGA’ – Pros hit out at off-course conditions at season opener
Equipment2 weeks ago
Nelly Korda signs multi-year deal with TaylorMade; Korda’s 2023 TaylorMade WITB
Equipment6 days ago
Bettinardi is celebrating its 25th anniversary with limited putters runs. First up: BB1 MS