The Golf Swing by Cary Middlecoff

One golf book I read through once every year and then browse through continually is The Golf Swing, by Cary Middlecoff. It is a review of the development of the golf swing from Harry Vardon to Palmer, Player, and Nicklaus.

The meat of the book, though, is what he says about developing your own swing, advice contained in the chapter titled, “Your Swing.” He says little about the particulars of the swing, save a few fundamentals, but much about how to practice your swing for maximum return. I’ll summarize his advice for you.

– Every session should have a purpose, every shot should have a target, and every swing, good or bad, should be analyzed afterward. Accepting good shots without question is, Middlecoff says, “a tendency that should be resisted.”

– Keep a notebook so you can start the next session where you left off the last one, so you can take your last session’s successes and carry them forward.

– Make every shot real. Imagine a spot on your home course and hit this ball to that spot.

– Make sure you grip the club consistently. Subtle variations in the grip cause more mis-hit balls than you might realize.

– Work on the backswing alone in order to bring the club back to the same spot time after time.

– From there, learn how to start the downswing with the turning of the hips alone. “Get it clearly in mind that the hip movement automatically lowers the hands to just above hip level and starts the shoulders moving.”

– Practice without a ball so as to learn how to free-wheel the club through the “hitting segment of the swing.”

– “Program into the swing” that both arms will become straight only a few feet past where the ball was. At impact, the right arm is still bent and the right wrist has not fully released.

– Practice the parts so they become automatic. Then put them together into a full swing that allows you, when playing, to forget about mechanics, and concentrate solely on hitting the ball.


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