You Can’t Push a Rope. Or a Golf Club

You want to hit the golf ball a long way, so you let your trailing hand and arm dominate the forward swing so you can pour that side into the ball, just like you would if you were throwing a baseball or hitting a tennis ball.

But golf doesn’t work that way.

When I was in the Navy we had a saying, “You can’t push a rope,” which applied to something that was pointless to even try. Anything.

Yes, you can’t push a rope, but you can push other things. The question is, can you push them accurately?

Which is easier, pulling something into place, or pushing it into place? Just watch someone trying to back (push) their boat on a trailer into the water when they have no idea how to do it. It is endlessly amusing.

It would be easier to pull the boat into the water, but then your truck would end up submerged, so don’t try that.

We’re taking about golf clubs here, not boats, and you can’t push a golf club, either. At least not accurately, though we try anyway because the push hand is the hitting hand.

Ahh! There’s the rub! You’re trying to hit the golf ball when you should be trying to swing the golf club. To swing the golf club, you lead it through impact with the swinging hand. That’s the left hand for most of us, the right hand for you lefties.

So many of your impact errors would go away in a few seconds if you would only transfer the responsibility for everything you want out of a golf shot to the swinging hand.

Go ahead! Try a few slow-motion swings with both hands on the handle, but let the swinging hand do the work while the hitting hand goes along for the ride. Don’t these swings feel smooth? Better still, aren’t they repeatable in a way the hitting-handed stroke isn’t?

Power? Not to worry. The gain in accuracy means hitting the center of the clubface more often, and that is the PRIME source of distance.

You might think a back-handed swing doesn’t have the force that a fore-handed swing does, and you are right if you are thinking only of muscle power.

But the golf swing is not about powered-up muscles. It’s about relaxed muscles. Relaxed muscles move faster. Golf clubs swung by relaxed muscles hit golf balls farther. Especially golf balls that get hit on the center of the clubface.

To sum up: leading the club through impact with the swinging hand rather than with the hitting hand leads to a faster and more accurate strike.

Oh, yes. A swinging-handed stroke sends the ball straighter and more accurately, too. But you’ll find that out for yourself.

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