Percy Boomer’s Essentials of the Golf Swing

For years I have been reading Percy Boomer’s book, On Learning Golf. Every year I get something new out of it. In chapter III he lists what he considers to be the essentials of the swing. They never really connected with me until I read the list yesterday.

I realized that quite by coincidence they are all contained in my writings, either Six Fundamentals of the Recreational Golf Swing, released in 2014, or A Basic Golf Swing, released earlier this year. If you have read those two pieces you’re already familiar with them. Here they are.

1. It is essential to turn the body round to the right and round to the left, without moving either way. In other words this turning movement must be from a fixed pivot.

(If you keep the knob at the base of your neck from moving until after the ball is struck, you will have this. In chapter VII boomer explains this point as turning in the barrel. This book is the origin of that image.)

2. It is essential to keep the arms at full stretch throughout the swing―through the back swing, the down swing, and the follow through.

(I describe this point as getting your elbows close together at address and feeling as if they stay that close together throughout the swing.)

3. It is essential to allow the wrists to break fully back at the top of the swing.

(They break by themselves because of the momentum of the golf club’s movement. Do not do this deliberately.)

4. It is essential to delay the actual hitting of the ball until as late in the swing as possible.

(I have described this for years as the hands leading the club head into the ball.)

5. It is essential not to tighten any muscle concerned in the reactive part of the swing (movement above the waist).

(“Maintaining a state of complete relaxation in your arms from start to finish, especially though impact, contributes greatly to attaining the swing speed you are capable of.”)

6. It is essential to feel and control of the swing as a whole and not to concentrate upon any part of it.

(“Dividing the swing into parts is done only to present the differing techniques that must be applied at each of its stages. The golf swing is really just one whole movement.”)

Boomer follows point 6 by saying,

“In a sense this last point is the most vital. The swing must be considered and felt as a single unity, not as a succession of positions or even a succession of movements. The swing is one and indivisible.

There you have it. That is Boomer’s list. It does not include rhythm and tempo in his list, though he does have an entire chapter on rhythm later in the book.

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