Category Archives: golf swing

A Little Golf Swing Image

So many errors in the swing come from the upper body and the lower body not moving together in a coordinated way. If the lower body gets too far ahead on the downswing, the arms will be left behind and the clubface will come into the ball wide open. If the upper body leads, weight cannot return to the left side. Weak, off-target shots result.

Try this image to keep yourself connected throughout the swing. Imagine there is a string going from your left hip straight to your right shoulder. That it goes through your body doesn’t matter. Pretend your body is transparent to this string.

When you swing back, the right shoulder has to turn back behind you. Because the right shoulder is connected by this string to the left hip, the left hip will be pulled around, too. All the slack is out of the string.

Now on the downswing, it is the left hip that leads. As it slides and turns into the ball, it pulls the string and the right shoulder turns with along with the hip. Nothing gets left behind. Your body stays connected, and the clubface gets delivered back to the ball square and on line.

What more could you want?


Five Tune-Up Tips For Your Golf Swing

These five tips are little differences that will make a big difference literally overnight in the way you swing a golf club. One hour of practice is all you need to install them in your swing. They will give you a feeling of confidence, control, and ease, three characteristics of good golf.

There is a natural balance point for every club. This is where you hold the club and it feels light, and as if it were an extension of your hands and arms. For most clubs this will be felt when you grip down about 1″-1½” from the end of the grip. When you hold the club at this point, you will feel relaxed and at ease. Swing the club the way this feeling suggests.

Take your stance slightly open to the intended line of flight. Just a little bit. No more than 5 degrees. Being slightly open will let you get your left hip cleared better, and allow you to come into the ball with the right side a little more “underneath” the ball. The first gets the club down the target line more easily, and the second gets the ball in the air more easily.

Swing the club easily. There is no need to rush going back, and certainly no rush going down. If anything, swing more slowly than you think you need to. Make it almost like an easy practice swing. The speed that such a swing will build up is greater than you feel. Combined with the design of the club, you will hit the ball a long way. If your ball-striking gets off during a round, check the speed of your swing first. Odds are that you are swinging too fast, especially at the start of the downswing.

You might have heard the phrase, “finish your backswing.” What does that mean? For every club you swing, from driver to wedge, and even when pitching, it means to finish turning your body before you start your downswing. Get the left shoulder as close to your chin as you can, and your right shoulder turned away as far as you can, without straining. It is not necessary that your arms go to a particular place, but that your turn be full. When our mind begins to wander on the course, this turns gets shorter, and our ball-striking worsens.

One difference between the professional swing and the amateur swing is that professionals do not allow the clubhead to pass their hands until after the ball has been struck. That means when the clubhead is impacting the ball, the shaft is tilted toward the target, not vertical, or worse, tilting away from the target. You ensure this happens by maintaining the wrist set you have at the top of the backswing until your hands get back down to hip height. At that point, the momentum of your swing will release the set, but continue swinging and let the hands win the race with the clubhead to get to and past the ball.

The Finish Position of the Golf Swing

One spring morning I showed up at the course for a 9:30 a.m. tee time to find the first tee full of players. There had been a frost delay, so about eight foursomes ahead of us had yet to tee off. I hung around the first tee to watch everyone swing. This is what I saw. A clear majority of the players ended their swing with their weight firmly on their right foot, if not falling backward in that direction. You can imagine what their shots looked like.

How a golfer finishes the swing is a clear indicator of what went on before. It takes only a half second to get from impact to finish, in which time the golfer decelerates the clubhead from about 80-90 miles per hour to a full stop. The state of the swing at impact will thus directly influence the state of the finish position. When a good finish position is your goal, you will find yourself modifying your swing so you can get there, and the changes you make will be for the better.

Finish your swing standing comfortably upright, facing the target squarely, with your weight on your left foot, and your right foot balanced on the toe tip. You should be able to lift your right foot off the ground without disturbing your balance. Both hands will be to the left of your head and the club will be behind your head on a line that connects your ears. Your right shoulder should end up near your chin, but this depends in part on your flexibility.

Practice your finish by making shortened swings with your driver, no ball. Take the club halfway back and swing smoothly through to a full finish. When you get to the finish position, hold it there for a few seconds to let your mind absorb the process of your swing leading you into that position.*

The next time you watch a tournament on TV, watch where the players end up and how they get there. Or, if you have a chance to see a professional tournament in person, go to the range and watch the players warm up. In every case, the finishes you will see are graceful and balanced. That’s your model. There are things the pros do that we can’t, but this is not one of them. Build a good finish into your swing and watch the rest of your swing improve.

*Your finish position can subject your back to considerable twisting. I would recommend that hold your finish position infrequently as a check, and never routinely when practicing or playing. Always release yourself to a neutral upright position with your hands in front of you as you watch the ball, just like Phil does.