Category Archives: golf swing

Video-tape your golf swing

For a while I have been adrift as concerns my golf swing. I try doing all the right things, but they don’t come together to make a swing that is worth two cents for hitting a golf ball.

But I have an answer. In 2010, I made a video for this blog on learning how to swing so your hands lead the clubhead into the ball. At the time was playing single-digit golf.

So what I do when I hit golf balls like I picked up a club for the first time last week, is look at that video and do what I see.

That is the swing that has been inside me for over 60 years. Watching that swing unlocks the skill I once had and brings it all back.

That swing times at 1 second from takeaway to impact. I can’t swing that fast any more, so I have to slow down to about 1.25, but everything else I can do. (That doesn’t sound like a big difference, but it really is.)

So I would recommend to you, that if you are playing well, video-tape your swing. That video will be your life-saver, when you start wandering, for the rest of your golfing life.

A Club-Centered Golf Swing

Here’s something to think about and maybe try. You have heard of swing concepts based around the hands (really old guys), the arms (somewhat old guys), and the body (nearly everybody nowadays).

How about a swing based on the club? (See Ernest Jones, Manuel de la Torre, Vivien Saunders).

Watch this video of In Gee Chun’s golf swing. Start it at 2:25 to see it in super slow motion. Don’t watch her, though. Watch the club. Watch how the club is moving and you will see how a golf club is supposed to move. Go to full screen see it best.

Now figure out how to make your golf club move the same way. Hint: You don’t do that by copying how she moves. When you swing, keep your mind on your image of how her club moves.

All this has to do with applying the principle of external focus, as developed by Dr. Gabrielle Wulf.

More on Tempo

Tempo is one of the most important things to get right in the golf swing, but the most difficult to describe so you know how to do it. I’m always looking for good ways to express what the right tempo feels like.

I would like to share with you this description of tempo, which comes from the book, How to Become a Complete Golfer, by Bob Toski and Jim Flick.

“In swinging the club back and during the change of direction at the top, you should have a feeling of ease. You should never feel you are swinging the club hard. If you lose the feeling of ease, you have swung the club too fast and are going out of control.”

I would add that the feeling of ease should continue as you swing through the ball, too.

Don’t go too far in this direction by swinging too slowly. A swing with no poop is no good. Swing with intent, but easy intent.

My Transition Move

As the title suggests, this is how I start my forward swing. It is not the only way to do it, but it is my way and I’m presenting it to give you an option in addition to all the other stuff you see on the internet.

The move is this: my left butt cheek moves straight back. No turn, no slide, cheek straight back.

Of course it can’t do that really, it turns, but it feels straight back.

I move my hip back at a tempo that is in harmony with the rest of my swing. I make it fit in. Not too slow, and definitely not too fast.

What I get out of it is a turn of my torso that lines up everything so the arm/hand assembly flows into the hitting area with the clubhead traveling at the target through impact.

The hands lead the clubhead effortlessly through the ball and I get nice ball-then-ground contact off the center of the clubface.

All that is what you want in your swing, and this is how I get it.

There’s a Mike Malaska video in which he says the left leg pushes the left hip socket back on the forward swing. I think I am getting the same result in a different way.

Remember, this is just how my transition starts. You have do some other stuff after that, but that’s a different post.

Swing Thoughts for Slow Motion Swings

A long time ago I wrote a lot about swing thoughts. My point was and still is that they do not help you during your swing and that they actually harm you.

But lately I have come to realize that there is a place for them, which is when you practice your swing in slow motion, very slow motion, and without hitting golf balls.

When you practice your swing you want to do it in slow motion because you can feel everything that happens. If you know what it is you want to do, you can feel very clearly if you did it or not.

Your errors and successes stand much more than when you swing at a normal speed.

Also, you have the time to introduce positive swing thoughts. A slow motion swing proceeds slowly enough that these thoughts do the job of coaching you as your swing moves along without interfering with it, and actually help you hit all the right marks.

Eventually you want your swing to be automatic so that everything that is supposed to happen is what happens without your having to pay attention to any of it, just as you never pay attention when you use a knife and fork at the dinner table. You just use them.

To build that unconscious knowledge of your swing, practice it slowly with conscious coaching via slow-motion swings. That’s how it’s done.

Straight Lines in the Golf Swing

We pay a lot of attention to making sure the clubface is square to the target line at impact because of the overwhelming effect that clubface orientation has on the flight of the ball.

Let us not neglect the club’s path, however. You can’t hit the ball north if your swing goes northwest.

I think the simplest way to ensure that the club is traveling along the target line at impact it to imagine that the club swings along the target line the whole time, back and through, kind of like a Ferris wheel.

We know that can’t happen. We can’t swing the club along a straight line like that. We can only swing it around.

But I believe that if you visualize the target line on the ground and “swing along it,” your normal swing will take the club up and around in such a way that prevents you from carrying the club too far to the inside or the outside at the start, and likewise back through the ball.

It works great at least for me.

I’m not suggesting you change your swing in any way, just the way you think about where your swing is going.

Two points. If your method is to hit at the ball instead of swing through it, this might not work. If you try to put in a conscious physical assist, that absolutely won’t work.

Just visualize the line and feel your swing going along it. That simple.

Tiger Woods’s Swing Pointers

A few years ago I came across Tiger Woods’s five swing pointers. I should have saved the reference, but I didn’t. Anyway, I present them to you with my commentary.

Tiger: I turn my shoulders as far as possible without letting the range of motion disrupt my spine angle or the position of my right leg.
TRG: Complete your backswing. Keep the position and flex of the right leg fixed.

Tiger: I make my shoulders and arms work together throughout the swing. I don’t let one get too far ahead of behind the other. That is one of the secrets of good rhythm and tempo.
TRG: Also for hitting the ball where you intend.

Tiger: I keep the clubface square throughout the swing. That means the clubface is parallel with the left wrist and forearm.
TRG: How do you do that if all of that is behind your head and you can’t see them? You feel it. If you try it, you’ll find out it’s not that hard to do.

Tiger: I strive to get the sequence of motion on the downswing just right. My lower body leads the way, followed by my shoulders, arms, and hands.
TRG: Many good golfers start their lower body forward before their upper body has finished the backswing. That’s a good move if you can do it. Otherwise, see point #2.

Tiger: I hit through the ball, not at it. I want to keep the clubhead traveling fairly low to the ground for a brief period after impact. That thought will promote solid contact, accuracy and maximum distance.
TRG: The first sentence is how impact is done: hit(or swing) through the ball, not hit at. (Putt that way, too.) Keep the club low after impact to drive the ball forward. The loft of the club and its trajectory at the ball take care of getting it in the air.

Swing a Golf Club Every Day

Swing a golf club every day, ten, twenty times. Don’t worry, you can do it inside and you won’t hit the ceiling.

Swinging every day is how you remember what your golf swing feels like, and that’s the important thing, not the technique of the swing, but the feel of the technique.

When your swing deserts you it’s because you forgot how it is supposed to feel.

Swing a golf club every day so the feeling becomes natural, a part of who you are, what just comes out when you move the club.

Anyone Can Hit a Long Ball

This is the title of an article by Mickey Wright in the February 19, 1962 Sports Illustrated. I recommend that you read it.

The link goes to the SI vault, where entire issues are archived. At the web page you get to when you follow the link, click on ORIGINAL LAYOUT. Then click on the number 96.

That will send you to a reproduction of the original magazine. The article begins on page 35, but it is worth your while to get there page by page to see what SI used to be like and what kind of features they have. In the following issue there would be an article on the fiberglass vaulting pole which had just been introduced to much controversy as John Uelses was the first person to vault over 16 feet. Notice that horse racing and wrestling are covered. At the right time of year so was yachting.

Pay attention to the golf ads. On page 13, Wilson Sporting goods, back then major player in the golf equipment world as well as all sporting goods, has in its ad the announcement that it has introduced the first fully matched set of golf clubs. At that time, this was really new and something special.

Also the Wilson Staff golf ball was the Pro V1 of its day. MacGregor, another major sporting goods company put out the ball the Jack Nicklaus played. His contemporaries wonder how many additional tournaments he would have won if he had had a decent ball to play with.

I always liked to read For the Record and Faces in the Crowd (read about Louis Moniz), on page 83. The weekly college basketball write-up like the one beginning on page 84 is sorely missed. In season, major league baseball and college football got the same treatment.

See also the letter to the editor on page 88 titled, A Hole In 10. And after that one, read about Terry Baker, the finest athlete Oregon has ever produced. I saw him play football twice and basketball once.

Anyway, Wright’s article is full of good advice, and browsing through the magazine is great fun. I’ll leave you with her thought that anyone can drive the ball 200 yards if they do what she says. In the early 1960s, 200 yards was a long drive for a recreational golfer. How times have changed.