October 25, 2011

Convert your LONG swing into a W I D E swing

With every generation of TOUR players, we see an “evolution” of the golfswing with which they use to compete, based on a number of components. Sure, better equipment and hotter golf balls have had an influence, as has the “athlete-ification” of the modern player, but it’s more the mindset of today’s players that is so different. They refuse to succumb to the thought that a perfect swing is unattainable (or at the least they are using Vince Lombardi’s adage that to be great one must “pursue perfection and accept excellence”).  They refuse to accept that it’s impossible to hit a ball straight, as opposed to the mandate set forth by generations past that one must choose a shape  to their ball-flight…and live and die by it.

We are seeing a mass exodus from the days of complacency, when players had quirky, timing-dependent swings, and defended them by saying “I know I need perfect timing for my swing to work, but when I’m ‘on’, watch out because I’ll beat your tail with it! When my timing’s off, you need to ‘watch out’ as well, but more for safety purposes— I have no idea where it’s going”.

If your clubhead is closer to the ground at the completion of your backswing (the most common terms would be that you’ve gone ‘past parallel’, or you are ‘over-swinging’), you will have some serious timing variables at impact. There is such an inverse ratio of body turn to arm swing that your timing must be perfect, and the dicey part is that you are forced to start the downswing by pushing the club upward, thus fighting gravity.

Listen, if no one’s told you already, golf is a non-violent, genteel sport—no fighting allowed. In addition, you must wait what seems like an eternity for the arms to ‘catch up’ with the body on the down swing. If you lose your patience or get the impulse to hit it hard, your body will unwind too soon and outrace your arms to the ball, and the shot will be missed. Badly.

So, let’s take that long, loopy, one-shot-I’m-a-cowboy-and-the-next-I’m-cow-poop  swing of yours and eliminate some impact variables, shall we?

Replacement program

One of the biggest hurdles in making this change is in the timing department. If you attempt to ‘shorten’ your backswing (“Hey Dave, just feel like you’re taking a three quarter swing!”), you lop off some elapsed time in the backswing.  This will inevitably feel like you get to the ball too soon on the downswing…and most likely abandon ship on the swing change.

The patient plodder will hammer away at it on the practice ground until they are comfortable with the new ‘beat’ of their golf swing. For the rest of you who don’t possess such Saintly patience (and by my estimation this is the overwhelming majority of you), you need to replace the extra length with extra width. If you replace one movement with another, you can keep your rhythm fairly close to the same, enabling you to check the ‘build new timing’ item off your to-do list.

On the practice tee try replacing the extra length with extra width.  You will end up with an ‘imprint’ of where the club should be at the top of the backswing , and thus be able to feel the difference between the old and new. If you can feel it, you can fix it. Here’s how to do it.

Get pushy

SwingShot.com - See Your Real Swing

Take an iron club, and swing to top of your backswing. Hold your position, and use the palm of your bottom hand (your right if you are right-handed) and apply outward pressure on your top thumb. This will enable you to feel your lead arm (left for righties) extend, and the trail arm will stretch out to a 90 degree angle. You should feel that your thumbs are as far away from your right ear as you can get them. You may have had well-intended friends and playing partners tell you that your left arm is “bent” at the top of your swing, and they are right. But what they can’t tell you is why.

Generally speaking, it’s the right arm that breaks down, or bends too much, taking the left arm with it. So by simply applying a bit of outward pressure with the palm of your bottom hand, you can keep the grip end closer to the ground than the head at the top of the backswing, enabling you to begin the downswing by letting the left arm and the left knee move in sync towards the ball (like the big kids do), as opposed to having to start the downswing  by moving the club upwards…a colossal waste of energy, don’t you think?

Give this exercise the attention it deserves, and soon you will have that wide, athletic, powerful swing you always dreamed of.

This article was written by Seth Glasco. 

Seth’s teaching pro credentials are spectacular.  Seth worked for the internationally acclaimed “Golf Digest Instruction Schools”, he was on the original teaching staff of the “Nicklaus/Flick Golf Schools” and Worked alongside Director of Instruction Hank Haney as “National Director of the ESPN JUNIOR GOLF ACADEMY”.   He also has taught the teachers when he worked for Jack Nicklaus at Golden Bear Golf Centers training and certifying teaching pros.  Seth has taught golf in 24 countries and 38 states.  He was Director of Golf Instruction at The Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, Director of Instruction at the Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf in Las Vegas, NV and currently is Director of Instruction at Stallion Mountain Golf Club in Las Vegas, NV.

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