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6 Essentials of the Golf Swing

Nov 22, 2007
To conquer the correct swing in golf, there must be constant repetition of the correct movements. We do not know just where in the system it resides, but whether it is muscular memory, or the wearing of certain grooves or channels in the mind, or - as is probable - a combination of the two, it is obvious that the more often the same succession of movements can be repeated the clearer the memory will be.

It is mainly for this reason that I teach and preach and practice that every shot from the full drive to the putt should be played with the same movement. Of course in the drive the movement is both more extensive and bolder than for the shorter shots, but fundamentally it is the same. The result must be a feeling of "in-to-out" stroking across the face of the ball - played not at the ball, but through it. The "in-to-out" refers to the relation of the feel of the path of the club head to the desired line of flight of the ball.

The only shots in golf which I have been unable to play or to teach as sections of the fundamental "in-to-out" swing are certain shots which call for cut pulled under and across the ball.

But for ninety-nine out of every hundred shots a golfer must play, the swing is the movement necessary. So to clear the ground I will list what I consider to be the essentials of the swing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

If you have these six essentials well embedded in your system and if you have developed some conscious control of your swing by getting the feel of the right movements - your game will rarely or never desert you.

Of course the comfortable, reliable, right feel is not a thing that comes all at once. For instance, it takes years - though not if your teacher teaches by feel - to feel nicely set and comfortable before the ball; weight between the feet, perfectly free and active and yet firmly planted.

There is no check anywhere in a good swing. There is no such thing as the "dead top" of a swing - there are four points each one of which might be so considered if it were not for the other three! They are: (1) When the pivot (feet to shoulders) has reached its top, the arms are still going up. (2) When the arms have reached their top, the body is on its way down. (3) When the arms begin to come down, the wrists have still to break back, and (4) When the wrists break.

There is of course a great deal more to be said about the swing than I have said here, which is intended simply as an outline of the fundamentals as I see them. Practice your swing along these guidelines, and you will improve.
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