In with the new. The swings of today?s top young golfers are vastly more efficient than those used by yesterday's heroes, which begs the question
The trophy cases of the likes of Nicklaus, Irwin, Miller, Stewart and
Trevino are full of championship hardware, but all had swings that
would now be considered old-fashioned. Yesterdays players used a
significant amount of lateral lower-body movement, which placed a lot
of undue stress on the neck, hips and back. The great young players of
today strive for a more stacked position at impact, which is both more
efficient and much healthier for the body.
Most of my students struggle with the slice. Many of these golfers have
serious swing issues, but the majority certainly possess enough talent
and an understanding of the golf swing to keep slices at bay. The
problem is theyre trapped into hitting slices because their setup
facilitates swinging on the out-in path to which all slices owe their
The majority of recreational golfers fail to achieve the balance needed
to excel at golf or any athletic activity. One of the reasons why most
golfers dont swing in balance is that they swing too hard. A rule I
like to impose on my students is Swing as hard as you want to as long
as you finish the swing in balance.
Sometimes golf just isn’t fair. Professional baseball has Spring Training. The NFL and NBA have training camps and a handful of preseason scrimmages. But golf? Well, it’s up to each and every professional to get their game on track on their own and show up ready to compete at the highest level. There’s no organized stretching sessions (Can you see Tim Herron or Phil Mickelson showing up?), no group mental conditioning, no preseason practice tournaments. Professionals are left to prepare by themselves.
As a golf instructor and PGA Tour caddy, I’ve seen my fair share of
golf swings, ranging from the sweet rhythms of the best players in the
world to the herky-jerky moves of the frustrated first-timer. Yet
despite the huge gap in natural ability between the novice and the
professional, I’ve learned it’s not uncommon for the world’s elite
players to struggle with a few of the same mechanics and
course-management issues that a casual 18-handicapper might face during
a round. The swings of touring professionals may be more advanced, but
nobody is ever really immune to the occasional swing flaw or mental
mistake. We’re all human after all.
Match your swing to your body type for maximum performance
Not all athletes or golfers have an extreme body type. Instead, a great
number of players fall into the in-between category, meaning they
have a relatively average build with a solid combination of
flexibility and strength. If you have this type of body, you need to
develop a swing that takes advantage of both attributes, not just one
or the other. This body type is best suited to a Leverage swing.
Old-school golf instruction is full of imagery that was originally
created to help players make what were perceived as the the proper
moves in the swing. In those days, many of the technical aspects of the
golf swing werent completely understood, largely due to the lack of
video technology that exists today. Instead, players mostly relied on
feel, natural talent and repetition to hone their technique and overall
game. Not surprisingly, the average scores of recreational golfers
barely ever improved significantly, other than what was delivered by
technological advances in equipment and golf course conditioning.
Look at the end of your swing to find and fix hidden flaws
Basically, there are only two positions in the golf swing: the address
and the finish. Everything else is a motion and, as such, difficult to
analyze. But the finish is static and allows for serious self-analysis.
If you know what to look for, then how you end your swing can give you
some good ideas of whats going on in your motion.
Good golfers give the impression that their forearms suddenly cross over through impact, but the swing is so fast that it fools the eye. What little forearm roll there is begins in the backswing with a gentle clockwise rotation of both forearms, a motion that reverses itself as the club swings back to the golf ball.
Visualize slice and hook causes to eliminate them for good
The precision required to hit an absolutely straight golf shot is so great that, for all intents and purposes, such shots don’t exist. For that very reason, every golfer is either a hooker or a slicer. You may only hook or slice a little at times, but your shots do have a pattern. Even the game’s best players favor a fade or draw.
Even golfers with technically sound swings make mistakes due to poor execution or bad decision-making. But on the whole, golfers with solid mechanics are able to consistently play solid shots because their technique allows them to do so.
Just how important are the feet, legs and hips? Well, some argue that they are the heart and soul of the golf swing. In fact, it was Byron Nelson who brought us the idea of “flexing the shaft with the lower body.” Jack Nicklaus also has repeatedly said that the swing begins from the ground up. Then why, despite advice from two of the best golfers who ever played, does the average golfer try to “muscle” the ball with his or her upper body?
In order to deliver the golf club powerfully into the back of the golf ball, you must maintain a firm base with your lower body and create a powerful backswing coil. This coil results by turning the upper body against the resistance of the lower body. Good players facilitate the creation of coil by maintaining the gap between the knees on the backswing (right). They unleash the energy stored in the coil by closing the gap on the downswing.
Why is it that some golfers improve dramatically and rapidly while others, no matter what they do, fail to advance beyond the level of novice? As a golf instructor who has given more than 10,000 golf lessons over the past eight years, I’m here to tell you why: Achieving successful results from a golf lesson begins and ends with you, not the instructor. An effective golf instructor can only do so much and is only as good as the student allows him or her to be. Hence, the first step to becoming a better golfer begins with becoming a better student.
The golf swing in its most simple form is a circle. The radius of this circle, back and through to the finish, is defined by the length of your left arm (for a right-handed golfer). Obviously, the wider the circle, the better.
Say hello to Iron Byron. It has the only perfect swing on the planet. That?s why everyone should be copying it
Want a 300-yard drive? No problem for Iron Byron. It can hit it right down the middle all day long. How about a 60-yard wedge shot? Just set it up to the ball, and that’s exactly what you’ll get, time after time. It has the only perfect swing on the planet. That’s why almost every major golf equipment manufacturer has used it to test the performance of their products and why everyone should be learning how to copy this machine.
Forget the evils you've learned and get your game on track
There are a number of reasons why the majority of recreational golfers never seem to get better. Lack of serious practice and playing time are major contributors, as are a lack of proper physical conditioning and improperly fitted clubs. But perhaps the most significant cause of most golfers’ inability to improve is poor instruction.
A step-by-step guide to improving your swing, one frame at a time
Using Video to analyze and improve your golf swing is the essence of being a “serious” student of the game. Attempting to tackle the golf swing without taking advantage of video technology is a tremendous handicap. In fact, there’s no question in my mind that one of the main reasons we’re seeing so many young superstars in golf today is the use of video analysis.
Whether you're snowbound or course-bound, here?s all you need to keep your game burning hot
Although there are many different swings, there are only two kinds of golfers: those who live in climes that allow year-round golf and those who don’t. For those who must suffer through months of frost-covered greens, watching wedges and irons collect dust, we feel your pain. However, there’s no reason why you can’t use the between-season time to prep your game for when the gates of your home course reopen to the rites of spring.
What to do and where to be throughout the swing for guaranteed success
When you watch Tour pros on television, you probably notice certain similarities in their respective swings. Good tempo is common, as well as good balance. Do you remember the last time you saw a professional golfer fall down after a swing or take a hack that looked awkward or rushed? Amateur golfers also tend to notice the look and feel of effortlessness Tour pros project during the swing. Of course, the prodigious distance their shots travel and the crispness of their ballstriking are impressive as well. The problem is, most amateurs simply don’t do the things the pros do before, during and after the swing and, as a result, are unable to get the same results. To hit the ball like a pro, you have to understand the moves they make and learn to do them yourself. Then, you’ll be solid.
A guide to finding and fixing common flaws that may be hiding in your swing
Over the years, I’ve worked with thousands of golfers, and if I had to find a common trait among them all, it would be that each and every one has his or her own unique swing. A second—albeit unfortunate—universal characteristic is that all of these swings are plagued by at least one major flaw.
Just round the corner from my house in northeastern Oklahoma lies Miami CC, a course on which I grew up and learned the game. It’s a track steeped in history, having at one time Ky Laffoon as its head professional. I taught each one of my five children to play golf on Miami CC—a course where each hole seems to demand a different golfing skill.