Faults And Fixes

Forget the myths and find your game

This Article Features Photo Zoom

The perpetuation of the many myths in traditional golf instruction has led to countless injuries, inconsistent results and a world of frustration. Simply swinging the golf club in the way that the body is designed to move will lead to greater consistency and greater enjoyment for a significantly longer time. The eight myths covered in this story are the classics, and I’m certain that just about every avid player has read or been taught at least one, if not all, of them at one time or another. Understanding why these traditional pieces of golf instruction are wrong for you, and how to fix them, will free you of some major obstacles and allow you to improve both your swing and your ballstriking almost immediately. Read on and get ready to improve.

Myth #1: When addressing the ball, bend from your waist or hips.
faults and fixesFault: First of all, bones don’t bend, which is exactly what the hips consist of. Bending from the waist produces a curve or slouch in the lower back, severely restricting rotation.

Fix: A proper setup must yield two things: balance and range of motion. A setup that doesn’t allow for both to be maintained throughout the swing is flawed from the start. Range of motion is unrestricted when you bend from the hip joints. This puts the spine in a neutral position, which allows for maximum stability and mobility. If you sit on the edge of a chair with your back straight, you’re bent at your hips.

Drill: Begin by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Take one hand and put it in the small of your back with your palm open and facing out. Now place a golf club in your hand, holding the shaft near the clubhead so that the shaft runs straight up your spine with the grip end against the back of your head. Maintaining these contact points with the club, bend forward from the hip joints. If the grip end of the club is still in contact with the back of your head while holding the end of the club in the small of your back, then you’re bending properly. If not, it means you’re either rounding your shoulders or bending from the waist, not the hip joints.

Above, Left: Taking the club away with the left shoulder tends to create poor rotation and a disconnection of the arms. Notice how my arms and club don’t make it to the top here. Above, Right: Using the right shoulder to initiate the takeaway creates a much fuller and more connected turn. Here, you’ll notice that my shoulders have rotated freely.
Myth #2: Start the backswing with the left shoulder and hands.
Taking the club away with the left shoulder tends to create poor rotation and a disconnection of the arms. Notice how my arms and club don’t make it to the top here.

Beginning the swing this way restricts shoulder rotation and causes the club to get “inside” or “behind” your body.

Fix: Start the swing with the right shoulder. This keeps the hands in front of the chest and guarantees a full shoulder turn. By initiating the swing with the right shoulder, the entire body stays connected. Conversely, starting the swing with the left shoulder doesn’t necessarily turn the right shoulder, creating a myriad of potential problems, chief among them, limiting the range of motion.

Drill: Cross your arms in front of you. Lift your elbows and forearms away from you until they’re parallel to the ground. Start with your left shoulder, rotating it to your chin. Return to the beginning and start with your right shoulder. Notice how much easier it is to rotate the upper body.


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