A Different Approach to Golf Swing Mechanics
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Golf magazines, blogs, infomercials, instructional TV shows, your golf friends, teaching pros, etc., all have various thoughts and philosophies regarding the proper swing mechanics. Spend an hour or two perusing these various outlets and you’ll quickly discover that there are thousands upon thousands of tips, tricks, “secrets”, must-do’s, must-not-do’s, many of which are conflicting, counterintuitive, and some of which are far-fetched and wacky. Continue reading this article as we take a different approach to golf swing mechanics for your chance to improve better and faster!
Sort Out Your Own Truth
For those of you looking to improve your game, the question is simple: Who is right and who is wrong? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, because every piece of information you find will have some truths and some fallacies; others will have more truth, and others will be only somewhat useful.
This can all be extremely confusing. Watch anyone who has a new “secret” on the golf course every time they play, only to not see any improvement, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Ask an Easier Question
Above all else, golf swing mechanics should be basic, and easily explainable. The popular five-minute fixes or drills that guarantee to cure your slice merely serve as band-aids and don’t address the important questions. The question shouldn’t be, “How do I stop slicing the ball?” It should be, “How do I make my swing consistent and easily repeatable without utilizing a ton of head space?”
The answer to that question is easier to answer, and will save you a lot of time and money as well. The proper swing mechanics all start with the right setup, which you can find here. Once your setup is correct, we can delve into the basic characteristics that all good swings possess.
1. Golf Swings Are All About Rotation and Gravity
The biggest reason setup is so important is because it allows your body the ability to rotate properly. The hips are engaged and free to rotate back and through, as are the shoulders.
There is plenty of literature in the world discussing the separation of the shoulder turn vs the hip turn. The idea is that by resisting your hips and rotating your shoulders, you’ll create an effect similar to a coiled spring. Not only is this not true, attempting to resist your lower body while turning your shoulders will damage both your body and your ability to swing consistently.
In the video clip below, Sports Science shows how the X-Factor is created, but demonstrates that it’s his ability to rotate that allows him to generate clubhead speed with minimal effort. It’s this use of rotation that allows him to be arguably, pound-for-pound, the longest golfer on earth.
If you can rotate freely throughout a swing, longer and straighter shots with less effort are inevitable.
2. Golf Swings Are All About Rhythm
Watch the world’s best golfers, and you’ll see that they all have incredible rhythm. The individual rhythms might be different: some slow and languid, some quick and brisk, and some a mixture in-between.
What you won’t find on any tour is stiff, choppy, forced swings which can sometimes look like splitting firewood more than a golf swing. With proper rotation, and letting the club swing back and through, you’ll find your own individual rhythm in no time.
3. “Control” is Your Biggest Enemy
Imagine a baseball pitcher trying to dissect and optimize his throwing arm positions, or a basketball player checking his elbow position on every shot or free throw. Paralysis by analysis, and trying to control every variable, is the most common problem of every golfer, regardless of skill level.
Unlike most sports or activities, there’s no shot clock or no defenders to quicken your decision-making in real-time. For golfers, we have all the time in the world to make decisions, and that’s a big reason why so many players feel the need to control every aspect of our swings and our games.
In reality, the best golf is played when a player lets go of positions, swing thoughts, and all the little tips and tricks and cures and just swings the club to the target. When a bad shot is hit, the idea shouldn’t be “what did I do wrong?”, it should be, “let’s make the next swing a better one.”
These are the three most important keys to any and all swing mechanics.
It Won’t Fix Your Swing Overnight
It’s possible that many of you are not convinced about this, and that you demand to be given something concrete and explicit to try and do with your golf swing to make it better. This fails in two ways: First, golf swings are dynamic and complex, and even if you do manage to execute a swing thought or a fix, there’s no guarantee that this fix is the cause of your swing inefficiencies.
This will lead down a road of confusion which will compound into more swing thoughts/problems. Secondly, these fixes can take a lot of time to implement, and a great deal of effort to execute repeatedly. If you’re going to put in that kind of effort, doesn’t it make more sense to focus on the swing as a whole instead of its parts?
The best way to instill what good swing mechanics are is to watch players with good swing mechanics and try to emulate their habits, without asking them about how or what they do.
Why? You will most likely get an answer of what they think they are doing (as a way of not being rude and giving some kind of concrete answer), or they will be honest and say, “I don’t know, actually. I just try to swing the club at the target.” The latter answer can make some feel like the good player is hiding something, when they are most likely telling the truth.
That doesn’t mean that there are no resources for those looking for basic keys to swinging the club effectively. The easiest and cheapest (free) information about how to focus on simplicity in the golf swing is on YouTube, through an instructor known as Shawn Clement. The video is posted below, and although all of his videos are insightful, it’s best to stick with one and keep it simple.
The Bottom Line
Figuring our a solution to a problem is not always an easy task. Instead of trying to come up with the million dollar answer and the most complicated way to fix your swing, give these ideas a try and watch your percentage of effortless, solid golf shots increase. Sometimes simple is the best way to go. May the fore be with you!