The Proper Golf Swing – Your Road to the Proper Golf Swing Begins with a Correct Address!

A proper golf swing is the direct result of how well a golfer positions themselves at address.

Many golfers, however, are blind to this obvious fact.

The proper golf swing is truly the culmination of all its preceding procedural steps.

To secure their best chances of executing a proper golf swing, the golfer must perform all the preliminary steps correctly, methodically and consistently. Failure to complete any one of these actions will dramatically reduce the golfer’s chances of swing success.

With some quick, professional instruction on how to correctly approach and address the golf ball, a proper golf swing is easily achievable.

In the book, “The Master Key to Success at Golf” author Leslie King offers some professional direction of his own. He explains the correct approach to addressing the golf ball – helping the golfer to effectively and continuously perform a proper golf swing.

King writes;

“Note what the first-class player does. They take the club from their caddie; mold their hands on the grip to induce the initial feel of the club head and square up the face to the grip before they address the ball. Only then do they sole the club behind the ball with grip and club-face still, of course, square to the intended line of flight.

The positioning of the feet, the actual taking up of the stance, comes LAST in this brief order of procedure in preparation for the playing of the stroke.

The average amateur reverses this procedure. They take their club out of the bag, takes up their stance with the club vaguely grounded behind the ball and then fiddles with the hands and club head in the course of adjusting their grip.

This blurs the mental picture of the intended stroke and frequently builds up tension. It is the reason why so many mediocre players vary their grip on the club from one shot to the next without even realizing it.

Get the club-face and grip squared up BEFORE you place the feet in position.

And having done this in the correct order you will set your feet (for a straightforward shot) parallel to the intended line of flight just wide enough to take the width of your shoulders when using the driver. The weight should run through from the soles to the heels of both feet.

Bend forward from the waist, don’t lean, slightly flexing both knees. A glance will enable you to check that the club-face is lined-up squarely and here I would raise a point about which many people have a wrong conception, especially where iron clubs are concerned.

The front bottom edge, or leading edge of the base of the iron club, is the one with which you line-up, not the top edge. This front bottom edge must be set at right-angles to the proposed line of flight. Do that and the blade will be properly squared up. Many players feel, quite wrongly, that in this position the face of the club is open. Nothing of the sort. It is square, the position you want. Make sure you get it, but NOT by turning your club head AFTER you have settled your grip. If necessary you must move away from the ball and reapply your grip so that with the bottom, or leading, edge squared to the intended line of flight your hands, too, are squared up with the two “V”s pointing to a spot between the chin and the right shoulder.

Your club is now properly set at the back of the ball.”

A proper golf swing is a direct result of a golfer’s positioning at address.

Use King’s advice to help you consistently swing like a pro!

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Golf Swing Mechanics – The “Triple Duty” of the Left Hand

Due to club design, the golfer’s left hand plays a major role in proper golf swing mechanics.

The left hand serves three important functions in the golf swing – positioning the club, maintaining the proper club position during the swing pattern and ensuring the correct clubface angle at impact.

From start to finish, the left hand’s “triple duty” is the key to successful golf swing mechanics.

Unfortunately, many golfers fail to fully understand and appreciate all three capacities of the left hand in successful golf swing mechanics.

In his book, “Golf Can Be an Easy Game”, author Joe Novak offers greater insight into the importance of the left hand in proper golf swing mechanics.

Novak writes;

“Golf clubs vary in length—from the 33-inch length of a putter shaft to the 43-inch length of the driver shaft. All clubs have handles on a graduated scale of lengths.

It is perfectly natural that the player should first place the club behind the ball, and from the placement of the club they will automatically know just where to stand, which is the second move.

However…let me call your attention to the fact that there is a certain peculiarity in the construction of golf clubs. The face of the club, the part that meets the ball, is not parallel with the shaft. It is “hooked in,” that is, it is angled so that it points off to the left a matter of two to five degrees. This exists in all properly designed clubs.

To those unfamiliar with this peculiarity, difficulties can be created at this very step.

However, understanding the hooked-in face construction of the golf club, the player can and will place the club properly to the ball.

The proper way to place a golf club to the ball is to tilt the handle of the club slightly in the direction of the shot. The shaft, in other words, is leaning or tilted slightly forward in the direction of the shot. Because of this forward tilt of the club handle the left hand will be directly over the ball and not over the club head.

Players who fail to understand this peculiarity of golf club construction place the club to the ball so that the shaft is perpendicular—that is, straight up and down, instead of being tilted or leaned forward slightly.

Obviously, only when the shaft is tilted forward slightly is the face of the club square with the line of the shot; and when the shaft is perpendicular, or straight up and down, the face of the club is aimed off to the left of the line of the shot.

In addition to this failure of incorrect aim, there is one other important reaction that arises from the way the club is placed to the ball, and that has to do with the way the left hand fits to the club. If there is any one thing that is important in a golf shot, it is the way in which the left hand works. As a matter of fact, it will be learned that the left hand action is the very crux of every golf shot. Actually, the left hand has a triple duty in a golf shot:

(1) Creating or determining the position of the club will be in during the swing.

(2) Keeping the club in the desired position.

(3) Bringing the club into and through the ball.

Now, the proper position of the left hand on the club is as follows: the hand is more or less on top of the shaft. When it is in the proper position, three knuckles of the left hand are in clear view when the player looks down at his hand and the left thumb is at a point more or less behind the shaft.

All this happens naturally, if the shaft of the club is tilted forward slightly when it is placed to the ball.

By comparison, if the shaft is placed incorrectly, that is, straight up and down, then the left hand will automatically shift to a point in front of the handle instead of on top. Only one knuckle, instead of three, will be in view and the thumb will be right on top of the shaft. This is a weak position of the left hand.

Carried to extremes, the correct position, with the left hand on top, would tend to produce hook shots, whereas, the incorrect position, with the left hand too far in front, would tend to produce slice shots.“

When evaluating your golf swing mechanics – remember the “triple duty” of the left hand.

Use Novak’s professional guidance to correctly position your left hand, helping execute proper golf swing mechanics and successfully swing the golf club!

Check back soon for more tips and posts to help improve your golf swing mechanics!

Beginner Golf Swing Instruction – Striking the Ball from the Tee or Grass – “Feeling” the Difference!

Here is a short piece on driving to help those struggling in beginner golf swing instruction programs. It concerns swing styles.

A different swing style must be used to hit a golf ball from each the tee and the fairway grass.

Many students in beginner golf swing instruction programs have a difficult time getting these swings right.

Beginner golf swing instruction programs teach their students a simple change in swing “feel” to help them strike the ball true and proper no matter how it’s positioned.

In the book, “How to Master the Irons, an Illustrated Guide to Better Golf”, authors Gene Littler and Don Collett offer some beginner golf swing instruction to students of the game. They provide valuable insight into the manner with which the club should be swung to strike the ball correctly from either a tee or its position on the grass.

They write;

“If you have a good grip and a fundamental understanding of the basic swing, wood shots should not give you too much trouble. The full swing is employed in hitting both the fairway woods and the driver, but there is a distinct difference and, as a result, a different feeling between hitting a ball off a grassy lie and hitting off a tee.

Difference Between Fairway Woods And Driver

The best way that I can describe the difference is this: When playing your fairway woods, you must have the feeling that you are hitting slightly down on the ball, just as you do iron shots, whereas in driving a ball from a tee, where you are striving for as much distance as possible, you must feel that you are hitting slightly up on the ball at impact.

Tests have shown that, to hit a ball with maximum distance and carry, the ball must fly on a 45-degree trajectory. Since most drivers are constructed with 10 to 12 degrees loft, this would mean that the driver must be slightly inclined upward at impact in order to achieve this 45-degree trajectory.

This does not mean that you must perform a lifting action with your hands and arms in the hitting area in order to get the ball into the air. On the contrary, the arms are merely extended fully in the hitting area, thus forcing the hands into a whipping action which creates a wide, low arc with the clubhead as it smashes into and through the ball. Assuming that you have positioned yourself over the ball correctly (it should be slightly inside your left heel) at the address and that you are in correct position coming into the hitting area, the clubhead will automatically be coming slightly up as it contacts the ball.

I do not believe you should consciously strive to hit up on the ball; rather, you should create the feeling of sweeping the ball off the tee with the clubhead. “

Beginner golf swing instruction programs know students have a difficult time making the proper and necessary adjustment from hitting golf balls off the tee to off the grass.

To help make this transition easier, try incorporating Littler and Collett’s advice into you practice sessions.

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Golf Swing Mechanics – A Simple 3 Step Analysis

Examining the golf swing mechanics of a player requires a specific method of analysis.

Professional instructors use a trained eye to evaluate each component of their clients swing pattern and offer valuable feedback and advice.

Truth is – we can all perform a “self-review” of our own golf swing mechanics using a few simple steps. The three core areas of golf swing mechanics which a player should focus their assessment on are weight shift, body usage and footwork.

Many professional instructors consider these three departments of the swing pattern to be the essence of a successful golf swing. Mastering these three golf swing mechanics can be the key to a winning game!

In his book, “Golf Can Be an Easy Game”, author Joe Novak further expands upon these three aspects of golf swing mechanics using, as an example, one of his students he refers to as D.M.

Novak writes about D.M.;

“What brought his handicap from 13 to 3? What gave him the ability to shoot a 66, and ten years later shoot a 67? It was a simple case of synchronizing the two things every golfer must do if they want to play good golf.

First, there must be a basic ability to swing the club correctly, and the correct way to swing it is with a sense of body control. This ability to motivate or swing the club with the body is impossible unless the player has the proper footwork and a proper sense of balancing themselves, so that they have the full, free use of their body. It is from the body that the power flows, so that the distance aspect of a golf shot depends on just how the body is being used.

Second, the player must be able to keep the club in position throughout the swing so that the club will produce the effect for which it was designed, and the ball will fly true and straight towards the objective.

Now, D.M. had (1) the footwork, which gave him the necessary balance so that he could (2) use his body to swing the club, but he was totally lacking in (3) the proper club positioning control so that his shots kept going “hither and yon,” and until he corrected his errors in this respect, his golf game was erratic.

Everybody’s golf game is subject to the following analysis.

First, how well does the player handle their weight; what is their sense of balance; do they know how to work their feet and legs in order to establish the proper sense of balance so that the body can be established as the motivating factor in swinging the club?

Secondly, how well does the player use their body; do they understand that a golf swing is a double-handed, ambidextrous motion in which there is an upswing as well as a downswing—an upswing that is made with the right side of the body and a downswing and follow through that is made with the left side?

Third, if the player has the footwork which will give them this double-handed, ambidextrous motion with their body, do they knew exactly how to use their hands to exert the necessary positioning control over the club so that they can make the ball do just what they want it to do?“

Knowing how to properly assess these three key components of golf swing mechanics is the key to improving your swing.

Use Novak’s three part analysis to help you evaluate your own swing pattern.

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Beginner Golf Swing Instruction – Don’t Make Swinging Your Long Irons a Long Shot!

Through experience, beginner golf swing instruction programs have found the long irons to be the student golfer’s most challenging clubs to master. Beginner golf swing instruction programs watch their students struggle with these clubs in their practice sessions and clinics – knowing all to well that this struggle will unfortunately be compounded during competitive play.

So why do student golfers have such difficulty learning to successfully swing the long irons?

Many beginner golf swing instruction programs believe this problem to be a result of golfers using an incorrect swing tempo and/or possessing poor “nerve control”.

In the book, “How to Master the Irons, an Illustrated Guide to Better Golf”, authors Gene Littler and Don Collett offer greater insight into these two factors – explaining their powerful influence on the golfers ability to effectively swing the long irons. Littler and Collett recognize the problem as being two fold – the golfers failure to both;

1. “Smoothly” swing the long irons with a consistent tempo

And

2. Properly “mesh the gears of the mind and the muscles together so that they harmonize” during competitive play.

They write;

Swing Smoothly

One of the most important things to remember when hitting a long iron is to swing smoothly. The reason why the average golfer is a poor long-iron player is that they speed up their tempo and rush the swing too fast. Try to swing the long irons to the same tempo as the medium and short irons and you will find the results far more rewarding.

Maintaining a constant and consistent swing tempo is a difficult thing to achieve. I devote a great deal of my practice time working on this because tournament play demands consistency if you are to be a winner. Under these conditions, a golfer’s swing cannot change too much during a round, but their timing and tempo can leave them with one swing of a club. Why is this?

Mesh Mind and Muscle!

The biggest reason is that muscle tension and timing become prime influencing factors on a golf swing once the tournament flag is run up. Have you often wondered how you can swing so freely and score so wonderfully well in a friendly round, then have your game suddenly go sour during a club tournament? Both the mind and the muscles influence the swing, and it takes good nerve control to keep your swing and game under control.

Jackie Burke, the stylish Texan who has won the Masters and many other tournaments, perhaps best summed up tournament golf when he said, “There are a lot of players who have the physical ability to win tournaments, but few of them do.” Burke, of course, was implying that the mind is a strong factor in winning tournaments—about 70 per cent, as a matter of fact. If golf is 70 per cent mental, then we must learn to mesh the gears of the mind and the muscles together so that they harmonize in competition. This takes experience, years of playing, and, most of all, a positive and confident determination that what you are about to undertake (the shot before you) can be performed exactly as you have planned it. This positive attitude starts with the mind and ends with a positive swing that has a good tempo to it.

A golfer in competition must learn to discipline their mind, and not panic or get excited, particularly when the going gets rough or when they face a demanding shot. Long-iron play requires quiet concentration and attention to where the ball should be placed—not where you do not want it to go; that is negative thinking. My long-iron play in the Open championship at Oakland Hills is an example. Throughout the final day, I hit some truly fine shots because I was swinging freely and confidently. I was thinking positively and did not let the excitement of being in contention and winning the tournament influence my play until the eighteenth hole. Then, when I realized I could actually win the tournament, I suddenly let a negative thought creep into my positive attitude. Play it safe, I thought. As a result, I hit a poor second shot to the eighteenth hole with a four-wood and had to scramble mightily for a bogey five.

Thus, you can see what the mind can do to the muscles during the swing. Do your thinking behind the ball—and make it as positive as possible—then step up and hit it without too much mental exertion.

Suggestions for Beginners

If you are a beginner, I suggest that you first learn to swing and control the short and medium irons before tackling the long irons. The latter are the most difficult to hit because they are straighter faced and have less loft. It takes a well-grooved and well-timed swing to hit a perfect long iron, and behind such a swing lie countless hours of practice sessions on the tee, not to mention the sessions spent under the watchful eye of the club teaching professional.

As you progress in ability and experience, you will find the longer irons easier to hit. Try to develop a certain rhythm to your swing, and use it with every swing from the driver on down to the wedge. Some golfers have a quicker tempo than others. Some are swingers, some are hitters. It remains for you to find the proper timing and tempo for your swing, consistent with your physical makeup and temperament. After you develop your swing tempo, stick with it and groove it until it becomes automatic. You will then be on your way to a better swing and better golf“.

Beginner golf swing instruction programs know – to have a winning golf game, student golfers must be able to effectively use their long irons.

Try incorporating Littler and Collett’s advice into your practice routines!

Check back soon for more beginner golf swing instruction articles and posts to help quickly improve your golf game!

Golf Swing Mechanics – Timing is Everything!

All golfers are taught the fundamentals of golf swing mechanics – that is the easy part.

The harder task, for the student golfer, is learning to put all the swing components together in a beautifully choreographed and precisely timed movement. A smoothly timed movement is essential to creating that powerful and seamless swing pattern and expression.

Golfer’s who possess the very best golf swing mechanics but lack the necessary swing rhythm and coordination will never play golf to their true potential. How frustrating is that?!

How do golfers develop this timing which pieces all the golf swing mechanics together? Take a tip from author Joe Novak.

In his book, “Golf Can Be an Easy Game”, Novak shares his perspective on the importance of timing and its affect on golf swing mechanics.

Novak writes;

“The formula reads as follows:

Ultimate results depend on post factor efficiency.

These seven words succinctly describe the artistry of a golf swing; there are things to do, but there is a certain time to do them.

First the golfer must handle their weight; but shifting the weight from one foot to the other does nothing of itself, it only places the player in a position where they can use and utilize their body correctly.

Secondly, only when the golfer has the basic or prior footwork so that they are in a position to use their body to swing the club, are the hands free to exert over the club the proper sense of position and control, and the ability to apply the club correctly to the ball. In other words, a golf shot only flies as the club makes it fly, and how the ball flies is a direct result of the club position. The club position is a direct result of what the hands are doing, and what the hands are doing is the post factor that determines ultimate efficiency.

No wonder so much time and effort is concentrated on the correct grip in golf.

I have often said that a runner runs with their feet, but a golfer golf’s with their hands. Of course, for the runner to get their feet in action, there is a lot of arm and shoulder work, and for a golfer to get their hands working, there is a lot of footwork and body action.

To repeat, there are three basic factors in golf:

1. Footwork, for balance
2. Body action, for power
3. Hand action, for club control

But to these three factors there is an order of importance, a delicate sense of timing that so many golfers miss. They fail to get the knack of properly coordinating these three factors into a working arrangement.

As there is a certain order of importance, so likewise there is a certain order of performance in these three basic operations of a golf swing. In other words, in the properly executed golf shot the player moves smoothly from one operation to the other, but all operations function collectively towards the final goal of applying the club to the ball. So there is in the golf shot an order of importance and an order of performance which precludes any such thing as a one-piece swing. Be prepared to reach your ultimate goal of a smooth, flowing performance through a natural step-by-step procedure rather than through any short cut.

The other comment I wish to make is that if there is error in the performance of any operation in the swing, then such an error would multiply and increase as it would be carried on into the next operation. So there must be sure performance in the execution of each of the three factors”.

Professional instructors know golf swing mechanics alone are not sufficient enough to create a winning golf swing – timing is necessary.

Implement Novak’s professional advice into your practice routine!

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Improve Golf Swing – Wrist Action and Swing Performance

In order to improve golf swing performance, golfers must correctly incorporate proper wrist action into their golf swing.

For many golf instructors and their students, this is easier said than done.

To truly improve golf swing performance golfers must understand that, during the swing pattern, the mechanical action of the wrists is to be both “passive” and “reactive”. Properly applying this “passive” and “reactive” wrist action, however, is where most golfers struggle.

The reality is proper use of the wrists in the swing pattern is critical to swing timing. A mistimed swing will forever ruin your drives and your game. Get this action right however, and golfers will improve golf swing performance almost instantly!

In the book, “On Learning Golf”, author Percy Boomer offers some professional instruction to help reader’s improve golf swing performance. Boomer focuses attention on the wrists and their confusing role in the golf swing.

Boomer writes;

“There is no action in golf less understood than the use of the wrists, for curiously enough we do not have to work them, but we have to let them work themselves —like the hinges on a door.

This is important because the wrists will only be used correctly when we have the right idea of their correct mechanical action. If we get the wrong idea, the opening of the wrists in the region of the ball is bound to be mistimed. You will never get perfect timing if you try to flick the club head through the ball by wrist and hand action—perfect timing will come only when the opening of the wrists is brought about automatically by the momentum of the whole swing.

To put it in another way, the movements of the feet, legs and hips belong to the active, intentioned part of the down swing; the opening of the wrists belongs to the passive, purely reactive part of it. So keep at the forefront of your mind that the hands and wrists do not and must not “nip the club head through the ball.”

The trouble in learning to let your wrists open them¬selves (which is what they must do) is, that at the top of the swing, the club head seems so far from the ball that you feel that, if you do not help it down with wrist and hand action, it will never get there—or will get there so late as to make a horrible slice. The result is that you do work your wrists, you come down too soon, and pull instead of slicing! Low ground shots to the left are most frequently due to this premature and faulty wrist action.

Now this feel of the club head being a long way from the ball and a long way from your left side is actually a most desirable one. Register it in your feel cabinet, and if you can widen the gap between the club head and your left side, do so; you can never get it too wide. The gap means that you are “coming down one after another.”

Personally I detest the word “flick”. It suggests a local effort where there should be none. That is why teachers now prefer the word “flail” to describe the function of the wrists…

…Another image that has helped some of my pupils to visualize the development of a correct swing is that (in this section of the swing) our arms and the club form a fan—the line of the left arm being one edge of the fan, the club being the other. The two are pivoted together by the wrists and (like the two edges of an actual fan) may be shut close together or opened out at quite a wide angle. We open the fan partially on the up swing, complete the opening at the beginning of the down swing—and snap together again some two feet or more past the ball.

The hands and wrists are passive agents, they are not free agents—they do not decide in which direction they shall go; they go in the arc set out for them by the turning of the pivot. This is true of the up swing as well as the down. The pivot not only provides the power, it also controls direction—guiding the club head in its correct plane through the ball. That is why a good pivot is so important.

But we must not forget that we are going to learn golf by feel; so here is a little exercise that will teach you to detect and ever afterwards to recognize the difference between feet activity and hand activity at the beginning of the back swing.

Take up your normal stance before the ball. Then without movement of feet, pivot, shoulders, or arms, take the club head back a full three feet entirely by wrist and hand movement. Note the feel. Then re-ad¬dress the ball (being careful this time to keep your left arm and the club shaft in a straight line from shoulder to club head). Now turn your body around from the knees only until your club head is a yard back again—making no use of any movement above the hips. Note the entirely different feel.

In the first case, your hands lifted the club head back; in the second, your pivot carried it back, and you will have felt at once that the latter is much the smoother and much the more consistent way. It is this carry back beginning at the pivot which I want you to cultivate“.

Learning to correctly incorporate proper wrist action into your swing pattern will dramatically improve golf swing performance!

Use Boomer’s professional tips and techniques to help guide your swing practice.

Check back soon for more articles and posts to improve golf swing performance!

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