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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The Proper Golf Swing – An Exercise to Improve Your Downswing

Every golfer wants to consistently perform a proper golf swing.

But learning the proper golf swing involves a great deal of time and practice. The process can be both overwhelming and frustrating for the golfer.

A little coaching however can greatly accelerate the golfer’s success in developing a proper golf swing.

In the book, “The Master Key to Success at Golf” author Leslie King becomes such a “coach” to the reader. To help achieve the proper golf swing, King recommends a training exercise to better improve the golfer’s club head delivery to the ball. King refers to this exercise technique as “hitting and stopping”.

King writes:

“The art of making a delivery of the club head within the framework of a shaped swing is not one to be learned overnight. The answer is to be found in that all-important eight o’clock position of the club head as the hands arrive almost at ball level.

There is an exercise which I have proved can help enormously, though you will not find it easy to perform at first. This is the swinging of the club head down into the impact position and stopping, otherwise known as “hitting and stopping”.

The object is to increase hand-control of the club head. To allow you to stop it at impact the hands must retain control in the downswing with the back of the left hand in line with the forearm as the club head comes into the impact position.

If you find persistent difficulty in stopping the club head it can only be because the club head has been allowed to overtake the hands too early. Remember that while you are aiming to stop at impact the club must still be SWUNG down. Work on this exercise and train yourself and your hands to master it. Utilise all the phases of the movement I have outlined in the backswing and the downswing and when you bring the club head to a stop, check that your impact position left hand in line with forearm and square to the line of flight, left shoulder up, right knee folding in … is precisely the posed position we arrived at in the chapter on the downswing.

You will not be able to perform this exercise unless you keep firmly in your mind the need to WAIT FOR IT, and to keep the movement from the top smooth and unhurried.

But master it and perform it repeatedly. When you feel your hands and forearms aching as you persevere with this invaluable exercise you will know you are really achieving something.

You will be training the hands to do their work, gaining control over the shoulder-action (remember what I wrote in the chapter on the backswing?) and consolidating the delivery of the club head.

Furthermore it will help to keep the head steady. “Head up”, as rife in golf as the common cold in everyday life, is caused by hitting too early. Bear in mind the phrase, “Hit early, look early”. Better still make it the positive maxim, “Hit late, look late”.

And look at the back of the ball with BOTH eyes. You have two. Use them.”

To learn the proper golf swing, a golfer must take advantage of the knowledge and experience of professional instructors.

Try incorporating Kings “hitting and stopping” exercise into your practice routine and practice sessions.

Check back soon for more articles and posts on learning to consistently perform the proper golf swing!

Beginner Golf Swing Instruction – Are Your Golf Clubs the Best Fit for Both You and Your Golf Game?

Beginner golf swing instruction programs understand having the right tools makes learning and playing golf much more enjoyable.

It is a fact that student golfers can get more out of their beginner golf swing instruction if they are taught using correctly fitted clubs.

Beginner golf swing instruction programs offer their students some general advice and direction on purchasing a proper set of clubs. However, to learn what golf clubs provide the best personal choice and fit, student golfers need to perform further research.

Although an entire how to book could be written on proper club selection, fitting and purchase, a little information from an expert can go a long way in guiding you through your next golf club investment.

In the book, “How to Master the Irons, An Illustrated Guide to Better Golf”, authors Gene Littler and Don Collett offer valuable advice on how to go about choosing a proper set of golf clubs.

They write;

“Selecting the proper equipment is a big step toward playing better golf. This phase of golf is so often overlooked that I feel impelled to discuss it here at length, not only to clear up certain misconceptions concerning golf clubs, but to point out how important it is to have clubs that fit you and your swing.

There Is A Difference In Clubs

To the layperson, a golf club is a golf club. They all look alike. This is true to a point, but don’t let this similarity of appearance fool you. As any experienced golfer will tell you, there is a difference in golf clubs, just as there is a physical difference in the individuals who swing them.

Since no two golfers swing alike, it might seem that almost all players would require clubs made to order, to compensate for these individual differences. This, of course, is not true. What is necessary is a good, balanced set of clubs that have been selected by the golfer with the help and counsel of an experienced professional.

Always remember, it is entirely possible to have good equipment and still not have a correct, fitting set of clubs. You must fit the golf clubs to you and your swing, not yourself to the clubs.

So many golfers in their haste to get out and play make a hasty purchase and then, upon learning more about the game and the importance of having properly fitted clubs, find they must buy another set.

Find A Set To Fit You

MEASURING UP. The golf clubs of today are far different from what they were some 30 years ago. Improved club design, which have given clubs better balance and feel, are among the major reasons for the improved play of all golfers, particularly the professsionals.

Factory-made clubs are now fairly standardized and are designed to fit almost every golfer. Unless you are extremely tall or short, a factory set should suit your needs, for clubs don’t vary too much from standard specifications. In any case, don’t purchase a new set of clubs haphazardly.

SHAFT FLEXIBILITY AND SWING WEIGHT. The speed of your swing will determine the flexibility of your shaft and the swing weight of the clubhead.

If you are rather strong, the shaft should be on the stiff side with the swing weight a little heavier than medium. Conversely, if you are not so strong, it would be best to use a more flexible shaft with a lighter swing weight. Shafts come in several different flexes and different weights.

Generally, the dividing point for swing weight is D-3. Anything under that is getting on the light side, and anything over D-3 becomes correspondingly heavier as the number increases. In other words, a driver that has a swing weight of D-7 would be too heavy for the average golfer. It would be better for them to use a medium-stiff shaft with a swing weight between DO and D-4.

Women’s clubs are usually swing-weighted from C-5 to D-0. The shafts in their clubs are more flexible than men’s, and they are also lighter. The medium swing weight for them would be C-7 to C-8.

The swing weight is not as important as the shaft and the over-all dead weight of the club. To prove this, all you have to do is perform the following test: Take two one-dollar bills (or any other denomination), and, after putting your club on the swing-weight instrument in your pro shop, fold the bills over the shaft near the clubhead. The weight of these two paper bills will change the swing weight approximately one point!

If the weight of two paper bills can change the swing weight of a club, you shouldn’t concern yourself too much about swing weights. Instead, make sure you have the right shaft in your clubs. A good, matched set of clubs, according to manufacturers, can vary up to three or four points and still be a good set.

LENGTH AND LIE OF CLUBS. Golf clubs are usually made up in three different lies: flat, medium, and upright. The standard-length driver is 43 inches, and the two-iron, the longest iron club, is 382 inches long. The length and lie of clubs are determined by the distance the hands are from the ground. This hands-to-ground measurement will usually not vary more than 2 or 3 inches from a tall to a short person. Thus, it is not uncommon to have a golfer of medium height using the same length and lie as a taller player because their hands-to-ground measurements are the same.

Generally speaking, the great majority of golfers can use standard-length clubs with a medium lie. If you are a rather short or tall person, you may require a special set. Here again, it would be wise to consult an experienced professional. You will find it to be time well spent in the long run.”

Beginner golf swing instruction programs should teach their students how to go about finding and purchasing a correctly fitted set of golf clubs.

Although volumes of information on purchasing golf clubs can be found in books and on-line, following the expert advice of Littler and Collett could make your next golf club investment your best yet!

Check back soon for more beginner golf swing instruction tips and posts!

Improve Golf Swing Performance – Improve Your Iron Play By Perfecting These 4 Easy Steps!

To play winning golf, a golfer must constantly strive to improve golf swing performance.

Learning to better swing your irons can do wonders for your golf game.

To improve golf swing performance, especially with the irons, always remember to always keep it simple.

In the book, “How to Master the Irons, An Illustrated Guide to Better Golf” authors Gene Littler and Don Collett offer 4 simple steps to better your iron play!

They write;

“After having played, practiced, and experimented with my own swing over a period of some 20 years, I have reached some rather definite conclusions concerning the swing and its execution. These conclusions, which I have boiled down into four categories, have been tried and tested under all conditions and types of play, from casual rounds to tournament competition, and, while there is nothing startlingly new about them, they do serve to emphasize the fact that you must practice and perfect them if you wish to become an accomplished player. These four steps to better iron play are: (1) form, (2) rhythm, (3) a proper turn and shifting of the weight, and (4) a good follow-through.

The Form Of A Golfer

A player must have good form if he is to achieve success in golf. Naturally, some players aren’t as formful as others, but they are almost identical at two important stages of the swing—the address and at impact. Develop your form, and the development of your game will follow naturally.

Swing With Rhythm

Every golfer has a different tempo to his swing. You should develop a smooth, powerful swing that will generate the maximum power through the ball. Good tempo and good timing go hand in hand in a golf swing. The windup should start slow and be unhurried. At the start of the downswing, the first move should also be smoothly performed; then, as the hands and arms reach the hitting area, they can lash out and through the ball with all of the power the legs and body have generated. A good point to remember is that the upper part of the body winds up the swing and the lower part of the body starts the unwinding process.

Weight Shift

The weight is shifted to the left side much faster on an iron shot than it is when you are hitting a wood. The reason for this is that the shaft and the swing are shorter, thus making the swing more upright. Also, the ball must be contacted on the downswing, so the action of the body, arms, and hands must be faster. Another thing: The wrists are broken sooner on the back-swing with the irons, because this aids you in making the downward hit.

The weight shift is accomplished by the entire left side, but mainly by the left hip, followed by the straightening of the left leg and planting of the left heel on the ground. A strong pulling-down action of the left arm and shoulder follows as the left hip moves slightly laterally and then around. This clears the left side, eliminating blocking action which results when the left leg buckles and the body slides too far past the ball. The movement described above eliminates another enigma the beginning golfer encounters —the fat shot. The fat shot is caused by the beginner failing to shift his weight to the left side early in the downswing. As a result, he takes turf in back of the ball instead of in front of it, because either he starts out with too much weight on his right side or he initiates the downswing with the upper part of his body rather than the lower part.

One final word of caution about this weight shift: It must be smoothly done, not in a jerky, convulsive movement.

The Follow-Through

Turning out of the shot properly is one of the last things a golfer learns how to do. Assuming that you have moved into the downswing correctly, you can increase your directional control immeasurably if you will permit your right hand and arm, as an extension of the clubshaft, to follow through toward the target. Do not permit your right shoulder to rush around in front of you. This would throw the entire swing outside the line of flight. Instead, the right shoulder works under the chin so that you can follow through properly on line with the target.”

Focusing your attention on these above 4 steps can greatly improve golf swing performance and confidence.

Implementing Littler and Collett’s instruction into your practice sessions could payout huge dividends on the course.

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

Beginner Golf Swing Instruction – The Right Way to Think About Your Shot!

Beginner golf swing instruction programs teach their students to use visualization techniques prior to performing their shot. This helps the golfer get a mental image of the shot before they perform their swing.

Student golfers however, forget that the visualization process should end BEFORE they execute their swing. Many students continue the imaging process throughout their entire swing pattern.

Beginner golf swing instruction programs know this can ruin a golfer’s swing and shot, creating unnecessary distractions that jolt confidence in both the golfer’s judgment and ability.

In the book, “The Master Key to Success at Golf” author Leslie King offers valuable insight into the correct way to approach the imagery process.

King writes;

“If you took a golf ball in your hand and tossed it up on to the green from, say, twenty or thirty yards, you would make a simple, effortless movement. There would be no sharp jerk such as a small child with no familiar feel imparts to the action when he first attempts to throw a ball. The adult, whether he plays golf or not, instinctively knows better.

You as a golfer will apply the same simple principles to the tossing of a golf ball on to the green from the face of a lofted club instead of from the hands. The main difference in depositing the ball on to the green with a golf club is that you need the control which is derived from the correct left arm action.

I will act as your caddie as you walk up to play a pitch to a green thirty or forty yards away. Together we study the ground and take into account the conditions, hard or soft, any fall or rise on the way to the green. There may be a bunker jutting across our direct route to the hole-side. We take note of it but are not frightened by it. With these points in mind we make our assessment. How far will the ball run when pitched on a selected spot? Our joint, but not lengthy, deliberations give YOU a clear mental picture of the shot you require to play, and how the ball will behave if you play it well and be it noted firmly. Tentative approach shots pay no dividends.

The shot demands firmness and resolution…

You are ready to play the stroke which is now pictured in your mind. This mental picture of where the ball will be dropped to coast up to the hole enables you to develop a “feel” of the length of the stroke as you prepare yourself to play it. Only one thing remains. Play the shot without further deliberation and with conviction.

You must now back your judgment. It is fatal to allow yourself to become prey to last-second doubts. Let no fear of failure enter your mind. Watch the ball and then look momentarily at the spot where the ball lay before allowing your head to turn slowly with the easing off of the arms in the unchecked finish. Uncertainty will mean that you either hurry the stroke in a belated endeavor to pitch the ball further up to the hole or you quit on it through a last split-second feeling that you need to drop it shorter.

In either case you have distorted the delivery of the club head to the ball. This is weakness. Make up your mind to go ahead with the stroke you have pictured. To change the picture half-way is out of the question.

Practice these vital approach shots, which open up the prospect of a birdie every time they are properly judged and correctly executed. Indeed practice in this type of shot can be doubly beneficial. You will develop a greater accuracy and confidence in your ability to attack the hole by firm, not diffident stroke-making. And by making the correct movement away from, back to, and through the ball in this compact stroke you will consolidate your action in the hitting area consolidation which will spread into your playing of the longer clubs.”

Beginner golf swing instruction programs know the value imagery can provide to a successful golf game.

Try incorporating King’s advice into your pre-swing visualization process.

Check back soon for more beginner golf swing instruction posts and tips!

Golf Swing Tip – Estimating Distance

One golf swing tip all golfers could benefit from is learning a reliable system to help them determine the distance to the hole.

Making an accurate measure of the distance to the hole is critical to swing strategy and club selection.

Of all the golf swing tips one encounters on and off the course, advice on a proven and tested method to determine distance could be one of the most valuable to your golf game.

In his book, “The Winning Touch in Golf, A Psychological Approach” author Peter G. Cranford Ph.D. offers a golf swing tip of his own, explaining his system of “gauging” distance on the course.

Cranford writes;

“Many golfers judge distances subconsciously. They look at the hole and “feel” the distance. This is not as accurate as consciously computing how far you are from the green. The “feel” can be made much more accurate if it is helped mechanically and psychologically. This is particularly true when you are within pitching distance of the green.

The soundest method seems to be that of Jones, which involves the control of distance simply by shortening the grip on the shaft. If you will drop balls at one-yard intervals back from the green for about 100 yards, you will find that you can control the length of the shot by simply holding the club at spots higher and higher on the grip. With this mechanical method Jones was then free to concentrate on direction. The balls automatically were close to the hole if he computed the yardage correctly.

Gauging the distance involves certain psychological factors. Hitting the ball the correct distance is a psychological horse of another color. In order to practice hitting precise distances, I had Harold Lamb, our greenskeeper, calibrate all distances from our practice green 100 yards back. Whenever I hit practice balls I did not play shots from one position, but scattered them at yard intervals from the green on back. I noted my finger position on the grip at each distance. On the course, the sole problem was to estimate the distance, hold the grip at the point indicated for that yardage and pull the trigger.
I find that if I break up the distances to the flag into intervals of ten yards, yardage can be gauged precisely. This is fine for short distances but is difficult to do for distances over 100 yards. Distances up to 60 yards are easily handled. When the distance is greater, I move to the side of the ball, estimate where the halfway mark is, divide this into yardage, multiply it by two, and that is it.

Of course “feel,” or the subconscious, is still important, but even this can be developed consciously. A general rule which should guide us in the development of “feel” is always to use muscles which have the greatest potential for touch. Proper muscles can build a physiological fence around the shot and prevent bad judgment.

Practically speaking, this means that your estimate is more accurate if the more sensitive muscles are used for the shorter distances. You must avoid using a yardstick when a ruler is needed.

The most delicate touch is in the tip of the index finger; then the other fingers, wrists, forearms, arms and body. Smaller muscles are more sensitive discriminators than larger ones. Also, if few muscles are used, the additional variables that accompany the moving of many muscles are eliminated.
I was recently able to correct a flaw in my irons that plagued me for many years. I seldom missed hitting the ball, but the blade was not straight at contact and I missed greens on both sides. I finally struck on the idea of utilizing the sensitivity of the ball of the left thumb. By concentrating on its position, I improved my ability to sense where the blade was. (On theoretical grounds, the use of the sensitivity inherent in the index finger of the right hand should aid in putting touch.)

Since all shots do not require equal amounts of touch, there comes a point at which strength becomes a factor. Otherwise, what is gained in touch is lost in accuracy if, for instance, the club is loose in the hands.

The right combination of distance and direction can only be achieved through varied practice. There are additional factors such as wind, bounce, and temperature whose influences need to be appraised. The simplest method of appraising is just what you would now expect—practice and play under as many different playing conditions as possible.”

A reliable golf swing tip that helps golfers more accurately determine distances on the course is a tip worth taking!

Cranford’s system seems to be a simple and reliable way to estimate distance to the hole. Try implementing this golf swing tip into your next practice session!

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Improve Golf Swing Performance– Better Practice for Better Play!

In order to improve golf swing performance – golfers spend a great deal of time at the driving range and on the practice green.

But to improve golf swing performance, you can’t just practice for practice’s sake. There must be a purpose and structure behind your practice efforts.

In the book, “The Master Key to Success at Golf”, author Leslie King offers instruction on designing practice sessions to help improve golf swing performance.

King writes;

“First of all you must decide your practice objective. It is useless to walk out on to the grass and blaze away with abandon, hitting ball after ball vaguely into the blue. There must be a defined purpose behind every swing you make.

Never hit your practice shots diagonally from the right edge of the fairway over to the left. Play along a defined line to a defined target, aiming to group as many balls as possible in a restricted area. Hitting diagonally across a practice ground or fairway leaves you open to a dangerous tendency which is difficult to describe in terms which the inexperienced will readily appreciate. But you can take my word for it.

Briefly what happens is this. As you play ball after ball the set of the shot played across a defined line will eventually lead to the body turning across from the shoulders with a resultant distortion of the club-line.

Maintenance of the club-line is the whole object of the shaped golf swing, and to facilitate this you must hit parallel to the defined line of the practice ground or fairway. The beginner will find that a useful additional aid to this is placing of a spare club outside the ball and parallel to the line.

If, through lack of a practice ground, you have to practice on the course, as good a spot as any to choose is one of the mown paths cut from the tee through the rough. Playing straight down the path you will have a clearly defined line, and you will be doing no damage to the playing area.

Commence your practice by playing short pitches with the wedge. Then proceed to the eight or seven and into the medium irons and then into the bigger clubs. Always come into that relaxed finish from which you can check on the position of the club-face.

If you find yourself playing a wooden club or a long iron poorly, don’t persist with the club. Discard it temporarily and turn to one of the medium irons and work at the delivery. Then try again with the club which was giving you difficulty.

I would warn you against one of the most common errors into which your practice will lead unless you take care to avoid it. Resist the temptation to reel off one shot after another in quick-fire style. You are not operating a machine-gun set on fixed lines.

You have in your hand a golf club, not a machine, and as you hit ball after ball in practice the danger is that your swing, without your realizing it, will become faster and faster with destructive results to the timing.

This brings us back yet again to the essential need to keep your swing smooth and unhurried at all times. Take your time between each shot and relax a full minute or even more between each half-dozen shots.

You should not worry about the bad strokes you play in your practice session. There are no penalties to be incurred on the practice ground. You are out there not so much to prevent bad shots as to create good ones. That is the positive approach which you can only pursue by carrying on with the swing-shape pictured in your mind.”

Your performance on the course is truly a product of all your practice sessions.

Try implementing King’s tips into your practice routine on the range to improve golf swing performance on the course!

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

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