Golf Swing Mechanics – Stand & Deliver!

The execution of proper golf swing mechanics is the key to both a successful golf swing and golf game.

One fundamental component of golf swing mechanics is the position and placement of the feet.

Correct positioning of the feet will allow the golfer to maintain balance while generating power during the different phases of the swing pattern. This concept of “balanced power” is essential to optimal swing performance – ensuring a consistent swing axis, swing plane and club face angle – the overall goal of golf swing mechanics!

In his book, “Golf Can Be an Easy Game”, author Joe Novak offers his professional advice regarding the proper positioning of the feet and their contribution to winning golf swing mechanics.

Novak writes:

“The proper place to stand is in a position where the ball will be opposite the left heel. A line running from the ball to the inside part of the left heel will be at right angles to the line of the shot. The feet should be so placed that the toes of both feet are parallel to the line of the shot.

This position is to be assumed on all shots and with all clubs. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule…however; the basic rule is that the ball is always played opposite the left heel with all clubs (the position is not changed for each club).

The reason that the ball is played opposite the left foot is very clear. In order to raise the club to the top of the swing when making the stroke, the player should use the right side of the body. In order to accomplish this, the weight must be on the right foot. When the player brings the club down into and through the ball, the player should use their left side, and in order to use the left side the weight must be on the left foot. Therefore, as the ball is being hit, the player will be balanced on their left foot. The swing, therefore, will be centered at that point, opposite the left foot, and that is where the ball should be played with all clubs.

The feet should never be wider apart than the width of the shoulders. In other words, always use a narrow, rather than a wide, stance because with the narrower stance it is easier to shift the weight to the right foot for the upswing and re-shift it to the left foot for the downswing“.

Both the position and placement of the feet play crucial roles in the proper execution of golf swing mechanics.

Use Novak’s expert advice to properly position the feet during your swing stance!

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

Improve Golf Swing Performance – Feeling the Ball Is the New Seeing the Ball!

To improve golf swing performance many golfers blindly follow the cardinal rule: “always keep your eyes on the ball.”

“Seeing the ball to hit the ball” appears to be reasonable advice to improve golf swing performance. But is it?

Take a read of the article below. It makes a compelling case that golfers can improve golf swing performance without locking their eyes on the golf ball!

In his book, “On Learning Golf”, author Percy Boomer offers some expert advice to help golfers improve golf swing performance. He explains how “feeling” the ball is the new seeing the ball.

Boomer writes;

“I suppose the most often repeated piece of advice in the whole realm of golf is “keep your eye on the ball.” It is given and accepted as a profound golfing truth (which properly understood it is), but it is necessary to examine what we mean by it and how it fits into the rest of our golfing program.

Very early in my teaching of a new pupil I tell them to keep their eye on the ball, because I know that unless they do so they will never achieve any class as a golfer. But I do not harp on the idea or rub it in—I point out that its importance actually lies less in the sight of the ball than in the reactions which it produces —for instance that it keeps our heads still.

And I put this emphasis on the reactions rather than on the sight of the ball because, to my mind, it is only the bad golfer who actually sees the ball out of their eyes. The good golfer I am convinced feels where the ball is more than sees it.

Now to the ordinary golfer that may seem an absurd statement, or if they do accept it, it may be confusing. So I will try to clarify my meaning.

When Aubrey and I were playing a lot together, we were often congratulated, upon the deftness of our short game—and the congratulations were usually followed by the comment, “How long you keep your head down after the ball has gone!” Their idea was obviously that I kept my head down because it enabled me to “keep my eye on the ball.” But what I was really doing was to keep my head down in order to retain the feel of the swing and to keep my controls going even though the ball had been dispatched. Few of the spectators realized that I often played these shots with my eyes shut; yet I did so.

But when I play with my eyes shut, my senses are wide open. My main concern was to see that my general muscular feel and sense of balance went right through to the end. Not until the follow-through was finished did I look up to see where the ball had gone. I never miss a shot through looking up too quickly; I do sometimes miss one through fear of missing it! The primary fault is not in looking up but in losing the feel of the swing.

Incidentally I have taught many pupils to play beautiful pitch shots without looking at the ball. One very well-known golfer to whom I taught this brought out his “better-half” to watch him “do his circus stuff.” He played some beautiful shots high in the air over gaping bunkers, dropping close around the pin every time and all the while looking me straight in the face. His wife was utterly astonished; then she saw the funny side of it and laughed herself nearly into hysterics!

My view is that the good golfer can only see the ball when their swing is working smoothly, and then it looks as big as a tennis ball! The beginner sees the ball in another way, and because of this, more often than not they miss it. Their attention is so concentrated upon seeing the ball that they cannot feel their swing operate. The business of seeing the ball occupies them too exclusively.

Do I mean by that that the beginner needs to learn how to see the ball? That is exactly what I do mean. They must learn not to see the ball to the exclusion of all their other senses. So when I tell a pupil to keep their eye on the ball I at once go on to the work of building up a swing that makes looking at the ball a necessity. Of course every pupil “looks up” badly at first to have the pleasure of seeing where the ball has gone, but this is a primitive stage and soon over.

In the next stage, when I am impressing them more and more with swinging correctly, I find that they often becomes so engrossed in the swing as to be unable to remember to keep their eye on the ball. But in such a case I believe the cure must come by making the “head down” a natural outcome of the swing. If I simply insist upon “head down,” I run a risk of getting my pu¬pil all stiffened up, “frozen on the ball” as we call it, and consequently only able to make hacking, chopping movements.

Now in this matter of seeing the ball, I would ask you to consider a golfer at the other end of the scale. How does a very good golfer see the ball? In my opinion, through their very highly developed sense of feel, they see the ball (in some proportion) through their hands.

Sees through their hands? Perhaps the idea is not so fanciful as it might seem. I began to think about it first after I had read an article by Sir Herbert Barker some years ago. This is what he said: “We take our hands too much for granted. Their possibilities and powers are seldom discovered or developed. Most people pass through life with these two implements untrained, unexplored, unknown. . . .” Then he goes on: “When we take for granted the localization of our senses in certain organs we go too fast. Localized they are, but not completely so.” Then at a later date my interest was reawakened by the declaration of Dr. Fougools, the French savant, that in the skins of our hands are potential eyes. He says that they are nerve eyes atrophied for the simple reason that we have developed two ocular instruments so much superior to them.

Now to my mind the value of that idea to the golfer lies largely in an idea which it promotes, that perhaps the greatest value of “keeping your eye on the ball” is the assistance which it gives in building up sight through feel.

For whatever may be the eventual verdict of science upon the tentatively advanced hypothesis of the two famous men quoted above, I can assure you that some sort of sight through feel is certainly possible. I have developed it myself, as have many other first-class golfers. I can see the face of the club and the angle it is at the top of my swing (when it is “out of sight” be¬hind the back of my head), and long before I lift my head, I can see the ball fly away with the exact curve which I know my shot has given it.

But let us leave these metaphysical regions and come back to the ordinary golfer. Why is it that so often they can make perfect swings when the ball is not there, yet they become semi-petrified and makes the most ridiculous shots as soon as there is a ball, even a ball carefully perched on a perfectly prepared tee, for them to hit? And what would happen if you could put down an invisible ball for them? Is it knowing that the ball is there that upsets their swing or is it the sight of it“?

Improve golf swing performance by “feeling” the ball as opposed to seeing the ball!

Use Boomer’s professional instruction in your practice sessions.

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

Golf Swing Mechanics – The Clubs & Their Role in Successful Golf Swing Mechanics

For many golfers mastering golf swing mechanics are one of the most frustrating challenges of the game.

Many golfers fail to recognize that their choice of club plays a major role in executing successful golf swing mechanics.

Truth is – using the wrong tool to complete a certain task will make the assignment unnecessarily more difficult and maddening! This same principle applies to golfers and their selection of clubs!

Each club is designed to serve a certain function – distance, loft or rolling. For the club to perform its correct purpose – directing a ball to its intended location, golfers must simply learn to consistently execute one single swing pattern possessing the proper golf swing mechanics.

In his book, “Golf Can Be an Easy Game”, author Joe Novak expands upon this concept in greater detail. He explains that many golfers make their golf swing mechanics and game much more difficult than they have to be. For Novak, golf is an easy game to master, requiring the golfer to perfect one simple swing and let the clubs do the heavy work!

Novak writes;

“Every good golfer learns that it is one thing to swing a golf club, but it is another thing to know what position the club is in while it is being swung.

…this is a good time to tell you what an easy game golf is, and what an enjoyable game it can be with a correct understanding of the simple facts:

(a) A golf club will only do what the player makes it do.

(b) Each club is designed for a specific purpose, and only when it is applied to the ball in its true, natural state will it produce the effect for which it was designed.

(c) Basically, there are only three clubs in golf:

1. The driver, shaped so that it drives the ball on a low trajectory and is therefore used for distance shots.

2. The iron, formerly called a lofter, does exactly what the name implies—it lofts or lifts the ball. This club is used to place the ball into position in certain spots on the fairway or on the green.

3. The putter, which would be better named a “roller,” is so designed that it rolls the ball; therefore, it is the club used to accomplish the very purpose of the game—roll the ball into the cup.

But golfers are not limited or restricted to these three clubs. Golfers get themselves a set of two or three, more generally four, but sometimes even five, drivers. They carry a set of three or six, most generally a set of eight, irons. They usually add to this outfit a heavy weighted club to get the ball out of deep grass or sand traps. And, the above clubs, along with a putter, generally constitute the set of 14 clubs that a golfer is permitted to use in tournament play.

Now, having such an outfit is a perfect waste of material unless each and every club is swung in the same way so that the various differences in the shapes of the clubs can each perform their objectives. In other words, golf is an easy game to play, because the player has a specific club or tool for each shot or effect that is desired. All they have to do is to learn the one basic swing and apply it to each club.

By comparison, the game of tennis is difficult. In tennis, the player has only one club or one racquet, the ball is never in the same position—it is either high or low, in front of them or behind them—and to make their shots successfully the tennis player must learn and be able to play several different strokes. But not so the golfer. If they correctly learn the one stroke, they can simply let the club do the work”.

The correct choice of club is a major contributor to successful execution of golf swing mechanics.

Use Novak’s expert advice to help you get the most out of your clubs – the tools of the game!

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

Loss of Swing Plane? Faulty Clubface Angle at Impact? Use Posture to Improve Golf Swing Performance and Be Head and Neck Above the Rest!

As we discussed before in the post, Improve Golf Swing – Improve Golf Swing! – Every Golfer’s Mantra!, restoring and optimizing posture can improve golf swing performance.

A large component of golf swing performance is dictated by our ability to fully rotate. There exists a direct causal link between our capacity to rotate our body and our ability to produce greater swing power, swing speed and swing mechanics.

Paul Chek writes in his book, The Golf Biomechanic’s Manual – Whole in One Golf Conditioning, that, “to golf at full potential, the golfer must possess the ability to rotate almost every joint in the body to its functional capacity” and to improve golf swing performance one “must be able to rotate efficiently and explosively, repeatedly!”

That’s all well and good but, at what joint, does one start with to improve golf swing performance and mechanics? There are many joints involved in producing a golf swing pattern. I always like to start at the top, so, today’s post will quickly explore just one impact the head and neck have on golf swing mechanics.

Improve Golf Swing Mechanics – The Head and Neck and Keeping your Eyes on the Ball

The golf ball itself is small. It’s certainly smaller than balls used in other sports like basketball, softball, and baseball. Understanding this one can appreciate the old expression “you need to see the ball to hit the ball”.

The ability to maintain target acquisition (keeping your eye on the ball) throughout the golf swing is limited by the necks rotational capacity. Poor posture will produce improper length/tension relationships among the muscles comprising the neck complex and result in less than optimal rotational capacity.

Wow, that sounds interesting, but really, what does that mean to the golfer?

Let’s keep it simple. In his book Paul Chek does a terrific job of explaining to a golfer that, “if you are restricted in neck rotation, you most likely have to take your eyes off the ball momentarily during the back swing. This may result in loss of swing plane and/or faulty clubface angle at impact”.

Loss of Swing Plane?
Faulty Clubface Angle at Impact?

Golfer’s cringe when they hear these terms describe their golf swing mechanics and swing patterns.

These two mechanical defects will certainly ruin your golf game. Each could be attributed to postural deviations of the head and neck. If these are affecting your golf game improving the postural alignment of the head and neck may be the answer. Check back to view our posts on postural exercises for the head, neck and entire body to improve golf swing performance!

Improve Golf Swing – Improve Golf Swing! Every Golfer’s Mantra!

Improve Golf Swing! – Improve Golf Swing!

This is every golfer’s mantra.  Every golfer seems to be looking for a way to improve golf swing performance.  Some golfer’s look to improve golf swing performance by investing money in golf swing aids, professional golf swing instruction and golf swing videos.  Each one of these methods are certainly a necessary and fantastic way to improve golf swing skill development but, is that truly all golf is – just a game of skill like chess or checkers?

To improve golf swing performance golfers need to recognize that golf is an athletic sport and like all sports it demands both skill development and physical conditioning.  In his book, The Golf Biomechanics Manual – “Whole in One Golf Conditioning”, Paul Chek, an internationally respected corrective high performance exercise kinesiologist, puts the physical demands of golf into perspective.  He presents some interesting facts:

  • “The head of a golf club can travel over 100 mph, an effort comparable to pitching a baseball.”
  • “Amateur golfers achieve 90% of their peak muscle activity when driving a golf ball…the same intensity as picking up a weight that can only be lifted four times before total fatigue.”
  • “Golfers…strike the ball an average of 30-40 times a game with comparable intensity! This level of exertion and muscle activation equates with such sports as football, hockey and martial arts.”

Pretty amazing comparisons, but wait, it gets even better!

In the book Paul Chek points out that “the average golfer tends to take up the game at an age when he or she is no longer racing around a sports field, nor actively participating in other energetic, competitive or other physically demanding sports.”  Talk about impeccable timing…could there be a worse period or stage in our lives to pick up a club!

Chek goes on to say, and we all could agree, that the “common misperception” that golf is not an athletic event “all too often results in injury and/or premature performance plateaus.”  Does that sound like anyone you know?

Who has the time to travel on the road of performance plateaus and injuries during their relentless pursuit to find the answer to improve golf swing performance – hitting that little ball, better, farther and more accurate each time they swing.  So what is the answer?

All golfers must take a two pronged approach to improve golf swing performance – practice skill and improve physical conditioning.  Most golfer’s put much more time and effort into the former and very little thought to the latter.  But what exercises have the greatest carryover to improve golf swing performance?  Postural alignment exercises!

How do exercises to improve posture alignment translate into improved golf swings?  Posture is a key component to proper golf swing mechanics – bringing joints into balance, optimizing joint range of motion and improving rotational capacity.  The better ones postural alignment is:

  • The greater rotational torque one can generate resulting in longer drives
  • The tighter ones swing axis will be resulting in less power leakage and producing a more fluid swing expression
  • The greater chance one will have the proper clubface angle at impact resulting in less slices and shanks at the tee and shave strokes off your short game around the green

This article is the first of a series we want post on this site to help optimize your posture to improve your golf swing.   Investing some time in postural alignment exercises could pay huge dividends, providing amazing returns to improve your golf swing, improve your golf game and improve your daily living!

Shaking Off The Shanks

What’s the most frustrating shot in golf? Some say it’s the pop-up after a great drive. Others say it’s hitting a dribbler on an easy approach shot. Then there are those who say that topping the ball from a great fairway lie is the most frustrating shot. Those mis-hits certainly hurt. But for our money the shank is by far the most frustrating shot in golf. It’s also among the most dreaded. Once you start shanking the ball, it’s often hard to stop—even with golf lessons. If you’re among golfers who’ve started shanking the ball and can’t stop, you’re not alone. Plenty of golfers have suddenly had this problem. Many were unable to stop, even if their lives depended on it. As with most mis-hits in golf, specific reasons exist for shanking a shot. There are also fixes that can help you shake off the shanks. These fixes are simple to execute and apply, and can really benefit your game. With their help, you can rid yourself of the shanks, keeping your golf handicap in check.   A shank can happen many ways. One way is by swinging the club from outside the target line to inside the target line. When you swing outside in, you risk hitting the ball with the clubhead’s neck and hosel. If you’re really good at finding the clubface before impact (or your clubface is closed at impact), you probably won’t shank. If you’re not good at making hand adjustments—and most golfers are not—you’ll shank the shot. The key to stopping this cause of shanks is to swing the club more from the inside out. In other words, start your takeaway inside the target line, and initiate the downswing with the body to prevent coming over the top and swinging across the ball. Some teachers refer to this as “dropping the club in the slot.” Do this and rotate through to the finish and you’ll shank your shots a lot less. Hands Not Releasing Another – cause for shanking is not releasing your hands through impact or releasing them too slowly through impact. The hands must release the club through the impact zone square to the face before contacting the ball. If they don’t, the club makes contact with the neck of the iron first, boosting your chances of shanking the shot. To fix this problem, loosen your hands. Then take a few short swings while focusing on releasing the hands well before you reach the ball. This type of release is unusual, but it helps greatly when it’s time to make a full swing. At that point, your hands will be ready to release right over the golf ball, the way they should. Open Face And Body A third cause of shanking is an overactive body turn. If you’ve read my golf tips newsletter, you know how important body turn is. If the body slides or rotates too much and the arms don’t have time to catch up, the clubface reaches the target wide open, increasing your chances of hitting the ball with the club’s neck. In fact, anytime your body and arms disconnect, you risk shanking your shot. To overcome this swing flaw, try this simple drill that I use in my golf lessons: Align your stance so your front foot is closest to the target and is about a foot in front of your other foot. Your other foot should be behind you. At this point, you should be standing so that it looks like you’re walking forward. Now hit some balls from this stance. The drill teaches you to maintain your turn away from the ball. It also allows your arms to swing from the proper path and release the clubhead on time. It’s a great drill to get your swing coming from the inside out and for limiting excess body rotation through impact—both of which lead to a mis-hit. Shanking is among the most frustrating shots in golf. Once you start, you can’t always stop. Shanking affects golfers at anytime and at any level. Even veteran golfers with low golf handicaps sometimes have a bout of the shanks. Swinging the club from the outside in instead of inside out can cause you to shank. But learning to swing from the inside out will help prevent the dreaded shanks from occurring and your golf handicap from rising.

Jack Moorehouse is the author of this article and best-selling book “ How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros .” He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips , golf lessons and golf instruction .

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How To Break 80

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