Improve Golf Swing – Learning to “Feel” the Swing for Better Golf Performance!

To improve golf swing performance a golfer must learn to swing their club using their sense of “feel”.

A golfer’s sense of “feel” is the program of body movements hardwired in their neuro-muscular system. “Feeling” is built from each swing attempt – the summation of these swings becomes the golfers command center from which all future swings are to be subconsciously guided.

To improve golf swing performance golfers must learn to trust their sense of “feel” and use it to properly motive and direct their swing efforts.

Using “feel” to improve golf swing performance is not as difficult or abstract as it may initially sound. With some simple instruction golfers may better understand and apply this concept to their swing and game.

In his book, “On Learning Golf”, author Percy Boomer offers some expert advice to help golfers improve golf swing performance. He explains the sense of “feel” and the important role it plays in a winning golf swing pattern.

Boomer writes;

“After a while by dint of pivoting correctly, not dipping our shoulders (i.e. not lifting with the arms), we begin to play some good shots, nice and straight and reasonably long. We have arrived at this stage by building on the basic trinity—pivot, shoulders up, and width—and by occasionally taking a sly peep at how they are going. So far we have never consciously produced a good shot; we have merely made certain mechanical movements which we have been taught will result in good shots.

But now we begin to realize how we should feel in order to produce a good shot. We are on the other side of the fence. We know now what it feels like to produce a good shot, and now, instead of preparing for a shot by sly looks at our pivot etc., we instinctively get into the position which we feel will produce a good shot. And as we go on, the feeling of this preparatory state comes more and more into the foreground.

Also because we are working from a secure basis we can now begin to notice the nuances and subtleties. We find that we produce purer shots from one sensation than from another only slightly different. We are enticed to arrange our back swing according to the type of shot we wish to produce: an extra pivot if we wish to pull or a restricted pivot if we wish to slice. But please notice that this will not be a conscious, mechanical control—you will not say to yourself, “I wish to slice slightly so I will restrict my swing to an arc of so many degrees,” you will simply alter your swing unconsciously in response to your feeling of what will produce the shot you want.

In other words, the control of your shots has now been placed outside your conscious mind and will. You have built up a feel that a certain swing will produce a slice—so you can produce a slice by getting that feel into your swing. This is only the beginning of control by feel to the very good golfer.

They begin to hit a variety of shots, with little difference in flight or character and yet each subtly different and with its individual feel. They file away in the “feel cabinet” in their unconscious memory all these subtleties. Consequently they never have to “think out” a shot on the course—they see the lie and the flight required, and these produce, by an automatic response, the right feel from their cabinet and so the right shot from their club.

In this connection consider the hanging lie. Now this golfer’s bugbear is a bugbear simply because it is thought that a shot from a hanging lie must be difficult; so the very sight of such a lie produces difficulties in the mind. If you learn to play by feel, no such difficulties will crop up; the sight of a hanging they will suggest the feel of the necessary swing, restricted and slightly from the outside with the face somewhat open in consequence. Because of the lie you feel that this will give you a shot of normal height, though you feel (correctly again) that such a swing played on the tee would produce nothing better than a vulgar slice!

In one sense, when I tell a pupil at their own request how to play from a hanging lie, I am telling them something I do not know. All I know is the feel of how to play off a hanging lie—and I know that well, for when I was at my apex as a golfer I missed fewer shots from indifferent lies than I did from the tee—probably because I concentrated more severely on the difficult shots than on the easy ones. Difficulties help concentration. I would rather have a bunker to pitch over than a plain run up of the same distance to play“.

Improve golf swing performance by “feeling” your way through the swing pattern!

Try implementing Boomer’s professional instruction into your practice sessions.

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Beginner Golf Swing Instruction – A Simple 5 Step Checklist to a Better Downswing!

Beginner golf swing instruction programs try to teach their students the fundamentals of play using various techniques.

One such technique employed by many beginner golf swing instruction programs is an easy to follow checklist.

A checklist is great, helping to cue the golfer through the phases of the swing pattern.

Below is a simple five step checklist for the downswing. This checklist may help student golfers better apply their beginner golf swing instruction to their game!

In the book, “How to Master the Irons, an Illustrated Guide to Better Golf”, authors Gene Littler and Don Collett provide some beginner golf swing instruction – walking the student golfer through a simple checklist designed to improve their downswing phase of the swing pattern.

They write;

“…some checkpoints to remember about the downswing:

1. Starting the downswing correctly with the left hip and left side will put you in a position to hit from the inside out as you enter the hitting area.

2. The hips lead the downswing with a slight lateral, then a turning movement, followed by the shoulders (about a quarter of a turn behind the hips), arms, and hands, in that order. If the shoulders turn ahead of the hips, your swing will be from the outside in.

3. After the weight has shifted to the left side, a driving action is initiated by the right side, particularly the right knee and hip. This develops early clubhead speed and will give you more power and distance. This also releases all tension from the right leg and hip, resulting in about 90 per cent of the weight being upon the right side at the finish of the swing.

4. Complete the backswing before you start the downswing. Take a full shoulder turn and start into the downswing as smoothly as possible.

5. Keep driving through the ball to a complete high finish. Don’t hit at the ball and quit“.

Beginner golf swing instruction programs use checklists to help their student golfers effectively apply their curriculum to the course!

Incorporate Littler and Collett’s advice into your next practice session.

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

Golf Swing Tip – Working Out the Golf Bugs!

Many a golf swing tip originates out of imitation, not innovation.

There is a good chance that a recent golf swing tip you’ve heard is nothing more than a poor attempt at reproducing the successful movements of a professional golfer.

Following a golf swing tip which replicates the actions of another golfer may not necessarily be the best advice for your golf swing or game.

In the book, “The Winning Touch in Golf, A Psychological Approach” author Peter G. Cranford, Ph.D. offers his opinion on the value of imitating the movements of successful golfers. His golf swing tip could make all the difference in your golf game!

Cranford writes;

“The basic fundamentals of golf are well known and provide no problems to beginners. Yet, within the framework of these principles, there is enough variation of form among top notch golfers to confuse us. If we become tempted to model ourselves first after one player and then another, we are headed for disaster. The inherent trouble lies in the “golf bugs.”

Many golfers of equal ability have easily recognizable differences of form. For each of these different forms, there are adjustments and modifications that must be made. We call these modifications “golf bugs” and no swing is without them.

You see then the danger of modeling ourselves after more than one person. The over-all swing may be fine, but we have to be shown or find out for ourselves what these new “bugs” are. (“Bugs” are also apparent to a degree in different sets of clubs, particularly with putters.)…

…Some methods of play have more “bugs” than others. In such cases a swing may have to be rebuilt from the ground up, or the golfer will play in a blind alley. Therefore, as many good teaching professionals know, if you already have a heavy investment of time in a swing, it is more efficient to stick by it, working the “bugs” out one by one.

One of my golfing friends changed from a fair putter to an excellent one when he abandoned a number of compensatory adjustments and simply eliminated two variables. His problem for some time had been that of direction. Ostensibly there was nothing wrong with his putting stroke. He had adopted the form of a golf professional who was quite good and had had considerable instruction from him. Something minute was apparently occurring during the process of the stroke, a random variation that caused some putts to go to the right of the hole and some to the left. I suggested that he set up an experimental putting situation on a carpet. After a number of sterile putting sessions in which there seemed to be no consistent pattern, he noticed that, on occasion, when he appeared to “get in the groove,” he would make a very nice run of putts.

Suddenly he had a flash of insight.

He realized that after those occasions when the putting device did not return the ball properly and he had to retrieve it himself, he would generally miss. He concluded that his trouble lay in a change of stance or grip or both. He became considerably more accurate by simply marking his feet positions on the carpet and his thumb position on the grip during a “good run“.

Following a golf swing tip which imitates the patterns and movements of a successful professional golfer can be detrimental to both your swing and game.

Incorporate Cranford’s professional advice to help you play to your greatest potential!

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The Proper Golf Swing – 8 O’ Clock – The Best Time To Begin The Downswing!

The true definition of what constitutes a proper golf swing is open to debate.

It is universally accepted however, that to create a proper golf swing pattern, different movements of the body and club must rhythmically come together.

Fusing both the body and club together into one well coordinated and timed mechanism is critical to consistently executing a proper golf swing.

In the book, “The Master Key to Success at Golf” author Leslie King uses the hands as an example to illustrate the important role correct coordination and timing play in executing a proper golf swing.

King writes;

“The club head is released into the delivery when the hands have descended to a point almost level with the ball, at which point the club head is still lagging, POINTING TO EIGHT O’CLOCK, maybe even higher but certainly not lower.

My experience is that pupils generally find this eight o’clock position of the club head one of the most difficult features of the swing to achieve. But how worthwhile it is to strive for. The hallmark of the outstanding player is one who lets the club head go into the same hitting area and maintains the club-line through the ball consistently with each shot. It makes for constant accuracy with the various clubs.

Let me put it this way. Take a fairish golfer with a good-looking shape to their swing but with an unsure delivery. Inferior timing and hand-control cause them to vary the position of the club head as it comes in for release into the hitting area.

There they are with three balls lined up to be struck from the same spot with, say, their seven iron to the green. With their inconsistent delivery the landing area for these three balls is liable to be extensive. They are likely to pitch one on the back of the green, one on the front, and the third probably short. This takes no account of any deviation from the line which may occur.

Work and train yourself to give the hands time and room to bring the club into the eight o’clock position from which you will be poised to make that carpet-beater action at and through the ball.

Now do you see why the shaped swing must be harnessed to a shaped delivery? Let me repeat that the way to train your hands to give you this eight o’clock position is to give them time. Wait for it before you let the power pour into the back of the ball”.

A proper golf swing is the result of successfully fusing together the body and club into a well coordinated and timed mechanism.

Use King’s expert advice to help get the most from your swing pattern!

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Improve Golf Swing – Using “Reverse” To Put Drive Back Into Your Swing!

In their efforts to improve golf swing performance, many golfers dissect the golf swing into separate phases and components.

Though most of the swing pattern can be divided into generally defined phases, there are some hidden, local movements which do not fit neatly into these groupings. One such phase is the reverse.

To improve golf swing performance golfers need to understand the reverse and its role in a successful swing pattern.

The reverse is the point of the swing which shapes both movement and flow. Done incorrectly the reverse will destroy any golfers chance to improve golf swing performance.

In his book, “On Learning Golf”, author Percy Boomer offers some expert advice to help golfers improve golf swing performance. He eloquently explains the reverse in greater detail.

Boomer writes;

“Now let me describe an important little local movement hidden in this part of the swing—the reverse. The reverse is the part of the swing in which the club head is thrown over and pulled down. It requires a special name because it has a special feel, a feel curiously detached from that of the rest of the swing. We have our main feel of control and power down in our nether regions, but at the moment of reverse we are conscious of something happening up above, which is not in accordance with what we are doing down below.

What happens at the reverse is that the club head-having so far to go—takes longer to get to the end of its journey back than does the body, the turn of which is soon exhausted. So before the club head has arrived, the body has begun to come back. As to check the return body movement, or to check the completion of the club head’s travel, would create an undesirable pause in the flow, we let them go on, and the club finds itself behind the body movement both in time and in position. This is as it should be.

When we are told to allow our wrists free play at the summit of the swing, it is so that we shall not break up—by introducing muscular hand force—the flow of movement which we have intentionally set up in the reverse region.

The feel in this region is that the club head is still going back when our force center begins to pull forward. The wrists do not break at a given point; their break is a retarded action set up to delay the club head and yet to keep the movement smooth. The swing is a continuous flow of movement, and we destroy its continuous character if we divide it arbitrarily into two parts—”up swing” and “down swing.” There is no up swing and no down swing; there is the swing complete. For the first three feet back from the ball we are “all together,” but after that the club head—owing to the longer path it must take—loses ground, which it only catches up at the moment of impact with the ball. It will catch up then, even if you try to prevent it, and the further it has lagged behind, the faster it must travel to catch up.

So far in this chapter we have been concerned in analyzing the local feels which occur in the course of the swing, but this is only because, like the musician, the golfer has to decompose a piece before they can play it. But the feel at golf is a transitory one, and soon these transitory local feels blend into the feel of the swing as a whole”.

Improve golf swing performance by mastering the reverse!

Try implementing Boomer’s advice into your golf swing practice routine.

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

Beginner Golf Swing Instruction – Properly Addressing the Address!

Beginner golf swing instruction programs teach their student golfers the importance of correctly addressing the ball.

Beginner golf swing instruction programs know the basic principle of swing mechanics – initiating a swing from an improper address position results in a faulty golf swing pattern.

Some student golfers struggle to learn the various stances of address and how/when to apply them properly.

Beginner golf swing instruction programs make a sincere effort to simplify this potentially confusing topic for their students.

In the book, “How to Master the Irons, an Illustrated Guide to Better Golf”, authors Gene Littler and Don Collett provide some beginner golf swing instruction on the address and its various stances.

They write;

“The more skilled a player becomes, the more they realize the importance of aligning themselves properly with the ball. This technique involves more than just stepping up to the ball and hitting it down the fairway or toward a distant green. It involves knowing how to address the ball and where to address it in relationship to the stance and the direction in which they are aiming. In the fundamental sense of the word, we refer to the basic body position over the ball as the address. Within the framework of the address come the basic stances, or foot positions, we use for hitting various shots.

The Address

Squaring up to the ball is an important feature of a good golfer’s swing, and it simply means your feet, hips, and shoulders should be square, or parallel to the line of flight. It is a basic tenet of golf that if you are out of position at the address you will be out of position during the swing. It is important, therefore, to practice setting up to the ball properly so that it becomes an automatic procedure. You will then be able to concentrate fully on hitting the shot without having to worry about where it is going.

The Stances

THE SQUARE STANCE. Although there are 14 different positions for the feet, or as many as there are clubs in the bag, there are only three basic stances: the square, open, and closed. In the square stance the feet are positioned on a line which should parallel the intended line of flight. The ball is between the feet and on a line slightly left of center. The weight is equally distributed. The hands are positioned ahead of the ball so that the shaft of the club and the inside line of the left arm form a straight line from the shoulder to the clubface.

The square position permits a free, full shoulder turn and is recommended for hitting the medium irons, the four, five, and six. The only modification I make in each iron is in the position of my right foot. For a five-iron, my feet are about the width of my shoulders. I widen my right foot for a four-iron about an inch, and narrow it an inch for the six-iron in relation to my five-iron stance.

Whatever stance you take, always remember to be comfortable, yet firmly set up over the ball.

THE CLOSED STANCE. This is the power stance used for hitting the long irons and wood shots. In this stance, the right foot is withdrawn from the line of flight, permitting a fuller body turn than the other stances. The ball is positioned about two inches inside the left heel, and the hands are directly over the ball. Weight is evenly distributed between the feet.

THE OPEN STANCE. In the open stance your left foot is withdrawn slightly from the line of flight. This tends to “open” the entire left side toward the hole, particularly the hips, which initiate the downswing. The weight is about 60 per cent on the left side and 40 per cent on the right side. This allows the weight to become more centered on the back-swing rather than on the right side as in fuller shots. Less physical effort is thus required in shifting the weight to the left side on the downswing. In setting up on the ball, position the hands so they are ahead of the ball, which is centered midway between the feet. This stance is recommended for the short irons and all pitch shots and chip shots“.

Beginner golf swing instruction programs know the important role a proper address plays in a winning swing pattern.

Try incorporating Littler and Collett’s expert advice on address positions and their various stances into your next practice session.

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

Golf Swing Mechanics – Curing the Shanks!

Faulty golf swing mechanics can produce some of the most undesirable shots in golf, including one of the most feared – shanking.

Golfers desperately want to avoid this horrific shot and try to strike the ball straight and true.

The remedy – identify the golf swing mechanics producing the faulty shot. Golf swing mechanics are the lasting cure to all that ails your swing!

In his book, “Golf Can Be an Easy Game”, author Joe Novak explains the faulty golf swing mechanics behind the shank.

Novak writes;

“This dreaded fault, when the ball literally squirts off the club at a 90° angle, petrifies many golfers. Shanking generally occurs on short approach shots of 90 yards or less. On such shots a player will very often determine there is no need for any body action, and this concept plus an extra tight grip with the left hand will cause shanking.

If the player decides they are not going to use their body in the shot, they will invariably force the club to the outside of the line of the shot on the backswing. Add a tight grip with the left hand and the club will automatically roll into an open face position. With this open face position and an outside of the line of flight movement of the club, there is an added tendency for the weight to sink heavily onto the left foot. This combination—(a) club in an open position, (b) club to the outside of the line of flight, (c) weight heavily sunk onto the left foot—is a sure way to shank. As the downswing starts, the club will naturally swing even more to the outside of the line of flight, forcing the player to pull the club sharply across the ball from the outside in. The player will then meet the ball with the heel of the club and away it squirts.

The shot just described—club face open, club to the outside of the line of flight, weight sunk onto the left foot —is nothing more or less than an extremely exaggerated slice shot technique. And that is what shanking is, an exaggerated slice action“.

Golf swing mechanics are both the reason and the remedy for the shanks!

Use Novak’s expert advice to help cure the shanks!

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

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