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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Proper Golf Swing – 2 Actions That Destroy a Proper Golf Swing!

A proper golf swing requires the correct initiation of the downswing phase of the swing pattern.

Many golfers perform two fatal movements when beginning the downswing phase – taking the club back inside the line and keeping the club-head close to the ground.

Both these actions rob the golfer of any chance to execute a proper golf swing.

Understanding exactly how these two movements destroy a proper golf swing may help golfers more effectively avoid them.

In the book, “The Master Key to Success at Golf” author Leslie King explains in greater detail the negative consequences these two actions have on a proper golf swing.

King writes;

“What is of the utmost importance is achieving a smooth and correct start to the backswing, and straight away I want to warn you against those two misleading pieces of oft-repeated advice which you may have heard and to which I referred in my opening chapter.

I say most emphatically you do NOT take the club back inside the line; you do NOT concentrate on keeping the club head close to the ground in the initial stage of the backswing.

Let me explain. If you take the club back inside the line with the hands you either produce a flat concave plane or cramp the backswing. This results in a loop at the top of the swing which throws the club head outside the line on its way to the ball. As you will see, the correct turn of the body must bring the club head back inside without a conscious effort to ensure it. And the extended left arm will give full width to the movement.

A deliberate endeavor to keep the club head low and close to the ground in the initial stage of the backswing is almost certain to have the effect of bringing the left shoulder too far down and collapsing the left side, two evils which we want to avoid at all costs. The correct body-action, incorporating a free smooth turn of the shoulders can only be accomplished by keeping the left shoulder UP, not down.

I want to straighten out these two dangerous misconceptions before detailing the correct backswing“.

A proper golf swing involves the correct initiation of the backswing phase of the swing pattern.

Try implementing King’s expert advice to help avoid these destructive actions and improve proper golf swing performance!

Check back soon for more articles and posts to help you achieve a proper golf swing!

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!

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.

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

Improve Golf Swing Performance – Timing & Mechanics – The 2 Keys to a Successful Swing!

Question…What elements of the swing pattern are essential to master for a player to truly improve golf swing performance?

Most professional instructors would agree BOTH timing AND mechanics are the two critical components which make up a winning golf swing.

These two components together help guard golfers from faulty swing patterns, swing planes and power leaks. Should any of these faults exist; a golfer will never improve golf swing performance or play golf to their fullest potential.

Any student of the game looking to improve golf swing performance should concentrate their practice and efforts on these two facets of the swing pattern.

In the book, “On Learning Golf”, author Percy Boomer agrees too that, to improve golf swing performance, a player must master both their timing and mechanics.

Boomer goes on to write;

“Now for our grosso modo exposition of how the swing works.

The beginning of the movement is in the feet; the movement passes progressively up through the body, through the arms, and out at the club head. What we try to do is to make the club head come down in the same path time and time again—in such a way that the face of the club comes squarely into the back of the ball every time. We have one fixed point (the feet) and one moving point (the club head) which we desire to move along the same line time after time. So the golf swing might be compared to the drawing of arcs with a pair of compasses. The reasons why we cannot be so precise in our stroking as the compass can, are that we are supported on two legs instead of one and we are full of flections and joints!

Again, we have not only to bring the club head down through the same line time after time; we must bring it down so that the club face is square with the ball at the instant of impact—and because the path of the club head is a curve, this means that impact must be timed correctly to an infinitesimal fraction of a second in the sweep of the swing. Also the club head must be accelerating at the moment of impact.

So we have not only to set up the mechanism to make a good swing, which we can all soon do if we only swing at the daisies, but we have to time this swing to the fraction of a second. Now I think that most of us overrate the value of good mechanics in golf and underrate the value of accurate timing. I was once watching, with a pupil of mine who had a most perfect swing, a fellow whose action was not pretty—to put it kindly. But he kept hitting nice long shots down the middle. “Not much to look at,” I remarked to my pupil. “I would not care a damn what I looked like if I could repeat like that chap!” he replied.

The awkward one could repeat his best shots time after time. His mechanics were ungainly but his timing was near perfect.

Well, you may say, if that is so, why should you go to so much trouble to give us a good mechanical swing? The answer is that good timing plus a good swing is better than good timing plus an awkward swing. The best swing, mechanically, is the one that pulls the ball a little and then makes it turn a bit to the left at the end of its flight, but if you get your maximum golf happiness out of a swing which slices the ball all around the course, there is no reason to alter your mechanics!“

A solid command of both timing and mechanics are necessary to improve golf swing performance.

Try following Boomer’s advice and focus on improving your swing timing and mechanics.

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

The Proper Golf Swing – Stay the Course! The “3 P’s” to a Proper Golf Swing!

Learning to execute a proper golf swing could take a lifetime, or two!

Many golfers try in vain to accelerate this learning process by incorporating useless or even worse confusing methods which deliver empty promises of overnight success.

A proper golf swing unfortunately is something which cannot be rushed, it follows no calendar. In order to make lasting progress it requires a golfer to be “Patient”, “Persistent” and to “Practice”.

Keeping “The Three P’s” in mind will better manage a golfer’s frustration level and maintain their interest in the game.

In the book, “The Master Key to Success at Golf” author Leslie King describes what he believes as the best approach to achieving a proper golf swing.

King writes;

“What is the point of curing a slice by planting the germ of a hook which erupts within the next few days? The wretched golfer, overjoyed at losing their slice, is soon in despair again as they struggle on the left-hand side of the course instead of the right.

Solving one problem by creating another simply adds to the pupil’s confusion and depresses their morale. It is NEGATIVE teaching which can never lead to lasting progress.

The method of instruction to be outlined in this book is not built upon a vague series of hit-or-miss experiments one or other of which may give temporary tidiness to a pupil’s game. My aim is a POSITIVE one to build a sound and lasting technique in which all the fundamentals which go to make consistent stroke-making are fitted together into one cohesive swing unit.

What precisely are these fundamental parts of the movement? How are they applied to the precise task of controlling and building up power in the club head?

Let me make it clear that I am not concerned with individual characteristics and mannerisms, only with common factors some of which were, and are, more distinctly demonstrated by one player than by another.

I am not prepared to waste time on gimmicks or smart tricks, and I will admit at once that I know of no short cut to success at this fascinating game. It demands hard work and practice before one even begins to master the precise art of delivering the centre of the club-face firmly and squarely to the back of the ball and on through along the line of flight.

There is positively no secret tip which can turn a mediocre player into a good one overnight. Yet there are players struggling vaguely along, pathetically looking out for this elixir of a new golfing life in the upper strata of the game.

There is no trick transition from rabbit to tiger class. Its theme will be the gradual shaping of a sound, smooth swing which, once acquired, will stand up under pressure if given the chance.

Such is my objective with every pupil who comes to me. I set out to implant in their mind a picture of the shape they need to acquire, taking them along, stage by stage, until they can sense the shape developing.

Let it be understood that I teach a definite method based on years of experience and proven principles. Various people have their own particular problems arising from characteristics of bone-structure and general build. I note these and prescribe accordingly. But the fundamentals laid down in this book will apply in the main to anyone capable of swinging a golf club through an arc.

The shaping of the swing is all-important. Once you have it keep it. Don’t bend it out of shape by tinkering. This is where many a better than average performer, in fact many a very good one, leads themselves still further off the rails when their game goes temporarily sour.

What happens? They look for a remedy all along the route of the movement everywhere but where they should look. Soon they are pushing the shape out of the swing.

Professionals, assistant professionals and leading amateurs, after striving in vain to recapture form in this groping fashion, come to my school for advice. It is at once clear to me that they have not given themselves a real chance. They have failed to dwell, as they should have done, on the matter of timing and consolidating the DELIVERY OF THE CLUB HEAD TO THE BALL“.

Shaping and developing a proper golf swing is not a quick and easy task!

Try keeping King’s perspective in mind next time your frustration levels try tricking you into believing the proper golf swing is impossible to achieve! Good things come to those who stay the course!

Check back soon for more articles and posts to help you achieve a proper golf swing!

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


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!

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