If you look up the word swing in the dictionary, it's defined as a to-and-fro or back-and-forth movement.
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, as soon as you put the word golf in front of the word swing, all hell breaks loose. All kinds of theories, rules and "have tos" come into play and the fun of golf goes out of play.
In this article, I'll attempt to simplify the concept of what a swing motion is and how to produce one. Being a movement, the golf swing should be studied, produced and felt as a movement. To say it another way, it's the movement of the golf club as a whole that we should be concerned with.
To keep the theme of simplicity ongoing, let's try an easy drill I call "the butt in the gut" exercise. All this involves is placing the handle end of the club against your navel and extend your arms down the shaft with your normal golf grip. The club head is held about knee high and you're in a good golf posture. Now, make a series of back-and-forth motions, about hip high to hip high, keeping contact of club handle to navel.
After a few swings with arms and hands fully relaxed, allow momentum to increase and watch what happens naturally. The weight of the club swinging will cause the following things to happen automatically: the body will rotate, the weight will shift and the wrists will cock on the backswing.
The same action will happen on the forward swing in reverse: the body will unwind, the weight will shift and the wrists will uncock in total response to the club.
If we keep the emphasis on the movement of the club (the tool we must use properly to send the ball to the target), the body will do everything to help the club do its job.
What makes the golf swing enjoyable and productive under these terms is that there are so few things you have to keep in mind while executing a golf shot.
Taking into account that the golf swing is about two and half seconds in real time of activity, we need a main thought (a trigger thought) to bring into play all the actions of the body that make up an efficient motion.
In my opinion, this is the proper approach to the golf swing. It eliminates the headache of trying to remember all the swing rules (i.e., head down, left arm straight, consciously shift your weight, elbow close to your side, pull down with your left hand and the ever popular snap your wrists at impact, etc.)
Whew, how's your head now? All that to do in 2.5 seconds. Good luck, and how much can I get to sell these clubs that don't work?
As a New Year approaches, let's make a resolution to simplify our golf swing and our lives. Golf should be fun, not rocket science. Happy holidays and see you on the green in 2007.
Yours for better golf.
Del Starks is a PGA teaching professional at Abacoa Golf Club in Jupiter. Contact him at (561) 262-0708, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.delstarks.com.